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143 Archived submissions found.
Title
In Time (posted on: 26-09-11)
just thoughts

In time I know you'll hate me. When your children are growing You'll become aware of the things I did And more so, the things I didn't. A gentle man once told me to stop flogging my own back That it wasn't the way, That to err wasn't failure if the lesson is learned. But how can I stop when I think often Of the grey haired man who brought me here, And I curse once more the day we met And weep at these chains that still bind me Even though the lock is long broken. I seek out the wise old woman Whose words still comfort, Who takes my hand and stills my desire to self destruct. I wonder at what the future holds And if my dreams will be forever filled By a monster who walks in the skin of man.
Archived comments for In Time
Leila on 19-03-2012
In Time
Hi ruadh just checked on your last poetry post and can't believe this has no comments...it's a dark powerful piece of writing and speaks of someone who has suffered and borne much...deeply layered writing...Leila

Author's Reply:
Thanks so much Leila, for reading and commenting. Means a lot to me.

JackKoozie on 12-06-2012
In Time
Thought-provoking to say the least, Ruadh, though I’d love to know what was going on in your mind when the words came tumbling out. Is this a poem about domestic abuse? Forgive me if I’ve got the wrong end of the stick, I did find it very interesting.
Jack


Author's Reply:


Trapped (posted on: 26-09-11)
Written for the challenge. It went off at a tangent all on its own and since that's the first time in ages that's happened I just ran with it - hence being in the 'daft' category.

I heard the key in the door and ran back into the corner to hide in the darkness. Seconds later light filled the room and I waited anxiously to see who entered. I gave a sigh of relief when Sarah came into view. ''Hello Spikey,'' I heard her say. '' Have you been a good boy today? Not making too much noise I hope. We don't want old Mr Meany at the door again do we?'' The grey cockatiel gave a shriek and jumped on his swing, which made almost as much noise as he did, obviously not giving a hoot about Mr Meany and his complaints. Sounds of a meal being prepared filtered through from the kitchen and I knew it wouldn't be long before HE was home. Then I would have to be on my guard. I knew Sarah didn't particularly like me either but she wasn't cruel, as long as I stayed out of her way she was prepared to leave me be. Not like him. He would take a strike every chance he got. I inched my way towards the kitchen and watched her through the crack between the door and the frame. I liked watching her, she had a way of making me feel happy. When she was busy cleaning or cooking she would sing to herself and it always brought a sense of cheer to us both. But only if HE wasn't here, she never sang when he was around. He didn't like it. He didn't like much of anything it seemed. I watched as she danced her way between the various cupboards, sink and worktop as she brought things together. Her long auburn hair had been gathered together at the back of her head and swung gently as she moved with hypnotic effect. ''Sarah. Sarah! Stop that god damned noise.'' Oh no. It's HIM. I was so busy watching her that I didn't hear him come in. Evidently neither did she. She stopped singing mid note and turned as he came into the room. The fear on her face was plain to see and matched my own. I shrank back against the wall in an attempt at being invisible and waited. A shouting match ensued followed by a crash of dishes then the sound of crying, pleading. I heard Sarah cry out in pain then HE ran through the house and out of the door. There was no sound after that, nothing, total silence. I was frozen. I tried to make my legs move but they wouldn't. Eventually I inched my way over to the crack in the door frame and squeezed through. Sarah was lying on the floor, not moving. I ran across to her. Her beautiful hair lay limp on the cold tiles and there was something in it. Something red and sticky and it grew into a puddle around me. I tried to move away but I couldn't pull my legs free, I was stuck. I thought about all the webs I had spun, all the prey I had caught unaware. And the irony of how HE got me in the end.
Archived comments for Trapped
bluepootle on 26-09-2011
Trapped
I like this one. We know we're sharing a creature's POV because of the challenge, but making us wait to find out what sort of creature was effective, I thought, and then not making that creature the focus of the story also worked very well. I think the writing struggles at points with cliches, such as waiting anxiously and sighing in relief early on, but I liked the use of imagery, such as her hair, to bring life to the writing.

Author's Reply:
Thanks BP. I wasn't sure I'd managed to hide the identity effectively so I'm glad it worked for you. The whole thing slipped away on a different tangent than my original idea but I went with it. Was an interesting exercise and one that didn't come easily for me.

teifii on 26-09-2011
Trapped
Very good. I like the use of the creature as a witness rather than it being its story. And I came nowhere near guessing correctly. I thought it was a dog. A spider makes it a real fly on the wall story.
One quiblble if you'll allow. I shrank back against the wall, not shrunk. My sweater has shrunk but it shrank. Sorry. My ex profession showing.

Author's Reply:
Argh! Can't believe I missed that. That's what comes of posting in the early hours lol. Sorted now.

Glad it kept you guessing. Thanks.

sirat on 26-09-2011
Trapped
I liked this one a lot. There were technical imperfections, as people have pointed out, but I liked the idea of the creature as witness, and not fully understanding what was going on, so that the real story exists only in the subtext. It is a very sophisticated spider of course, able to identify human facial expressions and emotions and to understand human language, but I can accept that in the context of the story.

I can't fully explain why, but I think this was my favourite of the 'challenge' pieces this time.

Author's Reply:
Thanks David. I've been quite surprised at the reaction to this one.

Ionicus on 29-09-2011
Trapped
An original slant. Very enjoyable.

Author's Reply:
Thank you.

Vigournet on 16-03-2012
Trapped
I am so glad that I wrote Home-wreckers before I read your tale. My ending has same sort of climax.

Author's Reply:
Pesky things get everywhere. Thanks for reading.

JackKoozie on 12-06-2012
Trapped
Hi Ruadh, I’m just intrigued to know who ‘HE’ is and why he committed the dastardly crime. It’s pretty well-written, but I had a little trouble following what was going on until I deduced that the narrator was the resident spider, very clever of you. You admit going off at a tangent and seeing where it took you and I think it worked out pretty well in the end, but I wanted to know more - that’s not a criticism by the way, it’s always good to leave the reader wanting more and you certainly achieved that. Much enjoyed. Well done!



Jack



Author's Reply:


Return to Sawney Bean (posted on: 13-06-11)
Inspired by the legend of Sawney Bean and my visits to the cave he lived in.

Mhari watched in anticipation as the bay came into view. It had been two years since she'd last been here. This time she had come the easy way, by boat, rather than chance the treacherous climb down the cliff. The same excitement filled her when she saw the entrance to the cave. The skipper pulled the boat onto the shore and she jumped out. ''Thanks John,'' she said, grabbing her backpack. ''Do you want me to come with you?'' he asked. ''No, no. I'll be okay. Do you want to head back and return in a couple of hours? Save you hanging around.'' ''No lassie. I'll be waiting here. Wouldn't be right to leave you all alone, never know what might happen.'' She laughed nervously. ''I'm sure I'll be fine. Nothing happened last time I was here did it? And considering I came the hard way that's saying something!'' ''Even so, I'll wait.'' ''Okay, thank you.'' She fished her camcorder out of her bag then put the bag on her back. She walked further onto the beach then started filming. ''So, here I am, back in Girvan at Sawney Bean's cave. I decided to film my visit this time so you could get a better idea of things. It's a nicer day, not overcast at all. Ailsa Craig looks magnificent but then I'm biased as you know.'' She slowly swung the camera around, turning in a circle to get a panoramic view of the bay. ''There's the cliff that I scrambled down last time. Looking at it today I wonder how I managed to get down in one piece, especially considering it was wet and slippy. And getting back up was even harder. This time I sailed in.'' She zoomed in on the small boat, aptly named 'Adventurous'. ''Give us a smile John,'' she shouted. John smiled and waved before returning to his book. Mhari turned and headed inland. ''These rocks are really some size. Much bigger than they looked in the photo's from my last trip. I'm hoping you can get a better perspective this time round.'' She scrambled over the huge stone, until she reached the relatively flat top. ''That boulder is about four feet high and I'll need two hands to get over it so I'll have to stop filming till I get to the entrance of the cave.'' She slung the camera around her neck and walked over to the boulder. She remembered there was a niche somewhere that she could slip her foot onto to give her a step up and she looked for it. Her foot hit something squidgy and she grimaced when she saw a dead seagull. She recoiled to the other side, fervently hoping the niche was there. It was and she sighed in relief. She slotted her foot in the crack and pushed herself up, grasping the top of the rock. It was harder to get over than she remembered. I must've been on a high that I survived the cliff climb that I didn't notice how tough this bit was she muttered to herself. Grunting, she pulled her body up. Wiping her hands clean on her jeans she laughed. Glad that wasn't on film, she thought. She pulled her backpack off and searched inside for her torch. She switched the cam back on and resumed her narration. ''The entrance is quite narrow as you can see. Judging by the graffiti I'm guessing it's popular with the local kids.'' She turned the torch on and shone it inside. ''This part is fairly confined, not a lot of headroom.'' She ventured inside, swinging the torch from side to side as she watched her step. ''It opens up a bit here but not by much. More graffiti. There is hardly any daylight in here.'' The torchlight cut through the darkness of the cave ahead. ''There's another opening coming up, again, very narrow, but it opens onto the main cavern.'' Mhari stepped through and shivered. ''Still not very big though, the walls aren't flat so they cut down on the space. There's a definite drop in temperature here too.'' The torchlight bounced off the wall and she yelled involuntarily. ''Oh my god. Shit. What a bloody fright.'' She steadied the camera and gave a small laugh. ''Some budding artists have painted a couple of skeletons on the walls. I don't remember them being here before.'' She walked forward. ''The way in curves here and the walls form a corridor almost then it widens out again. This is the widest part of the cave but because of the rock formation you'd have to crawl to reach a lot of it.'' The torch light danced across the walls and over the roof line. High up, Mhari thought she caught sight of an opening in the stone, almost like a shelf. She peered at it, trying to see if it was just a trick of the light. A noise caught her ear and she swept round, listening intently. Come on Mhari, she thought, there's nothing there. Nevertheless, a sense of foreboding began to take over and she decided to head back out. Halfway through the cave she grinned at the skeletal drawings. Ha, never caught me that time, she thought. Looking down, she noticed an opening at the side she hadn't seen on the way in. She crouched down to take a better look. It was about two foot high and a foot wide but looked deeper and seemed to curve to the right. Bracing herself with her right hand on the rock wall, she reached in with the camera in her left hand for a minute. Pulling back, she got to her feet and reversed the film. Mhari squinted at the picture, reversed it and paused. Her heart jumped in her chest as she gazed at what looked like a human head. She leaned into the wall, trying to stay on her feet. ''Hurry,'' said a whisper. Mhari swung the torch wildly. Seeing no-one she tried to calm herself. ''Hurry,'' came the whisper again. She willed her legs to move but her feet seemed rooted to the spot. I must be hearing things she thought. Or maybe John's shouting on me, wondering where I am. That'll be it. He'll be shouting Mhari, not hurry. It's just the cave that's distorting the sound. Just the cave. She closed her eyes, desperately trying to slow her heart rate and regain the use of her limbs. Something wet landed on her forehead and she wiped her face. ''Please god, don't let it be raining outside. That's all I need. Being trapped here and drowning.'' She shivered at the thought. Mentally she gave herself a shake. Stop it. You're just being plain stupid now. Get a grip and get yourself the hell out of here. Another droplet landed with a splat on her hand. She stared at it and screamed. It wasn't rain, it was red. She brought it closer to her and the realisation that it was blood slowly sunk in. She screamed again and thumped at her useless legs. ''Move damn you.'' ''They can't,'' said a familiar voice. Mhari looked up to see John walking towards her. ''John, I'm so glad you stayed. You have to help me. I can't move. I found this little passageway and put my camera in to see inside and now my imagination's taken over big time and I've literally paralysed myself with fear.'' She stopped talking and started sobbing. John stood still, watching her but making no move to help her. ''What happened? How did you frighten yourself?'' he asked at last. Mhari looked at him, feeling rather stupid now. ''It was a variety of things, skeletons, voices, seeing things.'' She shrugged. ''Maybe I should've got you to come with me after all.'' He shook his head. ''It wouldn't have made any difference if you had.'' Mhari started at the tone of his voice. She opened her mouth to speak but it had suddenly gone dry. Her chest heaved. ''Wh..what do mean?'' she stammered. He walked towards her and took the camera from her hands. ''The cave wants you Mhari. It's been calling to your subconscious. You being here today is no coincidence, today of all days.'' ''Why? What's so special about today?'' she spat out. ''Today is the anniversary of the day my family was murdered,'' he smirked. ''Your family? What are you talking about?'' ''Come Mhari, you know who I'm talking about. You know their legend better than anyone. On this date, they were taken to Leith and sent to their deaths. Sawney Bean and his clan.'' ''You're mad. That was hundreds of years ago. How could you possibly know you're related?'' ''Oh I know all right, because I was there. When the King's men discovered us I wasn't in the cave. I saw them from the cliff top and ran away to hide. After a few days I came back.'' He paced in front of Mhari's petrified form, anger beginning to show on his face. ''You see Mhari, no-one ever discovered our secret, our true secret that is. And that was the cave itself.'' ''What do you mean?'' she whispered. ''The cave lives Mhari. Whilst we were all feeding on human flesh the cave was feeding on their fear. Their blood soaked into the stone. And as long as we gave it life, it gave us life in return. Hence, here I am.'' Mhari stared at him, exhaustion taking over. ''You're crazy.'' ''Really? You said you heard voices, what did they say?'' ''I thought someone said 'hurry' but then I thought I'd misheard and it was you calling my name.'' ''Well, it wasn't me, and you should have listened to the skeletons.'' He laughed at her confused face. ''The skeletons are trapped spirits. They only appear to future victims, to warn them. You should've heeded their words. Instead, you let curiosity get the better of you. Even if the cave had not already picked you, it wouldn't have let you leave after your discovery.'' ''What about bodies? There's never been any reports of people going missing. How do you explain that?'' ''That's simple. Before, there were many of us to feed, many of us for the cave to sustain. Now, there is only me. A small animal will suffice if needs be and there are plenty of them about here.'' ''What about the head that I saw?'' John shrugged. ''Sometimes a change is needed.'' Tears pricked her eyelids. ''Please John. Help me, let me go. I won't tell anyone, I promise.'' ''Sweet, sweet Mhari. We both know that isn't true, and I couldn't let you go even if I wanted to. The cave needs feeding and so do I.'' She screamed as he approached and he silenced her by cracking her head off the rock. Her lifeless body dropped to the ground and slowly inched its way into the passageway, pulled by an invisible force.
Archived comments for Return to Sawney Bean
bluepootle on 13-06-2011
Return to Sawney Bean
Creepy! That Sawney Bean was an interesting character.

I like your last lines and I think the setting is very well handled too. I think you've got a difficult job in terms of letting everyone know who Sawney Bean was without boring the readers who already might know, and without compromising the flow of the story. I found this a bit too tell-driven at stages with the device of the camera, and you end up in a situation where you have to have a bit of dialogue at the last stage, which should be all suspense and horror. A bit of a rejig of how you get the info across and where that happens might help this along. Perhaps start the story before she gets to the cave, talking to locals about the legend of Sawney Bean? Then you can be all atmos. when you do get to the cave. Just a thought.



Author's Reply:
I wasn't too happy with the camera bit either so I get what you're saying. This is actually a follow on story - the first one introduced Sawney and his clan. I wasn't convinced this worked on it's own though. I think I'll rework it incorporating both stories. Thanks for commenting Aliya, it gives me something to work with.

ailsa


The Faces of Her (posted on: 03-09-10)
***

I spare a thought for Mrs Bridges The timid trophy wife Who would never have lived up to expectations And was glad she never got to see The disappointment in his eyes. And the mysterious Mrs G Who drank in everything he said Then later tortured herself trying to sort truth from lie. And even though she knew nothing for certain Treasured their time together nonetheless Because without it life would still be the same. And then poor Mrs Reid A forbidden toy, kept hidden until he was alone and lonely. And yet, ironically, it was him, perhaps That loved her most of all. Their honesty cementing a bond that lies fondly in her heart.
Archived comments for The Faces of Her
sunken on 05-09-2010
The Faces of Her
Again, Ms. Ruadh, it's criminal you've not had comment on this yet. I wouldn't take it to heart. It's quiet all round. I'm glad to see that it's been awarded a nib. I hope a Bernard won't detract too much from said accolade 😉 Enjoyed the read. Well done.

s
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Author's Reply:
A Bernard, I am honoured Sunken 🙂 I had noticed it's been quiet since my return which is a great pity. Appreciate the read and comment, thank you.

ailsa


Midnight (posted on: 03-09-10)
***

I'll see you around midnight In that place where there is no pain No thought, no reason. Where time has no meaning, no consequence And all there is, is you and I, here and now. And in this place we'll learn to free ourselves Throw off our shackles of guilt. And when the dawn comes and normality demands our return Let us leave without regret, with no blemished souls Let that place hold our secrets, in that time around midnight.
Archived comments for Midnight
Buschell on 08-02-2014
Midnight
Nothing like a cheeky little affair set moody and dark and illicit? Nice one...

Author's Reply:


Small Quiet Places (posted on: 03-09-10)
***

In small quiet places I reveal my secrets Tell them quickly in hushed tongue In the hope that they fall on the deaf ears of the gods I learned young there were none to answer my prayers Yet still I unleash them, for these troubles lie heavy on my soul Maybe someday they will reach the ears of one willing to pay a penny Even though I'd gladly give them for free
Archived comments for Small Quiet Places
TeflonTaff on 01-12-2011
Small Quiet Places
I have a spare penny. But you do live quite a way away, and it sounds like alcohol should be involved.

Author's Reply:


Slain (posted on: 03-09-10)
***

I watched from afar. Outcast yet bound nonetheless. I watched as your soul was battered, I cried out, silently, Knowing your heart would be deaf to my words. And when she'd had her fill, When there was nothing left to her taste, She left without a backwards glance. And you, you lay where you fell. Gathered your ashes together, and wept. I came to you then. Covered your resting place and prayed. Be still brother, I murmured. Neglect that which is tainted, for it will soon wither and die. Let time salve your wounds, faith heal your heart. The day will come when another will breathe, awaken your soul, And this slayer will be nought but a distant memory.
Archived comments for Slain
sunken on 05-09-2010
untitled1
Hello Ms. Ruadh. I'm surprised you've had no comments on this. It's very poignant and no mistake. With this in mind I shall avoid my usual flippancy. See, I can be tactful. I can. A very neat little write, in my sunken opinion.

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he still uses ceefax

Author's Reply:
Your opinion is always valued Mr Sunken. Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks.

ailsa

royrodel on 05-09-2010
untitled1
wish I could write like this

RODEL

Author's Reply:
That's a great compliment Rodel, Thank you.

ailsa


Have You been Licking My Apples - Pt 2 (posted on: 05-10-09)
This was meant to carry on from a previously posted story - hence the title - but you don't have to have read the first one before reading this.

The incessant telephone ring dragged Maggie from her slumber. She squinted at the clock while reaching for the handset. ''Ten o'clock. Who phones anyone at ten o'clock on a Sunday morning,'' she muttered aloud. ''Hello,'' she said into the mouthpiece. ''Did I wake you up?'' Maggie grimaced at the cheery sound of her sister's voice. ''Yes, you did. Do you know what time it is?'' ''Yes I do. I was going to call you an hour ago but decided to be nice and give you a long lie.'' ''You're so kind,'' said Maggie, her tone dripping with sarcasm. ''Hey, think yourself lucky, the kids had me up two hours ago. Your kids I might add!'' ''Should've sent them back to bed. I would've.'' ''That's you though. Anyway, I phoned to say, the kids coerced me into doing a barbeque later so, instead of me dropping them off as arranged will you just make your way here in time for tea?'' ''Um, I'm not sure, that might be difficult.'' ''Difficult. Why?'' Maggie lay staring at the ceiling, unsure of what to say. ''Maggie?'' ''Yeah, yeah, I'm still here. Look, Buddha's here and I don't know when he's planning on leaving. I don't want to ask him in case he thinks I'm chasing him away.'' ''Oh, still there huh. That must be a novelty for you. Was it a good night?'' ''Yes, it was. We went to The Rep then on for a drink.'' ''I actually meant the sex but never mind,'' said her sister mischievously. ''Cheryl! I'm not in the habit of sleeping with guys on the first date I'll have you know.'' ''You're not in the habit of sleeping with guys full stop. Come on Maggie. This is your first date for ... years, ever since you split up with prick features. I would've thought you'd be gagging for it.'' ''You thought wrong then didn't you!'' snapped Maggie. ''Seems so. Should've guessed really by the mood you're in. No way would you be grumpy if you'd been laid.'' ''Are you done talking about my sex life?'' ''Yes. I'll see you about four. Bring Buddha with you.'' A second later the phone line went dead. Maggie sighed softly and hung up. She rolled onto her side and stared at the window. Even through the curtains she could see the sun blazing outside. 'Please let it rain,' she thought. A body stirred beside her and she froze. 'Oh god, I'm too old for this dating game. What am I supposed to do now? I should've got up. I could face him if I was at least properly dressed.' ''Maggie, you awake?'' For a split second she thought about feigning sleep. Maybe he'd get up and go and she'd escape the awkward 'morning after the night before' moment. Then again, did she really want him to simply leave without at least talking to her? And what was the likelihood that the phone hadn't woken him as well? Fast on the heels of that thought came the realisation that he'd probably overheard her conversation too. She squeezed her eyes shut and groaned inwardly. She wasn't even out of bed yet, how bad could the day get? ''Yes, I'm awake,'' she said. ''You ok?'' ''I'm fine.'' ''You sure about that?'' he asked. ''Positive.'' There was a momentary silence and Maggie held her breath, waiting to see what Buddha was going to do. ''Do you want me to go?'' he asked, concerned. Maggie felt her chest tighten and for the first time was aware of how much she wanted him to stay. ''No, no I don't.'' She felt his hand slide under her neck and gently pull on her shoulder. ''Come here.'' She rolled over to face him. He pushed loose strands of hair away from her eyes and tucked them behind her ears. Without another word he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close. Maggie lay rigid, painfully aware of how alien it now felt to be so close to another human being. Buddha's fingers brushed the nape of her neck and spread out through her hair. He kissed her forehead gently then let her be. Her fingertips detected the soft thrum of his heart and she gradually relaxed at the steady beating. She moved into him, slipping her leg between his, her hand resting on his hip. She welcomed the warmth from his body and closed her eyes. The smell of coffee registered in her brain and she looked up to see Buddha in the doorway. ''Hullo sleepyhead.'' She smiled. ''Hi. How long have you been up?'' ''Long enough to have a shower and make you lunch.'' ''Lunch! What time is it?'' ''Just after one.'' ''Oh my god. Why didn't you wake me?'' He laughed. ''Stop panicking. It's not that late and I knew the kids weren't going to be home till teatime so there was no chance of you being caught in a compromising position. Besides, you looked peaceful.'' ''Peaceful huh?'' ''Yep. Now, I wasn't sure if you were a 'crumbs in the bed' freak or not so I put lunch out on the table but I can put it on a tray if you like.'' Maggie threw back the covers. ''No, that's okay. I think I've spent way too much time in bed already today. ''Oh, another thing. My sister phoned this morning. Apparently the kids talked her into doing a barbeque. She's expecting us about four. Is that okay for you?'' ''Yeah, sure.'' Buddha watched as she pulled on a robe and padded towards him. ''So, are you?'' Maggie looked puzzled. ''Am I what?'' ''A crumb freak?'' She laughed. ''Oh! No. Are you kidding? With my kids crumbs are par for the course. You'll find them everywhere.'' ''I see. I'll give you breakfast in bed next time then.'' She looked at him coyly. ''Next time?'' He met her eyes. ''Yes, next time. Come on or your lunch won't be worth eating.'' He turned away from her and strode to the kitchen. She watched him for a moment and wondered what he was thinking before following him. Sunlight was streaming in through the window making the yellow walls seem almost too bright. On the small pine table stood two bowls of soup and a basket of crusty bread cut into slices. Buddha set down a plate of cheese and two spoons. Maggie looked at him in amazement. ''Don't just stand there,'' he chided, ''tuck in.'' She slid into a seat and reached for the bread. ''I'm sorry, it'sdid you make this yourself?'' she asked. ''I sure did. It's only soup, hardly rocket science.'' He glanced at her bemused face. ''What? Did you think I lived on TV dinners and takeaways?'' She put down her bread and looked at him, feeling ashamed. ''Look, I'm sorry okay. I've never actually given any thought to how you live but yes, I am quite surprised that you're so competent in the kitchen. I guess I tend to think of single guys as useless in the cooking department. Stereotypical I suppose.'' ''Not all guys are inadequate you know.'' ''So I see. Friends?'' Buddha grinned. ''Better taste it first.'' Maggie threw a piece of bread at him and laughed. They both ate in silence, basking in the warm sunshine and each others company. Maggie pushed her empty bowl away and nodded appreciatively. ''That was very nice Buddha, thank you.'' ''Glad you enjoyed it.'' Standing up, he gathered the dishes together. ''Why don't you grab a shower while I clean up here.'' ''Leave it, I'll do it later. I will have that shower though. Make yourself at home, watch the telly or something.'' She turned and headed to the bathroom. The warm water cascaded over her head and down her body. She shampooed her hair and soaped her skin then stood under the flow and let it wash it all away. Turning the water off, she stood for a minute to wring her hair then stepped out and wrapped herself in a towel. She scurried across the hall to the bedroom, banging into Buddha in the process. ''Whoa,'' he said, steadying her. ''Someone's in a hurry.'' He leaned forward and breathed deeply. ''Coconut?'' he quizzed. Maggie nodded, suddenly feeling self-conscious at her lack of clothing. The scent of his own freshly washed skin invaded her senses, flooding her body with sensations she hadn't had for as long as she could remember. Her breathing quickened and her face felt flush. Embarrassed, she disentangled herself from Buddha's embrace. ''I'lluh, go and get dressed.'' ''Okay. I'll make some coffee.'' ''Great.'' She pointed into the room. ''I'll just'' She shut the door behind her and slid to the floor. ''I can't do this. He must think I'm an imbecile by now,'' she thought. Tears brimmed her eyelids and she leant her elbows on her knees, pushing the heels of her hands against her eyes. There she sat until the despair she felt passed. Feeling calmer and dressed casually in jeans and a t-shirt, she examined her face in the mirror. The redness had gone from her eyes and there was no sign of her earlier tears. She gave her hair a quick last brush and picked up her silver pentacle from the dressing table. There was a soft knock at the door and she opened it before turning back to the mirror to put her amulet on. Buddha appeared in the doorway and thrust his hands into his pockets. ''I was beginning to think you'd fallen asleep again. It's after three. I wasn't sure what time you wanted to leave at.'' ''Sorry, I couldn't decide what to wear. It's such a gorgeous day I was thinking about a dress but I don't think that's a good idea with a barbeque. All that sauce, juice, kids running about. Not a good combination.'' She gave a groan of frustration as the chain slipped out of her fingers for the third time. ''Here. Let me do that.'' Buddha stepped forward and deftly fastened the clasp and gently lay the chain on the back of her neck. Maggie met his eyes in the mirror. ''Thanks.'' ''No problem.'' He shuffled his feet nervously. ''Listen, I've been thinking. Maybe I should just go home now, leave your little shindig to family.'' Her heart sank and Maggie floundered for a reply. Was he testing her or did he want to leave? ''It's up to you, whatever you want,'' she said at last. Buddha ran his hand through hair and sat down on the bed, watching her. ''What do you want Maggie? Cos I'm fucked if I know. One minute things are fine and the next you go funny on me and it seems you don't want me anywhere near you.'' ''Maybe you should go then, if that's how you feel,'' she snapped. ''Oh no, you're not turning this back on me. If you want me to go say so,'' he shouted. Maggie blanched at his anger. ''Go to hell,'' she retorted, and tried to push past him. He blocked her way and grabbed her arms. ''No you don't. You can't keep running away Maggie. We're not kids anymore. Talk to me. Tell me what's going on in that head of yours.'' He waited until she stopped struggling and softened his grip. ''Do you want me to go?'' ''No,'' she whispered. ''How sure are you of that?'' ''Very sure.'' He shook his head. ''So why do you keep pushing me away?'' She looked at him sadly. ''You wouldn't understand.'' ''Try me.'' He pulled her onto the bed and clasped her hand in his. ''We need to sort this, now.'' ''We can't. I'm sorry but I'm just not ready to do this now.'' She pulled her hand from his. ''It's not you, nothing you've done, or not done'' she added. ''I'm sorry. I shouldn't have come to Edinburgh, brought you here.'' ''So why did you?'' he asked. Maggie shrugged. ''I acted on impulse. I was through there anyway and decided to grab the bull by the horns. I don't know, maybe subconsciously I hoped you'd be out, or maybe that you'd walk away. Either way, I could tell myself I'd done it so it would stop eating away at me. It would stop being a 'what if'.'' Her voice trailed away. She stood and walked to the window, watched the birds squabble over crumbs scattered atop the old tree stump. ''I should've realised it was a mistake.'' ''Was it? I don't think so.'' She turned to face him. ''How can you say that?'' ''Well, you've taken that first step. I was in, and I didn't run away. We're both here now. You're one rung higher on the ladder.'' She snorted. ''Took me long enough to get there.'' Buddha nodded thoughtfully. ''Maybe, but you've obviously got your reasons. I won't pretend to know what they are but I do acknowledge they're there.'' He crossed the room and gripped her shoulders lightly. ''If it's okay with you I'd like to stick around for a while, see how high you can get.'' ''You sure? Something tells me it won't be no picnic you know.'' ''I know, but something tells me it will be worth it.'' He kissed her lightly on the forehead. ''Come on, we've a barbeque to go to.''
Archived comments for Have You been Licking My Apples - Pt 2
zenbuddhist on 05-10-2009
Have You been Licking My Apples - Pt 2
Those Buddah bastards from Edinburgh can be a shifty lot...if they're not leaving crumbs all over the place they're poking you awake in the morning...no consideration.

Author's Reply:
No consideration at all Charlie, part 3 is not forthcoming either. Thanks for the read and comment.


R.I.P Baby Boy (posted on: 05-10-09)
Just a vent at the misfortune of this toddler.

You cleaned the vomit from the floor Wiped the spittle from his lips But you couldn't delve beneath the skin Mend the broken bones. And that baby boy's body Shouted loud after death Revealing your neglect To all who had failed him. And even now As his tiny skeletal frame lies cold in the ground Even now, you protest your innocence And walk free from blame. The biggest tragedy of all.
Archived comments for R.I.P Baby Boy
stormwolf on 05-10-2009
R.I.P Baby Boy
It's hard to read this without tuning into the rage against anyone who can do these things to the helpless.
I really liked it though.

Revealing your neglect
To all who had failed him.

this does not read quite right...there seems to be a contradiction here...'he shouts out'
either to all who failed him

or...revealing her neglect..
but the two don't seem to fit together although I do see what you are saying.
A very heartfelt poem that embraces the outrage felt by all of us at the abuse of justice and the cruelty that exists in this world Alison

Author's Reply:
Thanks Alison. This little boy was neglected long term and horrifically mistreated in the day up to his death ... hence his body shouting loud about the neglect he'd suffered. He was also badly let down by professional services who could have saved his life had they acted sooner ... thus "all who had failed him." I'll have another look at it.

ailsa

sunken on 06-10-2009
R.I.P Baby Boy
Hello Ruadh. Good to see you on the pages of Uka again. A powerful write that, as Ms. Storm so rightly says, is hard to read without feeling rage. Some people are just pure evil.

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Author's Reply:
Hello Sunk and thank you. My absences are more frequent than I'd like them to be. Appreciate the read and comment, as always.

ailsa


You Can't Tread Water Forever (posted on: 06-07-09)
There is more than one way to drown

She senses it flicker to life inside her. Feels it creep along her veins, Paralysing her soul. Like the ebb and flow of the tide It gradually wears away her resistance Eroding what little hope she had left. She drowns in an ocean of tears, Sinks below the surface of humanity. She knows, better than anyone You can't tread water forever.
Archived comments for You Can't Tread Water Forever
Bradene on 06-07-2009
You Cant Tread Water Forever
This is a sad little cameo, whatever went wrong, ! it'll haunt me all day (-; Valx

Author's Reply:
Life Val, just life. Sometimes it doesn't take much to tip the balance, and sometimes you're just too tired to fight. Thanks for reading and commenting.

ailsa

barenib on 06-07-2009
You Cant Tread Water Forever
Very compact and punchy poem, and also slightly mysterious - I like it! John.

Author's Reply:
Thank you John. I pondered a while before posting this so I'm glad you like it.

ailsa

Sunken on 06-07-2009
You Cant Tread Water Forever
Hello Ruadh. This is very deep (did ya see what I almost did there?). Ahem. A smashing piece with a telling end. There is indeed more than one way to drown. I have a close relationship with sinking. Well done on the nib and nom.

s
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distantly related to the inventor of the chemical toilet

Author's Reply:
Thank you Sunken, appreciate it, as always.

ailsa

macaby on 06-07-2009
You Cant Tread Water Forever
Hi Ruadh, congrats on the nib and the nom, both well deserved. It is a sad poem but these are the ones that I always seem to remember. Well penned indeed.
mac

Author's Reply:
Hi mac. I have been a little surprised by the reaction to this one, wasn't sure about it at all, so thank you for your comment.

ailsa

deepoceanfish2 on 08-07-2009
You Cant Tread Water Forever
Ruadh,

A Brilliant piece! A 10 and a fav for me, indeed. Concise and punchy; the metaphor is simply exquisite. Congratulations on a well deserved nib and nomination.

Regards,
Adele

Author's Reply:
Thank you so much Adele.

ailsa

Romany on 14-07-2009
You Cant Tread Water Forever
Treading water- tiring and never really gets you anywhere. I think I understand this very well written piece.

Romany.

Author's Reply:
Thanks Romany.

ailsa

jay12 on 23-09-2009
You Cant Tread Water Forever
Scary, I tread water in my life/work. Now I wanna swim!!!

Author's Reply:


A Woman of a Certain Age (posted on: 10-10-08)
working title... says it all really

I watched her firm flesh tempt you as you danced Danced as I once imagined we would dance Did you know the moon shone only for us Encasing us in its spotlight as we moved across the forest floor And the stars appeared, nodding their approval At the union they were there to witness And how we danced that night, danced as we never had before Frightened that we never would again But tonight you swept silently by Your eyes fixed on this goddess of perfection That time has yet to ravage I saw you drink readily from the fountain of youth She flaunted before you And how she laughed at your eagerness Your clumsy attempt to shed the years nature had bestowed upon you And the soft wind of inevitability settled on my shoulders Cloaking me in acquiesce and blowing away my tears of resignation For a moment, jealousy licked at my wounds, searing my soul But Dignity stepped in, administering her salve to quell the pain in my heart With a final bow I left the dance, abandoned the music I could no longer hear With a poise befitting a woman of a certain age
Archived comments for A Woman of a Certain Age
Bradene on 10-10-2008
A Woman of a Certain Age
Beautifully dignified. Well written piece. Val x

Author's Reply:
Thanks Val. Glad you liked it.

love ailsa

macaby on 24-12-2008
A Woman of a Certain Age
an enjoyable poem, well written. i could almost see the scene happening before me.yes we men often make fools of ourselves , the ending was very fitting it shows that at least one of the sexes knows how to "act" their age. well done.

Author's Reply:

uppercase on 27-01-2009
A Woman of a Certain Age
Very good poem...erma

Author's Reply:

SugarMama34 on 02-02-2009
A Woman of a Certain Age
Hi Ailsa.

A sad tale, but one with dignity. Sometimes men think the grass looks greener, they never see the pools of mud that they will get stuck in though! Younger isn't always 'better'.
A good poem clearly expressed hun. Liked this a lot.

Lis'. xx

Author's Reply:

SugarMama34 on 02-02-2009
A Woman of a Certain Age
Hi Ailsa.

A sad tale, but one with dignity. Sometimes men think the grass looks greener, they never see the pools of mud that they will get stuck in though! Younger isn't always 'better'.
A good poem clearly expressed hun. Liked this a lot.

Lis'. xx

Author's Reply:

stormwolf on 07-10-2009
A Woman of a Certain Age
Hello Ruadh
Seeing the title I had to read it! 😉
You captured it all so well, I liked the way you made Dignity a person ...it just worked so well as though a fellow woman who understoof..well, that's how it came accross to me.

I would have knocked hell out of him with my handbag...but you were far more composed 😉
Really enjoyed this well written poem.
Alison

Author's Reply:


Could It Be You (posted on: 10-10-08)
Written to promote child sponsorship

V1 Open your eyes And look all around you What you will see Just might astound you Lost and alone Children are crying Nothing to eat Children are dying CHORUS Could it be you That gives them a reason To live Could it be you That brings them some hope V2 Give them the memories And feelings of worth That their life holds meaning In their space on Earth All that they want Is someone to love them All that they need Is someone to care CHORUS BRIDGE A safe place to stay A warm bed at night Food on the table Every child's right These are the things That they're looking for Will you be the one Who opens the door CHORUS (ext) Could it be you this time Could it be Could it be you Keeping their dreams Alive Saving their lives.
Archived comments for Could It Be You

No comments archives found!
Hidden Talents (posted on: 25-07-08)
Meant to be humourous

Chaz opened the letterbox and peered inside. The hallway was in darkness. He rapped on the door and waited. When no answer came he knocked again and listened. He turned to leave when he heard an angry hiss followed quickly by a stifled yell. He banged his fist on the door and shouted: ''Open up Danny, I know you're in there.'' The door opened a minute later and Chaz strode inside, banging it shut behind him. He glared at the man in front of him. ''What you playing at, ignoring the door?'' Danny shrugged. ''I didn't feel like company.'' ''Oh that's great, that is. I come to check you're okay, out of the goodness of my heart, and that's the response I get. There's gratitude for you!'' His eyes travelled over the dishevelled form in front of him and he shook his head. ''You're bleeding.'' ''What?'' ''Your leg. It's bleeding.'' Danny looked down. ''Oh, right. It was the cat. I didn't see her in the dark and stepped on her tail. She scratched me,'' he explained. Chaz ran his hand over his head and tried not to smirk. ''Jesus Christ,'' he mumbled. Composing himself, he clapped his hands. ''Right Danny Boy, I think a night on the town is called for. You go and get yourself cleaned up and I'll grab myself a tin while I wait.'' ''Nah, I don't feel it Chaz.'' ''Course you do. A few drinks with the lads, a bit of dancing. With a bit of luck we might even pull a couple of slappers to round off the night nicely.'' ''Uh uh. No way Chaz.'' Danny headed down the hall into the living room, shaking his head. ''I told you, I'm finished with lassies. No worth the bother.'' Chaz followed him. ''Och come on son. You're not still hankering after that Susie, are you?'' ''Hankering? Nae chance. If I never see her again it'll be too soon.'' Chaz looked puzzled and held up his hands. ''Well then, what's the problem?'' ''Nothin'.'' Danny threw himself down on the chair and picked up the TV remote, flicking through the channels at random. Chaz watched him carefully then sat down opposite him. ''Alright, spit it out. What's bugging you?'' Danny scowled at him. ''I told you, nothin'.'' ''An' I'm not buying it.'' He leaned forward. ''So help me Danny, if you don't start talking within the next ten seconds I'll pan yer heid in!'' ''She called me a sausage, all right. A sausage! She said I had as much charisma as a mealy puddin'.'' ''So some bird insults you and you turn into a hermit! Stop being a fucking eejit. Get yourself in that bathroom and be ready to go in ten minutes.'' Danny stared at his friend, not quite sure how to react. ''Move it,'' roared Chaz. He watched as his friend hurried out of the door. ''A sausage,'' he muttered. ''Sweet fucking Jesus.'' He laughed to himself then grabbed a tin of lager and settled down to wait. Mackies was heaving, as was typical for the weekend. Chaz strode purposely towards the bar with Danny following slowly behind. ''Two pints please Lenny.'' The barman nodded. ''Alright Chaz. How you doin'?'' ''Cannae complain pal. Trying to put a smile on that soor faced cunt,'' he said, nodding towards Danny, who had somehow become trapped in the crowd. ''Why? What's up wi' him?'' ''Och, don't ask. You're better off not knowing mate.'' Lenny grinned. ''Trouble of the female variety then I presume.'' ''Got it in one.'' ''Ah well, there's a good crowd in tonight. Maybe he'll meet someone to take his mind of things.'' ''That's the plan anyway.'' Lenny placed the glasses on the bar. ''That'll be a fiver Chaz.'' ''Cheers mate,'' said Chaz, handing over the money. Danny slid on the stool beside him. ''What happened to you? I thought you were right behind me?'' ''I was,'' began Danny, ''but then this group of lassies met in front of me and I couldn't get passed them.'' ''Did you no think tonever mind. Here, get this down your neck,'' said Chaz, passing a pint over. The pair looked out across the room whilst they slugged their first drink of the night. ''Fancy throwing a few arrows? The board's free for once.'' Danny banged his empty glass on the bar. ''Aye, why not. Best get in before Buddha gets here and throws his weight around.'' The dartboard was squeezed into the back corner of the barroom. The person keeping score had a healthy chance of getting their eye skewered if they weren't careful. As the pair reached the oche they were quickly joined by a couple of females. ''Oh, were you about to play?'' asked one. Chaz turned and looked appreciatively at the blonde in front him. She was shorter than most women he knew but her curves were in all the right places and she had big blue eyes that he could easily get lost in given half the chance. Her friend, who was hovering nearby, was tall and slim, with long black hair. Talk about chalk and cheese. Both had clearly had a skinful already. ''Well that was the plan darlin','' he jeered. ''It's just that me and my pal fancied a game,'' she said, cocking her head in her friends direction. ''And who would you and your pal be?'' enquired Chaz. ''I'm Jean, this is Lizzie.'' ''Let them have the board Chaz, we can play later,'' said Danny. ''No, we were here before them. First come first served, as the saying goes. I'm sure the ladies won't mind waiting their turn.'' The blonde grinned. ''There is another solution of course.'' ''What, we toss for it?'' answered Chaz. ''Nothing so mundane. I was thinking more along the lines of a foursome.'' ''A foursome? With you and Mortisha here? Are you having a laugh?'' ''I'm deadly serious, Chaz, was it? Boys versus girls. And just to make things a little more interesting, how about the losers buy the next round? ''Fine by me darlin'. I'm no chauvinist, I don't mind the woman paying.'' He handed her his darts. ''Here, we'll even let you girls throw first.'' Smiling sweetly, Jean took the darts and strolled back to the oche and prepared to throw. Danny, who was by the scoreboard, watched nervously, flattening himself against the wall as the dart flew through the air. The first one landed with a thud. Two more quickly followed and Danny gave a huge sigh of relief. He looked at the board. ''One hundred and eighty,'' he shouted in disbelief. Jean turned to face Chaz, grinning like the Cheshire cat. ''Still confident you're gonna win?'' Chaz shrugged, digging his hands deep in his pockets. ''Lucky start that's all.'' ''We'll see.'' ''Vodka and tonic, a Pernod and lemonade, and two pints please Lenny.'' Chaz leaned on the bar and stared downwards. ''What's up with you?'' asked the barman. ''You're looking awfy down for a man who's scored?'' Chaz raised his head sharply. ''Are you taking the piss?'' Lenny's brow furrowed. ''Not me mate. I just assumed you and Danny had pulled those birds he's sitting with. What with the four drinks an' all.'' Chaz grimaced. ''Sorry pal, just a bit tetchy. Those two lasses bet us a game o' arrows. Loser buys.'' ''Ah, I see. You didn't score then huh.'' He held his hands up and laughed at Chaz's scowl. ''Sorry, couldn't resist. Chaz carried the drinks to a small table where the others were sitting. He sat down and avoided looking at Jean. ''Aww, come on Chazzie, don't sulk,'' she pleaded. ''It's not the end of the world, it's only a poxy game.'' Under the table, her hand crept up his thigh. ''Maybe there's another game we could play. I promise to let you come first this time,'' she said huskily. The thought of getting his leg over melted his reserve in an instant. Her perfume invaded his nostrils, taking on an alluring quality that had escaped him before. His eyes travelled over her body and his hands itched to touch and taste the flesh hidden beneath. Her full lips oozed sex appeal. ''Same grouping as before?'' he asked hoarsely. She grinned. ''If you like, though I was thinking more along the line of mixed doubles this time round.'' ''I'll go for that.'' He downed his pint and slapped his friend on the back. ''Come on Danny Boy. Drink up. The night is still young and we have sweet music to make.'' Danny blushed. ''I'm not sure that's a good idea Chaz,'' he stuttered. ''You go on, I'll stay here'' ''Drink it,'' ordered Chaz. He put on a smile. ''Besides, you don't want Lizzie to go home alone, do you? Never know who she might bump into.'' ''Oh that's okay,'' said Lizzie. ''Jean and I live together so I can share your taxi. It's no problem.'' Chaz glared at Danny and cocked his head towards the door. ''Alright, alright. I'm coming,'' he protested. The women walked ahead arm in arm and giggling as they left the bar. Chaz grabbed Danny's arm. ''Don't you mess this up for me you wassock. Keep that Lizzie busy.'' ''How am I supposed to do that??'' hissed Danny. ''Use your imagination. I'm damned if I'm doing without just because you are. Talk to her, bore her to death if you have to. I really don't care. Keep her occupied while I do the business, that's all I'm asking.'' A taxi pulled up to the rank as they stepped outside. It was a London Cab so the foursome piled in the back, separating into pairs. Chaz pulled Jean into him and savaged her mouth. Danny and Lizzie shifted their gaze to avoid seeing them, or each other! Eventually the sound effects got to Lizzie who sidled up to Danny and crossed her leg over his. Her hand teased his hair and she blew softly in his ear. ''Why should they have all the fun??'' she murmered. The car stopped and Chaz and Jean fled, disappearing into the flat. Danny dug into his pocket and paid the fare. ''Keep the change mate.'' He hovered on the pavement, unsure what to say or do next. ''Shall we join them?'' he said at last. ''I meannot join them exactly, just go in. To a different room.'' Lizzied chuckled. ''You're so funny Danny. Relax! I don't bite you know. Well, only if you insist. Come on.'' She led him into the flat which was still in complete darkness. Noises emanated from one room and Danny hurried past, bumping into Lizzie who had stopped outside the next door. She took his hand and silently pulled him behind her. She wrapped her arms around him, kissing his neck, his jaw, before covering his lips with hers. She pushed Danny backwards slowly until they fell onto the bed. When her hands reached for his zip he moaned and relaxed onto the mattress. His hands began roaming her body, starting at her shoulders and moving south. He rolled her over and slid his hand underneath her skirt. His eyes opened wide and he held his breath. Tentatively he explored further then let out a scream. And another. He scrambled off the bed and out of the room. Disorientated in the unfamiliar surroundings he fumbled for a light switch. Chaz stormed out the bedroom he'd shared with Jean. ''For fuck's sake Danny, what's all the noise about?'' Danny stared at him and mumbled incoherently. Chaz shook him impatiently. ''What is it? What's wrong now?'' Danny pointed to the room he'd vacated. ''She'she'sit's a man Chaz! A fucking man. With a dick and everything. Oh my god. He kissed me. Touched me.'' Angry now, he thumped Chaz in the chest. ''See! I told you women were trouble but would you listen to me? Noooo. Well that's it. I've had it up to here with women. I'm done.'' He strode up the hall. ''And you, you're trouble too Chaz. You stay away from me in future. Stay away!'' The door banged and he was gone, leaving a dumbfounded Chaz staring after him.
Archived comments for Hidden Talents
Rupe on 25-07-2008
Hidden Talents
I found this easy to read, with good authentic dialogue (though some of it could be trimmed down - i.e. conversation with the bartender, which doesn't move the story forward much) & a clear style.

However, overall the story felt a bit forced somehow, in the way in which the end result (man goes to bed with woman & is shocked to find she is not really a woman) is engineered. It moves along in a very linear way & I felt it could do with a few more twists and dimensions.

Rupe

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading Rupe. Not sure I agree with your comment about the bartender. True it doesn't move the story forward much but it's not overly long or out of place either. You could be right about adding more dimensions elsewhere though. I appreciate your thoughts.

ailsa

zenbuddhist on 25-07-2008
Hidden Talents
hey hey CHAZ BUDDHA!!!!!!!HOPE YOU'RE TRYING TO TWIST MY MELON AILS......IT NEEDS A GOOD TWIST NOW AND AGAIN...Zx

Author's Reply:
Would you believe that I never made that connection? lol. I 'borrowed' Buddha from another story of mine. I like his character. Actually, he could be another dimension as Rupe suggested. I'll give it some thought. Thanks for reading and commenting Charlie.

love ails

sirat on 25-07-2008
Hidden Talents
I liked the development of this story and got quite interested in the characters but I think the ending rather spoils it. It comes across as a bit contrived and shallow compared to the build-up. Also that particular trick was played so well in the film The Crying Game that attempting to repeat it is probably unwise.

You say the piece is 'Meant to be humourous' and I find that quite revealing. The only humourous bit really is the ending, and I think you weren't fully confident about it. What seemed to be going on was that Danny was becoming increasingly intimidated by the idea of a 'foursome' and was trying not to admit to it. He is headed for some kind of psychological crisis here, which offers possibilities for a good 'straight' ending, which I think would make it a much better story. I don't have a particular ending in mind, but two or three ideas suggest themselves. I offer this as a suggested way forward.


Author's Reply:
I put 'meant to be humourous' incase anyone was offended. Political correctness is everywhere, and totally overboard in my opinion, spoiling everything. If you read Chaz's character the wrong way he can come across as aggressive, which he isn't, not in a nasty sense anyway. I should've just let the story stand on it's own and dealt with it afterwards if needs be.

As for the plot, well, there's only so many you can do isn't there. This piece was written from the prompt 'hidden talent' and I wanted to avoid the obvious plots of super heroes etc. So it was written for the ending, but it obviously needs work in that respect. Your idea for a straight ending has merit so I may rewrite this completely and abandon the original idea. Thank you David.

e-griff on 27-07-2008
Hidden Talents
I thought the writing was fluent, the characters credible, the touch of accent enough to place the location for us but not enough to puzzle us - nicely done that, people usually overdo it. all in all well crafted. But at the end, having got the (fairly well-worn I'm afraid ) ending, I was left with the question 'what was this story about?' - it seemed empty - no theme, no moral, no connection of end to beginning to thread, just a recital of events. I think there has to be more to a story, something to think about, to remember.

a few oddities I spotted on the way
Naw, I don't feel LIKE it
Where did he grab the lager from? - he's in the living room
passed should be past.

Author's Reply:
Hiya John. Us Scots have learnt not to bamboozle you with too much of our own language 😉 Seriously though, I'm glad it didn't have too much and put off the average reader. As I've explained above, the story was geared towards the ending. The story was really about Danny's experiences with women, which always go wrong. I guess that really needs expanded to come across. Yes, he was in the living room. If a man is drinking it's not unusual for a six pack to sitting on a table or even on the floor at the side of his chair. Or is that another Scot oddity? 🙂 I could see the scene play out in my head but maybe didn't convey enough of that to the reader.

Thanks for your thoughts. I think it's back to the drawing board for this one.

e-griff on 27-07-2008
Hidden Talents
Ah, I see what you were trying to do now you've explained. No, that didn't come across for me at least. I think you need to trail that through, in dialogue with his mate or summat - 'see, it's all right, you've pulled ... ' etc and his hopes get up, perhaps .... great .... oh bugger! and just finish it quickly ... with summat like 'Whit's wrang?' (like the accent? bit strong) 'She's a bliddy man!' end.

Author's Reply:
You may have something there 🙂

len on 31-07-2008
Hidden Talents
Women!...Yoiu can't live with them, and then they turn out to have a dick when you try...I think storytelling comes very natural to you....len

Author's Reply:
hehehe... thanks Len


Before I Knew Summer (posted on: 25-07-08)
history repeats itself

I know this demon who barters for your soul Have felt the silken caress of its touch And taken pleasure in its pain. But the velvety darkness is only a shroud To hide that which is unreal, To blind you to all you have lost belief in. I pray you don't succumb to its seduction Go down on bended knee to beg for sweet release To feed its hunger as I before you I hate this thing that has you in torment Know the lure of its agony As you stroke the scars it leaves behind But you are too young for this mischievous sprite I wish I could take you back, make you see through my eyes Feel the pain and trace the path of destruction I wove Before I knew Summer
Archived comments for Before I Knew Summer
eddiesolo on 25-07-2008
Before I Knew Summer
Deep write this and one that I truly enjoyed.

Good stuff.

Si:-)

Author's Reply:
I wasn't sure about this one so your comment means a lot. Thanks Si.

ailsa

Sunken on 25-07-2008
Before I Knew Summer
Hello Ms. Ailsa. If I didn't know better I'd say that 'this demon' is love. Either that or heartburn, it's one or the other. Anyway, an accomplished write and no mistake.

s
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he gave her the moon - she asked for a receipt

Author's Reply:
Hello there Mr Sunken. Love? far from it I'm afraid. Thanks for commenting.

len on 31-07-2008
Before I Knew Summer
It sounds like an attempt to warn someone younger of danger. Since time began, I'm afraid, young people never take good advice...Beautifully written, BTW....len

Author's Reply:
You are hitting the right spot Len, thanks. Glad you liked it.

ailsa

Jolen on 02-08-2008
Before I Knew Summer
Oh, I liked this very much. Your conclusion is great too. If we only knew then, eh?

blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
If only Jolen. But then, would it change anything? I wonder. Thanks for reading and commenting.

ailsa

woodbine on 07-08-2008
Before I Knew Summer
Hi Ailsa,

This a real teaser of a poem where I think I've got it in some form of self-harm but am, as more than often just barking up the wrong tree. A great write. You've got me wondering.
John

Author's Reply:


The Last Train (posted on: 09-11-07)
Beware of strangers at train stations.

Kelly ran down the steps to the platform just in time to see the train lights disappearing into the tunnel. ''Damn,'' she said aloud. ''Now what am I going to do? How the hell am I going to get home at this time of night?'' She looked around her. The platform was dimly lit and deserted. 'I need to find a phone,' she thought. A quick scour around proved fruitless so Kelly decided to head back up onto the street. Apart from anything else, at least it was well lit. The darkness down here was starting to give her the creeps. As she walked back to the steps she rummaged in her bag for loose change. Nearby there was a quick flash of light, making her jump in surprise. ''I'm sorry, I didn't mean to startle you,'' said a voice in the darkness. Squinting to see who was there she replied: ''That's ok. I thought I was the only one here that's all.'' By now she could see the man that the voice belonged to. ''Are you waiting for the last train?'' he asked. ''I wish I was,'' she sighed. ''I just missed it.'' ''There will be another along in a few minutes.'' ''I thought the latest one was at 11.30pm,'' said Kelly puzzled. ''The last train arrives at 11.38pm.'' ''Every night? They should think about changing the timetable then!'' retorted Kelly. ''Every night for the past eight years that I know of,'' replied the man softly. Beginning to feel slightly uneasy Kelly silently wished the train would hurry up and arrive. It was granted less than a minute later with the noise of its wheels reverberating up the tracks. As it pulled to a stop the man stepped forward, opening the door of the nearest compartment. ''After you,'' he said, waving her inside. ''Thank you,'' she replied, walking past him and onto the train. Entering the compartment she was surprised to find it empty and sat down by the window. The man appeared in the doorway. ''Do you mind if I sit with you? The other compartment is empty too.'' Kelly looked at him hesitantly. ''No,'' she said at last. ''I'll be glad of the company.'' The man entered and sat down opposite her. ''Do you mind if I smoke?'' ''No, go ahead.'' Taking a cigarette out of the packet, he offered it to Kelly. ''No thanks, I don't.'' ''Wise woman. Started as a nipper and ended up needing them as much as I needed air to breathe.'' ''They'll be the death of you, you know,'' she warned. The man looked grim. ''Yes, I know.'' Thinking she had offended him, Kelly sat back in her seat and stared out of the window. ''What's your name?'' ''Kelly.'' ''Pleased to meet you Kelly. I'm Jim.'' She nodded. ''Likewise.'' ''So what causes you to ride a train so late at night Kelly?'' She turned to face him. ''I was at a party. My best friend just got engaged.'' ''Nice. Enjoy yourself?'' ''Yes, it was great. I would've liked to stay longer but unfortunately I have to work tomorrow.'' ''Ah, work. The bug bear of us all, I think. You could've pulled a sickie,'' he added as an afterthought. Kelly laughed. ''Oh I thought about it but I decided against it at the last minute. The taxi driver was sweet, did his best to get me here on time. We were caught in the lights at the last junction though so I threw some money onto the passenger seat and jumped out then ran the rest of the way here.'' Jim smiled wryly. ''Bet you were popular.'' ''There was a bus coming the other way so I didn't stop long enough to find out. I did hear the screeching of brakes mind you.'' She grinned. ''What about you? Where were you coming from?'' Jim took a deep draw on his cigarette. ''My wife kicked me out.'' ''Oh. Um, I'm sorry. Me and my big mouth,'' mumbled Kelly, mentally cursing herself. He shrugged. ''It's okay. You weren't to know. Things hadn't been right for a while so I guess it was just a matter of time.'' ''What happened?'' asked Kelly curiously, then, shocked at her tactlessness added: ''I'm sorry, it's none of my business. Forget I asked.'' He smiled. ''Now you've got both feet in your mouth so you can relax, there's no room for any more.'' She grinned. ''I'm terrible, sorry. I must've had more to drink than I realised.'' ''No worries. Actually, it's refreshing in a way. At least you're upfront instead of whispering behind my back.'' He lit up again, watching the thin trail of blue smoke drifting away. ''Don't know why I bother with these, they're the source of all my problems.'' ''Have you tried to give up?'' ''Yup. Several times. Never quite got there.'' He threw the butt down and ground it with his heel. ''Even when they diagnosed me with cancer I couldn't stop. Still, seemed kinda irrelevant then. I mean, was there really any point? I didn't think so, and Jenny never forgave me for it.'' ''She might come round,'' said Kelly hesitantly. ''No, I left it too long,'' he said wistfully. He pointed out of the window. ''There's the tunnel up ahead. This is where I leave you.'' Without another word, he rose and walked down the carriage. ''Wait'' called Kelly. He turned and waved. Seconds later she was plunged into darkness. She was beginning to wonder how just how long the tunnel was when a faint light appeared. She focused on it and sighed in relief as it got bigger and brighter. When the train finally stopped she looked out of the window to see what station they were at. ''Kelly,'' called a soft voice. She looked up and stared. ''Who are you?'' she snapped. An elderly couple advanced towards her. The woman held out her arms. ''You know who we are dear.'' She embraced Kelly, squeezing her tight for a moment before releasing her. The old man placed a hand on her shoulder. ''Maybe you should sit down for a minute. Till the shock wears off.'' Kelly let them steer her towards a seat. ''Grandpa? Grandma? How..? I don't understand.'' The couple looked at each other with great sadness. Grandpa took Kelly's hand in his. ''You're dead, Kelly.'' She stared blankly for a minute then laughed out loud. ''This is a joke, right? I think I'd know if I died, don't you?'' ''It happened so quickly, you didn't realise. It's like that sometimes. It's so instant the brain doesn't have time to register the fact, so, you just carry on. At least, your spirit does,'' he said softly. ''But the train I saw a man, spoke to him'' she protested. ''Jim? He's been riding the last train since he died eight years ago. He always gets off before the tunnel, because once you enter it you can't get out of it.'' ''Where does he go?'' ''Back to the platform. He's waiting for his wife. He can't pass over until he knows she forgives him.'' Kelly sat deep in thought. ''So what happens now?'' she asked eventually. ''You come home with us of course, and we wait for the next family member to join us,'' replied Grandma. ''How do you know they'll come?'' ''Where else will they go? All we have to listen for the whistle.'' ''The whistle?'' asked Kelly, intrigued. ''On the Last Train. Everyone catches the train you see, it's the only way to get here. Only relatives of the passengers can hear the whistle. So if you hear it, you know to come to the station to greet them.'' Grandpa sighed. ''Even up here I can't escape from chattering women! Can we continue this conversation in the car do you think? It's getting chilly here and I'm not as young as I used to be.'' He shepherded them off the train and towards a nearby vehicle. Kelly squealed in delight. ''A car? You have a car here?'' ''Of course. Heaven's a mighty big place you know. How else did you think we got about up here? Don't tell me you believed all that nonsense about wings and pink fluffy clouds!'' ''Don't tease the girl Grandpa,'' Grandma chastised gently. ''Come on dear. We've got so much to talk about.'' As Kelly slid in the car, a handsome young man whizzed past on a hover board. ''Hmm, maybe being dead isn't so bad after all,'' she mused.
Archived comments for The Last Train
Rupe on 09-11-2007
The Last Train
Enjoyable read. You set up the atmosphere well & the dialogue between Kelly and Jim in the train was very engrossing - it makes the reader want to know more about Jim & his problems. I also liked the "last train" / death concept & the way you use Jim to hint gradually at the nature of the ride Kelly's taking.

The only criticism I have - especially in the light of the subtlety of the way you use Jim - is that towards the end I felt you spelt out what might have been better just hinted at.

For example, I personally didn't want to see the line "You’re dead Kelly" & the subsequent explanations about what heaven was like etc. I'd have preferred it if you'd stopped just after meeting the grandparents, dropped a little hint or two & left the reader to do the rest. Then we'd have a sudden shock of realisation.

Very minor point - I'm surprised Kelly doesn't have a mobile (see first para).

Good stuff, though. Very well written.

Rupe

Author's Reply:
Thanks Rupe. My original intention was to stop it when she met her grandparents but I just couldn't get it to come out right. I agree with you that it would be better stopped there. The mobile, you're probably right there but not everyone has one. I recently got rid of mine 🙂

ailsa

Jen_Christabel on 09-11-2007
The Last Train
I liked this very much. I do agree with Rupe, that hinting would possibly work a little better. But it is your piece, and I think you have done a grand job! Great write.
Jennifer x

Author's Reply:
Glad you liked it Jen, thanks.

ailsa

e-griff on 09-11-2007
The Last Train
I thought that the tone of the story contained a degree of humour, which means 'hinting' - a good idea in a serious story - may not be so necessary. After all we have a skateboarding youth ... this is not 'factual' 🙂

But whether you leave it in or not, 'You're dead Kelly' can be read in the unintentionally comic way of 'you're 'dead kelly''
so I'd recommend a comma - 'You're dead, Kelly.' to avoid that. 🙂

nice wee story. G

Author's Reply:
Point taken John, thanks. Glad you enjoyed it.

ailsa

e-griff on 09-11-2007
The Last Train
I thought that the tone of the story contained a degree of humour, which means 'hinting' - a good idea in a serious story - may not be so necessary. After all we have a skateboarding youth ... this is not 'factual' 🙂

But whether you leave it in or not, 'You're dead Kelly' can be read in the unintentionally comic way of 'you're 'dead kelly''
so I'd recommend a comma - 'You're dead, Kelly.' to avoid that. 🙂

nice wee story. G

Author's Reply:

petersjm on 09-11-2007
The Last Train
Liked it. Works well for Ginger's prose challenge for this month, although I'm sure that wasn't your intention. I too wondered why she didn't have a mobile. Maybe she left it in the cab? Dropped it on the street?

What I liked most was when Kelly was talking to Jim and said she "heard a screech of brakes", and then when I realised she was dead, I thought a-ha! Nicely hinted at, good use of set-up.

Author's Reply:
Thanks PJ. I'm glad the set-up worked for you, wasn't sure if it would. I didn't read Ginger's challenge until you pointed it out, which is a pity.

ailsa

SugarMama34 on 09-11-2007
The Last Train
Hi Ailsa,

I thoroughly enjoyed this story, but you should know me by now and know I love ghost stories. Actually you had me on this one. I thought it was only Jim that was dead, not Kelly.
I should have guessed when you mentioned the 'squeal of brakes'.
I liked the fact that you said that the train picks them up when they have passed over and to hear for the whistle so that they could go and greet other family members when their time came. I thought it was a nice touch to it. I think there was enough back story about Jim's past life and then it was filled in a little more with the conversation from the Grandfather. All in all a good read.

Lis'. xx

Author's Reply:
Thank you Lis'. Appreciate you reading and commenting.

RoyBateman on 11-11-2007
The Last Train
Aha - smoking's allowed on the Ghost Train, then, is it? No Arthur Askey, though... (Phew, that gave my age away!) I enjoyed this a great deal though, unusually - because I don't deliberately try to guess endings - I saw it coming with the description of the incident with the taxi. I thought it was a neat touch to have heaven described in those terms - rather cheered the whole story up! I only have one crit, and you might think it's unimportant, because it's literally nothing to do with the story itself. It's the use of the "ghost" category, which alerts the reader to possible plotlines as soon as they begin reading, simply because a ghost story has so few plot possibilities...either she was dead, or the stranger was. Or both. And that's it. I'd change it to "drama", but then I've never used "ghost" even when the story falls into that category - and it's YOUR story, not mine. Just a thought!

Author's Reply:
Forgot about the smoking!! This story was originally started last year but I got stuck halfway and forgot about it. Och well, I suppose we can take liberties when we're dead 🙂 I hesitated to use the ghost category, like you, I thought it gave it away. I normally just choose 'drama' so I think I'll change it. Thanks for that Roy.

ailsa

reckless on 11-11-2007
The Last Train
Great stuff! very entertaining. I too got engrossed with Jim, he seemed an interesting character. I get that he died of cancer, but what exactly did Kelly die of? Fine story.

Author's Reply:
Kelly got hit by the bus when she jumped out of the taxi, she just didn't realise it because her death was instant. Glad you enjoyed it Reckless, thanks.

ailsa

Linear on 17-11-2007
The Last Train
Ghost trains are always fun 🙂 And it was kind of sweet that she had Jim there for company, the poor girl was about to head back! I enjoyed this story and the twist 😀
Be well, Linear.

Author's Reply:

len on 01-03-2008
The Last Train
Very readable yarn...I really enjoyed the smooth way you handle dialogue. This could easily be an old Twilight Zone episode.. len

Author's Reply:


Beer Goggles (posted on: 22-10-07)
"I've never gone to bed with a dog but I've woken up with a few" ... Nymphomaniac Carly learns how true this saying is and vows to listen to her therapist more.

The girls burst through the doors and headed straight for the bar. ''What's everyone having?'' asked Louise. ''I'll have a Pernod and Carly's on blackcurrant and lemonade,'' replied Annie. ''Blackcurrant? Blimey, what's brought that on?'' ''Her sex therapist.'' ''Sex therapist? Now I'm confused.'' ''Her therapist thinks she'll be able to curb her promiscuous behaviour if she's sober, ergo, no alcohol.'' Louise chuckled. ''I'll bet that went down well.'' ''Like a lead balloon,'' said Annie with a smile. ''Excuse me! I am standing here you know,'' said Carly indignantly. ''We know,'' said Louise, handing her a glass. ''Let's find a table.'' The trio crossed the room and found an empty table in the corner. Carly slid in the back and dropped her bag on the floor. Annie and Louise followed suit. ''So Carly, no alcohol. How did that come about?'' Carly grinned. ''I failed my challenge last week.'' ''What was it?'' ''To abstain from sex for a week.'' ''And how long did you last?'' ''Two days.'' The girls burst out laughing. ''Hey, for someone who can do it three times in a day, two days without wasn't bad.'' ''Well, when you put it like that'' Annie said. ''She told me I was more precocious when under the influence of alcohol so if I cut that out I'd control my urges better. Bullshit if you ask me but I'll humour her.'' ''Why don't you just tell her you're a lost cause and quit?'' suggested Louise. ''I can't. I'm under orders.'' ''From who?'' demanded Louise. ''Sheriff McLeod.'' Louise choked on her drink, spraying Lager over the table top. Annie shifted in her seat. ''God Louise, that's disgusting.'' She reached for her bag and pulled out some paper hankies, spreading them out to soak up the mess. ''Everbody's looking over now,'' said Carly, covering her face with her hand. ''What a minter!'' Louise struggled to stop coughing and wiped her face. ''Well sorry for being taken by surprise. What's this about a Sheriff? And how did I miss it?'' ''You were in Prague.'' Annie leant back in her chair and smirked. ''Yes Carly, tell Louise how you ended up in front of the Sheriff.'' She turned to her friend with a knowing smile. ''You'll like this.'' ''There's nothing much to tell,'' said Carly with a shrug. ''I was drunk and got caught with my pants down. End of.'' ''No, no. The full version, if you please.'' Carly scowled at Annie. ''You're enjoying this aren't you?'' ''Immensely.'' A hand banged down on the table. ''Will someone just tell me!'' pleaded Louise. Carly sighed. ''I was out with my cousin, it was her birthday. We all had a bit much to drink and started dancing on the tables. These lads came over, egging us on. One of them grabbed me and I punched him. The bouncer threw us all out. ''When we were outside I started shouting at him, telling him it was his fault. Next thing, the Polis showed up and we were carted off to Bell Street.'' ''This is where it gets really interesting,'' injected Annie. ''Shut up you! At least I don't get drunk after two Pernods.'' ''At least I keep my legs shut when I do!'' ''Oi, enough of the bitching. Can we get back to the juicy bit please,'' implored Louise. ''Okay okay. We were held in the cells for a bit then given a warning and released. Think they needed the cells for the more seasoned drunks. By then, we had sobered up a bit and it seemed stupid to keep arguing so we sat down on the wall outside the station and talked. He was quite a funny guy when you got to know him. He had a lovely smile. And his pout was irresistible, I couldn't help myself.'' ''She couldn't even wait to get home,'' said Annie. Louise looked at one then the other as the meaning of her words sunk in. ''When you say she couldn't wait you mean she was excited, looking forward to it right?'' Annie grinned and slowly shook her head. ''She neveryou neverCarly, please tell me you didn't do right there and then.'' ''In full view of the station? Yep. Well, until we were arrested anyway.'' Her friend hung held her head in her hands. ''Oh my god. I thought I'd heard it all but that takes the biscuit.'' ''I think the cops found it amusing actually,'' chirped in Carly, enjoying her friend's discomfort. ''The Sheriff obviously didn't,'' remarked Louise. ''He was just a pompous fuddy duddy. 'I think you need professional help in dealing with your addiction and rectifying your unhealthy lifestyle Miss Bruce,' mimicked Carly. 'Perhaps six months under the guidance of a Relationship Counsellor will do the trick.' Not a snowball's chance in hell of that happening! Give me two minutes under that robe of his and the old fart would be singing a different tune I bet.'' Louise stared at her in shock. ''Carly Bruce. Have you no shame?'' ''Hell no. Thought you'd have realised that by now.'' She looked at Louise then shrugged. ''Stop with the Miss Prude act. I'm not doing anything you and a million other people aren't doing. I just amn't as fussy as to where and with whom I do it.'' Annie chuckled and picked up her glass. ''You gotta admit, it certainly makes life interesting.'' ''Sure does,'' agreed Carly. ''Anyone for another? My round.'' ''Me please. The table got half of mine,'' said Louise handing her glass over. ''Annie?'' ''No thanks, I'm fine. Don't want to get legless now do I?'' Carly stuck her tongue out and headed back to the bar, the two remaining friends watching her. ''What is she like?'' remarked Annie. ''Unbelievable. Do you think that not drinking will make a difference?'' ''No way! Chances are she's already pulled at the bar.'' Carly reappeared and sat down, placing the drinks on the table. ''Check out the new barman, what a screw he looks.'' The trio looked across the room. ''What? The one with the dark hair with the white stripe through it?'' inquired Louise. ''Yes. Hunky or what?'' ''You're wasting your time there, he bats for the other team.'' Carly's jaw dropped. ''You're jesting surely. With a body like that? What a waste. It's a bloody sin.'' ''Fraid not. He's one of my ex's brother.'' ''Oh I'm depressed now.'' She swung around in her chair. ''Think he'd go for a blow job?'' ''Carly!'' ''What? One set of lips is much like another. In the dark who's to tell the difference. He could imagine I'm a big hairy biker if he likes.'' She turned her attention to Annie. ''Are you okay? You look a bit peaky.'' ''I'm alright. I did overtime at work tonight, stocktaking, so I'm a bit tired.'' ''Let me finish this drink then we'll call a taxi,'' said Louise. ''I was only having the one anyway because I'm working tomorrow. What about you Carly? Are you calling it quits?'' ''Uh uh. I'm looking for some action tonight. I might go and keep our lovely bar tender company for a while, see if he'll succumb to my charms.'' Annie laughed. ''You never give up do you?'' ''Never let it be said that I gave up without a fight,'' said Carly with a wicked grin. ''Okay, if you're sure.'' ''I'm sure. Go on, you'd two better get going before your taxi turns back into a pumpkin. I'll phone you tomorrow.'' The two friends headed outside, leaving Carly at the bar. Carly awoke to the incessant buzzing of an alarm clock. She clutched her head momentarily as she gained her bearings. Black satin sheets enveloped her. Definitely not her bed then, so whose? She screwed up her eyes as she tried hard to remember. After Louise and Annie had left she'd sat at the bar for over an hour fluttering her eyelashes at the barman to no avail. She vaguely remembered someone buying her a drink just as she'd been about to leave. She was going to refuse but he'd looked quite nice so she'd accepted. He'd had blonde hair and a beard of sorts if she remembered rightly. She sat up in bed and prepared to get up when a hand grabbed her wrist. ''Not leaving already are you? We've barely woken up, besides, the morning's still young. '' Carly forced her lips into a smile and slowly turned, excuses already forming in her mind. Her eyes swept over the face of her lover. His blonde hair had turned a kind of dirty blonde overnight. Not an attractive dusty blonde but an unkempt, unwashed, dirty blonde. The shadows on his face she'd assumed was facial hair turned out to be a bad case of acne. He looked like the nerd from school who could never get a date. Her heart sank. My therapist was right, she thought. I should stop drinking. I'm not safe to be let out alone. She swallowed nervously. ''I'm really sorry but I've got to go to work this morning.'' She clutched the sheet to her. ''Actually, I'd better get going, go home, get changed, you know?'' She scanned around the room. ''Where are my clothes?'' ''In the washing machine.'' ''The washing machine?'' she asked, puzzled. ''You spilt your bottle of beer, in the taxi, remember?'' She shook her head. ''Yeah, you'd sneaked it up your sleeve. The driver was well pissed off. He's going to send you the cleaning bill by the way.'' ''Oh, right. Um, where's the bathroom?'' ''Straight through there, you can't miss it.'' ''What about my bag? I need a few things.'' ''It's on the chair by the door.'' He lay back in the bed. ''You don't mind if I catch a few extra zzz's while you freshen up, do you? I'm tired this morning. Must've been all that exercise last night.'' Carly grimaced and hurried across the floor, grabbing her bag as she went. She slammed the bathroom door shut and slumped onto the toilet. She peered into her bag and pulled out her mobile, hitting speed dial one. ''C'mon, c'mon, answer dammit.'' ''Hello,'' said a sleepy voice. ''Louise. Thank god! You've got to help me.'' ''Calm down. What's wrong? You've not been arrested again have you?'' ''No,'' she groaned. ''I almost wish I had been.'' ''What is it then?'' ''I met a guy last night.'' ''Nothing new there then,'' said Louise sarcastically. ''It's not funny Lou. The guy's a total geek. And he's put my clothes in the washing machine.'' She could hear laughter coming down the line. ''Listen, I need you to come and get me.'' ''Where are you?'' Carly sighed. ''I don't know.'' ''Well ask him.'' ''No! I want to sneak out of here before I humiliate myself any further.'' ''And how am I supposed to find you? I'm not psychic.'' ''I don't know.'' There was silence for a minute as both girls racked their brains. ''There's only one thing for it,'' said Louise. ''You'll have to go outside and see if you can see a street sign.'' ''Louise! Didn't you hear me? I have no clothes on.'' ''Well do you have a better suggestion? Can't you borrow something of his?'' A shout distracted her. ''Carlyyyy, are you coming back to bed?'' She jumped up and grabbed a towel from the rail. It barely covered her vitals but it would have to do. ''Louise, I'm going outside to find out where I am. Be as quick as you can or I will be arrested.'' ''I'll be right there.'' ''Thanks. And Louise, promise me one thing.'' ''What?'' ''Never leave me alone again when I'm wearing my beer goggles!''
Archived comments for Beer Goggles
SugarMama34 on 22-10-2007
Beer Goggles
Hi Ailsa,

Good story this. I enjoyed it and I loved the characters and the plot as it unfolded. A few parts made me laugh. I loved the ending too which didn't disappoint me at all. Though it did make me wonder if she got out without him knowing or she got arrested, this time for indescent exposure, lol. Not a bad thing though it leaves the reader with an open mind.

There were a few nit picks, but nothing major. A few missed out letters on the ends of words, which I noticed in this part especially.

Carly sighed. “I was out with my cousin, it was her birthday. We all had a bit much to drink and started dancing on the tables. These lads came over, egging us on. One of the grabbed me and I punched him. The bouncer threw us all out.

“When we were outside I started shouting at him, telling him it was his fault. Next thing, the Polis showed up and we were carted off to Bell Street.”

The only other thing I noticed was that she mentions she met someone outside the poilce station (and got arrested for not containing her urges), but it doesn't give a hint as to who it is. Is it a passer by? Someone she knows?
Just a passing thought that's all. Enjoyed the story though. It gave me a giggle and made me smile.
hope my comments help, if only a little.

Lis'. xx







Author's Reply:

ruadh on 22-10-2007
Beer Goggles
Hiya Lis'

Thanks for pointing these out. The lad she got arrested with outside the station was the lad from the bar. I'll have another look at it to make it clearer. Glad you enjoyed it. It's a bit of a departure from my usual stuff, comedy is not my forte, so I wasn't sure how it would be received.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

RoyBateman on 24-10-2007
Beer Goggles
A good rollicking laugh...how come I don't meet women like this? Or, would I want to? Would my wife want me to?? You could well go on from here - surely further adventures beckon, with her shut out in the street in the nip? This could be a series! Very amusing, and told from a different viewpoint too.

Author's Reply:
Would you want to? No. Well maybe, but you'd regret it (s). A series ... never thought of that but could be a good thing. We'll see. Thanks Roy.

ailsa

Jen_Christabel on 26-10-2007
Beer Goggles
I agree with Roy here; this could be the start of a series of adventures. Great fun.
Jennifer x

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 26-10-2007
Beer Goggles
Thanks Jennifer, I think I'll try to write another soon.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

writeagain on 27-10-2007
Beer Goggles
Keep going - I'd love to see more of Carly's adventures. This is an excellent opener for a series, as others have said.

Excellent story that made me smile.

writeagain

Author's Reply:
Thanks writeagain, for reading and the encouragement to keep going.

ailsa

zenbuddhist on 27-10-2007
Beer Goggles
I saw her the other week.....she was playing the pink oboe in the banquet march......interesting technique...obviously a well practised art.
This is the second story i've read on this subject this week [the other one being knitting needles by joe ridgewell] seems to be a common phenomenon I blame this laddish culture that seems to be blighting the land at the moment when at the end of the night if you cant get a bit of unprotected sex with a complete stranger you have to settle for a good kicking. It wasn't like that in my day...I've never tried to imbibe a pint through my eyes....Zx

Author's Reply:
That pink oboe gets everywhere! Nor in my day, sign of the times I guess. Cheers Charlie.

love ails

ruadh on 27-10-2007
Beer Goggles
That pink oboe gets everywhere! Cheers Charlie.

Author's Reply:

len on 01-11-2007
Beer Goggles
I'm with Roy...Where was this woman when I was single????..Nicely told story, with delicious humor....len

Author's Reply:


Ties That Bind (posted on: 22-10-07)
Nothing lasts forever

The ties that bind are withering. Loosening their grip on the present, Retreating into a past That no longer Intrigues the minds Of the future. Some day soon, All that will remain Of your existence, Will be ink strokes In a cemetery ledger And my feeble words Gathering dust.
Archived comments for Ties That Bind
SugarMama34 on 22-10-2007
Ties That Bind
Hi Ailsa,

I enjoyed this short poem. A very philisophical write, which I found intruiging. I especially liked the last 6 lines, they spoke loud and clear.

Lis'. xx

Author's Reply:
Thanks for commenting Lis', glad you enjoyed it.

ailsa

Jolen on 22-10-2007
Ties That Bind
I liked this a great deal. I think we are all of the same basic mindset here at times, as well. I agree with Sugar above, your point was made very well.

blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Thanks Jolen, appreciated, as always.

ailsa

dylan on 22-10-2007
Ties That Bind
It`s nicely worded, Ailsa, but I feel you are telling too much in the first lines (rather than showing).
I personally would go for a less obvious metaphor-off the top of my head, say old photographs.
ie-
Your photographs are fading now,
yellowing to obscurity.
Retreating into a past
only I remember.
(maybe move on to a descriptive passage of the person, your relationship here)
The ending is the strongest part of the poem for me, poignant and very moving.
I would emphasise that these are only suggestions-please feel free to ignore.

Orrabest,

D.


Author's Reply:
Thank you ,Dylan, for your suggestions. This is a personal write for me, the background of which is a bit complicated to explain here, but I couldn't use photographs or memories because I have none. I do agree though about the opening, I just couldn't think of another way to express it.

ailsa

Macjoyce on 23-10-2007
Ties That Bind
God. Powerful little poem, but I think I might as well kill myself.


Author's Reply:
Oh no, don't do that! The world would be much duller without you 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting Mac.

ailsa

Griffonner on 28-10-2007
Ties That Bind
Lets hope that - even though so beautifully done - the final two lines are absolute rubbish!

Author's Reply:

Jen_Christabel on 28-10-2007
Ties That Bind
I thought this was great - so true also! Nicely done Ailsa.
Jennifer x

Author's Reply:

69-96 on 03-11-2007
Ties That Bind
Now, now Ruadh do go on so. It will all come out in the wash. No really, I hope this isn't the way you are at the moment. Thought provoking even though it is demoralising.

Author's Reply:

Yutka on 04-11-2007
Ties That Bind
the only word I would omit is "feeble" it diminishes the impact, Ailsa. Do not underestimate yourself.... on the whole: it is a good poem pointing out the theme which forever occupies us: our transitory life.
Yutka:)

Author's Reply:

Bradene on 07-11-2007
Ties That Bind
ailsa this is great must have missed this somehow, Can't think how or why really outstanding piece and so very true. Val x

Author's Reply:

eddiesolo on 18-05-2008
Ties That Bind
Indeed, nothing does last forever-however this poem may outlast you and me.

Nice little write Ailsa-it says so much in a few words, well it did to me. And I read your comment to Dylan. A personal piece can be so difficult to condense down and give off what your feeling and meaning. I liked very much.

Take care.

Si:-)





Author's Reply:

ChairmanWow on 09-12-2011
Ties That Bind
Nicely done. Very bleak assessment though.

Author's Reply:


Untitled (posted on: 20-08-07)
Has Kerry lived before or is it nothing more than coincidence?

Kerry woke with a jolt, sweat pouring off her body. Momentarily confused, she surveyed her surroundings. Realising she was at home, in bed, safe and sound, she slumped back against the pillows. 'That's the third night in a row I've had the same dream,' she thought. As always after this particular dream, she felt physically drained so she lay quietly for a few minutes. The frequency of her night time terror was beginning to cause her concern. She'd had the same dream many times over the years but never so often in quick succession. It was always the same. She was standing in the middle of a lane. The rain was coming down in sheets and she was desperately trying to reach the large building at the end of the road. A small girl appeared, as if from nowhere. Kerry recognised her. Her family were staying with relatives in her street. They had arrived only a few days ago. Kerry wondered where her parents were, she was too young to be out alone and the streets were dangerous for everyone. Before she could call on her she heard gunfire and a man's voice barking at her. She did not understand what he was saying but she was terrified none the less. ''Hide,'' she urged to the little girl. The shouts began again. Kerry raised her hands and turned. Through the curtain of rain, a figure approached. It was a soldier. A German soldier. He barked more orders at her. She shrugged, indicating that she didn't understand. He poked her sharply with his rifle and gestured for her to turn around. A knot gathered in her stomach. She prayed silently and turned, hoping that the little girl had escaped. There was no sign of her. Kerry scanned the nearby fields but it was too dark to see anything. Something touched her foot briefly. Looking downwards, she just caught sight of a hand disappearing under the hedgerow. Her heart thumped in her chest. The soldier hadn't seen the girl yet, she had to lead him away from her. She began to walk, willing herself not to obey her instinct to run. Tears brimmed her eyelids as guilt consumed her, but, for the youngster to have any chance to live, she had to leave her behind. The feeling that she was abandoning her tore Kerry apart inside. She had gone less than ten feet when she heard the bang. Pain seared across her back and she fell to the ground. Kerry sipped her coffee and flicked through the local property guide. When she'd fled to this seaside town in the middle of the night only a few short months ago she had no idea she'd stay. She'd woken up to the sound of screeching gulls and the crisp smell of fresh sea air. The lapping water had lulled her into a state of calm, of peace, that had been missing from her life for so long. She was instantly hooked and curiously, she felt at home. Most of the houses were well out of her price range. A small flat would serve her needs adequately but she was reluctant to consider that. She wanted a cottage, with a garden she could sit in during the warmer weather and a roaring coal fire to keep her warm when the nights turned cold. Saying that, did you still get coal fires, she wondered. So many places were smokeless zones nowadays. The clattering of the letterbox interrupted her thoughts. She pushed the paper aside and rose to collect her mail. There were two letters lying on the mat. One claiming she was a million pound lottery winner yeah right! The other looked more official. She opened it with trepidation and pulled out the contents. With shaking hands she unfolded the sheets within. Surely Peter hadn't managed to track her down? She read it quickly then read it again. Still staring at the letter in disbelief, she made her way back to the kitchen and sat down. She smoothed out the paper and read once more. Dear Ms Sinclair We are pleased to inform you that your application for the position of Nursery Teacher at Apple Brae Primary School was successful. Please contact the Head teacher, Mrs Strachan, as soon as possible to arrange an introductory meeting. Yours sincerely B. Whitlow 'I don't believe it,' she thought. 'I got the job. I got the frigging job!' She checked her watch. It was just past eight. Too early to call, the school would be closed still. She decided to go for a short walk on the beach. She'd only sit and watch the clock otherwise. The beach was empty barring a few stray seagulls and the resident swans and ducks that were grouped together under the quay. Kerry had grown to love this stretch of sand between the castle and the harbour. She'd spent many a morning sitting here, reflecting on how her life had turned out. She felt she belonged here. She didn't know why exactly but she readily accepted it. For years now she had analyzed her decisions and, for all her thoughts, she had inadvertently made the wrong one. This felt right and for once, she was prepared to just embrace what the future may bring. She looked at her watch. It was almost quarter to nine, time to phone her new boss. She wiped the sand off her feet and slipped on her shoes. On the way back to the flat she nipped into the paper shop and bought a quarter of liquorice toffees. Something else she had discovered and adored since moving here. She also bought a local street map to enable her to find her way to the school. Her phone call had been short. Mrs Strachan would be free to see her this morning at 11.30am if that would be convenient. Convenient? She could hardly say no could she? Besides, the sooner it was over the better. Nerves began to bunch in the pit of her stomach. She hated first meetings. They always ran to a 'getting to know you' agenda which she always found uncomfortable. She dealt with children much better than adults. Their inquisitiveness was honest and they were more easily satisfied with half truth answers. She opened the street map and looked up Apple Brae. She was surprised, and pleased, to find it wasn't very far from where she was currently living. She could walk it in about fifteen to twenty minutes. At eleven o'clock she set off. It was a warm day so she carried her jacket over her arm. Her thoughts were filled with her interview ahead. She pondered over how much to reveal of herself. The less people knew about her current situation the better. She decided to play it by ear. Obviously they would ask why she had left her last position but she was confident she could cover that without arousing suspicion. She stopped abruptly and took in her surrounding, surprised to find the school was just ahead of her, to the left. 'How did I manage that?' she thought. Checking her watch, she had made it with fifteen minutes to spare. She walked towards the building and a feeling of dread crept over her. Her insides felt as if they were being crushed, heat spread through her, rising up from her stomach and making her retch. Sweat poured from her body. She clutched at the railings for support. 'What's happening? I've heard of being nervous but this is ridiculous.' Panic was threatening to take hold and she took deep breaths, fighting to regain control. An arm slid around her waist, supporting her weight. A man's voice pierced through the haze. ''You're okay, I've got you. I'm Mr White, janitor of the school. I'm going to take you inside, get you some help. Okay?'' Kerry nodded and sank against him. Inside, the janitor called for help as he pushed open the swing doors. The school receptionist hurried towards them. ''Oh my, Billy, what's happened?'' ''I'm not quite sure Anne. I found her clinging to the bars outside. White as a sheet she was and none too clever on her feet either. Could you give Jean a buzz?'' The receptionist disappeared whilst the janitor eased Kerry into a chair. ''Take it easy. You're safe now.'' ''I called Jean. She'll be here in a minute.'' The receptionist knelt beside Kerry and wiped her forehead with a cold cloth. ''I've brought you some water. Do you think you could manage some?'' Kerry nodded and sat forward. ''Thank you,'' she said, sipping the cool clear liquid. A large, cheerful looking woman ambled towards them. ''How's the patient?'' she enquired. Kerry attempted to smile. ''I feel much better, thank you.'' ''Lucky Billy found you when he did. What happened?'' ''I don't know really. I just came over all queer suddenly. I was on my way to see Mrs Strachan and'' She bolted upright. ''My interview! Oh my god. I'm late.'' She scrambled to her feet. ''Whoa, slow down,'' said the janitor. The receptionist grinned. ''Kerry Sinclair I presume? Our new nursery teacher.'' ''That's right,'' said Kerry. ''I guess I haven't made a very good first impression have I.'' ''Don't worry, couldn't be helped. I'm Anne, the school's receptionist. This is Billy, the janitor, and this is Jean, our auxiliary. I'll just go and let Mrs Strachan know you're here. I'm sure once I've explained the situation she'll understand.'' Billy held out his hand. ''I'd best get back to it. If I don't get the chairs put out in the dining room soon there will be trouble. It was nice meeting you.'' Kerry shook his hand. ''The pleasure's all mine. Thank you for your help earlier.'' ''No bother.'' He turned away and headed to what Kerry assumed was the dining room. ''I'll better get cracking too,'' said Jean. ''Will you be alright on your own?'' ''I'll be fine,'' Kerry assured her. Left alone, she studied the pictures on the wall. A photograph caught her eye. It was taken years before, when the school had originally been built. It showed the building with fields in the background instead of the houses that stood there now. ''That was taken just after the war,'' said a voice behind her. Kerry turned to see a woman standing there. ''Grace Strachan. Anne told me what happened. How do you feel now?'' ''A bit silly if truth be told. Everyone's been so kind.'' ''Well I hope it wasn't the thought of meeting me that panicked you,'' joked the head teacher. Kerry laughed. ''Not at all. I really can't explain it. Just another weird event to add to the list of things that have happened since I arrived here.'' Grace looked at her thoughtfully. ''Perhaps we should go to my office and talk there. It will be more comfortable. I'm afraid it's quite a trek. My office is at the top of the oldest part of the school.'' Kerry followed the woman as she led her along corridors and up stairs. Finally she opened a door and ushered Kerry inside. In reality, her office occupied the space of a large alcove and a corridor. Kerry looked around. There was a large oak desk in the middle of the 'room' with a high-backed leather chair on either side. The wall behind the desk homed a line of bookcases whilst the two opposing walls were lined with filing cabinets. The fourth was blank except for the door. Looking down the corridor she could see two more doors which were open, revealing a water closet and a small kitchen. ''Sit down, please.'' Kerry sat. Above the row of cabinets was a line of windows. Each was made up of six small square panes. She frowned as a feeling of familiarity swept her, even though she had never been there before. ''Are you okay Kerry? You look a bit pale,'' asked Grace, concerned. ''I I'm fine. The windows, I feel as if I've seen them before, looked out of them even. Must be my imagination working overtime.'' She laughed nervously. ''I never thought I'd get freaked out by an old building. Forgive me; god knows what you must be thinking.'' Secretly she was beginning to doubt her future at Apple Brae. Grace eyed her silently for a minute. ''Do you have any ties with the area Kerry? Family perhaps?'' Kerry wrung her hands in her lap, worried Grace was about to ask why she moved here. ''No, I've never been here before. As far as I know my family have all originated from further north, up Montrose way.'' The Head nodded thoughtfully. ''Okay. I just wondered, with you saying you felt things were familiar. I thought you'd maybe seen photographs or something.'' She paused then stood up. ''I'd like to show you something.'' Grace walked down the narrow corridor and turned left. Curious, Kerry followed her. Facing them was another door which she hadn't seen previously. Grace opened it to reveal a small flight of stairs. A blast of cold air hit them in the face and a musty smell drifted towards them. The teacher led Kerry upwards into a tiny attic. Dust was inches thick on the floor and it obviously hadn't been used for a long time. Kerry was immediately drawn to the line of windows on the back wall. She rubbed one of the panes with her sleeve and peered outside. She gasped and her body began to tremor. ''I don't understand. How can this be?'' she whispered. She looked around the room and suddenly crossed over to the fireplace. She stared at the bricks for a moment then gingerly put her hand into the chimney and felt around. Her fingertips brushed against something cold and she pulled it out. It was a small tin, blackened with soot and rusted. Grace watched in wonder as Kerry struggled to remove the lid. It freed itself unexpectedly and catapulted across the floor, making them jump. Inside was a silver ring. Grace lifted it out gently and held it out to Kerry. ''Try it on,'' she said softly. With shaking hands, Kerry slid the ring onto her finger. To her surprise it fitted perfectly. ''Let's go back to my office,'' said Grace. ''I have a story to tell you.'' Kerry settled back in the chair and looked at the teacher expectantly. Grace waved her hand around her 'office'. ''You may wonder why I sit away up here in this makeshift place considering there are perfectly adequate rooms downstairs.'' Kerry attempted to smile. ''I did wonder.'' ''I do have an official office on the lower levels and normally I would see any visitors there. This is my own private space, my sanctuary if you like, and there is a reason I created it here.'' She leaned back in her chair. ''I grew up in this area. The house I lived in is gone now but it wasn't far from here. The school was built before I was born and it used to be surrounded by fields.'' ''I saw the photograph downstairs,'' interrupted Kerry. ''So you did,'' said Grace with a smile. ''Throughout the war, the school was used during the blackouts. My family home had been destroyed and we had moved here to stay with relatives. My father thought we'd be safer. One night, in the rush, I was separated from my parents. I didn't know what to do, where to go. I remember crying as everyone hurried past me without stopping to help. I was six years old.'' As her words sunk in, Kerry felt goose bumps on her skin. ''Eventually there was no-one around, everyone had taken cover. It was raining heavily and I was soaked through. I started to walk in the direction everyone else had gone in the hope that my parents would come back for me.'' ''And did they?'' ''No. Not at first anyway. I found out later they didn't discover I was missing until they were in the school. Even then, they assumed I was in the building somewhere and searched for me there.'' ''So what happened?'' asked Kerry. ''A stranger saved me my life by giving up her own.'' Grace stood up and crossed to the windows. ''Come here and look,'' she said to Kerry. ''Do you see where the church is? The junction beyond that?'' Kerry nodded. ''Around there is where my parents found me. I had crawled under the hedging there and fallen asleep.'' ''And the stranger?'' Grace face looked grim and she returned to her chair, motioning Kerry to do likewise. ''Bearing in mind that this area was once fields,'' she began. ''I was crossing over one when I saw someone coming up the lane. I was so relieved to see another person that I ran towards them. Just before I ran out there was gunfire. The woman standing in the road suddenly looked very frightened and she told me to hide. A soldier appeared then so I did. I couldn't understand what he said to her but she began to walk away. Moments later I heard another shot. I was too frightened to move then. I must've stayed there so long that I fell asleep.'' Kerry trembled. Flashbacks from her dream made her head spin and she felt sick. Grace stood up, alarmed. ''Are you okay Kerry?'' Kerry breathed deeply and drank some of the water remaining in her cup from earlier. She twirled the cup in her hands. ''This is weird. My dream'' She sat silently, lost for words, while she gained her composure. ''I'm sorry,'' she said at last. ''You've just described a dream I have constantly.'' She looked up at the teacher. ''How can that be?'' ''I don't know,'' replied Grace softly. ''I'd like to tell you the rest of my story though, if you feel up to it.'' ''Yes, please do.'' Grace sat down again. ''My parents found me early next morning. The body of a woman was nearby. She had been shot in the back by the German soldier. If she had not told me to hide when she did, I dread to think what might have happened to me.'' ''That is so weird,'' said Kerry. ''Do you think you can handle some more?'' ''Sure.'' ''The woman who saved me, she was a housemaid at the school. The attic upstairs was her bedroom. This whole corridor was the living quarters of the domestic staff. When I came to the school this floor was unused so I decided to claim it for myself. I find it very peaceful up here.'' Almost as an afterthought she added: ''I often think of Lizzie and I feel close to her here.'' She looked at Kerry and smiled. ''Now it's your turn to forgive an old woman's sentimentality.'' ''Elizabeth,'' whispered Kerry. ''My middle name is Elizabeth.'' She raised her head. ''What do you make of all this?'' Grace shrugged. ''Far be it for me to tell you what to believe. Maybe you have been here before, you just don't remember it.'' ''What? Reincarnation or something?'' scoffed Kerry. ''That's a bit far fetched isn't it?'' ''Maybe. But then, how do explain the familiarity of the windows, the view from them? And then there's the box in the chimney, no-one knew that was there, and the ring fits you perfectly. You started feeling ill near the place where Lizzie was shot, and how could I know about your dream? Why did you move here when you've no ties? Nothing makes sense, but it happened nonetheless.'' She stopped for a breath. ''When I met you, I felt there was something about you. I couldn't put my finger on anything in particular, it was just a feeling I had. Normally I would see visitors in my official office but I chose to bring you here. Why? I don't know. When I saw your reaction to the windows I began to wonder but even I was sceptical, that was why I showed you the attic.'' She spread her hands. ''Maybe there is a higher power at work here. Maybe it is just a string of coincidences. I don't think we'll ever know. But, in the end, does it really matter? None of this need be known by anyone else.'' Kerry twisted the ring on her finger. ''Would you mind if I came up here sometimes?'' ''Does that mean you take the job?'' asked Grace, delighted. ''Who am I to argue with fate?'' smiled Kerry.
Archived comments for Untitled
artisus on 20-08-2007
Untitled
lovely story!

Author's Reply:
Thank you!

Jolen on 31-08-2007
Untitled
Oh Ailsa, this gave me some chills. I wonder if you have had personal experience with such things? Well told and kept my interest all the way through.

blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:


Drive (posted on: 20-08-07)
Just a drive through the glens

As the hills roll by Joe Elliot sings of Love and hate colliding I avoid your gaze And concentrate On the line Bordering the left hand lane. Later, His warning of being Two steps behind Take on a more sinister meaning Than he originally intended. As the Devil's Elbow approaches I notice that cloud has Descended with nightfall Obscuring the view. The broken line solidifies As I stare intently Letting the rumble Of the wheels And the screeching Of the tyres Wash over me Blending with the music Until it all becomes Only so much white noise.
Archived comments for Drive
e-griff on 20-08-2007
Drive
Drive? Devil's Elbow? Screeching tyres? Blimey! Dangerous indeed.

I don't know Joe Elliot, so probably missed the point.

Author's Reply:

artisus on 20-08-2007
Drive
Egriff isn't he the lead singer of Def Leppard?
I liked your poem very much ruadh, well done.

Author's Reply:
Yes he is 🙂
Thanks artisus, glad you enjoyed it.

e-griff on 20-08-2007
Drive
sorry, being a bit flippy today. The reference was in fact explained concisely enough in the poem, even for those who don't know, like me :-).

And I didn't miss the point of the poem itself, which I enjoyed.

Author's Reply:
Flippy? Never! 🙂

The Devil's Elbow is the name given to a double hairpin bend at Glen Shee. It also climbs sharply, with a gradient of 10 or 12 if I remember correctly. It doubles it height above sea level in the space of 5 miles from 1100 feet to 2200. We drove down it at night when it was getting dark, the clouds were so low you couldn't see properly, and at a speed that was frightening.

When Love and Hate Collide, and Two Steps Behind are two songs on Def Leppard's album Vault, which was playing in the car. I highly recommend listening to it 🙂

Thanks for reading and commenting, as always it's appreciated.

love ailsa

Sunken on 21-08-2007
Drive
Hello Ms. Ruadh. I don't know the song either, though the words 'Love and hate colliding' ring a bell. A very enjoyable read and no mistake. Especially like the white noise ending. Nice one Ailsa.

s
u
n
k
e
n

for tomorrow we consider lemon drops


Author's Reply:
Thanks Sunken. The song is more a ballad than rock. Glad you enjoyed it.

ailsa

shackleton on 21-08-2007
Drive
Enjoyed the read, Ailsa. A combination of speed down a steep gradient with the words and music of Def Leppard may well lead to a conclusion of white noise. Good poetry! Bye for now.

Author's Reply:
It's certainly an experience 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting Mike.

ailsa

Albermund on 23-08-2007
Drive
Really good stuff, R. I felt right in there with you. Very well and cleverly written. Esp. liked "white noise" and that line concentration. cheers, Albert 🙂

Author's Reply:
Thanks for that Albert 🙂

ailsa

Jolen on 29-08-2007
Drive
I too loved your precise little bit of driving music. The poem is crisp, visual and very clever.

blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Thanks Jolen

love ailsa

Abel on 30-08-2007
Drive
Loved this snapshot of twisting lofty countryside, Ailsa. And yes, musical. Wonderful work!

Ward

Author's Reply:
Ta very much my friend 🙂

love ailsa

Jen_Christabel on 19-10-2007
Drive
I am catching up on a long absence and just read this. I was transported! Last time I was in Scotland was when I was 15 - 2 weeks on Loch Ness and eaten alive by midges. But what scenery! Nicely done.
Jennifer x

Author's Reply:
Can't beat it Jen. Good to see you back 🙂

ailsa


Mother (posted on: 06-07-07)
*

I wonder Did you see me On the night you Closed your eyes Did you try to Listen to my voice Between your laboured sighs Mother How could you Let me go? Mother Why didn't you Love me more? Was it easy When you left me? Or did it Tear you up inside? Did you walk away Without a care? Or did you Run and hide? Was it easy When you left me On the cold steps All alone? Did you trust In god To let me live And not Chill my little bones? Mother How could you Let me go? Mother Why didn't you Love me more? Now you're lying In a wooden box Your children Can't afford And no-one Understands my loss Or what I'm crying for Mother How could you Let me go? Mother Why didn't you Love me more? Was it easy? Ohhh Was it easy? When you walked away Was it easy? Mother How could you Let me go? Mother Why didn't you Love me more?
Archived comments for Mother
potleek on 06-07-2007
Mother
Touching and Many will be able to relate to your words.
Enjoyed reading this...Tony

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 06-07-2007
Mother
Thanks Tony 🙂

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Romany on 06-07-2007
Mother
Can’t afford
And no-one
Understands my loss
Or what
I’m crying for

I think there are many who understand and sympathise and God bless you, whoever your God may be,

Romany.

Author's Reply:
Thanks Romany, appreciate it.

ailsa

Jolen on 10-08-2007
Mother
Oh, gods, this made me cry. I don't know if it is based on fact, but damn, it stings. I can relate in a very real way, and thank you for sharing.

A nice bit of writing, regardless.

blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Thanks Jolen. It was inspired by fact, loosely.

love ailsa


A Prayer Before Dying (posted on: 06-07-07)
*

Close your eyes baby And lay your head down Try not to listen To the bombs As they fall The rockets are flying But it's not us they seek It's terrorists hiding Out there in our streets We're just simple people Caught up in this war Not even sure What the fighting is for Close your eyes baby And lay your head down Try not to listen To the bombs As they fall She lay down her head And fell fast asleep Trusting his words And his promise he'd keep He kissed her head softly And cradled her near Then prayed in the darkness Shaking with fear Close your eyes baby And lay your head down Try not to listen To the bombs As they fall The darkness won't last The noise will abate Tomorrow is waiting To eradicate hate We'll walk without fear Have no reason to hide Each colour and creed Will live side by side The bombs kept on falling And struck as they slept There were no time for words No tears were wept Their lives they were taken As they lay in the night No way to escape This political fight Close your eyes baby And lay your head down Try not to listen To the bombs As they fall Hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm Hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm Try not to listen To the bombs As they fall Close your eyes baby Close your eyes
Archived comments for A Prayer Before Dying
Gerry on 06-07-2007
A Prayer Before Dying
Not much to say really, except I know what you mean--it's a cruel world...

Gerry.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 06-07-2007
A Prayer Before Dying
It is indeed Gerry. Thanks for commenting.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

reckless on 07-07-2007
A Prayer Before Dying
Very sad lyrics. Makes me realise how much I hate war and the people who start them. This reminds me of that recent war in Palestine, when all those children were killed. The thought of losing your child in that way: it's terrible.

Author's Reply:
I was inspired by an incident like that, perhaps it was the same one. It is very sad. Thanks for commenting.

ailsa

orangedream on 07-07-2007
A Prayer Before Dying
Pure perfection. Enough said. A fav, for me and if I could do anything about it, for mankind.

Tina

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading and voting this a favourite Tina.

ailsa

Jolen on 31-07-2007
A Prayer Before Dying
Fantastic piece of protest songwriting. Great metering, lyrics that are easy to sing and remember. This has everything a great song should. Well done, Ailsa.

blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Thanks Jolen, glad you like it 🙂

ailsa

Texasgreg on 12-02-2012
A Prayer Before Dying
I take comfort that there are people like you writing. Thank-you for being there...

Author's Reply:
Thank you, appreciate the read and comment.


A Promise Made at Wishart's Arch (posted on: 11-05-07)
Written for a group challenge with 'The Wall' as a prompt

Mary held the newborn and soothed her with hushed tones. ''You're alright, we hear you little one.'' She turned to Carly and smiled. ''You'll not need to worry about this one going astray. She'll be handed back quick enough if she keeps this up.'' ''Tell me about it. Think she kept the whole ward up last night. The nurses took her away to the nursery for a while to let everyone get some sleep.'' ''Aw, but she's worth every wink of lost sleep, aren't you sweetheart,'' crooned Mary. She kissed her on the forehead. ''And just look at that hair! She'll be needing her first haircut before long.'' Carly reached out and gently tweaked her daughter's hair. ''It's so dark. Much darker than Tony's.'' ''She's got your dad's hair. His was jet black, had a bit of a wave in it once it got a bit longer. He hated it, kept shaving it off.'' Carly frowned. ''I don't remember him much, can't picture him.'' ''That's not surprising love, you were only two when he died.'' ''What was he like? As a person I mean.'' Mary looked thoughtful. ''I'm not sure I'm the right person to ask that.'' ''Well, who else can I ask?'' Mary nodded reluctantly. ''He could be very charming when he wanted to be. Usually was in fact when you first got to know him. Then once he'd hooked you everything changed. Not sudden like. Subtle. You'd give in to him on little things, then bigger things, until before you knew it you were giving in on everything. It took a while to realise what an obnoxious pig he really was.'' Carly absorbed this new information about her long dead father with surprising calm. ''How long had he been in prison when he was killed?'' ''He'd only done three months when he was attacked by a trio of men. He was dead before medics got to him. Even in death he got lucky, those men ended up serving longer than he had. Ironic really.'' Carly studied Mary's face. ''You think he deserved it then?'' ''Yes. Yes, I do.'' She lowered the now sleeping babe into the crib with care. ''I'm sorry Carly, that was an awful thing to say. He was your father after all.'' Carly shrugged. ''But its how you feel, right?'' ''Yes.'' ''How did you end up looking after me?'' ''Because your mother asked me to. I told you that long ago.'' ''I know, but what made her ask you? What happened that day?'' Mary hesitated. ''I don't know really. Your mum phoned me, asked me to meet her at Wishart's Arch.'' ''Wishart's Arch? Where's that?'' asked Carly with interest. ''It was our meeting place in town. We lived in different parts of the city. Wishart's Arch was the closest landmark between our bus stops. It's the only remaining piece of the old city walls. It used to be the gateway into Dundee. Reportedly, George Wishart is said to have preached there to the victims of the plague in 1554 who were made to lie outside the city walls. We did a project at school on the plague, your mother was fascinated by it.'' She sighed and clasped her hands in her lap. ''When your mum appeared that day she had a bruised cheek and a split lip. I knew without asking that your father was responsible. I held her while she cried. Felt like hours. When she stopped she said she needed to ask me something.'' Mary blinked back tears and cleared her throat before continuing. ''She asked me if I'd look after you should anything happen to her. At first I tried to laugh it off, saying nothing was going to happen. She grabbed my hands and pleaded with me, made me promise I'd take you in. I don't fully know what happened that day, what changed, but something had made your mother fear for her life.'' Carly shivered. ''I can't imagine how scared she must have been. Why didn't she just leave, move away?'' ''I've often asked myself the same thing since she died. It's not so easy though, ripping up your roots. Especially when you're alone with a small child. I think there were two reasons why she stayed. Firstly, your father would've followed her. He might never have found her, but I think the fear of what he'd do if he found her after leaving him was greater than the fear of staying.'' ''Better the devil you know,'' whispered Carly. ''Exactly. Secondly, I think your mother thought it would be better for you to be here should anything happen to her. She knew I'd fight tooth and nail for you, even if she hadn't already asked me.'' Carly studied her daughter's form in the crib and smiled as the baby pulled faces in her sleep. ''How could he have done that to her? I just can't fathom it.'' ''Your father was a psychopath Carly. What he felt went beyond jealousy. He held a hot iron on your mother's chest until she passed out in agony and he felt no remorse afterwards. Even when she died two days later he said she deserved it. And for what? Because she was tending to you instead of cooking his meal. That is not the behaviour of a normal human being.'' ''No, it's not.'' For the next few minutes the two women sat in silence, each deep within their own thoughts. The bell rang out, signalling the end of visiting hours for the afternoon. Mary stood and pulled her jacket off the back of the chair. ''I won't be in tonight, Tony's coming after work so I thought I'd give you some time alone. Is there anything I can do for you? Washing? Shopping?'' Carly grabbed her hand. ''Yes there is. Would you take me to see Wishart's Arch? I'd like to see it.'' Mary patted her hand. ''Of course I will. I think your mother would've wanted that.''
Archived comments for A Promise Made at Wishart's Arch
delph_ambi on 11-05-2007
A Promise Made at Wishart’s Arch
Sensitive writing. Had a definite ring of truth. An absorbing tale which made me want to know more about the characters and their history.

Author's Reply:
Thanks delph_ambi, for reading and commenting.

chrissy on 12-05-2007
A Promise Made at Wishart’s Arch
A very interesting story, well told. I too wanted to know more.
chrissy

Author's Reply:
Thanks Chrissy, appreciate your thoughts.

ailsa


Invisible Walls (posted on: 11-05-07)
Inspired by the prompt 'The Wall'

Cassie returned to the table and was immediately aware of an air of hostility. All conversations stopped and eyes dropped to the floor or stared off somewhere into the distance. Meg concentrated on an invisible stain she was frantically scratching at on her cardigan sleeve. Cassie slid into her seat and surveyed the faces surrounding her before speaking softly. ''Would someone like to tell me what's going on?'' Her eyes fixed on Tobias, whom she considered to be her best friend there. Tobias looked at her then flicked his gaze away. ''Nothing's going on Cass.'' ''Like hell there isn't!'' She slowly looked around the table. Shelia fidgeted uncontrollably, a rosy hue colouring her skin. ''Well?'' asked Cassie again. ''It's nothing. Forget it.'' ''No. It's not nothing, you could cut the atmosphere here with a knife. And since not one of you can look me in the eye I can only assume that I'm the cause of it.'' Simon laughed nervously. ''Tobias is right Cassie. It's not worth bothering about. Let's get some drinks in and remember why we're here.'' Cassie was about to protest again when Tobias cut across her. ''What were you doing?'' he asked, sadness creeping into his voice. ''What? When?'' ''When you left the table. What were you doing? Where did you go?'' Confused, Cassie stayed silent for a moment. ''I went back to my room. I had medication to take.'' ''Ha! Is that what they call it these days?'' snorted Shelia in disdain. Cassie's eyes narrowed, things suddenly slipping into place. ''I thought I heard someone. You followed me.'' Shelia swung forward in her chair, leaning on the table. ''I didn't follow you. I actually came to tell you how glad I was you came after all, fool that I was. But then, you played us all for suckers didn't you.'' ''Hang on! That's a bit heavy,'' protested Meg. ''Is it? I don't think so,'' spat Shelia. ''Miss Goody-Two-Shoes is nothing but a junkie. What else should I say?'' ''Is that what you all think?'' asked Cassie, her voice no louder than a whisper. No-one answered her. Cassie looked around the table, at each of them in turn. Shelia stared back, lips straight, unrelenting. Simon kept his eyes lowered. David glanced at her and shrugged. Meg was close to tears. Tobias' face was grim. Cassie opened her handbag and took out two objects, placing them on the table. One was a small plastic bottle, the other a syringe. She could feel their eyes on her and she blinked back tears from her own. ''I have a history of Thrombosis. Long journeys are dangerous for me. In order to reduce the risk of a clot forming I have to take Aspirin every day, on the days I travel I have to inject myself twice with an anti-coagulant once before I leave and again on arriving. During the meal I realised I had forgotten the second injection in all the excitement. I'm assuming that is what Shelia saw me doing.'' She rose to her feet. Tobias' hand grabbed her arm but she shook it off. Without looking at him she said: ''Out of everyone, you should have known there was a good explanation.'' Before he had time to answer, she left. ''Cassie, come back. I'm sorry, ok.'' She ignored him and put her hand in the air to signal for him to stop. Tobias stared after her. ''I deserved that,'' he said. ''Yes, you did. We all did,'' replied Simon. ''Maybe I should go after her.'' ''No, let her go. Right now she's hurting, with good reason. Leave her be till she's cooled down a bit.'' ''I don't know what all the fuss is about. Does it change who she is? Are we all so perfect? No. So what's the problem?'' David inquired. The group of friends smiled uneasily. David's frankness was well known amongst them and the best way to avoid any misunderstandings was to say nothing. Tobias looked troubled. ''No point in worrying about it now Tobias, what's done is done. All you can do is talk to Cassie in the morning and hope she's in a forgiving mood,'' said Meg. ''And if she's not?'' Meg shook her head. ''What did you expect? The idea of Cassie doing drugs was preposterous in the first place. I don't know why Shelia even thought it, let alone voiced it.'' ''Oh that's right, take her side. I shouldn't have expected any less from you,'' retorted Shelia. ''What's that supposed to mean?'' said Meg. ''Just what it says.'' Simon intervened before anyone else said something they'd regret later. ''Look, this is getting us nowhere. We're all tired so I suggest we retire to our rooms and get some rest. Hopefully after a good night's sleep everyone will be in a better frame of mind, Cassie included.'' Tobias nodded his agreement. ''Simon's right. Let's meet up for breakfast at, say, seven?'' Everyone pushed their chairs away from the table and headed upstairs to their rooms. Meg flounced past Shelia without a word. David raised his eyebrows and grinned. ''I would love to be a fly on the wall in their room tonight.'' The sound of a door closing further down the corridor caught their attention. Cassie, dressed in a black, off the shoulder top and tight blue jeans, with simple sandals on her feet, walked towards them. A black handbag hung from her shoulder. Tobias frowned. ''You're not thinking of going out alone, are you?'' ''And what if I was?'' ''Hell Cassie, I know you're mad at us but don't be stupid!'' Cassie folded her arms and glared at him. ''Stupid, as well as a junkie, this just gets better and better doesn't it.'' ''You know I didn't mean it literally. Damn it Cassie, I'm you're friend. I'm allowed to be worried about you.'' Cassie gripped the strap of her bag. She stepped closer, her green eyes burning with rage. ''No! You gave up that right the minute you believed her over me again!'' She walked off, leaving him floundering for words once more. The remaining friends looked at each other in curiosity. ''What the hell did that mean?'' asked Simon eventually. ''Don't ask me,'' said David. ''Tobias?'' probed Simon. Tobias sighed heavily. ''Nothing.'' ''Doesn't seem like nothing from where I'm standing.'' ''Well it is. It was a misunderstanding. It was also a long time ago, I can't believe Cassie hasn't let it go by now.'' ''Maybe you should take it as an indication of how much it hurt her, this thing that was 'nothing'.'' Tobias hung his head and sighed. ''I'd never hurt her deliberately, you know that.'' ''Maybe not, but you have. I suggest you sort it out pronto!'' ''You make it sound so easy Simon. I'd like to see you do it.'' Simon grinned. ''I'm not the one who's upset her.'' Tobias stood, hands on hips, looking thoughtful. ''It'd be easier to cut my own balls off than tackle Cassie. Probably less painful too." ''You said it buddy. She'll be wearing them for earrings by the time she's finished with you. Good luck.'' With that, Simon entered his room and closed the door. Tobias wondered whether to go back downstairs and see if Cassie was in the hotel bar then decided against it. The tongue lashing he knew he was going to get would be bad enough without the addition of public humiliation. 'Best wait 'til she gets back,' he thought. Safely ensconced in his room, he dug a book out of his bag and settled down to read until she returned. An urgent knocking on the door woke him. He tried to focus his bleary eyes on his watch. It was 4.30 in the morning. Another pounding prodded him into action. ''Alright, alright, I'm coming. But I warn you, you'd better be dying, waking me up at this hour.'' He opened the door to find a distraught Meg standing there. She grabbed his arm. ''It's Cassie, you've got to come.'' ''Cassie?'' His heart dropped to his stomach and flailed about like a spinning coin. ''What's wrong with her? What happened? Meg!'' he grabbed her by the shoulders. ''Talk to me for christ's sake.'' ''I was waiting for Cassie to come back, but I fell asleep. I woke up and was worried about her. I couldn't get back to sleep so I thought I'd go to her room, check she was ok, you know. I didn't want to knock too loud so I listened outside the door to see if I could hear anything. I couldn't, so I tried the door.'' She stopped to take a breath. Impatience and a flicker of fear gripped Tobias. ''And?'' Meg began to cry. ''When I opened the door, Cassie was sprawled on top of the bed, just lying there.'' ''Was she hurt?'' ''I don't know. I called her name but she didn't answer, so I called again but louder.'' ''Well, was she breathing?'' ''I I don't know, I wasn't close enough to check.'' ''You didn't Why the hell not?'' Tobias demanded. ''I didn't like to. She was dressed only in her underwear. I didn't want to embarrass her.'' Tobias strode passed Meg and banged on Cassie's door. Without waiting for an answer he flung the door open. ''Cassie?'' When no answer was heard he stepped into the room. Cassie was lying on the bed, motionless. Tobias approached reluctantly. ''Cassie, wake up.'' He bent down to switch on the bedside lamp. His hand hit against something and the tell-tale rattle of pills filled the room. ''She hasn't?'' Meg's voice drifted off. ''No she bloody well hasn't,'' snapped Tobias, silently wishing he felt as confident as he sounded. He studied her prone form and listened intently for signs of breathing. The scars visible on her body sickened him and he averted his eyes. ''Is she?'' He picked up the bottle he'd knocked over earlier and turned it in his hand so he could read the label. ''She's sleeping Meg, like a baby.'' He held up the bottle. ''Sleeping tablets.'' ''God I feel stupid now.'' Tobias raised his head and met her eyes. ''No. Not stupid. You were worried about her, that's allowed.'' Meg nodded in agreement. ''I'd better go back to my room. Before Shelia wakes up and wonders where I am. Don't want her jumping to the wrong conclusion and causing mayhem twice in one day!'' ''Yeah, good idea.'' Meg looked over at Cassie. ''She's been through the wars, hasn't she?'' ''Yep, she has.'' ''You know, that chair looks quite comfy. If you wanted to stay awhile.'' Tobias snickered. ''That would set tongues wagging, wouldn't it.'' ''Does it matter?'' She saw his confused look. ''What's more important to you? Cassie's friendship or idle tittle-tattle?'' She touched his arm. ''Pull it down Tobias. I don't fully understand what's going on with you and Cassie but if you let her build her wall much higher you'll never get over it.'' He watched as she left the room. He folded the bed covers over Cassie's body and pulled the chair closer before turning off the light. In the morning the hard work started. Meg was right, the wall had to come down.
Archived comments for Invisible Walls
zenbuddhist on 12-05-2007
Invisible Walls
this is a clever wee story Ails ..good to see you back.

Author's Reply:
thanks darlin', good to be back

SugarMama34 on 12-05-2007
Invisible Walls
Hi ruadh,

I have never read your work before, but I am very glad I have come across this pice of writing.
It has held my interest all the way through, you make it excitable with some clever twists and then reveal what is going on, which I liked a lot. The plot was beliveable and the characters very realistic. As the reader I could bond with them all, but especially with Cassie and Tobias. I cannot fault this piece of writing at all. It has exactley the right amount of ingrediants to make this work. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and will look out for more of your work in the near future.
An intruiging write.
Sugar.xx

Author's Reply:
Hi Sugar

I'm glad you enjoyed this story. Thanks for reading and commenting, it helps to know if a piece is working.

ailsa

discopants on 12-05-2007
Invisible Walls
This keeps us interested, hinting at tensions beneath the surface and leaving plenty left unsaid. Worked well.

Author's Reply:
Thanks discopants, appreciate you commenting.

ailsa

sirat on 13-05-2007
Invisible Walls
I liked the story overall, but have a few small quibbles. My most basic reservation is that when Cassie says she had medication to take, Sheila persists in her assumption that it's an illegal drug. Surely Sheila would know what's meant by medication? Surely if it was something clandestine Cassie wouldn't have admitted to it so promptly? This incident doesn't quite ring true for me. My other very minor quibble is my difficulty in interpreting the background of the story. Did Simon have some kind of brief affair with Sheila in the past? Or with Meg? Or both?! Or am I just reading too much into their speeches? Why did Cassie start to build this wall? What was it that Simon disbelieved her about? Had he accused her of an affair? It's probably me being thick, or maybe you don't want to make things too explicit, but I did find myself floundering a bit to understand the various layers of history.

At one point Sheila says: "I shouldn’t have expected any less from you" to which Meg replies “What’s that supposed to mean?” Exactly what I was thinking. The triple negative in the phrase is highly confusing! Most of the writing is fine though.

What I think this needs is just a little more insight/background regarding Simon and Meg's relationship. They clearly no longer share a bed but I take them to be partners of fairly long standing. What's there is very good though.

Author's Reply:
Hi David

You're probably right in that you need to know of the background story to fully get this story, this was one of my reservations about it. There is an underlying current of jealousy between Shelia and Cassy. Basically Shelia is jealous of the relationship between Cassie and Tobias, who, incidently, are just good friends, and consequently she tries to discredit Cassie by painting her in a bad light/ run her down, hence the sarcastic 'medication' comment. This is something she has done once before long ago in the past which caused rifts between Cassie and Tobias when Tobias took Shelia's side initially. Shelia is quick to believe the worst of Cassie so when she sees Cassie injecting herself she automatically jumps to the wrong conclusion. Unfortunately she also can't wait to tell everyone else. When Cassie tells Tobias she was taking medication, she doesn't yet know Shelia saw her so, theoretically, she 'could' have said medication as an excuse even if it had not been so. Simon is also just friends with Cassie, though not as close as Tobias. He is older and protective, more a father figure. Cassie built the wall because she felt Tobias had taken Shelia's side or believed Shelia over her for a second time, or so Cassie thinks.

Hopefully you can now follow things better but since I've had to explain everything it obviously needs a lot more work lol. Thanks for taking time to go through this.

ailsa

chrissy on 14-05-2007
Invisible Walls
I think this story was very well told and the 'back story' that gave the history to your characters, whilst it could have been explained more, it didn't detract from the basic point of the story that people make judgments about other people and sometimes those judgments are way off.
One thing that did surprise me a little, well, made me think a bit, why did Meg think that Cassie would be embarrassed by being seen in her undies by another woman? Maybe they don't know each other that well.
A very interesting story well told.
chrissy

Author's Reply:
Thanks for your slant on this Chrissy. Meg and Cassie, although friends, aren't really close, therefore Meg was a little uncomfortable in case she embarassed Cassie. Maybe that just says more about me than anything else lol.

ailsa

glennie on 14-05-2007
Invisible Walls
Hello Ailsa. I like this story cos it has lots of believable dialogue and good pace which all god stories should have. I wonder, is it finished? It seems that there should be a second part to this, explaining all the intrigue. Glen.

Author's Reply:
Hi Glen. Glad you liked it. Initially this was all there was but due to feedback I've decided to keep going with it. Who knows where it will end up 🙂

ailsa

Jolen on 16-05-2007
Invisible Walls
I too enjoyed it and would like to know a bit more about the background, but the story moves well and your pace and dialog worked well for me.

blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Thanks for saying so Jolen.

ailsa


I Didn't Forget (posted on: 30-04-07)
Can spirits hear? I hope so.

It must have been hard Dying alone. No-one there With a comforting hand Or softly spoken words To ease the growing darkness And increasing cold. I didn't forget Your short trips home During my childhood, When the fruit bowl Was always filled. And I didn't forget The laughter carried By coloured balloons. Years later, When we were separated By more than just miles, I wish you had known I didn't forget.
Archived comments for I Didn't Forget
potleek on 30-04-2007
I Didn’t Forget
ruadh this is very touching, I think a lot of us will have thoughts a long these lines and quite often speak out to them.
I hope spirits can hear as well...Tony

Author's Reply:
Thanks Tony, appreciate the read and comment.

ailsa

chrissy on 01-05-2007
I Didn’t Forget
A very well written and moving poem.
The whole poem speaks volumes about regret and memory but I have to confess the second verse really got to me, particularly the lines: 'The laughter carried
By coloured balloons.'
A lovely well turned out piece.
chrissy

Author's Reply:
Thanks Chrissy. When I was small we'd spend ages batting balloons back and forth. It was 'out of character' in a way, my uncle was a bit of a loner, so it's always stuck in my mind. Glad you liked it.

ailsa

Bradene on 01-05-2007
I Didn’t Forget
A wonderfully moving piece that toughed me greatly I hope they can hear too. Val

Author's Reply:
Thanks Val, appreciate it.

ailsa

Bradene on 01-05-2007
I Didn’t Forget
Sorry That should have read touched me oops! (-; Val x

Author's Reply:
That's ok, I knew what you meant 🙂

Abel on 14-05-2007
I Didn’t Forget
Yes they can hear, as can we readers. Wonderful poem, Ailsa. Wonderful.


Ward

Author's Reply:
Thank you Ward. Coming from you, that means a lot.

ailsa


Once Upon a Hogmany (posted on: 30-04-07)
Just a longing for what used to be. First thing I wrote this year.

Raised voices outside drew Ethel's attention. Cautiously she pulled the edge of the curtain aside and peered into the street. A group of young people, probably late teens, stood arguing. Two lads began pushing each other about and were soon rolling around in the road as a girl tried helplessly to intervene. Ethel suspected all had had more than their fair share of alcohol. ''Granny.'' She turned to see her granddaughter standing in the doorway. ''What's happening? I heard shouting.'' Ethel crossed the room and embraced the little girl. ''It's nothing to worry about Jessica, just some silly people on their way home from a party no doubt.'' ''Can I sit with you awhile? The noise woke me up and scared me.'' ''Of course you can Cuddle. Would you like some cocoa?'' ''Yes please.'' Ethel pointed towards the rug on the floor. ''You sit yourself down in front of the fire and I'll get it for you.'' Jessica knelt on the rug, the heat of the flickering flames warming her skin. A tabby cat lay nearby, stretched out contentedly. Ethel returned a few minutes later carrying a tray. She placed it on the coffee table and handed Jessica a cup of warm cocoa. ''I thought you may like this to go with it,'' she said with a smile. The little girl squealed in delight as she eyed the slab of cherry cake and shortie fingers. ''Can I have both?'' she pleaded. ''Of course you can. Just don't tell your mum.'' Jessica giggled. ''Why not? Would she shoot the boots off you?'' ''Most probably.'' Ethel smiled. She listened to the happy munching as her granddaughter ate and she watched the enthrallment on her face as she watched the swirling froth atop her drink. When she had finished, Jessica glanced towards Ethel. ''Granny, what did you do on Hogmany when you were a little girl? Did your mummy and daddy go to parties?'' ''Yes, they did.'' ''And did you stay with your granny?'' ''No, I didn't. I went to the party too. We had some lovely times.'' Jessica sat upright. ''You got to go to parties with them?'' she asked in disbelief. ''How come I don't then?'' ''Well, things were different back then. Families went out together more.'' Jessica carefully put her cup on the table and climbed onto the settee beside Ethel. ''Tell me about it please.'' Ethel pulled the little girl closer and stroked her hair. ''OK, but after that you have to go back to bed. Deal?'' ''Deal.'' ''Right then. When I was a little girl we lived on a cul-de-sac. On Hogmany we always went first footing to our neighbours house at midnight.'' Jessica's eyes opened wide. ''You got to stay up late too!'' Ethel laughed. ''Yes, I did, but after teatime I had to go to my bed and sleep for a while. At eleven o'clock my mum would wake me up and help me get dressed. I had a special skirt to wear on Hogmany; it was made of velvet and reached right down to my ankles.'' ''Wow!'' whispered Jessica in awe. ''Shortly before midnight we'd leave the house and wait for old Mr Roper to fire his shotgun.'' ''Was he trying to shoot people?'' asked the little girl in surprise. ''No, no silly. He did it to let everyone know it was midnight and that the new year had begun.'' ''What happened then?'' pressed Jessica. ''We'd go to our neighbour Amy's door and my dad would knock loudly. When she opened the door Dad would wish her a 'Happy New Year' and give her a lump of coal.'' ''A lump of coal?'' giggled Jessica. ''Why would he give her a dirty thing like that?'' ''Because it was considered lucky. You see, my dad would be Amy's 'first foot'. If the first person to step over your threshold was dark haired and they gave you coal for your fire, it was believed you'd have good luck for the rest of the year.'' ''Why did they have to have dark hair?'' enquired the little girl. ''Was fair hair unlucky?'' ''Not unlucky as such. A long, long time ago people called Vikings invaded Scotland. Vikings were fair haired and brought misery and fear to the people, therefore a dark haired person was always a welcome sight,'' explained Ethel. ''My teacher, Mr Barclay, has fair hair and he's really scary sometimes,'' said Jessica. Ethel smiled. ''Everybody's scary sometimes, even when they've no hair at all.'' ''What happened at the party? Did you get nice things to eat?'' Ethel thought for a moment. ''There was always plenty of food to be had. There was sandwiches, crackers, bowls of crisps and nuts. There was a special type of plate that held a mixture of things: pickled onions, cubes of cheese, Winkies, beetroot, gherkins, pieces of cold meat. We would get a cocktail stick and stab whatever we wanted with it. I used to get as many Winkies onto mine as I could. After that I'd go to the cake stand and take a slice of Maderia cake and some Shortie then sit under the kitchen table and eat them.'' ''Why did you sit under the table?'' asked a puzzled Jessica. ''That way, nobody saw me eating so I could always go back for more,'' said Ethel, smiling. ''The grown-ups used to have haggis, neeps and tatties.'' ''What's haggis?'' ''Haggis! Have you never seen a haggis Jessica? Well now, I'd better tell you all about it, it's famous you know,'' said Ethel, her eyes twinkling with mischief. ''Haggis are round, hairy little creatures that live in the hills. They have different coloured pelts and that's where our tartan comes from. A group of haggis' are called 'Haggi'. The man looking after the Haggi is called a 'Hagherd' and when he wants to round them up he plays the bagpipes. The pipes mimic the sound a haggis makes and they're always made of tartan, so they think it's the head of the Haggi calling and follow him.'' ''What if they don't come when he plays?'' ''Ah well, because Haggi live on the steepest hills, they have one long leg and one short leg. It helps them balance you see. So if you want to catch a rogue haggis, all you do is walk towards it. It'll turn around and try to run, but its legs will be out of kilter then and it'll topple over and roll to the bottom of the hill.'' Jessica laughed so much, her sides hurt. ''Are you telling fibs Granny?'' ''Me! Tell fibs! I don't think so!'' replied Ethel, trying her best to sound indignant. ''What did you do after you ate? Did you sing and dance?'' ''There wasn't room to dance; there was so many people there. Amy's brother used to sing though and play the spoons.'' ''The spoons? How can you play the spoons?'' asked Jessica. ''I don't know how he managed it. I watched him many times and tried to copy it myself at home but I couldn't get the hang of it. Jack used to sing and play the spoons, he also used to bang a metal tray on his head liked it was cymbals or a drum. I never worked out which. I used to love watching him.'' ''Didn't it hurt?'' asked Jessica, concerned. ''I don't think it could have, he kept doing it after all.'' Jessica nodded then yawned deeply and rubbed her eyes. ''You know some funny people Granny. I wish we still had parties like that.'' ''Aye Cuddle, it would be fun wouldn't it. It's been a long time since I went to a party like that.'' Ethel felt the small body slump against her and listened to the tell tale signs of sleep. She gently lowered Jessica onto the settee and fetched a blanket to cover her with. ''Goodnight Cuddle. Happy New Year.''
Archived comments for Once Upon a Hogmany
bluepootle on 01-05-2007
Once Upon a Hogmany
What a lovely reminiscence. I found myself chuckling along with the narrator as she told that old story about the Haggis, and enjoying the gentle nature of the piece. So glad nothing bad happened! A heartening read, with a wistful edge that struck just the right note for me.

Author's Reply:
Thanks BP. I enjoyed writing it for the same reasons 🙂

ailsa

glennie on 01-05-2007
Once Upon a Hogmany
Hi Ruadh. Like myself you haven't posted in a long time but I'm glad you posted this. I think it would be better under childrens' rather than drama. Good laugh about the haggis legs. Not sure if the Saxons invade Scotland, though. Perhaps Vikings? Glen.

Author's Reply:
Hi Glen. I've been offline for about six months. You're right, I meant Vikings, even have Vikings in my first draft so god knows where the Saxons came in 🙂 I wasn't sure where to slot this one, wasn't sure it was really a children's piece, and in that situation I always opt for drama. I have wondered about taking the 'haggis story' out and using it as a stand alone for children though. Thanks for reading and commenting.

ailsa


Silent Anguish (posted on: 02-10-06)
Written when my sister was being treated for breast cancer.

I ask you how you are You assure me you're fine We talk about pleasantries Trivialities Anything To keep The conversation flowing Anything To stop the silence For when the silence comes Reality creeps in And the thoughts We don't want To acknowledge Hang in the air Screaming for attention That neither of us Want to give Ailsa Robertson 2004
Archived comments for Silent Anguish
Romany on 02-10-2006
Silent Anguish
Must have been a very difficult time for all concerned. And you are right about the silences; they can be harder to deal with than words sometimes. I hope everything turned/turns out happily.

Romany.

Author's Reply:

Bradene on 02-10-2006
Silent Anguish
I found this so true, many will relate to these feeling Well done Ailsa. I do hope things went well Love Val x

Author's Reply:

Gerry on 02-10-2006
Silent Anguish
Ailsa, I agree with Val, many will relate. Nicely done...

Gerry. xxx.

Author's Reply:

orangedream on 02-10-2006
Silent Anguish
Ailsa - So much truth written in these few lines and yet the words written between them say even more.

regards
orangedream

Author's Reply:

Ginger on 02-10-2006
Silent Anguish
The truth is hard to say, and you've done a very good job.

Lisa

Author's Reply:

Kat on 02-10-2006
Silent Anguish
Ailsa, you have written this so deftly - the shape reflecting well the start/stop nature of the speech - this is really well done.

Kat x

Author's Reply:

potleek on 04-10-2006
Silent Anguish
Ailsa believe me I know where you are coming from with this one...Tony

Author's Reply:

Kazzmoss on 05-10-2006
Silent Anguish
So little words that seem to speak volumes, nicely written and very touching. - Kazz

Author's Reply:


Beautiful Loser (posted on: 02-10-06)
Forbidden fruit

Everything you wanted Was within your grasp All you had to do Was reach out And touch it And it was yours But becoming available Rendered it undesirable The chase over The prize won Then discarded
Archived comments for Beautiful Loser
orangedream on 02-10-2006
Beautiful Loser
Extremely profound and well written.

regards
orangedream

Author's Reply:

niece on 03-10-2006
Beautiful Loser
Isn't life always like that?...well put, Ailsa...lovely poem!

Regds,
niece

Author's Reply:


Silent Prayers Left Unanswered (posted on: 15-09-06)
Falling on deaf ears...

I close my eyes Lay down to sleep And listen in fear As his demons creep With their soulless eyes And hearts of stone Over my shivering skin They roam My cries in the night Never reach your ears For punishment awaits If I release my fears I pray for an angel With white, soft wings To cover and protect me Keep me safe in their ring But his demons still come In my dreams as I sleep Harsh, cruel words Accusations burned deep The blows from his fists Continue to fall My crimson red blood Spraying the wall In the morning, I wonder If I shall awake Or if, in the night My soul, he will take The cracking of bones Don't change a thing Where is my angel With white, soft wings
Archived comments for Silent Prayers Left Unanswered
Kat on 15-09-2006
Silent Prayers Left Unanswered
Hi Ailsa

A smoothly rhythmic poem with some hard-hitting imagery which very effectively gets the message across:

'My crimson red blood
Spraying the wall'

'The cracking of bones
Don’t change a thing'

These being particularly strong.

Kat :o)




Author's Reply:

Abel on 15-09-2006
Silent Prayers Left Unanswered
My God, Ailsa, a riveting hymn of fear and anxiety in the dark of night...what power comes through! Scared the hell out of me. Very very well done, my friend.

w

Author's Reply:

orangedream on 16-09-2006
Silent Prayers Left Unanswered
Hello Ailsa - this is fantastic. As has been said, so eloquently, marvellously strong imagery. Love the thought of 'the angel with white, soft wings'. The poem flows beautifully.

Enjoyed.

kind regards
orangedream

Author's Reply:

macaby on 11-01-2009
Silent Prayers Left Unanswered
a very sad poem, with vivid imagery. after reading a couple of times , reading behind the lines so to speak. i think this is a very personnel write. either something that you have experienced , or from someone you know of. or maybe i am digging to deep. like i said sad poem and well written.

Author's Reply:


Black Leather Jacket (posted on: 15-09-06)
Wouldn't be 'home' without it

It hangs in the hallway Long since used And covered in dust That we're averse to disturb Its presence An unneeded affirmation That you existed But one that is Welcome, comforting Regarded with a reverence That was the epitome Of you
Archived comments for Black Leather Jacket
Kat on 15-09-2006
Black Leather Jacket
Beautiful, simply beautiful, and very moving. Excellent.

Kat x

Author's Reply:

Abel on 15-09-2006
Black Leather Jacket
I agree with Kat, except to add...perfect. I am fascinated with inanimate objects, the stories they tell...you have captured this.

w

Author's Reply:

Zoya on 17-09-2006
Black Leather Jacket
Yes, we do sometimes cling to the objects that belong to our loved one, because it has their touch, their smell,their personality embedded in them. It keeps their memory, even presence, fresh with us...
Like my little daughter would smell my blanket, hug it and sleep,when I used to be on night duty in the hospital.
Thanks for sharing this moving piece.
*Hugs*
Love,
Zoya

Author's Reply:

niece on 18-09-2006
Black Leather Jacket
Dear Ailsa,
Very touching poem...it hurts sometimes to see hubby go through his parents' things, reluctantly throwing away somethings, keeping others...
Regds,
niece

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 20-09-2006
Black Leather Jacket
Poignant write Ruadh. More than worthy of the nib and nom. Well done.

s
u
n
k
e
n


Author's Reply:

Bradene on 23-09-2006
Black Leather Jacket
Very moving Ailsa, With so few words you managed to convey so much Love Val x

Author's Reply:

macaby on 11-01-2009
Black Leather Jacket
the name of the poem caught my attention, i still have my old black leather jacket hanging in my basement, i never wear it any more(wouldn,t zip up at the front ha ha ) to many memories, i bought it in glasgow and it has travelled all through europe with me and my rucksack. this is great poem, well worded, a touch of sadness, nostalgia and a little touch of warmth at the end.i understand why you can't bring it over yourself to dispose this memorie, thanks for sharing i enjoyed the poem.worthy of a nomination.


Author's Reply:


untitled (posted on: 08-09-06)
a poem 🙂

Here Kitty lay, long after his body had been lowered to the ground. Late into the night, when the owl swooped down and perched on the headstone of a neighbouring grave, his head to the side, waiting. Waiting to collect the soul that was his for the taking. here Kitty lay, steadfast in her refusal to move, as if, somehow, her staying would change reality. That maybe the warmth from her body would seep into the dark earth, bringing life where none remained. It's so cold. So cold. The owl hoots, his patience rewarded, his prize doubled. Here Kitty lies.
Archived comments for untitled

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Paddy's Milestone (posted on: 01-09-06)
A fairytale of sorts.

Jacob smiled as he watched his grandchildren at play. Louis' face strained in concentration as he patted more sand into his sandcastle whilst Oscar ran eagerly after a large seagull. He looked forward to their annual summer visit. They brought laughter back into his house, something that was sorely missing since his wife's death three years before. Jean had been his childhood sweetheart; they'd been together for forty-two years. When she died he felt half of him was missing. ''Grandpa, what's that, over there in the sea?'' asked Oscar, pointing to a small land mass about ten miles offshore, the seagull forgotten. ''That's an island Oscar. It's known as 'Paddy's Milestone'.'' ''Does Paddy live there then?'' Jacob laughed out loud. ''No son. The island lies approximately halfway between the mainland and Ireland, so, it's Paddy's milestone.'' Oscar looked confused. ''Who is Paddy then?'' Jacob looked thoughtful for a moment then a glint appeared in his crinkled eyes. ''Do you really want to know who Paddy is?'' Oscar nodded. ''Alrighty. You come and sit by me and I'll tell you a story.'' Oscar sat down on the sand beside his grandpa and looked at him expectantly. ''Paddy was a young boy living in a place called Ballyvoy, in Northern Ireland. His family were very poor and often didn't have enough to eat. At night he would go out and pick fruit and vegetables from gardens nearby to ease his hunger. One night, when he was busy shelling peas from a pod, a man saw him and shouted at him. Paddy got such a fright that he ran away from the man as fast as he could.'' Oscar shook his grandpa's arm. ''Why didn't he just tell the man he was hungry? You always give me food when I'm hungry.'' Jacob ruffled his grandson's hair. ''It was different in those days. Food was scarce and people grew what they could to help feed their families. For poorer folk without gardens, times were hard.'' ''So what happened to Paddy? Did he run home?'' ''The man was angry. He ran after Paddy, calling him a thief. Paddy was so scared he just kept running without caring where he was going. Eventually he tired and stopped to catch his breath. He could still hear the man shouting after him and looked for somewhere to hide.'' ''Who's hiding?'' Jacob and Oscar looked up. Louis, who had finished his sandcastle, had come to see what they were up to. ''Paddy,'' said Oscar. ''He's running from a man who caught him stealing from his garden. Sit down and listen Louis. Go on Grandpa,'' he urged. Louis shrugged and dropped down beside them. Jacob rubbed his hands together. ''Now then, where was I? Oh yes, hiding. Well, by now, Paddy had run through all the wee twisty streets and reached the sea. There was nothing for it, he had to jump down onto the beach. Down by the water's edge was a small wooden boat bobbing gently in the sea. Paddy climbed into it and lay down, closing his eyes. Gradually the man's voice faded and Paddy sat up to see if he was gone.'' ''And was he?'' asked Louis eagerly. ''Well now, he was. But not in the way Paddy imagined. You see, Paddy thought the man had given up looking for him and gone home. The truth was, when Paddy had jumped into the boat he had somehow dislodged it and he was now far out to sea.'' The two boys looked at each other in wonderment. ''What did he do then Grandpa?'' Jacob chuckled. ''What could he do? He felt in the bottom of the boat for an oar and started to row.'' ''Was he scared?'' asked Oscar. ''Very!'' said Jacob. ''It was dark and he had no light save that from the moon. As he peered in front of him, shadowy figures approached then silently vanished as he passed. Suddenly he heard a faint sound and he stopped rowing, trying to work out what it was and where it was coming from.'' ''What was it?'' asked Oscar breathlessly. ''Shh!'' growled Louis. Jacob smiled and continued his tale. ''It was coming from his right and he slowly steered the boat round. As he sailed forward the noise became louder. He soon realised it was the mournful sound of singing. He followed it gladly, for singing meant there had to be people. He continued sailing, mesmerised by the sweet music but then the boat jolted sharply and he cried out. Sharp rocks tore into the small wooden vessel, toppling him into the water. It wasn't a person singing, it was a sea siren.'' A gasp shot out of Oscar's mouth. ''Did he drown? ''Of course he did!'' sneered Louis. ''That's why sea sirens' sing, to lure sailors to their death. Isn't that right Grandpa?'' ''Aye, aye, you're right there Louis. But...'' he said, waving his finger in the air, ''Paddy was lucky for he had sailed to a very special place.'' ''Why was it special?'' asked Oscar. ''Because it was a fairy rock!'' smiled Jacob. ''And, on the whole, fairy folk are good and like to help people. So although the siren had been bad to make him crash into the rocks, there were plenty of good fairies to help him and rescue him.'' ''What happened then?'' ''Well, the fairies fished him out of the water and carried him ashore. They gave him some dry clothes and hot soup, then covered him with leaves to keep him warm and left him to rest for the night. In the morning he awoke to find an elf sitting watching him.'' ''Morning. Did you sleep well?'' Paddy nodded slowly, astonished. ''What's wrong? Cat got your tongue?'' Without waiting for an answer, he held out his hand. ''Pleased to meet you. Belldandy's the name.'' ''Paddy,'' he stammered, shaking it. ''Right Paddy. That was a fine pickle you got yourself into, wasn't it. What were you doing in the water at night?'' Paddy lowered his gaze, suddenly feeling ashamed. ''I was running away.'' ''Running away! What were you running from?'' ''A man.'' ''Hmm. And why were you running away from him?'' ''He'd caught me stealing food from his garden.'' Paddy hung his head. ''I was hungry. I'm not a bad person.'' Belldandy observed him quietly. ''No, I don't believe you are.'' He stood up and paced. ''First, we have to get you some breakfast. You'll need your strength for the journey home.'' Paddy sprang to his feet. ''Home! I can't go home.'' ''Why ever not? You have to. Your parents will be worried about you.'' ''I've brought shame on them, they won't want me back. Besides, there will be one less mouth to feed now. Can't I stay here?'' ''Here?'' Belldandy rubbed his chin. ''I don't know about that. There are no people living here, only us fairies.'' ''I wouldn't be any trouble, I promise.'' The elf sighed. ''What about your family? Won't you miss them?'' Paddy thought of his mother; how her short red hair tickled his nose when she kissed him goodnight. And his father ... it was his hands he remembered clearly. How rough they felt against his own when he showed him the proper way to hold a bat. How strong and secure he felt. Belldandy watched him closely. He spotted the tears glistening, threatening to fall. ''Come with me Paddy,'' he said softly. Paddy followed him down to the sea. Bobbing in the water was a small yellow boat. ''Time for you to leave,'' he said, smiling. Paddy climbed into it. ''How will I get it back to you?'' The elf laughed. ''It's a fairy boat Paddy, it will find its own way home.'' ''How can I ever thank you?'' ''Knowing you are home, where you belong, is thanks enough. Besides, a fairy brought you here so it's only right a fairy helps you return.'' He reached into his pocket. ''I have something for you.'' He handed Paddy a silver coin. ''It's a wishing coin. Any time you need something, give it a rub and wish.'' Paddy immediately closed his eyes and rubbed the coin. Seconds later he opened them and frowned. ''It doesn't work,'' he said, disappointed. ''What did you wish for?'' ''A new bike.'' Belldandy chuckled. ''You asked for something you want, not what you need. There is a difference, remember that.'' ''I'll remember,'' said Paddy sheepishly. ''Wish for some breakfast. Now, off you go. The boat will take you home, don't worry.'' Belldandy waved and stood until the boat sailed out of sight. ''Did he get home?'' asked Louis excitedly. ''Aye, he did. And what a roasting he got from his father too! But they were glad he was back, safe and sound.'' ''What happened to the coin?'' demanded Oscar. ''Ah,'' chuckled Jacob. ''He kept the coin safe and it served him well. There was always food on the table and clothes on his back. When he was older, he passed it onto his son, who, in turn, passed it onto his son.'' ''Did he see the fairies again?'' ''No. He never saw them again but he never forgot them. His grandson visited the rock one day, and the yellow boat was still there, but there were no fairies to be found. He sat in the boat and was surprised when it began to move.'' ''Did it take him back to Ireland?'' asked Louis. ''No. It brought him across here, to Scotland.'' ''Here? That was wrong?'' ''Was it? Belldandy said the boat would take him home remember, so his grandson figured this was where he was meant to be and stayed. He was very happy.'' ''Wow! Maybe we know him,'' said Louis. What do you think Grandpa?'' Oscar grabbed his brother's arm. ''Look! Another seagull. Come on Louis.'' Jacob smiled contentedly as they ran along the sand without waiting for his answer. He opened his hand and held up a silver coin to the sun. ''Maybe Louis, maybe.''
Archived comments for Paddy's Milestone
Sooz on 24-07-2007
Paddys Milestone
Enchanting! well written, engaging and perfect for remembering the wonder of a child. I really enjoyed this, thank you. Sooz.

Author's Reply:
Good to see you Sooz, where have you been hiding?

Glad you enjoyed this.

love ailsa


Lonely Fantasy (posted on: 31-07-06)
The world is full of lonely people.

I love you, you said Having known me all of five minutes I smile and shake my head Yet, I consider you thoughtfully And peel back the bravado Shatter the illusion You've wrapped us both in And realise You are nothing more Than another lost soul Hoping to find sanctuary In a stranger's lies
Archived comments for Lonely Fantasy
Romany on 31-07-2006
Lonely Fantasy
So true! I see this so clearly. Well chosen words,

Romany.

(Thinking of someone in particular now, and a particular incident, the two things not related, because of your poem. That's the power of words!)

Author's Reply:
Thanks Romany. Hope the memories I stirred were not painful.

love ailsa

niece on 01-08-2006
Lonely Fantasy
You can be lonely even when you are not alone, ailsa...good poem here...well-written.

Regds,
niece

Author's Reply:
Know that feeling only too well niece. Glad you liked it.

love ailsa

Sunken on 02-08-2006
Lonely Fantasy
Love this Ms. Ailsa. I've been there, bought the T-shirt and even taken it back due to shrinkage. I just wish that people wouldn't band the word 'love' about so casually. Top piece Ms. Aisla. Easily a tenner. Spend it wisely.

s
u
n
k
e
n

in charge of clouds

Author's Reply:
You and me both Mr Sunken. My, we are getting formal aren't we. My tenner is safely tucked away, thank you.

love ailsa

orangedream on 30-08-2006
Lonely Fantasy
Must have missed this one, first time round ailsa - absolute perfection.

orangedream

Author's Reply:

woodbine on 24-09-2006
Lonely Fantasy
Dear Ailsa,

I meant to comment earlier but wasn't physically able to. This is a poem that stuck with me for some days, and I tried to relate it to Bobbie but couldn't quickly find the page. You were unlucky not to get a knib because it does express a truth about internet relationships in a succinct, sincere, sad/funny way, that I haven't already seen before (Maybe I should get out more). In short it's a very good poem.
Speaking generally about writing poems (not this one), something my former tutor told me, which I pass on to you is that it's a good idea not to spoonfeed your readers with every thing explained as the story proceeds. You could try holding back information to tease the readers into becoming participants, letting them bring their own baggage to your party. Use the last line, even the last word, if you can do it to send them
away with your take home present. it's not right for every poem but it is a useful device in good story telling not to explain everything.
best wishes, John XX

Author's Reply:


Two For One (posted on: 31-07-06)
I decided to sub these together as they are really variations on a theme. Inspired by a siren I heard at 5am, while I was drinking coffee and looking out my window.

Lingering Echoes Sipping on coffee I watch the city sleep In the distance A siren wails Momentarily disturbing The melancholy tranquillity Long after it passes The silent echoes Keep me awake Invisible People Sipping on coffee I watch the city sleep. After dark belongs to The unwanted Abandoned to their fate, The lost and lonely And those Who prey on them. In the distance A siren wails. Another casualty Absorbed by the night, Slipping away Unseen Unheard, And who will Not be missed When the city awakes.
Archived comments for Two For One
Kat on 31-07-2006
Two For One
Hi Ailsa

I enjoyed these, especially 'Invisible People':

'Another casualty
Absorbed by the night...
And who will
Not be missed
When the city awakes.'

Good stuff.

Kat :o)



Author's Reply:
Hi Kat

Thanks, as always, for taking time to comment.

love ailsa

scotch on 31-07-2006
Two For One
fab...scotch

Author's Reply:
Ta 🙂

love ailsa

niece on 01-08-2006
Two For One
Liked both, ailsa...but I think the second one is deeper and more thoughtful...good poems, both! I would love to be sipping coffee at 5, but I'd consider myself lucky if I manage to be up atleast by 6:30...
Regds,
niece

Author's Reply:
Thanks Niece. Invisible People was actually written first. I always get a sense of dread when I hear a siren and this particular time it took a while for it to go away, hence Lingering Echoes. As for getting up by 5am, I hadn't gone to bed the night before 🙂

love ailsa

Sunken on 01-08-2006
Two For One
Two lovely pieces Ms. Ailsa. I should rephrase that? I'll just shut up. Thanks.

s
u
n
k
e
n

dices with onions

Author's Reply:
Why, Mr Sunken, I'm glad my pieces met with your approval 🙂 Thank you!

love ailsa

pencilcase on 02-08-2006
Two For One
Interesting. Immediately made me think of...wotsisname? Oh yeah, Hopper, you know, 'Nighthawks' and all that.

Not sure which of the two I prefer, but it makes me think. You have an atmospheric and enigmatic expression here, and maybe it is unnecessary to include words like melancholy, unseen and unheard because all that is coming through anyway.

It's an impressive submission to uka and I think you might mould elements from both versions to make a really powerful poem - but it already has quality, I think, because, as I said, it immediately made me think of Hopper.

Hope this makes some sense!

See you at that all-night diner on the corner...

Steve



Author's Reply:
Makes perfect sense Steve, thanks. One came from the other as my line of thinking split while I was writing.

I'll have a coffee, black, one sugar, if you're buying 😉

love ailsa


The Dancer (posted on: 28-07-06)
A puppet who lost her strings.

She used to dance for you Twirling at your command Dancing until her feet ached Yet still She could not stop Driven on By the sound of your voice Every step Designed to please Fluid in motion With every syllable you spoke And all the while Another whispered From within Begging to be heard Growing louder and louder Persistently playing Until eventually She heard The sound of its sweet music Finally, letting her dance To her own tune
Archived comments for The Dancer
Kat on 28-07-2006
The Dancer
Hi Ailsa

Really enjoyed this - I always like your very good intros too!

Kat :o)

Author's Reply:
Thanks Kat. I sometimes think the intros are harder to write than the piece itself 🙂

love ailsa

scotch on 28-07-2006
The Dancer
i liked this and theme...scotch

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading and commenting scotch, appreciate it.

ailsa

Abel on 28-07-2006
The Dancer
A song of independence, Ailsa...I'm glad that you sing it now. Wonderful write, my friend!

Ward

Author's Reply:
It was a long time coming Ward and, as you know, I still feel those strings twitching like a dead limb from time to time. Now I just sing louder 🙂 I value your opinion as much as your friendship, thank you.

love ailsa

Jolen on 29-07-2006
The Dancer
Oh how well I know this dancer!! This is very fine, and one many will be able to relate too, I think.

blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Thanks Jolen. I hope others learn to dance their own tunes as I have, it's not always an easy task.

love ailsa

Albermund on 31-07-2006
The Dancer
Neatly done. A nice read. Cheers, Albert

Author's Reply:

niece on 31-07-2006
The Dancer
A simple sweet poem...it's good to know that the puppet finally did find her strings...

Regds,
niece

Author's Reply:


Wishes and Dreams (posted on: 07-07-06)
Hard one to place. Fantasy, Ghost, Flash, take your pick. Some things only happen to those who believe.

''Come and see this mummy.'' Maeve smiled at Timmy's excitement and crossed the sand to the water's edge to see what he had found. He grabbed her hand and pointed. ''Look.'' Clinging onto a strand of wet seaweed was a tiny crab. Timmy crouched down beside it, peering at it intently. ''Can we take it home?'' Maeve shuddered at the thought. ''No, Timmy, we can't take it home. It belongs here, in the sea.'' He gave it a gentle prod, sending it scurrying between two large pebbles. The gap wasn't big enough to let it through completely so it lay sandwiched between them, half covered by seaweed. ''Aw, it's stuck mummy.'' ''No, it's not. It's too big to get through. Come away and leave it alone, it's trying to hide from you now.'' ''It's stuck!'' Timmy insisted. Maeve sighed, knowing she wasn't going to win this argument. She crouched down and gently pulled the seaweed aside. The crab squirmed in protest. She hesitated for a moment, fearing it would run her way, then pushed one of the pebbles to the side. Instead of falling into the divide the crab scurried off in the opposite direction. ''You frightened it mummy.'' Maeve gave an indrawn breath of disbelief then shook her head in acceptance. She was about to stand when she noticed something curious on one of the stones. She picked it up and rubbed the grit off of it. It had a dark pattern on it which, at first glance, looked like the eye of a fish. She turned it slowly in her hand. It now looked like a small figure sitting at a pool, under an archway. The stone itself was uninteresting, a pale sandy colour and Maeve was about to throw it down when she stopped. For some unknown reason she was reluctant to let it go and she pocketed it instead. ''Come on Timmy, time to go home.'' ''Aw, do we have to?'' ''Aw,'' she mimicked, ''I'm afraid so.'' Maeve filled the sink with warm soapy water and lowered the stone into it. With an old toothbrush, she gently scrubbed the surface until all the grit had gone. She gazed upon the markings which were more vibrant through the water. For the second time, she felt drawn to it but didn't understand why. Out of the water, the picture faded as the stone dried, returning it to an uninteresting state. Impulsively she fetched an old goldfish bowl out of the cupboard and filled it half full with water, then placed the stone inside. Later that night, as she was going to bed, Maeve took the bowl with her and placed it on her bedside cabinet. The warm night air was stifling so she opened the top window and left the curtains partially open. The moon cast a comforting glow overhead. She climbed on top of the bed and closed her eyes. The soft rush of water filtered through her mind. Coolness tickled her feet. She looked around in surprise. A brook ran beneath the large rock she was sitting on. Further upstream was a humped bridge surrounded by a backdrop of trees. A soft breeze ruffled her hair and a melodious voice murmured her name. ''Maeve.'' She turned around but saw no-one. A sound like tinkling bells rang out and she followed the sound, staring into the water. A small movement caught her eye and she blinked then looked again. A figure sat in the middle of the bubbling water. ''I've been waiting for you. I'm so glad to see you.'' Maeve was speechless. Her eyes took in the long, ice-blue hair and sky blue wings. ''Wh, who are you?'' she stammered at last. ''My name is Melusine. I am a water fairy.'' 'A water fairy? I must be dreaming,' Maeve thought. 'At least, I hope I'm dreaming 'cos if I'm not, I've gone bonkers.' Aloud, she said: ''Where am I?'' Melusine smiled. ''You are at the Wishing Stream.'' Maeve hesitated. ''Am I dreaming?'' ''Yes and no. You are in a dream state, but what is happening is real.'' ''I see.'' Melusine could see she was confused. ''The Dream Stone brought you here. You must have treated Piper nicely for only a kind act will do it.'' ''Who is Piper?'' ''Piper is a dream fairy, keeper of the Dream Stone. The Dream Stone lies hidden amongst other stones. If found, few people attach any importance to it, they usually ignore it or discard it.'' Maeve nodded. ''I was going to throw it back into the sand.'' ''But you didn't,'' said Melusine softly. ''No, I didn't. I don't know why.'' ''The Dream Stone generates a magical energy. Only people who are drawn to it will benefit from its powers. Some people find the stone and cast it aside as worthless. Others, like you, treat it as something special. As a reward they are sent here, to the Wishing Stream.'' ''And what happens here?'' Melusine's laughter rang out again. ''You get a wish of course. But, there are things you must understand. Your wish will come true, but will only last as long as your dreams.'' ''You mean, whatever I wish for, will only exist in my dreams? Not in reality?'' ''Yes.'' Maeve closed her eyes. She thought about the Dream Stone, pictured it lying half buried in the sand, then later, in her old goldfish bowl. She squeezed her eyes tightly and wished. When she opened them again they were wet with tears. Melusine still sat in the water. Nothing had changed. Maeve's chest tightened in disappointment. ''Why didn't it come true?'' she whispered. Melusine pointed behind her. ''Turn around.'' Hardly daring to breathe, Maeve slowly turned. Standing on the bridge was a man, a man she had not seen since before Timmy had been born. She began to run, her heart beating faster. Her husband may be missing from her life, but not from her dreams.
Archived comments for Wishes and Dreams
e-griff on 07-07-2006
Wishes and Dreams
Ahhh, sweet!
I had remembered (a very old) resolve to read prose, esp longer pieces, and comment - to help encourage prose writing. So I looked down today's list and this was the first I noticed.
I don't really have much to say about it, though, it IS sweet, and complete. Why change it? JohnG

Author's Reply:
Thanks John 🙂

love ailsa

niece on 11-07-2006
Wishes and Dreams
Ailsa, this is a real feel-good story and interestingly unusual...
Regds,
niece


Author's Reply:
Glad you enjoyed it Niece, thank you.

love ailsa

Abel on 27-07-2006
Wishes and Dreams
Oh my, Ailsa...I had missed this one for some reason...really, really enjoyed this. Couldn't stop reading it until it was finished. Love the "feel" of the work. I once knew someone in London, a Welsh lady, who believed in faeries...maybe they're real?? Well done, my friend.

Ward

Author's Reply:
Of course they are real 🙂 I have written a few fairy pieces. My name is taken from Ailsa Craig, a small island in Scotland (it's actually a volcanic plug which sits about 10-12 miles off the coast). The gaelic, ailsse creag, means 'fairy rock' so maybe that's what influences me. Glad you enjoyed it.

love ailsa


Blood Lust (posted on: 05-06-06)
Working Title. Stephanie falls under the spell of a charming stranger.

Stephanie pressed her glass to her chin and surveyed the bar. 'Face it Steph, you've been stood up,' she thought. She gulped down the remainder of her drink and banged the glass on the bar top. ''Can I buy you another?'' She turned and glanced at the man standing beside her. A tall, dark haired stranger, hidden behind sunglasses smiled at her. She reached for her bag and stood up. ''No thanks.'' ''Why not?'' His reply caught her off guard. ''Do I need a reason?'' ''Yes. You must have one after all.'' ''Obviously,'' she replied dryly. ''But that doesn't mean I have to tell you what it is.'' ''No. No you don't. But it's only fair I know where I'm going wrong. A guy can only take so many rejections you know.'' Stephanie smiled in spite of her bad mood. ''Maybe I don't trust men in dark glasses.'' His hand swept to his face, removing them. ''That's easily changed. Do you trust me now?'' Sparkling green eyes speckled with gold bored into her with an intensity that took her breath away. ''Well?'' he asked softly. ''Am I deemed trustworthy?'' ''Yes,'' she whispered. Her heart thumped in her chest and she felt that perhaps he was dangerous after all. At this moment in time though, she didn't care. ''So what can I get you?'' ''A Pernod and lemonade, thanks.'' He beckoned the bartender. ''Whisky on the rocks and a Pernod and lemonade please.'' After pocketing his change he picked up the drinks. ''Shall we find a quiet table?'' Stephanie nodded and followed him through the crowd. They found a deserted corner and sat down. ''What's your name?'' he asked, passing her drink over. ''Stephanie. Stephanie Moore.'' ''Stephanie. I like it,'' he smiled. ''I'm glad you approve,'' she teased. ''And what should I call you?'' ''I'm sure you've thought of a few choice names for me by now, but most people call me Joel.'' ''Joel.'' She nodded. ''I like it.'' He held his hands up in surrender. ''I guess I deserved that one.'' He leant back in his chair. ''Tell me about yourself.'' ''What do you want to know?'' ''Why you were drinking alone tonight would be a start.'' ''I got stood up,'' she said grimly, her fingers sub-consciously squeezing the glass. ''His loss.'' ''I never said it was a man,'' she retorted. ''A woman. Sounds interesting, tell me more.'' Her eyes flicked over to him and she watched the smile spread over his face. ''Ok, so it was a guy.'' ''An extremely stupid guy if you ask me.'' ''Yeah well, I won't argue with you on that score,'' she replied. ''What do you do for a living?'' ''I'm a beautician.'' ''A beautician. Do you enjoy your work?'' Stephanie shrugged. ''Listening to women bitch all day about their cheating husbands and boring lives isn't my idea of fun, but hey, it pays the rent.'' Joel laughed. ''They can't all be like that, surely?'' ''You'd be amazed. Listening to some of them, I'm not surprised their husbands cheat. I feel like strangling them myself. The ironic thing is, they seem to forget whose money it is they're spending.'' ''Perk of the marriage.'' ''Oh very droll!'' Stephanie took another sip of her drink, watching Joel over the rim of her glass. Their eyes met and her heart lurched. Embarrassed, she looked away. Lowering her glass to the table she asked: ''So, do you want to tell me why you're out drinking alone tonight?'' ''No.'' Flabbergasted, she opened her mouth and closed it again without uttering a sound. Joel sat forward and grasped her wrists. ''Would you like some excitement in your boring life Stephanie?'' Startled at the sudden change in mood, she tried to pull her hands away but he only gripped them tighter. ''I never said my life was boring, only my job,'' she stammered. ''You didn't have to. It's plain to see.'' ''Is it?'' She glanced around the room but no-one was paying them the slightest attention. ''I can give you the excitement you crave Stephanie. All you have to do is come with me.'' Part of her wanted to flee but the other part was desperate to see what Joel had in mind. ''Will you come?'' She tried to speak but her mouth was parched and no sound came out. She looked him in the eye then nodded. Wordlessly he stood up and pulled her by the hand. She stumbled after him, never giving her decision another thought. Joel pulled up in front of a huge gateway guarded by two stone gargoyles. A tree lined driveway wound its way to an imposing mansion. Stephanie shivered. ''Last chance to change your mind,'' said Joel. She stared straight ahead. Common sense was screaming at her to walk away from the situation but her heart pounded in anticipation of what was to come. Joel gently brushed a loose strand of hair from her face. ''Well Stephanie? What's it to be? Will you stay?'' ''Yes,'' she said. Joel revved the engine and the car shot through the gates. ''Make yourself comfortable,'' he said. ''Would you like a drink?'' She hesitated before answering. Something alcoholic would steady her nerves but she wanted to keep a clear head. ''I'd like a coffee actually, if you don't mind.'' ''Why would I mind? Coffee it is. How do you like it?'' ''White, one sugar, thanks.'' Stephanie watched after him as he left then looked around the room. It was masculine without being oppressive. It had an earthy feel to it, the walls and floor differing in shades of brown. Pale, chocolaty coloured drapes adorned the framed windows. The brown leather couch creaked beneath her as she moved. A huge sheepskin rug lay in front of the fireplace. She raised her eyes to the wall above the mantelpiece, noting its bareness. 'Just begging for a mirror,' she mused. ''What do you think?'' asked Joel, appearing with the coffee. ''It's very nice,'' she replied. ''Did you do it yourself?'' ''Yes and no. Everything was picked out by me, but I got people in to do the actual work.'' ''I see. You have good taste.'' ''Why, thank you young maiden. Do you think that applies to my choice of female company too?'' ''Of course, but then I'm biased,'' she said, grinning. He placed the cups on a coffee table and sat down beside her on the couch. ''What would you say if I told you I wanted to make love to you?'' ''I'd say you were chancing your mitt.'' ''Oh come on. You're not that nave Stephanie. You must've known what I had in mind when I brought you here.'' ''Not exactly,'' she stammered. Joel stroked her thigh lightly. ''I don't believe you. I think you knew what was going to happen. I think you want it to happen. That's why you came.'' Stephanie blushed. ''No, you're wrong. I don't usually sleep with guys I've just met.'' ''No. I don't believe you do.'' He gently stroked her cheek, cupping her chin and turning her to face him. ''You're a beautiful woman, you know that?'' His lips brushed hers, moving swiftly to her jaw then her neck. Stephanie's skin tingled wherever he touched. Her body moved with a mind of its own, willing him to carry on. They slid onto the sheepskin, their clothes slowly being shed in the mounting passion. He poised above her, observing the wanton look in her eyes. ''Are you ready for some excitement Stephanie? Once started, there's no going back,'' he warned. She nodded. He stayed still, watching her silently. ''Please Joel,'' she whimpered. He pushed against her, feeling her soft flesh envelope him. ''My name isn't Joel,'' he began, as he moved inside her. ''It's Orlando Choiseul. I've searched for years to find the perfect mate, someone worthy of my love, and I believe that is you my dear Stephanie.'' Fear flashed across her face and she struggled lightly. Orlando lay prone against her and kissed her deeply on the mouth. ''It's useless to fight. Fate brought us together tonight. Me, a lonely vampire looking for love, you a lonely mortal looking for some excitement in your drab little life. I can bring you the elation you desire, forever.'' She gasped at the sharp pain in her neck as he greedily drank her blood. Euphoria consumed her briefly before her existence seeped away. He smiled at her lifeless body. ''The excitement's only just begun.''
Archived comments for Blood Lust
niece on 05-06-2006
Blood Lust
Quite chilling, Ailsa...to go from "boring" life to "no life"...but he did give her a chance to escape!!!
Regds,
niece

Author's Reply:
He did, didn't he. Thanks Niece.

Abel on 07-06-2006
Blood Lust
Very, very fine writing, Ailsa!!!


Ward

Author's Reply:
Thanks Ward, glad you liked it.

love ailsa

Jen_Christabel on 30-10-2007
Blood Lust
I wouldn't have called this sci-fi, it's errrm horror I would say. I liked it, I liked it very much. The dialogue between the two people was first class. Nicely done Ailsa.
Jennifer x

Author's Reply:


Recognition (posted on: 05-06-06)
Rectifying others wrong doings.

I have nothing for you My hands are as empty As your grave is bare There are no flowers Clenched in my fists No words forming Eager to spill from my lips For none of that matters. I am here In recognition Of who you were Who you are And who you were Never allowed to be I bring nothing to you But I leave you respect
Archived comments for Recognition
scotch on 05-06-2006
Recognition
lovely..scotch

Author's Reply:
Thank you 🙂

Jolen on 05-06-2006
Recognition
An interesting piece, which I enjoyed.

blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:
Glad you enjoyed it Jolen, thanks for commenting.

ailsa

Sunken on 08-06-2006
Recognition
Like it. I reckon this is one of those pieces that everyone will read differently. Top write young Ruadh.

s
u
n
k
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n

Author's Reply:
Thank you Mr Sunken 🙂

eddiesolo on 23-07-2006
Recognition
Hi Ruadh,

This is a good write and deserves more comments.

Enjoyed reading.

Si:-)

Author's Reply:


Walking Out The Dead (posted on: 24-04-06)
Things aren't always as they seem

Dressed in black With top-hat and tails He leads the solemn procession Through the streets To the church Where people gather And whisper in forked tongues Then dab at tears Freshly squeezed for the occasion Later, they will thank those who attended Graciously accepting the false condolences Mumbled in passing They bury this man In a grandiose affair Befitting his memory Yet would dance on his grave If they dared
Archived comments for Walking Out The Dead
chrissy on 24-04-2006
Walking Out The Dead
This is very good, very well written but it made me feel sad in a way. I suppose some people are like that sometimes.
We once had a jazz funeral in Portmadog near where I live. That seemed a lot more honest, though it was a very grand affair. Seemed quite cheerful too.
chrissy

Author's Reply:
I love the idea of a jazz funeral. Hopefully they were celebrating their loved one's life rather than dancing on their grave though! Material things are often used to hide the truth of things, don't you think?
Thanks for commenting.

love ailsa

Apolloneia on 24-04-2006
Walking Out The Dead
Yes, definitely a good poem. I like how you wrote this, well expressed, measured but not restrained and a bit bitter, but strong and the title very poignant and good.

Author's Reply:
Thank you! I was a bit wary of how it came across.

ailsa

Abel on 26-04-2006
Walking Out The Dead
A very mature, well-written image, with an economy of words that makes me envious. 🙂 Very fine poem, A.

Ward

Author's Reply:
I'm often told I'm economic with words. Sometimes I'm not sure it works ok. However, in this case I'll believe you that it does 😉

love ailsa

Sunken on 26-04-2006
Walking Out The Dead
Hello Ms. Ailsa. I've never gotten use to the idea of people getting bladdered after a funeral. It doesn't seem quite right. I want my mourners (both of them) to visit a Mecca bingo hall after my funeral. I think that would be far more civilised. I hope this comment finds you in positions relative to relaxation. Please don't be scared - I'm leaving now. I shall vote on my out. Thanks.

s
u
n
k
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n

sponsored by nicotine

Author's Reply:
I'm always glad to see a comment from you, your witty repertoire never fails to put a smile on my face. Thank you!

love ailsa

Macjoyce on 13-09-2007
Walking Out The Dead
Good poem, Ruadh. Reminded me of Princess Diana.

Mac the Black


Author's Reply:
Thanks Mac, appreciate it.

ailsa


Tarnished (posted on: 24-04-06)
Um, see for yourself

Don't colour me ugly With half truths And misconceptions Rub away the tarnish That spite left behind Paint me with hope And reveal my hidden hues Renew the sparkle That dulled so quickly With hate Don't colour me ugly
Archived comments for Tarnished
chrissy on 24-04-2006
Tarnished
Excellent poem. Tells what you feel exactly as you feel it. Enjoyed the read.
chrissy

Author's Reply:
Thanks Chrissy, nice to know you enjoyed it.

love ailsa

HelenRussell on 24-04-2006
Tarnished
An unusual phrase, but it worked
Well written
Sarah

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading and commenting Sarah, appreciate it.

love ailsa

Romany on 24-04-2006
Tarnished
Excellent write, and I love the very catching turn of phrase 'don't colour me ugly.'
Romany.

Author's Reply:
Isn't it great! I can't take full credit for it though. It was a phrase I remember from something I've read. I can't remember what it was now as it was a long time ago but it stuck in my head. Thanks Romany.

love ailsa

Abel on 26-04-2006
Tarnished
What an honest, forthright piece, inspiring to me...wonderful, Ailsa.

Ward

Author's Reply:
Thank you my friend. Your opinion is valued.

love ailsa

Bradene on 30-04-2006
Tarnished
Great piece of work ailsa Love Val x

Author's Reply:
Thanks Val, glad you liked it.

love ailsa

Corin on 01-05-2006
Tarnished
Nice idea Ailsa - but for me it hangs suspended and needs more. Of course perhaps you are of the `less is more school'

as in :-

HOPE
-------
by David M Turner

Don't


David

Author's Reply:
I tend to agree with you on this one. Sometimes I read through it and feel as if I've come to an abrupt stop when I reach the last line. It's an unusual style for me and I think that's what the problem is. Perhaps one day it will grow. Thanks for commenting.

ailsa

Zoya on 01-05-2006
Tarnished
"Renew the sparkle
That dulled so quickly
With hate "

indeed sparkle does dull with hate.
Funny isn't it?
Love shines while hate dulls
Love bubbles, while hate seethes,
Love floats while hate sinks...
Hey this is turning into a poem,
I am quitting before it leaves me...
Thanks for inspiration
See you a poem later!
**hugs**
Love,
Zoya


Author's Reply:
You're on a roll there. Thanks for reading *smile*

ailsa

Zoya on 01-05-2006
Tarnished


Author's Reply:


Prostitutes of the Gods (posted on: 14-04-06)
diary of a devadasi. This is an old piece, written in 2003. I've always wanted to do more with it. Any input would be appreciated.

My name is Sakra, I am twenty-three years old. My life is one that many think I should feel privileged to live, for I am a devadasi, a god handmaiden, or more commonly known as 'female slave'. I became married to Yellamma 'Universal Mother' when I was eight years old. According to legend, Renuka, the faithful wife of the sage Jamdagni, was so chaste and pure that she could carry the water for her husband's rituals inside a pitcher made of sand, which she balanced on top of a coiled up snake resting on her head. One day her attention was drawn to some handsome celestial spirits bathing in the river and she had a strong desire to join them in the water. The pitcher of sand crumbled and an angry Jamdagni ordered his sons to kill their mother for her immoral behaviour. The youngest son, Parsuram, accepted the order, saying he would behead Renuka in return for three wishes. One of his wishes was to bring his mother back to life. His father agreed but demanded that her head was replaced by one of an 'untouchable', a lower caste. Also he was to curse her, demanding that only unmarried women could serve her, that they had to beg for her on Tuesdays and Fridays, and to give themselves to any man who sexually desired them, even if he was a leper or diseased, since they should see Parsuram in the hearts of all men. In the beginning, devadasis had a very prestigious status, commanding a respect that surpassed that of some of the male members of the temple. They lived in or around the temples, performing duties within it as well as taking part in religious functions. They were a community of artists, performing dance and music at the temples and private functions. Many high caste families invited them to family parties and weddings. It was thought that the devadasi would bring good luck to the hosts and they were rewarded with money and gifts. When visiting the temples worshippers were forbidden to touch, talk to, or even look at the devadasis. These were crimes considered to be on par with turning your back on the shrine or spitting in the temple. On her death she was granted life honours, being presented with flowers, sandal paste, and a garland from the god of the temple during her last rites. The passing years have seen the role of devadasis decline. Once seen as devine, they became companions to priests and kings, concubines to the rich men of the village, then eventually to prostitutes. My family realised I had been chosen to serve Yellamma by the jat in my hair. My mother saturated this tangle with animal fat and left it to grow. One day an older devadasi visited our village with her master. All the chosen ones were gathered together then the devadasi fell into a trance and selected which of us were to serve Yellamma. My family were proud when I was picked as it is considered a great honour to have a devadasi in the family. The marriage ceremony was performed by a Brahmin priest during one of the full moons. First I served food to the other devadasis in their 'begging bowls', then I was bathed and anointed, and dressed in new clothes. As I stood in front of the idol of Yellamma in the 'sancta sanctorum' the priest blessed me and tied the wedding necklace around my neck. Afterwards the other devadasis threw rice over me. Once the ceremony was complete I was taken away for another ritual, udilumbuvadu, where I was deflowered. Long ago it was the right of the priest to perform this duty, now it is that of the highest bidder. The priest told my family he had had a dream in which a dead relative appeared saying I should move to one of the big cities to serve my goddess. He had arranged for someone to take care of me. In reality he had sold me to one of the brothel owners. I was brought to Bombay and put in a room like this where I am expected to have sex with as many as twenty men each night. When one man leaves another one enters. I feel no honour in my life but stay silent so I don't bring the wrath of my goddess down on my family. I have been bought and sold many times. My life is one of poverty and disease. Yet even now I struggle to maintain my dignity and self respect. My dedication to Yellamma began with rape and shall end in my death.
Archived comments for Prostitutes of the Gods
niece on 15-04-2006
Prostitutes of the Gods
Ruadh,
Dark yet awesome write... the kind of things that can happen in the name of God esp. in Indian villages and small towns!...
Regds,
niece

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 15-04-2006
Prostitutes of the Gods
Thanks for the read and comment Niece.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Romany on 16-04-2006
Prostitutes of the Gods
Wow! This is compelling because there are, I think, customs not so different to this, 'legal' or otherwise, that perhaps do exist? Not sure of my ground here. And the severity of the punishment for so trivial a sin, despite years of 'purity' before hand, rings true too. This is excellent.

Romany.

Author's Reply:
Thanks Romany. This custom does still exist unfortunately although people are working hard to stop it.

love ailsa


Untitled (posted on: 14-04-06)
Inspired by a picture of a man in white robes carrying a staff. Not sure at the moment where it's going, if anywhere.

It was winter when she died. The cold December wind snatching away the last of her breath, silencing her cries. Her long dark hair contrasting against the fresh white snow, droplets of blood dripping slowly from her neck. He sank to his knees, the euphoria of the kill still pumping through his body. For a moment he almost felt guilty for robbing the world of this beauty, but not for long. He bent forward, slowly licking her wound clean. ''Sweet, sweet Violet,'' he murmured. ''So trusting, so obliging, and so utterly foolish.'' He stood, looking into her lifeless eyes one last time. ''Such a pity it came to this my dear, I was really beginning to like you.'' He turned swiftly on his heel and disappeared into the night. Darren sat at the small kitchen table, his hands wrapped around a now cold cup of coffee, his eyes darting to the clock on the wall. It was past one. 'Something must have happened,' he thought. 'She's never this late.' A figure appeared in the doorway. ''Darren? Why are you sitting here? Why aren't you in bed?'' ''Violet's not home yet,'' he said grimly. ''I'm waiting up for her.'' His wife padded over to him and touched his shoulder. ''She's a grown woman Darren, you can't sit there waiting like she's a disobedient child.'' ''I'm worried about her Nat. She said she'd be back for ten, that was three hours ago.'' ''Maybe she has company,'' she said softly. ''Then she would've phoned to let me know her change of plans. She always does, you know that.'' ''Have you forgotten what it's like when you meet someone? You get so caught up in the moment that you forget everything else.'' ''I know my sister Natalie. She'd phone! Go back to bed, no point in us both losing sleep.'' Natalie kissed his head and left him alone. Hours later she was woken by a thumping on the front door. She hurried downstairs to find two policemen standing in the hallway. ''What's happened?'' she stammered. ''I called them,'' said Darren. ''Please, come in,'' he said, leading the officers into the living-room. Natalie followed behind them and quickly crossed to her husband's side. ''What's going on Darren?'' ''I've reported Violet missing,'' he replied. ''Missing? Why? She's only been away overnight; don't you think you're jumping the gun a little?'' ''No, I don't.'' ''Perhaps sir,'' interrupted one of the policemen, ''it would help if you gave us the whole story.'' ''Of course, sorry. My sister Violet went out last night and she hasn't come back. No phone call, nothing!'' ''I see. Has she ever done this before?'' ''No.'' ''Is she a danger to herself or others?'' ''No she bloody well isn't!'' ''Is she on medication of any kind?'' ''No. Not that I'm aware of anyway.'' ''Have you contacted the local hospitals to see if anyone answering her description has been admitted?'' ''Yes, yes.'' ''Ok. Well, technically she hasn't been gone long enough for us to file a missing person's report sir and we've no reason to suspect she's hurt or in any danger.'' ''So that's it? You do nothing! Anything could have happened to her.'' The policeman looked at him in sympathy. ''What about her friends? Have you contacted them? Do you know who she was meeting? Where she was going?'' Darren rubbed his forehead wearily. ''She just said she was meeting Morrissey in town.'' ''And who's he?'' ''Her new boyfriend, I suppose.'' ''You suppose? What do you know about him?'' ''Nothing. They haven't been seeing each other long, she doesn't say much about him.'' There was a pause as the sergeant thoughtfully summed up what had been said. ''I'm afraid, at the moment, there's nothing we can do. If anything changes however do let us know.'' ''When she turns up dead in a gutter somewhere you mean!'' ''Darren!'' exclaimed Natalie. ''I'm sorry officer, he's overwrought.'' Nodding in understanding the officer said: ''We'll let ourselves out.'' Waiting until she heard the door close, Natalie turned to her husband. ''That was uncalled for Darren. She's a grown woman who's stayed out all night. What did you expect them to do?'' ''Show a little more interest for a start! Something's wrong Nat, dreadfully wrong. I can feel it.'' He pushed past her and ran up the stairs. A few minutes later he returned with some clothing in his hands. ''What's that?'' asked Natalie. ''It's something of Violet's. I'm going out; I don't know how long I'll be.'' Natalie stepped in front of him, barring the doorway. ''Darren, stop a minute and talk to me goddamit. Where are you going with these things?'' ''To The Seer.'' ''The Seer? Now I've heard everything. He's just a kooky old man who lives in a shack. Rumours about him seeing things were probably put about to keep kids out of the woods, no doubt by adults who were frightened of him for being different. He's probably dead by now too. That's if he ever existed in the first place!'' Darren looked at her in distress. ''So is it going to hurt me to try?'' Natalie looked at him anxiously. ''Yes love, I think it will. You're depending on him to give you answers what happens when you go up there and discover he's simply an old man. Or what if you don't find him? Have you thought about that?'' ''I have to do something. I promised to look after her.'' ''And you have. Listen, you've done a brilliant job bringing up Vi since your mum died. Not many eighteen year olds would manage to look after an eleven year old child. But you've wrapped her up in cotton wool, over protected her. She's all grown up now, twenty-three years old. You're not kids any more. It's time to let her go, live her own life.'' Darren lowered his head and stared at the floor. ''I hear what you're saying Nat, and maybe you're right. But something's wrong. I can feel it in my bones.'' Seeing the determined look on her husband's face, Natalie stayed quiet. She knew anything she said would make no difference. She stepped aside to let him past. Pulling the door shut behind him, Darren paused. Maybe he was over-reacting. To his knowledge, no-one had actually seen The Seer. Maybe he was nothing but a fairytale. Or a crazy old man. An overwhelming compulsion drove him on and, clutching Violet's clothing in his grasp, he began to walk. Logie Wood loomed before him and he gazed inwards from the safety of the gate. He hadn't been here for years. Not since he was a teenager. He wasn't even sure he could remember the paths now. The Seer was rumoured to live towards the back of the woods, where the trees were thickest. With steely resolve he headed in that direction. He walked briskly through the playground and picnic area. The snow covered swings were deserted. Several nature trails began beyond the frozen pond but Darren was at a loss as to which one to follow. ''Hell! I can't see the damned path anyway,'' he cursed. Deciding a 'middle ground' route was the best way to go, he continued moving further into the trees. An involuntary shiver ran down his spine as the trees got thicker and it grew darker. A light dusting of snow began to fall and he turned up his collar as he trudged on. The ground became rockier, his footing less even and he realised he'd strayed off the pathway. Taking a moment to take stock of his surroundings he shook his head. ''What the hell am I doing here?'' he wondered. ''I could be walking around in circles and never know it. Damn you Violet! Where the hell are you?'' He stuffed her jumper inside his jacket and thrust his frozen hands into his pockets. There were rest stations dotted about the woods, tiny huts with a bench and nothing more but at least it would provide shelter for a while. He carried on; stumbling in the deepening snow, hoping a hut was not too far away. He raised his head, startled by how dark it had become. Despair filled him at the situation he found himself in. He fumbled in his pocket and pulled out a box of matches. His frozen fingers grappled with the elusive wooden sticks and he cried out in frustration as they fell to the ground. He dropped to his knees and wept. For himself or Violet, he didn't know. A few minutes later he felt someone tugging on his arm. He struggled to open his eyes, peering at the figure beside him. An old man dressed in white robes was staring at him. In one hand he held a long stick, the other he extended to Darren. ''Are you God? Have I died?'' he asked in disbelief. His companion chuckled softly. ''Not yet you haven't. But you will if you stay there much longer. Come.'' Darren allowed the man to help him to his feet. He stood, swaying, not sure if his legs would support him. The old man placed his staff between them. ''This will help you, hold on to it.'' Together they moved forward as one, Darren blindly following the stranger who had come to his aid. How far they walked he was unsure. A building came into view and Darren sighed in relief at the sight of it. The old man pushed the door open and waved him inside. Inside was sparse but neat, and surprisingly clean. A bed, covered with blankets, ran along the furthest wall. An old wooden table dominated the shack, a stove stood to one side. ''Sit. I'll make you a hot drink. You must be frozen.'' He walked over to the bed and returned to Darren with a blanket. ''Thank you,'' said Darren, gratefully wrapping it around his shoulders. He watched the old man as he pottered about making the drinks. Whatever it was, it sure as hell wasn't coffee, but it smelt nice. ''Here.'' Gingerly Darren sipped at the cup handed to him. ''Mulled Wine?'' he asked in surprise. ''Of sorts,'' chuckled his companion. His expression quickly changed to a more sombre one. ''That was a foolish thing you did today. Coming up here in this weather. If I hadn't found you, you would have perished.'' ''I had to come,'' mumbled Darren. ''Was it really worth risking your own life? Because that's what you were doing.'' ''I had to find you. To find Violet.'' ''Then you had a wasted journey.'' ''Whwhat do you mean?'' ''I mean, I can't help you.'' ''But you must! You are The Seer. You are the only one who can help me!'' he cried in desperation. ''Fairytales and children's nightmares. That is what I am, that has been the purpose of my life since before you were born.'' The Seer's eyes burned in anger. '' People's ignorance and fear confined me to a life of solitude. What makes you think I would help you even if I could?'' For a moment Darren was silent. ''You helped me in the snow. You could've left me to die. But you didn't,'' he said at last. The Seer looked at him. He saw the torment in Darren's face and his conscience twinged. ''Some things are beyond even me.'' ''Surely you can at least try. Look, I brought this with me,'' he said, pulling Violet's jumper out from under his jacket. ''I thought it might help you if you had something belonging to her.'' The Seer pushed the garment aside. ''You can't help her Darren. Go home to your wife and forget about Violet.'' ''Forget about her? How can I do that? She's my sister for christ's sake!'' He grabbed the old man's arm. ''You know something don't you. What is it? Where is she?'' The old man's eyes filled with sadness. ''She's out of your reach. You can't help her.'' ''Are you telling me she's dead? Stop talking in riddles old man and give it to me straight.'' ''What do you know about the man she's been seeing, Morrisey?'' ''Nothing. He's a work colleague I think.'' The Seer looked thoughtful. ''What do you know about vampires?'' ''Vampires!'' Darren laughed out loud. ''Oh my God. Natalie was right. You are just a kooky old man aren't you. You don't know anything about Violet do you? Do you?'' he shouted. ''Why did you come here Darren?'' ''Because I thought you could help me.'' ''Yet, you are not prepared to listen to what I have to say.'' ''But vampires! That's just supernatural nonsense.'' ''Some would say the same about me. Yet, here you are. People are afraid of things they do not understand. They refuse to believe they exist because they cannot comprehend them. But they exist all the same, whether they believe or not.'' The old man looked at Darren with pity. He could see the conflicting emotions wrestling within him. ''Sit. I will tell you what I know. What you do then is up to you.'' Darren sat down opposite him, slumped in defeat, his eyes lowered. ''The man your sister knows as Morrissey is not as he appears. His real name is Launcelot du Coudray. In some parts of the world he is also known as Gawain of The Winged Death. He is a particularly merciless vampire, completely impartial and as unyielding as stone. Violet was the perfect victim. Shy, totally trusting.'' ''So, she's dead, right? The Seer hesitated. ''She might as well be. Morrissey has transformed her into something which cannot have a life as we know it. Her existence is bound by the hours of darkness. Her world is one which survives to the detriment of ours. She has cast her old life aside, and you must do the same.'' ''Just like that eh! I've brought Vi up since she was eleven years old and now I'm supposed to turn my back on her and pretend she doesn't exist.'' ''She doesn't. The Violet you knew is dead and the one that exists would take your life in the blink of an eye. She has no conscience, no feelings. She is driven by a need to kill, to survive. It is not a choice but a necessity.'' Darren sat quietly, trying to absorb what The Seer had told him. ''What will I tell Nat? She'll never believe me. She thinks I'm crazy for believing in you!'' The old man laid his hand on Darren's arm. ''That is for you to decide. Tell her the truth, or tell her nothing at all. She needn't know you found me. Or say I am simply a crazy old man. Let her and everyone else assume Violet is missing, if that is what you are comfortable with. Whatever you tell her, be sure you can live with it. Bearing in mind you'll have to live with it a long, long time.'' The Seer removed the cups from the table. ''It's not safe to go home tonight. I'll lead you through the woods in the morning. There's a spare mattress in the corner. Try to get some sleep.'' The old man padded off to bed, leaving Darren alone at the table. The Seer knew that sleep would escape him this night but he had no words of comfort to ease his suffering. Darren stared out of the small window, watching the snow drifting to the ground. An image formed in his mind, of Violet smiling. Slowly it shifted and Violet was laughing, her head thrown back and something red dripping from her chin. He shivered and closed his eyes, praying this was nothing more than a bad dream. That in the morning everything would be alright. The Seer sighed softly, knowing it wouldn't.
Archived comments for Untitled
e-griff on 14-04-2006
Untitled
ahah! another typically fluent ruadh story!!! 🙂
I have some overall and detailed comments if they'll help.

Overall, I felt that the story was fine in pace and characters, and intriguing. You have chosen to use an omniscient third party POV, which is the least involving of all, but traditional for an older-style horror story. The only thing I would say plotwise is that the end seems slightly unfulfilling, something missing ... maybe have him see a vision of Violet with Nat? he races back and finds....or to come back in the morning and find the door open, blood... etc...

The other thing was that I lost track of the time for some reason. I thought it was late night to start with (unless young Vi was in the habit of coming home at seven or summat), then hours later the police arrive, then he goes out. In the wood it gets 'darker' and I'm thinking - surely its the middle of the night now? Unless it's moonlit and the wood is dark.

And... I'm sorry, but the police don't regard someone a 'missing person' after a few hours (which is said in the story). So why would they come round the house at all? Can he have told them something to get their interest and then they tell him off for wasting their time, or summat?

OK, some representative nitpicks:
In the first para there are three sentences, the second and third of which are not (sentences). To use '-ing' clauses in that way (and I don't like a lot of -ing's personally) , you need to connect them with commas, not isolate them with full stops. In fact, later on you've done something to that effect.

para 2: 'almost' is a dodgy word sometimes. either he felt guilty or he didn't. he must have felt something as it was 'not for long' - so I'd just lose 'almost'.

para3: You don't have to use quotes for thoughts. In style I find it better to avoid saying 'he thought' etc. ie, I suggest 'Something must have happened, she was never this late.' - you don't need to SAY he thinks it - it's implicit in the statement with no confusion.

para 6: 'like' can be a dodgy word, especially here where you have used it in place of 'as if' - which would not be good in narration, but OK in speech as here - EXCEPT that Nat appears to speak fairly correctly, and this is a lapse in that. so I'd suggest 'as if she were a... ' would be more apt.

para 11: 'I know my sister Nathalie. She'd phone!'
I know it's obvious, but Nathalie is not his sister (the words here say she is 🙂 ) (and why does he call her Nathalie now, not Nat.?) so:
'I know my sister, Nat(halie). She'd phone.

'Ok' --- it's normally either OK or okay/Okay

we can argue about commas, but not in front of speech. I'd punctuate this:
Nodding in understanding the officer said: “We’ll let ourselves out.”
as this:
Nodding in understanding, the officer said, “We’ll let ourselves out.” (the first one could be debated).

Logie Wood loomed before him and he gazed inwards from the safety of the gate. What does 'inward' mean here? do you just mean 'at it' ?

Deciding a ‘middle ground’ route was the best way to go --- this just didn't make sense to me.

The old man pushed the door open and waved him inside. Inside was - inside.Inside? best avoided say first one could be simply 'in' - if so second should be 'The inside' or Inside it was...

“That was a foolish thing you did today - - as I indicated - I've lost track, I thought it was night before he set out.

That's enough, I think 🙂 small things only no big probs, IMO. best JohnG













Author's Reply:
Wow! Thanks John, really appreciate your input. I won't reply to all your points here but they will be taken on board.

Quotes for thoughts is a personal thing and something I always dither over. Personally I find it quicker to put thoughts in single quotes than to use italics, for instance. Obviously if I was submitting somewhere I change to suit their guidelines. Putting nothing is, indeed, the easiest option.

Using a colon with pre-attributed speech was a habit I got into through using another site. Again, perhaps this differs with each publisher?

You've given me loads to think about here, thank you.

love ailsa


e-griff on 15-04-2006
Untitled
yes, there are different conventions. I just read a PDJames book (quite old now) which used colons throughout for speech.

One other thought, I know it's not highly original, but perhaps he could go back and find Violet there - thank god you are safe.... his relief, then a slow, dawning realisation. 'Where's Nat?' 'don't worry about her, she's fine.... ' Violet moved towards him and he suddenly became aware of....
AAAAARRRGGGGGHHHH!

Author's Reply:
I did think of the story cutting back to Natalie at the end ... thank god you're safe Violet... Where's Darren?... then a scream. I've also been thinking about turning it into a longer piece, with Darren going after Morrissey in a bid to find Violet. We'll see 🙂

shackleton on 18-04-2006
Untitled
Hi Ailsa! Scary lady, so you are, so you are.

I enjoyed this story... although I paused half way through it when I went to check that the back door was locked (I felt a cold chill on the back of my neck). I felt it was a shade 'old-fashioned' in concept... but I enjoyed it still. They don't write 'em like this anymore. Good story!

I hope you and your gang are well. Happy Easter!



Author's Reply:

Claire on 20-04-2006
Untitled
Hey there hun, this is highly entertaining, even though a few bits (which egriff has mentioned, mainly the time period for me) could do with a wee bit tinkering.

Thoughts can be written in several ways - I prefer using italics. But on here, if the easy edit option doesn't work for you, it is much easier to insert single quotes, as long as you're using double for speech so there's no confusion.

If you're sending your story to a mag etc. I've been advised to underline the sections that are meant to be in italics, which in my case are thoughts.

Loved the speech. It felt real to me.

The way the story is at the moment, it feels unfinished. I think a slightly longer story would work well, concentrating on the end more. The ending is fine, but to be honest I think it needs more of an impact.

This is deffo a piece you should work one.

Author's Reply:


Have You Been Licking My Apples? (posted on: 27-03-06)
Take a pinch of fact, a spoonful of fiction, and mix it up with a healthy dose of tongue in cheek...

Maggie dived into the empty parking space, ignoring the tooting and hand gesture of the irate driver who passed her. 'Same to you pal,' she thought. She sat quietly for a minute, settling her nerves, wondering what on earth possessed her to do this run. She hated driving in Edinburgh, it was a nightmare. She reached into the front foot well, grabbed the flask and poured herself a coffee. A knock on the window startled her, sloshing hot liquid onto her lap. ''Hell!'' she cursed, wiping it off. She wound down the window and looked inquiringly at the man in front of her. ''You know, you can't do that here.'' ''What?'' ''You can't do that.'' ''No, I meant oh never mind. What can't I do?'' ''Park here.'' ''Park here? So why are there parking bays painted on the road then?'' ''They're for residents only.'' Maggie looked around. ''It doesn't say residents only.'' ''Doesn't have to. Everyone 'round here knows. You can't do that either,'' he grimaced. ''What?'' ''That!'' He waved at her cup. ''What! It's coffee.'' ''Aye well, you would say that, wouldn't you. Could be anything.'' She looked at him, not quite believing what was happening, and wondering if he was right in the head. ''Prove it!'' he demanded. ''What?'' she asked incredulously. ''Prove it's coffee.'' 'I don't believe this!' she thought. ''I've only got one cup, and you wouldn't want to share a cup with a stranger now would you,'' she said sweetly. The man laughed out loud. ''I've shared more than a cup with a stranger, believe me!'' In spite of herself, Maggie smiled. ''Oh I believe you alright.'' ''So, where's my coffee?'' Resigning herself to the inevitable, Maggie refilled the cup and handed it to him. ''Where you from?'' ''What makes you think I'm not from here?'' she asked. Grinning, he held the cup up. ''Not many people carry coffee around with them. Besides, I never forget a pretty face, ergo, you're not from around here.'' ''Are you in the habit of flattering strange women you meet in the street?'' she teased. ''Only if I like what I see. Anyhow, nothing strange about you is there.'' ''How do you know? I could be a deranged lunatic for all you know.'' ''I like living dangerously.'' Feeling she was beat Maggie extended her hand. ''Have you finished with that? I need to get on.'' He handed the cup over. ''What a pity. Just when it was getting interesting too.'' Maggie put the flask back on the floor and reached for her jacket. She stepped out the car and locked it. ''Is this number sixty-eight?'' she asked, waving to the tenement in front of them. ''Yup. ''Who you looking for? Not me by any chance?'' ''What's your name?'' ''Gary.'' ''Isn't you then.'' ''Who is it?'' ''A guy called Buddha.'' His eyes travelled over her. ''Buddha? You're jesting?'' She shook her head in bewilderment. ''No. Why?'' ''Is he expecting you?'' ''No. I was in the area and thought I'd surprise him.'' ''Not too sure that's a good idea.'' ''Why?'' ''It's Saturday.'' ''And?'' she prompted. ''Well, it's the morning after a Friday night, isn't it.'' None the wiser, Maggie sighed in frustration. ''And that means?'' ''Well, if I know Buddha, and believe me, I know him well, he'll probably be still in bed. With a female,'' he emphasised. Maggie mentally kicked herself. She hadn't even considered that. 'That'll teach me to act on impulse,' she thought. Digging into her pocket, she pulled out her mobile. Flicking it open she hit a button. Seconds later a gruff voice answered. ''Hello.'' ''Buddha. Hi, it's Maggie.'' ''Maggie! Hi. This is a surprise.'' ''Yeah. What you up to?'' ''Not a lot babe. Sitting out front with the boys. What about you?'' She grimaced slightly. ''Funnily enough I'm out front too,'' she said. ''Nice weather in Dundee too is it?'' ''Well, not exactly. I'm not at home.'' ''Oh! Where are you?'' ''In Edinburgh,'' she said quietly. ''Edinburgh? Edinburgh!'' He sat upright in panic. ''Where in Edinburgh?'' ''Out front.'' ''Out front? MY out front?'' ''Um, yeah.'' She paused for a moment. ''I thought I'd pop in for coffee'' Her voice trailed off. Gary grabbed the phone out of her hand. ''Buddha, put the kettle on. We're coming up.'' ''Gary? Is that you?'' The line went dead. ''Shit!'' ''What's the matter bud? You don't look too hot.'' ''Oh man. A crazy chick I know on the net just turned up.'' A well toned man sunning himself nearby laughed. ''Well that's what you get for being an idiot and giving out your address. You're doomed Buddha.'' Buddha gave him a soft kick. ''Thanks Frank, you're all heart.'' ''I can always say you don't live here if you like.'' ''Oh yeah! Like she's gonna believe that. Besides, Gary's with her.'' ''Gary? How the hell does he know her?'' ''Fucked if I know!'' Frank looked over his shoulder. ''Here he comes now. Start praying.'' Buddha daren't lift his gaze. ''Oh god. What's she like?'' ''Hmm, not bad. If you're into Dawn French.'' Buddha's head snapped up and he searched for the approaching figures. His eyes locked on Gary and slowly slid towards his companion. ''You bastard Frank.'' Frank laughed loudly. ''You should've seen the panic on your face! Was a picture. Maybe next time you'll think twice about what info you give out online.'' ''Ha ha. Very funny. I don't think.'' ''I'm serious mate. Anyway, she looks ok. Isn't carrying an axe or anything. Just don't drink anything she gives you.'' Buddha threw a towel at him. ''Shut up you.'' ''Hi hi hi. What's happening here?'' asked Gary. ''Nothing,'' snapped Buddha. Gary observed the two friends momentarily but said nothing more on the subject. ''Well, I caught this young thing parking in our resident's only bay, drinking coffee none the less. Said she's a friend of yours Buddha but I think she's too good looking to be one of yours.'' ''Funny cunt.'' He stood up. ''Hiya Maggie. Didn't expect to see you here.'' Maggie watched him, trying to gauge the situation. ''No,'' she said at last. ''Sorry, I should've checked it was ok first.'' ''No, no. That's ok. Not as if I was doing anything important.'' Maggie nodded. ''Even so.'' ''Look, why don't you come up and I'll make that coffee.'' ''What about us?'' chirped Gary. ''Don't we get one?'' ''No!'' Frank sat up and looked on in amusement. ''Thought you'd just had coffee Maggie. What about something cold instead?'' He held up a can. ''No thanks. I'm driving remember.'' ''Pity. Another time maybe. When you won't be driving home,'' he smirked. Maggie shot him a look then turned away. ''Give it a rest Frank,'' retorted Buddha. ''Well well. What's going on here guys?'' called a female voice. ''This should be interesting,'' said Frank, giving Gary a kick. Inwardly Maggie groaned, wondering how bad this day could get. Buddha ran his hand over his head, looking decidedly uncomfortable. In unison they stared at the blonde walking up the path. ''Isn't someone going to introduce us then,'' she barked. ''Karen, this is Maggie. Maggie, Karen,'' said Buddha dejectedly. Both women nodded, saying nothing. ''Buddha was just going to take Maggie up to his for a coffee,'' said Gary pointedly. Buddha shot him a daggered look. ''Oh he was, was he? Feelin' kinda thirsty myself. Mind if I join you?'' asked Karen. ''Oh well, if she's going we'd be as well come too,'' said Frank. Maggie met eye contact with Buddha and could see he was as thrilled at the prospect as she was. ''Actually, I think I'll take a raincheck. It's later than I thought. Time I headed off if I want to miss the worst of the traffic.'' ''It won't get busy for a while. Half an hour won't make much difference surely,'' said Buddha, suddenly feeling guilty. ''Well, I've got some fuzzbutts in the car; I really should get them home.'' ''Fuzzbutts? What the hell's a fuzzbutt?'' asked Gary. ''Any small furry animal really. In this case, rats,'' said Maggie smiling. ''You've gotta be kidding! Rats. You've got rats in your car?'' asked Karen. ''Six actually. Would you like to see them?'' asked Maggie sweetly. ''Fuck no! You don't half know some strange people Buddha,'' she added. ''Rats! Eugh!'' Maggie laughed, enjoying the discomfort of the other woman. It was a reaction she was well used to and it didn't bother her in the slightest. ''Well, it was nice to meet you boys,'' she said. Turning to Buddha she grinned. ''I'll give you advanced warning next time I'm through shall I? Give you time to flee the country.'' Without waiting for an answer she left. ''Maggie,'' he shouted. ''Wait.'' She stopped halfway up the path and waited on him. ''Look, I'm sorry about all that. You caught me off guard, I didn't know what to expect, you know,'' he said, shrugging. She laid a hand on his arm. ''Don't worry Buddha, I know. Next time I'll phone you beforehand. Ok.'' ''Ok,'' he said, relieved. ''Unless, of course, you fancy a quiet night in in Dundee tonight?'' For a moment there was silence as her words sunk in then he grinned. ''Give me ten minutes.'' ''I'll give you five,'' she replied, walking away. ''I'll wait in the car.'' She turned to find him still watching her. ''And bring your toothbrush cos I ain't bringing you home again tonight.'' She unlocked the car and stowed the contents of the front foot well and seat in the boot. Next, she checked on her furry passengers in the back. All were curled up asleep, oblivious to the break in their journey. 'I'll better cut up some fruit,' she thought. Raking in the boot, a shadow fell over her. Looking up, she saw Buddha swinging a small bag. ''Is this what you're looking for?'' he asked. ''It was lying on the pavement. Be careful, the bag's burst,'' he warned. ''Yep, that's it.'' She took the bag from him and opened it. A bead of juice ran down the ripe fruit, landing on her hand. She looked at him and grinned impishly. ''Have you been licking my apples?''
Archived comments for Have You Been Licking My Apples?
RoyBateman on 28-03-2006
Have You Been Licking My Apples?
Well, he soon will be, with a bit of luck. And I'm making no jokes about plums, for a change. Thoroughly entertaining slice of life, and very well written. The characters are well-drawn and convincing - I could easily enjoy more of this!

Author's Reply:
Thanks Roy, glad you enjoyed it. More? well, you never know do you lol.

ailsa

niece on 29-03-2006
Have You Been Licking My Apples?
Dear Ruadh,
Enjoyed reading this ...!
Regds,
niece

Author's Reply:
Glad you did niece. Thanks for reading and commenting.

ailsa

Kazzmoss on 29-03-2006
Have You Been Licking My Apples?
Yes, it was good. The converseration just flowed neartly and there was no need for any other descriptions. Didn't understand it, mind, but you did list it under plain daft! - Kazz

Author's Reply:
Nothing really to understand Kazz, was just a slice of life possibility. Was a good exercise in dialogue though so I'm glad it came off. Thanks for taking time to comment.

love ailsa

HelenRussell on 31-03-2006
Have You Been Licking My Apples?
I think this might be the first time I've read your work- must say I thoroughly enjoyed it, left me with a huge grin at the end of it.
Regards
Sarah

Author's Reply:
If it put a smile on your face I can't ask for anything more. Glad you enjoyed it Sarah, thanks.

ailsa

Albermund on 31-03-2006
Have You Been Licking My Apples?
That was a darned good convincing write, R. Kept me guessing all the way. One thing bugs me. 'Have you been licking my apples?' Doesn't hit the spot for me. Something like 'Have you been checking out my peaches' seems more sensical. Possibly I'm missing something very obvious - not for the first time. Cheers, Albert 🙂

Author's Reply:
When I'm travelling with fuzzbutts I don't use water bottles because the shaking of the car drains them and the cages get soaking. Instead I cut up food with a high water content, usually apples or cucumber, hence the apples. Also, I didn't want something as obvious as peaches. The relationship between Maggie and Buddha is open to interpretation, even they are still finding their feet. Her remark could have been perfectly innocent, but maybe not. Thanks for commenting Albert 🙂

ailsa

wfgray on 01-04-2006
Have You Been Licking My Apples?
The dialogue was perfect. It shows what mans you have to go to blag a cup of coffee. Or was it a dirty night out.

Author's Reply:
Who knows? lol As long as it was worth it who cares. At least the dialogue hit the spot 😉 thanks for commenting.

ailsa

Jen_Christabel on 01-04-2006
Have You Been Licking My Apples?
Snappy dialogue in this - I am dreadful with dialogue. Nicely done, good read Ailsa :o)
Jennifer x

Author's Reply:
Glad you enjoyed it Jennifer, thanks.

love ailsa

Kat on 02-04-2006
Have You Been Licking My Apples?
Ailsa, I thoroughly enjoyed this quirky read - the dialogue was great and the set up was all very intriguing. Loved your intro too! ;o) And it also took me back to living in Edinburgh and arguing with folks over residents' parking spaces!

Kat :o)

Author's Reply:
Thanks Kat. Hope I didn't stir up too many unpleasant memories 😉

love ailsa


Dressed To Perfection (posted on: 13-01-06)
A woman scorned is a dangerous thing, but perhaps there are others more evil.

Alec slowly slid the hangers along the rail, considering each dress carefully before moving on to the next. His eyes fell upon a purple silk one that Cassie had bought on her holiday to China that summer. His eyes shone in delight as he held it in front of him. The dark purple silk was overlaid with a floral print of light pink and deeper rose pink blossoms. It had a mandarin collar with a neat row of small black buttons along one shoulder. Sleeveless, it was ankle length with side slits. Sliding his hand over the smooth material he nodded appreciatively. "This is the one!" Glancing at Cassie lying on the bed, half covered with a sheet, he smiled then went into the bathroom and turned on the shower. Testing the temperature he stepped into the spray. For the next few minutes he simply stood, letting the warm water cascade over him. Reaching for the shower gel, he squeezed the rose scented liquid into his hand then rubbed it into his skin. Afterward he patted himself dry with a towel then pulled on a robe. He filled a basin with warm water, gathered together a flannel, soap and a fresh towel, then he padded through to the bedroom. "Cassie," he called softly, "I have a treat for you." Setting the things he brought on the bedside table, he pulled back the sheet. Dipping the flannel into the water, he wrung it out then gently washed Cassie's face. "There, that looks better. We must have you looking pretty for your visitors now mustn't we my dear. And you will have plenty of those once word gets out." Picking up the clothes he'd discarded earlier, he crossed the room and opened a holdall. Carefully he took out a pile of clean clothes and a pair of shoes, setting them on the floor, then he threw the dirty clothes inside and closed it. Reaching to the nearby chair, he picked up the silk dress and walked back to the bed. "What do you think of my choice Cassie? Do you like it? Silly question really, of course you like it, it was you who bought it after all! I love silk, love the way it glides over the skin. Sexy, don't you think?" He sat down on the bed. "Time to get you dressed I think, then I must leave." Pulling Cassie's lifeless body into an upright position, he threw his crisp white shirt around her shoulders then let her fall back onto the mattress. Manipulating her arms into the sleeves, he pulled the front together and fastened the buttons. Straddling her body, he pulled his trousers over her feet and up her legs. Sweating with the effort of it all he stood up. "Not a bad fit, not bad at all. Now it's my turn!" Shaking in anticipation, he picked up the purple silk dress, holding it in front of him. He brought it to his face, rubbing it gently against his skin. A tingle shot through his body and he shivered in delight. "Oh yes. Dear Lord yes, it will be a pleasure wearing you!" He pulled the dress over his head, groaning softly as it slid over his body. He smoothed it down, running his hands over it, revelling in his touch. Stepping into the black stilettos he'd retrieved from the holdall, he looked at himself in the mirror. "Now who could resist me?" he smiled insanely. Returning to the bedside, he brushed Cassie's hair. "Sweet, innocent Cassie, I'm sure you must be wondering why. It's simple really. You are everything I want to be intelligent, pretty, but most of all you are a woman. I want to be a woman but the doctor's disagree with me, refuse to let my dream come true. And so, I seek out woman who are roughly my size, and kill them, taking their place. One victim for each refusal, I'm sure you will have heard of me." Standing, he placed the hairbrush on the pillow. Taking a last look at the macabre scene he sighed, picked up his holdall and left. The Dresser had struck again.
Archived comments for Dressed To Perfection
Jen_Christabel on 13-01-2006
Dressed To Perfection
I liked this, I liked it very much :o)

I think the 'reveal' at the end could be slightly changed, he seemed to spill the beans in one go. I would liked to have seen him talking this through as he dressed the body.

Super read :o)

Jen x



Author's Reply:
You could be right there Jen, I'll have another look at it. Thanks for the suggestion.

love ailsa

froget on 13-01-2006
Dressed To Perfection
Nicely written. But I guessed what was happening at the line: then gently washed Cassie's face.
You need to be careful how much you give away and try to keep the shocking punch for the ending.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for your thoughts Froget, I didn't think that would give it away.

ailsa

RoyBateman on 14-01-2006
Dressed To Perfection
Mm...creepy, to say the leat, and just the right length too - any longer and it would have been hard to sustain the almost palpable tension. I guessed she was dead, but not the final denouement - well done!

Author's Reply:
Thanks Roy, I'm glad knowing she was dead didn't spoil your enjoyment. You're right about the length, I couldn't have kept it going with the same effect.

love ailsa


Second Sight (posted on: 13-01-06)
A supernatural tale...

Meredith glanced over her appearance in the mirror one last time. A slight adjustment to her witch's hat and she gave herself a nod of approval. It was Halloween and she was going to a fancy dress with her friends. ''Meredith! Darren is here,'' shouted her dad. ''Coming.'' She picked up her broomstick and joined Darren downstairs. ''Will I do?'' she asked impishly. Darren looked her over and shook his head. ''Nah, you're too pretty to be a hag.'' Laughing, she linked her arm with his. ''Well I think the devil costume suits you just fine.'' Darren handed her a small box. ''Happy Birthday!'' Meredith smiled and kissed him on the cheek. ''Thank you!'' ''Don't thank me yet, you haven't seen what's inside.'' Removing the lid, she revealed a pair of spider earrings. ''They're perfect!'' she said, putting them on. She poked her head around the living room door. ''We're off now.'' ''Have a nice time,'' replied her mum. ''Don't be late back! Stay together and don't accept gifts from strangers!'' warned her dad. ''We won't,'' Meredith shouted before closing the door. The village hall was a short, ten minute walk away. Ghosts, witches, devils and various other guises poured onto the narrow winding streets. Every so often Meredith would see a figure that appeared to be shrouded in fog even though the night was clear. '''Must be a trick of the light,' she thought. They could hear the noise from the party goers long before they could see them. They stared at the transformation that had been made by the decorations. The ceiling of the hall was swathed in bats of various sizes, spiders dangled precariously from webs and carved pumpkin faces shone eerily from the windowsills. The walls had been covered in black paper with ghosts, witches and ghouls dancing all around. ''There's Kate and Jack over by the apple stand,'' said Darren, pointing and pulling her after him. Jack was dressed as a red devil but Kate wore only a simple white dress. Jack spotted the couple as they approached and waved in greeting. ''Nice costume Darren. Unique,'' he said wryly. And where did you find this beautiful witch? Meredith will be furious.'' ''Would I dare?'' said Darren with feigned shock. Meredith punched him playfully. ''Your costume is appropriate I see Jack.'' Puzzled, she looked at Kate. ''Are you a ghost?'' Kate laughed, revealing a pair of fangs. ''No, though I'm beginning to wish I was! I'm actually a Baobhan Sith.'' ''A what?'' asked Darren. ''See! I told you no-one would know what that was,'' teased Jack. ''A Baobhan Sith. You know, The White Women?'' She threw up her hands in defeat and shook her head. Jack came to their rescue. ''They're ghost like vampires in the guise of beautiful women. They entice men to dance with them then drink their blood.'' ''Ah,'' said Darren. ''I won't be signing your dance card then.'' ''Very funny!'' rebuked Kate. ''Never mind him,'' consoled Meredith. ''How about some Apple Dookin?'' she suggested in an attempt to lighten the mood. ''Sure, why not,'' replied Kate. ''You've got to be kidding!'' said Darren. ''Not at all,'' said Meredith. ''We need them for later to see who our husbands will be.'' Giggling, the girls linked arms and headed for the apple stall. A wooden barrel was filled to the brim with water and an assortment of red and green apples bobbed about in it. ''I'll go first,'' offered Meredith. With her hands behind her back, she leant over the barrel. On her first try the apple sank below the water and she surfaced gasping for air. Her second try was successful and she lifted her head, her prize clamped firmly between her teeth. Jack went next and managed to catch his apple on his first attempt. Rubbing his face with a towel he beamed. ''Who's the man?'' he boasted. Darren pushed him aside. ''Watch this then!'' In his haste he hadn't noticed a small puddle on the floor and slid head first into the waiting water. Howling with laughter, Jack pulled him out. ''I don't believe it! You jammy sod!!'' he said in disbelief. Dangling from its stalk, held firmly between Darren's teeth, was a shiny green apple. Darren circled his hips and made a stirring motion with his hands. ''I got it. I got it. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. I got it.I got it.Oh yeah.Oh yeah.'' ''Alright alright! Even I have to admit, THAT was impressive!'' conceded Jack. ''Now it's Kate's turn,'' said Meredith. Kate nervously approached the barrel of apples. With three gone they had more room to move about so would be harder to grab hold of. As she lowered her face to the water she instinctively closed her eyes. Seconds later she emerged, spluttering and with no prize. ''How do you expect to catch anything with your eyes shut?'' chided Jack. ''I'm not catching it with my eyes though am I?'' retorted Kate, disgruntled. She watched the apples rolling in the water and targeted one of the bigger ones in the middle. She made a dive for it but hit it with her chin and sent it hurtling below the water. ''Damn it'' she cursed. ''This is your third try Kate. If you don't get it this time you won't get another chance,'' warned Darren. ''Don't you think I know that?'' said Kate, irritated. Meredith took pity on her. ''I'll hold your hair back so it doesn't go in the water.'' She walked over and, before pulling her hair back, she scooped up an apple and pushed it into Kate's mouth. Kate stood up and proudly displayed her apple. The boys looked at one another, knowing that some trickery was afoot. Shrugging, they congratulated her on her hard won trophy. Jack gave her a hug. ''Now tell me, how, exactly, is that going to tell you who your future husband will be?'' ''Before the stroke of midnight, and by the light of the moon, I'll sit in front of my mirror and ask to see the face of the one I'll marry. Then I'll cut the apple into nine pieces. With my back to the mirror I'll eat eight of the pieces, the ninth I'll throw over my left shoulder. Turning to look over that shoulder, I'll see my beau in the reflection.'' ''Hmm, if it's anyone other than me you'll be in trouble,'' said Jack. A sharp intake of breath drew their attention. Meredith was standing staring into the crowded, a frightened look on her face. ''Meredith? Are you ok? You look like you've seen a ghost,'' said Kate concerned. Without turning Meredith asked: ''The fog, where is it coming from?'' ''Fog?'' replied Darren. ''There is no fog Meredith.'' ''Maybe she means the smoke machine in the witch's cave,'' suggested Jack. ''I think I can tell the difference between a smoke machine and fog!'' spat Meredith. ''Its not everywhere, it's just on people. Some are completely covered in it, others only partially.'' She turned to look at them and raised her hands to her face. ''What is it? What's wrong?'' demanded Darren. ''Meredith!'' Slowly she lowered her hands. She could see Darren clearly but Kate and Jack's features were blurred. ''I don't understand,'' she whispered, slowly backing away. ''I don't understand what's happening! Can't you see?'' she cried to Darren. Darren grabbed her by the shoulders. ''I don't see anything Meredith,'' he told her gently. Worried, he turned to the others. ''I'm going to take her outside for some fresh air, maybe that will help.'' Jack and Kate nodded and watched as he guided her through the hall. ''What do you think all that was about?'' asked Jack. Kate shrugged. ''I really don't know but she is sure acting weird.'' Outside, a short distance away from the hall, Meredith sat on a wall. Darren looked at her, concerned. ''Did you have a drink before I picked you up?'' Meredith gave a snort of disgust. ''I'm not drunk Darren!'' ''I didn't say you were. I just wondered if you'd had a drink to celebrate your birthday, and if someone had spiked it.'' She gave a heavy sigh. ''I haven't had anything.'' Tears glistening in her eyes she whispered: What's happening to me?'' Darren wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close. ''I don't know, I just don't know.'' Wearily she laid her head on his shoulder and closed her eyes. Immediately a blurred figure appeared, then another. She wanted to open her eyes yet she was drawn to her vision, desperately wanting to know who these people were. Gradually the images became clearer though still shrouded in a fine mist. With a start her eyes shot open. ''They're all dead,'' she cried. Darren stared at her. ''What do you mean, they're all dead? Who's dead?'' ''The people I've been seeing.'' She clutched at him. ''Don't you see? It's Halloween. The veil between the two worlds is thin enough for the spirits to pass through. That's what I've been seeing! The people in the fog are ghosts.'' Darren looked at her as if she was mad. ''Ok then. What about the people who were parially covered?'' ''Oh my god,'' she said slowly as realization dawned. ''It's a premonition. They're going to die. They're all going to die.'' She gazed at the building. ''Something must happen. We've got to warn them, we have to get them out.'' She ran towards the building. When she was halfway there she heard screaming and saw flames engulfing the windows. Jack-O-Lanterns grinned evily through the windows, seemingly enjoying the carnage inside as fire ripped through the paper decorations they'd admired when they arrived. Meredith sank to the ground, sobbing. Darren fell to his knees beside her, frantically dialling the emergency services on his mobile. ''I was too late. I could've saved them but I was too late.'' Darren squeezed her arm. ''I don't think you could have,'' he said sadly. ''The spirits were here to show them the way.'' The End
Archived comments for Second Sight
Jen_Christabel on 13-01-2006
Second Sight
A cracking little read Ruadh!

I felt myself there at the party, and IMHO that's the sign of a good write, being able to 'picture' something happening.

It was spooky, without being over-the-top and I thoroughly enjoyed the read.

Jen :o)

Author's Reply:
Glad you enjoyed it Jen, thanks.

love ailsa

shackleton on 15-01-2006
Second Sight
You scary person, Ailsa! I had a shiver down my spine when she first saw the fog around the people. Good read. Happy new year!

Author's Reply:
Och now, you know I'm just a half pint, how can I be scary? Glad you enjoyed it.

love ailsa


The Lost Boys (posted on: 09-01-06)
Written after my son's friend was killed in his car last year.

A generation Slowly disappearing Enticed By long stretches of empty tarmac And the challenging call Of lady luck The black ribbons Always reveal Their danger too late Spilling the blood And forever marking The demise of their victims And even though flowers Stand as a reminder The warning doesn't register On young brains Fuelled with alcohol Whose only vision Is to caress the length Of black bitumen And live to tell the tale
Archived comments for The Lost Boys
Kat on 09-01-2006
The Lost Boys
Hi Ailsa

I think this is a very moving and effective piece about something that seems to be getting more and more common and is a worrying phenomenon.

Thank you for sharing this.

Kat x

Author's Reply:
Sadly it is all too common an occurance and sadder still the kids don't seem to learn from it. Thanks Kat.

love ailsa

RoyBateman on 11-01-2006
The Lost Boys
Very moving, though deliberately undramatic...maybe that makes it all the more effective. An awful situation - it must scar a family for generations.

Author's Reply:
I'm sure it does Roy, thank you.

ailsa

Abel on 11-01-2006
The Lost Boys
Powerful piece, sad, true, real. Fine writing, ailsa!

Ward

Author's Reply:
Thanks Ward, appreciate your thoughts as always.

love ailsa

Gerry on 12-01-2006
The Lost Boys
Ailsa. By pure coincidence I have just been looking at a lamp- post that has suddenly sprouted flowers near to my place. Another young life. We have more poles with flowers on.
How can you teach folk who won't listen ?

Gerry x.

Author's Reply:
I wish I knew the answer to that Gerry. Thanks for reading.

ailsa

Bradene on 12-01-2006
The Lost Boys
A moving and well written piece Ailsa. A touching observation. Love Val x

Author's Reply:
Glad you liked it Val, thank you.

love ailsa

Transitions on 14-03-2006
The Lost Boys
A powerful and acute poem. I admire your work.

Your poem, which goes after a death reminds me of this one which anticipates a death that did not come.

I hope it is Ok to share it with you here.

The land lies bleeding

Hedgerows drip blood
Their fiery fingers
Ferocious
Devouring time
Narrowing space

The car
A hell hound
Slavering
Jaws awash with blood as yet unspilled
The eager minion, executor
Of my will to violent death

Screams of my tyres
Exclaim the agony
That is yet to shatter bones and open flesh

The landscape bleeds
The sun
Is kissing the land
One long and scorching
Kiss goodbye

The earth is spread-eagled
Her face is green
Her skin yellowing
Her limbs torn
Flecked everywhere with blood

She is shafted ever deeper
Through and through
The penetrating spears of asphalt black
Thrust everywhere

The car
Tears through crimson hedge rows
Pounding its violent heartless, heart-beat will
To destruction

It is all so glorious, so magnificent
This vision of Hell
Its poetry, this fall,
This damnation
This yielding of the year
To death

Night reaches down
Grey finger tips
Preceding hands of darkness

The sun, defiant
Rages.
His last strong violent embraces
Set all the earth aflame

She is revealed
In her innermost greenness
As he reaches beneath her
Before he is drowned
In his own blood.



































j


Author's Reply:
Love some of the imagery in your work. Thanks for reading and commenting on this piece, and for sharing your own.

ailsa


Out of Reach (posted on: 09-01-06)
The sadness of a breakdown.

Four white walls Absorb your pain They listen To your incessant chanting No-one else wants to hear They witness Your progression From indignant protestor To babbling idiot They watch The fire die in your eyes Drain from your soul I see it too And my heart weeps with sorrow You cling to me As if somehow I can free you from this prison You've built with your own mind But I cannot help you Any more than I can save myself
Archived comments for Out of Reach
Jen_Christabel on 09-01-2006
Out of Reach
This is extremely poignant and beautifully conveys the pains of someone during a breakdown.
I loved this bit

They watch
The fire die in your eyes

When I first began to suffer with depression I was told by someone, 'The fire's gone from your eyes', so I found this most touching, for me personally.

Jen :o)

Author's Reply:
Thanks Jen. I know that 'the eyes being a window to the soul' is a bit of a cliche but I think the eyes reveal so much about a person. The fire or life truly does disappear. I'm glad you were able to relate to it.

love ailsa

Romany on 09-01-2006
Out of Reach
But I cannot help you
Any more than I can save myself


Quite a vivid insight into the helplessness felt by someone who must watch a loved one suffer depression and breakdown (as have I.) I think you will touch a lot of people with this one.



Author's Reply:
Thanks Romany. It's one of the worst feelings in the world.

ailsa

dylan on 09-01-2006
Out of Reach
Very emotional piece, Ailsa.
As always, one or two suggestions.
I always find that when dealing with poignant work, understatement is far more powerful.
Most poetry readers are highly imaginative, so perhaps slightly less detail would allow more emotional scope.
ie-
Four white walls
Absorb your pain
and echo
your incessant cries

They witness
Your descention.

They watch
The fire die in your eyes
Drain from your soul.

I see it too
And my heart weeps .

You cling to me
As if somehow
I can free you from this prison

But I cannot help you
Any more than I can save myself

Obviously, these are only suggestions-please ignore the ramblings of an eldery gent, if you wish.
XXX,
D.

Author's Reply:
Less is often more and you've given me a lot to think about. Thank you for taking time to read and make suggestions, I appreciate it.

love ailsa

niece on 10-01-2006
Out of Reach
Ailsa, this is beautifully written...and I am sure most can associate with it. Tho' I've come very close to one myself, I just know how awful it can. As your poems mentions, the person feels utterly helpless and that's the saddest part.
regds,niece

Author's Reply:
It's a sad situation for both the victim and the ones who watch. Thanks for commenting Niece.

ailsa

Abel on 11-01-2006
Out of Reach
One wonders if its worse on the loved one than the victim of the illness, but it is a horrific prospect to ponder, total loss of one's mind. Beautifully, realistically described. Thanks for this.

Ward

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 11-01-2006
Out of Reach
That's something I cannot answer Ward, both are awful places to be in. Thank you for reading and commenting.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

Gerry on 12-01-2006
Out of Reach
Ailsa, I think you captured this very well. Not an easy subject to write about...

Gerry x.

Author's Reply:
Thanks Gerry, appreciate it.

ailsa

Abel on 13-01-2006
Out of Reach
Oh my, Ailsa, almost perfection. A frightening read, the helplessness conveyed is so real.

Brilliant,

Ward

Author's Reply:

Abel on 13-01-2006
Out of Reach
PS I just had to comment again...sorry,

Ward

Author's Reply:
Comment as many times as you wish my friend 😉 Glad you liked it. And thank you for your hot story vote.

love ailsa

eddiesolo on 07-03-2006
Out of Reach
Hi Ailsa,

This is a good write on a tough subject.

I do think that you have captured the emotions very well...

Si:-)

Author's Reply:
hi Si

Thanks for that, appreciate it.

love ailsa

Transitions on 14-03-2006
Out of Reach
A powerful poem, very moving.
I am loathe to criticise, but I would like to see something of the impersonal unfeeling unresponsive character of the walls, which appear to be the subject of the poem.
Weirdly, it seems from this that the walls offer more than you.
That is not true.
Walls can contain in a positve way or a negative way. They do not see or witness, unless stained with stuff, maybe psychic stuff.

I have sat or stood in a prison cell protesting against this sick society we live in.

But I have not been mad enough yet to be out of reach, though I was close to it a while ago.

Author's Reply:
That is certainly a different slant to think about Transitions. Thanks for your suggestions.

ailsa

Poet on 27-04-2006
Out of Reach
Anyone who loves someone with mental illness can relate and perhaps learn something from this piece. Hearty congratulations on penning it, for it is poignant and evocative, yet tinged with such sensitivity and compassion that I dare say the poet knows whereof they speak.

It's bad for the unfortunate, and for the family of same, who are also unfortunate.

Peace to you always,

Gary

Author's Reply:

Poet on 27-04-2006
Out of Reach
BTW the walls could serve as a useful metaphor for the hopelessness stemming from being out of touch with one's spirit during these kinds of tribulations. The walls could certainly be main characters to the poor person suffering. I applaud the perspective and think it works to the ultimate advantage of the poem. Thanks for sharing this with others.

Author's Reply:


Smoke and Mirrors (posted on: 03-10-05)
Secrets are never kept

You incubated your children
Kept them warm
With your cloak of lies
Hiding in the smoke
With others
Stirring the fire
Reflecting your deception
Little did you know
One day the mirror
Would crack
Smashing your illusion
And revealing the truth

Archived comments for Smoke and Mirrors
Claire on 2005-10-04 10:05:50
Re: Smoke and Mirrors
Oh god hun, I can see so much into this little poem of yours. Actually, I've just tread upon a secret recently, one that I would like to put back into that mirror...

Excellent poem hun.

Author's Reply:
Thanks Claire. Sometimes I wish I could too.

love ailsa

e-griff on 2005-10-04 19:43:23
Re: Smoke and Mirrors
this is a nice expression. in generality. without specifics to fix upon, that's all it is - a decoration, a sounding nice -
ground this in reality, specifics, and it could be powerful. 🙂

Author's Reply:
This is grounded in reality John, my reality. I wish I could be more specific but I can't unfortunately. I do take your point though. Thanks for reading and commenting.

love ailsa

Sunken on 2005-10-06 18:46:53
Re: Smoke and Mirrors
Strong stuff. I can read so much into this and probably still get it all wrong. That just makes it all the more intriguing though. Ten from me, 'cause I say so.

s
u
n
k
e
n

he's just discovered teletext and believes it to be the future

Author's Reply:
Thanks Sunk. Does it matter if you interpret it wrongly? Poetry is often interpreted differently by different people, as long as you get something out of it it doesn't matter.

love ailsa

ThePhoenix on 02-05-2006
Smoke and Mirrors
I was thinking the same as sunken that with such an ambigious poem so many people can relate (whether in the same context as the writer intended or not) i think i'm far to obvious with my subjects of reflection and shall henceforth be more secretive.

a great poem thanks. d

Author's Reply:


Mother (posted on: 03-10-05)
Life changes almost without us realising.

Sometimes, I forget
You are growing older
Along with me
Somewhere, through the years
You became ageless
Simply 'were'
Nurturing me in life
As you had protected me
In your womb
Invisible nuggets of experience
Spooned into cups of tea
And sliced up with gingerbread
As I watch my children grow
I realise my role is changing
As is yours
Someday, all too soon
I will rely on your wisdom
Stored deep in my memory

Archived comments for Mother
karenuk on 2005-10-03 13:17:10
Re: Mother
My parents both turned 60 this year and that made me feel older than my own birthday milestones have so far, so this poem touched me.

I thought these lines were beautiful -

Invisible nuggets of experience
Spooned into cups of tea
And sliced up with gingerbread

Karen x

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-10-03 14:29:37
Re: Mother
That's how it's done isn't it, when you think you're having a blether about nothing over a cuppa 🙂

My father died a few years ago at only 61 but I can still remember the day I looked at him and realised he was an old man.

Thanks Karen.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

allieuk on 2005-10-03 14:29:46
Re: Mother
I completely agree with Karen, those lines are so beautiful and so true. This was lovely 🙂

Allie x

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-10-03 14:38:36
Re: Mother
Thanks Allie, appreciate the read and comment.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Kat on 2005-10-03 17:39:12
Re: Mother
A beautiful poem, Ailsa, which I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

Kat 🙂

Author's Reply:

Gerry on 2005-10-03 21:04:04
Re: Mother
Nicely done.
I will keep quiet about my age 😉

Gerry xxx.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-10-03 22:12:02
Re: Mother
Glad you enjoyed it Kat, thanks.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-10-03 22:15:50
Re: Mother
Thanks Gerry.
Aww, spill the beans, go on, be a devil 😉
(Ok, I'll go first, I'm 37 end of the month)

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

Gee on 2005-10-03 23:15:17
Re: Mother
Yes, you always think your parents are going to be around forever. The part where you say this -
"Somewhere, through the years
You became ageless
Simply ‘were’"
- shows that particularly.
Very well written and very true, Ailsa.

Author's Reply:
Thanks Gee, appreciate it.

love ailsa

niece on 2005-10-04 08:17:40
Re: Mother
Dear Ailsa,
How very true! Parents-and mothers, in particular- leave a whole set of values with you without actually making it so obvious. Right now, I am in the process of discovering them too.
Regds,niece


Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading and commenting Niece.

ailsa

shackleton on 2005-10-04 22:51:46
Re: Mother
There comes a time when we replace our parents, Ailsa. It's the inevitable cycle of life. I looked in the mirror yesterday and realised how old I'm getting - then I reflected on what competent young women my daughters have become. Enjoyed your poem - set me thinking. Take care. I hope the wotsaname is going OK. Got 3 for you as soon as I can catch my breath. Tatty bye.

Author's Reply:
Sadly that's true Mike. Glad you enjoyed it. The wotsaname is going ok, send yours along when you're ready, plenty of time.

love ailsa

Sunken on 24-12-2005
Mother
I notice I'm not the only one who's been missing from Uka for a while young Ailsa. I demand you make a new years resolution to return with more of what we see here. You mention 'nuggets of experience' It's only fair that you share a few(-; I need all the nuggets I can get. Take care.

s
u
n
k
e
n

if all men are equal, why does he feel so small

Author's Reply:
Yep, I've been away for a while. Hopefully I'll have something new for you to read soon 🙂

love ailsa


The Talking Photograph (posted on: 30-09-05)
Some things can't be forgotten

Katya looked at the picture in her hand and her mind was cast back to a time when she was only a child, a time so horrific that she had blocked much of it out of her mind in order to survive the ordeal. Now she was an old woman and less people remembered those times, lesser still even cared. They told her the camps were a thing of the past, they existed only in her memories and in her nightmares. But the photograph reminded her how very real they had been and she wept for those forgotten by time.
Archived comments for The Talking Photograph
karenuk on 2005-09-30 20:14:10
Re: The Talking Photograph
Nicely done 🙂
Karen x

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-30 20:28:51
Re: The Talking Photograph
Thanks Karen 🙂

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-10-02 15:53:30
Re: The Talking Photograph
Some things should never be forgotten.
Thanks Tai-Li.

ailsa

Author's Reply:


Death Song (posted on: 26-09-05)
Temporary title. Death isn't always the worst thing to happen.

You didn't see her face When life dripped from her veins And was absorbed By the earth Any more Than you heard her screams As a stranger's hands Defiled her flesh You didn't care Her wounds were hidden within And only bled Within her mind That the scars Festered beneath Tainting her sanity But you should have heard her heart sing As her soul flew free And smiled As she left your carnage behind
Archived comments for Death Song
Bradene on 2005-09-26 11:41:13
Re: Death Song
Oh WOW!! and double WOW! this is great writing Ailsa. The subject is so hard to contemplate but you have made it just lash through my brain like a storm lashes and flatterns a corn field. Such vivd images. Great one this. Love Val x

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-26 12:14:24
Re: Death Song
You don't know how much I appreciate you saying that Val. Thank you!

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

chrissy on 2005-09-26 12:22:35
Re: Death Song
This is a very strong, well written piece. The violent images and the almost triumphant ending really bring the subject to life.
I feel that by her 'death' she has won.
Brilliant.
chrissy

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-26 12:28:17
Re: Death Song
I think she did Chrissy. Thanks for commenting.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

Kat on 2005-09-27 04:31:09
Re: Death Song
This is a strong title and so apt for the premise of your poem, ailsa. Great work!

Kat x

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-27 22:01:01
Re: Death Song
I wasn't sure about the title so thanks for your opinion. Appreciate you commenting.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

karenuk on 2005-09-29 10:16:00
Re: Death Song
Very clever. Loved the ending 🙂
Karen x

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-29 11:11:27
Re: Death Song
Thanks for reading and commenting Karen

ailsa

Author's Reply:


September (posted on: 26-09-05)
A day to remember

The cold September wind Blows through my memories Scattering the hope of yesterday Leaving only the loneliness Of here and now And yet, somehow The warmth of you resides Fragments dancing in the breeze The laughter of their tenacity Echoing a promise Of a brighter tomorrow
Archived comments for September
tai on 2005-09-26 09:23:03
Re: September
Hi ruadh, this brought a tear because I know they do that. Those last lines are beautiful.

All the best

Smiling again

Tai

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-26 10:19:19
Re: September
They do, don't they. Glad you enjoyed it Tai. Thanks.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

chrissy on 2005-09-26 10:58:27
Re: September
Lovely, from the sentiments expressed to the writing absolutely lovely.
chrissy

Author's Reply:

Bradene on 2005-09-26 11:22:11
Re: September
This is beautiful, Sad but beautiful. I know the feeling well, quite apart from the obvious I hate the thought of Winter and September always reminds me that Spring is so far away. Love Val x

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-26 11:28:16
Re: September
Thanks Chrissy, glad you liked it.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-26 11:31:10
Re: September
Thanks Val. Was reminiscing about a day in September a few years ago. It was only a day but so much more too.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

Gerry on 2005-09-26 17:45:24
Re: September
Ailsa, a lovely poem--very well written...

Gerry.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-26 20:43:18
Re: September
Thanks Gerry, appreciate it. Glad you enjoyed it.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Abel on 2005-09-26 20:49:57
Re: September
What remains can indeed give hope...beautifully expressed, ailsa.


Ward

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-26 20:56:32
Re: September
A life without hope is no life at all. Thanks for reading and commenting Ward.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

Warhorse on 2005-09-27 07:53:10
Re: September
Hi There Ruadh

What the hell is it about September and affairs of the heart.

every time I got a chic to kiss me in July,
come September, she was avoiding me.

my mate says it was me.

Myself i reckon the melancholy brought by September and Autumn.

you have captured that melancholia perfectly.

sorry it might have happened, but trust me they usually return come November rains.

well done and a beautiful piece.

didn't mean to be flippant, just wanted to cheer you up.

regards

Mike.


Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-27 21:57:27
Re: September
Hi Mike

There could be something to your theory. (There's a song called November Rain, do you know it? Maybe not ... it's one of my favourites.) Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for voting it as a favourite, cheered me up no end 🙂

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 2005-09-28 08:13:59
Re: September
Really enjoyed this young Ruadh. 10 from me.

s
u
n
k
e
n

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-29 11:10:11
Re: September
Thanks Sunk ... glad you enjoyed it.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

Gee on 2005-09-29 23:01:24
Re: September
What a lovely bittersweet poem. Memories can be both wonderful and painful, can't they?

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-29 23:10:33
Re: September
They can indeed Gee. Thanks for commenting.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:


Blessing in Disguise (posted on: 19-09-05)
may disturb

The tiny mass
Slithers onto the table
Cast out
By the filthy womb
Of its crackhead mother
Who sold her body
To fund her addiction
Caring more
About her next fix
Than safe sex
And even less
About the consequences
The syphilitic limbs
And jaundiced skin
Of the rejected babe
A testimony of fate
Sealed by narcotic need
Its breath, never taken
Stolen away
By an angel's kiss

Archived comments for Blessing in Disguise
karenuk on 2005-09-19 10:23:39
Re: Blessing in Disguise
A very difficult subject, but you write about it very well and that's a very powerful poem.

Karen.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-19 12:02:20
Re: Blessing in Disguise
Thanks for reading and commenting Karen, appreciate it.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Griffonner on 2005-09-19 20:46:03
Re: Blessing in Disguise
Yes indeed: A very difficult subject. And you dealt with it exceedingly well IMHO. You might imagine that the last two lines were my favourites, here you brought the most brilliant light and hope to an otherwise tragic story of modern times.
Griffonner

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-19 21:00:21
Re: Blessing in Disguise
Thanks for that Griffonner

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Gerry on 2005-09-20 21:14:51
Re: Blessing in Disguise
Many could learn from this-- but would they?
A powerful poem. Very well written.

Gerry.


Author's Reply:

Elfstone on 2005-09-20 21:40:19
Re: Blessing in Disguise
Well done ruadh; this is a brave and gritty poem. To say "I like it" would be wrong but I am impressed by it. Elfstone.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-20 21:54:39
Re: Blessing in Disguise
I doubt they would Gerry, thanks.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-20 21:55:33
Re: Blessing in Disguise
Thanks Elfstone. I know what you mean.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-23 22:26:56
Re: Blessing in Disguise
Thanks Glen. You don't know how much that means to me.

ailsa

Author's Reply:


Noodles Bite Back (posted on: 19-09-05)
A moment of madness

Jack groaned as he walked along the road clutching his stomach. 'I don't feel too good. What on earth have I eaten? Must've been that casserole Simon made. Should've stuck to Pot Noodles. Always said he couldn't cook!'

Breaking out in a sweat, he stopped and leant against the wall.

''Oi, you there!''

Opening his eyes, Jack stared into the darkness. They grew wide with terror at what he saw emerging from the shadows. 'No, it can't be!'

The thing came towards him, taunting him. ''Eat me. Come on, you know you want to!''

Jack shrank back against the wall, recoiling in horror as the thing came even closer. Soon it stood right in front of him. ''Not so brave now are you? I heard what you said to Simon. Noodleman huh!''

''It was a joke,'' Jack stammered. ''He's always eating noodles. I said he'd turn into one if he wasn't careful. It was a joke that's all, just a joke!''

''Do you hear me laughing?''

''No. No,'' whispered Jack as he slid slowly to the ground.

''Guess what? That means I didn't find it funny. In fact, I found it highly offensive. And do you know what that means?'' he added menacingly.

''No. What?''

''That means I have to eat you.''

''Eat me?'' shrieked Jack. ''You can't do that!''

''Why not? Humans eat us all the time.''

''I don't! I don't even like noodles.''

''I see. And what is it about noodles that you don't like hmm? Not tasty enough for you? Like something with a bit more flavour, do we? Or maybe there's not enough meat in our pots. Is that it?''

Realising his situation had gone from bad to worse, Jack could only open and close his mouth in silence. He watched in horror as the thing charged towards him, its foil lid slowly peeling downwards, looking like some kind of crazy silver grin. Suddenly everything went black.


Back at the flat, Simon toyed with the LSD in his hand. ''That'll teach him to take the mickey out of me for eating Pot Noodles all the time. Must admit, the casserole made a nice change though. Wonder if he's home yet? Hope he had a good trip.''


Archived comments for Noodles Bite Back
shadow on 2005-09-19 17:13:31
Re: Noodles Bite Back
Oh no! The ultimate nightmare - carnivorous Pot Noodles. Never liked the things anyway. No, no (looks round fearfully) I didn't say that! Definitely won't sleep tonight ...

Author's Reply:

Griffonner on 2005-09-19 20:42:47
Re: Noodles Bite Back
Very dark and wicked, this.
I had a good trip through it, though.
*Smiling broadly*
Griffonner


Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-19 21:01:45
Re: Noodles Bite Back
Doesn't bear thinking about does it. Thanks Shadow.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-19 21:02:19
Re: Noodles Bite Back
haha, glad you enjoyed it

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Kat on 2005-09-20 02:37:20
Re: Noodles Bite Back
Hi Ailsa

I enjoyed this bit of quirky and very imaginative writing!

Cheers

Kat 🙂

Author's Reply:

shackleton on 2005-09-20 10:56:53
Re: Noodles Bite Back
Scary lady! Nice touch of dark anarchy here, Ailsa. Enjoyed this - innovatative! Bye now.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-20 21:52:24
Re: Noodles Bite Back
Good to hear Kat, thanks 🙂

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-20 21:53:25
Re: Noodles Bite Back
Who? Me? Not at all Mike 😉

Author's Reply:


Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String (posted on: 16-09-05)
Sometimes we choose to do the wrong thing, and all we have left are regrets.

A loud knock at the door made Leslie jump, spilling hot coffee onto her knee.

''Damn! Who the hell is that at this time of night?'' she cursed.

Tiptoeing into the hall, two shadows could be seen beyond her front door.

''Who is it?'' she called out.

''Miss Westwood?''

''Yes?''

''It's the Police. Could you open the door please.''

Her blood ran cold. Although she had no idea what they were here for, this late at night it had to be bad news. Fumbling with the locks, she opened the door. The uniformed officers held out their Id's for her to examine.

''I'm Sergeant Boyd, this is PC Mathieson. Sorry to disturb you so late miss, can we come in?''

She waved them inside and led them into the livingroom, waiting anxiously to hear what they had to say.

''I'm afraid I have some bad news Miss Westwood. A man we believe to be your father was discovered dead early this evening.''

Leslie looked at him blankly. ''My father?'' she said at last.

She sank onto the chair behind her. Whatever she had expected to hear, this was not it. She had not spoken a word to her father in twelve years.

''How? Where?'' she asked.

The policemen exchanged uncomfortable glances.

''He was found hanging from a tree, in waste ground beside the railway line.''

A gasp of horror escaped her lips. The man sat down opposite her and observed her with pity.

''I'm sorry, I know this must be difficult for you, but do you know any reason why he would have done this?''

She looked at him, anger flashing in her eyes. ''I haven't had any contact with my father for over twelve years officer. I can offer no suggestions as to why he did this.''

''May I ask why? That in itself may shed some light on the situation.''

''I doubt it. To put it at its simplest, my father hated me. My mother died when I was young. I suppose I was a burden to him, a millstone weighing heavily around his neck. I'm surprised he never put me into care, sometimes I'd wished he would!''

''Did he ever remarry?'' probed Sergeant Boyd hesitantly.

She scoffed. ''No. Alcohol became his mistress. He preferred a bottle of Jack's for company.'' She met his gaze. ''By the time I was thirteen I think he'd forgotten I existed most of the time. Until I asked him for money!'' She shrugged. ''A kid's gotta eat sometime.''

She stood up and paced the floor, eventually stopping at the window. ''It's funny, most of my friends were complaining about their parents interfering in their lives. Being too nosey, too strict. Having endless arguments about what time they should be home at. I could've snorted coke in front of mine and he wouldn't have blinked an eye.''

A thought occurred to her and she spun around to face them. ''How did you find me? I mean, how did you know who I was and where I lived?''

''From a letter your father had in his pocket,'' answered the sergeant.

''A letter? To me?'' she asked surprised.

''Yes.'' He opened his mouth to say something then paused. ''There's something else. Your father has to be formally identified. Are you up to it?''

''Can't anyone else do it?''

''Well, technically yes, but we prefer next of kin if possible.''

''I see. When?''

''As soon as possible.''

''I'll get my coat. Should I follow you down?''

''Best if you come in our car miss. It can wait 'til morning if you prefer. It won't be pleasant and you've already had a shock tonight.''

Leslie grimaced as she pulled on her jacket. ''Better to get it over with. Besides, it's never going to be pleasant is it?''

''No, of course not.''

The journey was a sombre one. Leslie stared out the window, deep in thought. She tried to remember the last words she had spoken to her father and flinched when the recollection hit. 'Never let your last words be ones of anger' her mother always warned. Why didn't she listen?

The lights of the hospital beckoned in the distance. The police car followed the road that weaved between the many buildings, finally drawing to a stop somewhere at the back.

''Are you sure you want to do this now?''

She nodded silently.

Inside, their footsteps echoed in the silent corridors, seeming strangely disrespectful. The policemen ushered Leslie into a small room and asked her to wait. They reappeared minutes later with a tall man wearing a white coat.

''We're ready for you now. If you'd like to follow me?'' he said quietly.

She stood up and walked after him. A knot grew in her stomach and her legs began to feel strangely detached from her body. He led her to a small room, stopping outside the door.

''When we go in, I want you to give me a nod when you are ready for the face to be revealed. I know it's a daunting task so take as long as you need.''

She nodded in understanding and they entered the room. She stared at the prone figure concealed by the crisp white sheet. Her mouth dried up as she desperately tried to swallow. The realisation of what she was about to do, what she was about to see, hit her. Raising her head, she met the gaze of the mortician and nodded.

She heard rather than saw the sheet being drawn back. Her eyes remained locked straight ahead for a minute as she tried to mentally prepare herself for what she was about to see. Taking a deep breath she allowed her line of sight to drop.

Initially she showed no reaction as she stared at the corpse in front of her. The grotesque image bore no resemblance to the man she knew. But as her eyes began to pick out the features she was familiar with her legs trembled and her voice tore from her throat.

''Nooooo!''

The officers behind her caught her falling body before it hit the ground. Together they carried her back to the small waiting room, laying her on a couch. The mortician waved smelling salts under her nose. She came to, gagging.

''Take deep breaths Leslie, long slow breaths. You're ok, you fainted, that's all.''

She looked around, eyes wild, as she struggled to control her breathing. She began coughing hard, streams of vomit splattering on the carpet. Gradually the retching stopped and sank back against the couch exhausted.

PC Mathieson handed her a glass of water and some tissues. She took them gratefully and wiped her mouth before taking a sip.

''Sorry about the mess,'' she said, waving to the carpet.

''Don't worry about it; someone will clean it up shortly. You've had a shock, just lie and relax for a while then we'll take you home.''

Sergeant Boyd, who had been talking quietly in the background to the mortician, approached.

''How are you feeling now?''

''I'm ok, just feel drained now.''

He nodded. ''That's to be expected.'' He crouched in front of her. ''I have to ask you, formally, was that man in there your father?''

''Yes,'' she whispered.

''Thank you Leslie. I'm sorry to have put you through this ordeal but it was necessary.''

''Can I go home now?''

''Sure. I'll just collect some paperwork. PC Mathieson will help you out to the car.''

''Are you able to walk? I can get a chair if you like.''

''No, no. I'll be fine.''

He helped her to her feet.

''Still a bit shaky there; take it at your own pace. Nice and easy.''

The mortician walked over to them, carrying a parcel. ''I wondered if you wanted these?'' he asked.

She looked him, puzzled. ''What is it?''

''It's your father's effects.''

Numb, she accepted and signed for them without a word.

''Let's get you home now.''

Alone in the back seat of the car, she gazed at the package sitting on her knee. Her fingertips ran over the smooth brown paper held together with rough string. All that was left of him lay on her lap. Images danced in front of her. The smell of alcohol filled her nostrils. The pain of rejection filled her heart. And she wept.


Archived comments for Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String
alcarty on 2005-09-16 17:32:17
Re: Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String
A sad little story, ruadh, but you presented it well. It read easily and the scenes followed smoothly. Well written.

Author's Reply:

shackleton on 2005-09-16 20:36:18
Re: Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String
You've left me feeling devasted, Ailsa.

‘Never let your last words be ones of anger’ Very true - and very difficult to avoid because we go through life speaking angry words to each other.

Good story - well told - I'm wondering if it's part of something longer.

I hope you and your gang are all well. Take good care now.



Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-16 22:40:49
Re: Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String
Thank you Alcarty, appreciate the read and comment.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-16 22:48:32
Re: Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String
It is difficult Mike. I suppose we rarely think they might be the last things we say. Funnily enough you're the third person to ask if it's part of a longer piece. Originally it wasn't but now it looks like it's going to have to be. I'll see where I can take it.

We're muddling along. Have been through a tough time as a family but we're coming out the other side now. Hope everything's well on your side.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:


Rose Coloured Glasses (posted on: 16-09-05)
Why do we see only what we want to see?

I built your pedestal too high
And was blind to the cracks
Others could see
By the time I became aware
Of your precarious balancing act
It was too late
But it was only me
That was hurt
When you fell

Archived comments for Rose Coloured Glasses
karenuk on 2005-09-16 15:19:54
Re: Rose Coloured Glasses
You got a lot of feeling and emotion in there, despite it being fairly short.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-16 15:57:51
Re: Rose Coloured Glasses
Thanks Karen. It is short. I tried adding to it but it only detracted from the piece 🙂

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Gerry on 2005-09-16 20:25:46
Re: Rose Coloured Glasses
Ailsa I liked it--said it all very succinctly.

Gerry

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-16 22:38:38
Re: Rose Coloured Glasses
Thanks Gerry 🙂

Author's Reply:

Leila on 2005-09-17 20:12:06
Re: Rose Coloured Glasses
mmm nicely done...L

Author's Reply:

Griffonner on 2005-09-17 22:25:41
Re: Rose Coloured Glasses
Isn't it amazing what a story you can tell with just fourty-one words? And you did it so damn well. Bravo. I liked this.
*Enviously*
Griffonner

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-17 22:30:40
Re: Rose Coloured Glasses
Thanks Leila

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-17 22:32:07
Re: Rose Coloured Glasses
Thanks Griffonner, appreciate it.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Kat on 2005-09-18 05:59:27
Re: Rose Coloured Glasses
Hi Ailsa

I enjoyed this - nice flow and well-written.

Cheers

Kat 🙂

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 2005-09-18 10:24:42
Re: Rose Coloured Glasses
Oh yeah, I know that feeling young Ruadh. Very well done, and with so few words. A one inch punch of a poem. Believe.

s
u
n
k
e
n

also available on lower purchase terms

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-18 13:07:21
Re: Rose Coloured Glasses
Hiya Kat. Glad you liked it.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-18 13:09:20
Re: Rose Coloured Glasses
Thanks Sunk. It's a bitch when that happens isn't it.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

Gee on 2005-09-18 20:40:48
Re: Rose Coloured Glasses
I like that very much, Ailsa. I thnk the shortness of it adds to the punch of the last few lines. It certainly doesn't need any more than what you have here.


Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-18 21:38:08
Re: Rose Coloured Glasses
Thanks for that Gee, I felt the same.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

Jolen on 2005-09-22 03:16:51
Re: Rose Coloured Glasses
Oh I loved this, the imagery and the powerful ending works for me.... too often that is how it is when we love, and when we finally do see them for what they really are, we are the one that pays.

Wonderful.

blessings,
Jolen

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-27 22:04:26
Re: Rose Coloured Glasses
Thanks Jolen. It's a hard lesson that's for sure.

ailsa

Author's Reply:


I Have So Much to Tell You (posted on: 12-09-05)
Sometimes things work out when we least expect it.

Connor Taylor. The words spun over and over in her mind. Connor Taylor. At last, she knew the name of her grandfather. Tears spilled from her eyes as she tried to absorb this nugget of information that had been given to her unexpectedly.

''Hello? Miss Lambert, are you there?'' asked an anxious voice.

Marnie gripped the receiver of the phone and cleared her throat. ''Yes, I'm still here. I was writing down the information you had given me, sorry.''

''That's quite all right,'' said the woman pleasantly. ''Now, it is lair number 560, in section C. Unfortunately it's in a fairly central position which will make it harder to find if you don't know where it is. I can send you out a map of the cemetery if you like? It's a rough copy which has been photocopied many times but it will help point you in the right direction.''

''That would be smashing,'' replied Marnie gratefully.

''If you give me your address I'll get it in the post to you today.''

''Thank you. It's 78 North Road.''

''Ok. I'll get that out to you by the end of today. Is there anything else I can do for you?''

''No, thank you. You've been most helpful. Bye.''

Marnie hung up and looked at the paper in front of her thoughtfully. All she had wanted was to find her grandmother's grave. She had discovered so much more it was overwhelming.

As she read through her hastily scribbled notes she felt a lump forming in her throat. For years, her grandmother was just a name, her grandfather even less. Now, with one phone call, she knew both their names, their dates of birth and her grandmother's death. Her hunger for knowledge gnawed at her and impulsively she grabbed her coat and car keys.

The black iron gates stood open, beckoning her into the cemetery. She followed the path around until she came to the upper half. Pulling over to the side, she stared at the rows of graves in front of her. 'I must be mad,' she thought. 'How the hell will I find one grave out of hundreds?' Tomorrow seemed too far away to wait for the map to guide her, so resolutely she stepped out of the car.

''Lair 560, section C,'' she muttered. ''Oh well, this as good a place as any to start I suppose.'' She wandered along the row, checking the names on the headstones. ''Bloom, Bloom, Bloom, nope.'' Morbid fascination took over as she scanned the huge stones and occasionally paused to read the inscriptions more fully.

She stopped abruptly at an old, particularly abandoned looking grave. Crouching down, she pulled away the weeds covering the lettering. ''Emily Jacobs, died aged three months, typhus, 1901,'' she read. 'Poor wee thing,' she thought. She cleared away the remaining vegetation and stood up. Nearby was an abundant rose bush and she broke a few blooms, placing them in the earth. ''Rest in peace little one.''

Continuing to walk along the rows she grew frustrated. ''There must be some way to find it that's quicker than this,'' she groaned. Out of the corner of her eye she spotted a gravedigger coming up the path. ''Of course! Why didn't I think of this before?''

Quickly she approached him. ''Excuse me.''

He looked up and smiled. ''Can I help you?''

''I hope so,'' she grimaced. ''Could you tell me where section C is? I've been looking for a grave for over an hour now with no luck.''

''Section C? You'll have to go further back.'' He walked along to the end of the row and pointed upwards. ''See where the path goes round up there, section C is the part facing you, on the other side. It goes back as far as the next path.''

Marnie groaned. ''No wonder I couldn't find it! Thank you, it would've taken me hours to work my way up there.''

The man nodded and waved.

Standing in front of section C she shivered involuntarily. ''Here goes nothing!'' She walked slowly along, carefully reading all the names. So intent was her attention she almost bumped into a man standing alone. Marnie apologised profusely and carried on in her search. Row after row passed until eventually she came to the end.

''It has to be here!'' she whispered.

''Did you find it?'' hailed a voice.

Turning, she saw it was the gravedigger again.

She shook her head helplessly. ''No, no I didn't. I don't know how I missed it, it has to be here.''

''Are you sure it's this section?'' asked the man gently.

''Section C, lair 560,'' she said adamantly.

''Ok. Come on, I'll help you find it.'' He knelt down to the nearest gravestone and peered at the side of it. ''You see this,'' he said, ''this tells you the section and the number of each grave. Back at the bothy I have a record of all the graves and the names of the people who are buried there.'' He smiled. ''I assume you know who you're looking for though?''

''My grandmother,'' she whispered. ''Hannah Bloom.''

''Let's go find her then. This is number 720 so we'll have to go back a few rows.''

They walked in silence, pausing briefly every now and then to check the numbers carved into the stones.

''This is 566.'' He counted along and pointed to one. ''Number 560, where that man is standing.''

Nervously Marnie walked along, the gravedigger following closely behind. She scanned the headstone in front of the man and the ones on either side. Frowning, she walked along a little but there was no 'Bloom' to be seen. Tired and disappointed she wept openly.

''I know what the problem is,'' said a quiet voice. ''I've checked the numbers, they jump from 559 to 561.''

Confused, Marnie stared at him. ''You mean her grave isn't here? How can that be?''

He looked at her with pity. ''The grave is here, but it's unmarked. I'm sorry.''

It took a few seconds for the implication of his words to sink in. ''Unmarked!'' she repeated. ''How could it be unmarked? I don't understand. How could they leave it like this?''

The gravedigger shrugged. ''I don't know. This is where your grandmother is buried, between these two stones,'' he said, pointing. ''Will you be ok?'' he asked with concern.

She nodded, wiping her face with the back of her hand. ''I'll be fine. It was just a shock.'' Turning away, she knelt on the grass.

''I'm so sorry Hannah,'' she sobbed. ''I'll sort it, I promise.''

A shadow fell over her from behind, startling her, and she quickly rose to her feet. In front of her stood the man she had seen earlier. He raised his hand.

''I'm sorry; I didn't mean to disturb you.'' He looked at her curiously. ''I overheard you, talking,'' he said awkwardly. ''Are you a relation of Hannah's? You look very much like her.''

Marnie gazed at the stranger in front of her. ''I do?'' she asked.

He nodded, silently.

''She was my grandmother. Sadly I never knew her though.''

For a moment there was silence then the man cleared his throat. ''That would make me your grandfather.'' He took a step closer. ''And I have so much to tell you.''

Archived comments for I Have So Much to Tell You
HelenRussell on 28-01-2006
I Have So Much to Tell You
Slightly predictable ending, but absolutely charming story 🙂
Nicely written
Sarah

Author's Reply:


Thoughtless (posted on: 12-09-05)
Sarcasm provoked by anger at the thoughtlessness of others.

How inconsiderate of her
To take so long to die
To grip so tightly
To the frail threads of life
How dare she
Keep you anxiously waiting
For her last breath
To come and go
So you could
Sigh in relief
I'm sorry
For not curbing my grief
And exposing you
To my sorrow
That alien emotion
You find so trite
Please don't feel
You have to stay
I don't remember
Asking you here
In the first place

Archived comments for Thoughtless
tai on 2005-09-13 15:00:31
Re: Thoughtless
Grief does strange things to folk Ruadh! The title is apt but forgive them, they know not what they do! But never apogise for being human. The grief process cannot be ignored, other than at our peril.

I know this.

All the best to you

Tai

Author's Reply:

Gee on 2005-09-13 20:39:38
Re: Thoughtless
I've felt this way too, Ailsa. If someone is suffering, you want it to end but this is a different thing altogether. Your anger comes through very strongly in this, as does your sorrow and grief.
And I feel that, to express our feelings, our sadness, is a tribute to that person we have lost.
I'm so sorry for your loss, but I'm sure the person you mourn knew how much you loved them.


Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-14 11:05:38
Re: Thoughtless
Wise words Tai, thank you.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-14 11:06:46
Re: Thoughtless
Thanks Gee, I think they did. I hope so anyway.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Abel on 2005-09-14 22:26:58
Re: Thoughtless
Wow, what powerful words here..."How inconsiderate of her
To take so long to die
To grip so tightly
To the frail threads of life
How dare she
Keep you anxiously waiting
For her last breath
To come and go
So you could
Sigh in relief"
Wonderful work, ailsa,

Best,

Ward


Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-14 22:39:42
Re: Thoughtless
Thanks Ward, appreciate the read and comment.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

discopants on 2005-09-15 10:29:12
Re: Thoughtless
I know someone in this exact position right now so your words have extra effect. Powerfully written, yet understated at the same time.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-15 10:31:49
Re: Thoughtless
Thanks Discopants. All the best to your friend.

ailsa

Author's Reply:


Angel Without Wings (posted on: 22-07-05)
A life for a life...

Wasn't really sure where this fitted in best.

The night was so incredibly beautiful but all I saw were the ruby drops in the snow and the broken wings of the murdered angel. Tears filled my eyes at the slaying of a creature so pure. As I sank to my knees, soft flakes gently floated to the ground, tears of mourning for the passing of this celestial being.

I looked around to see if anyone was watching, if someone could bear witness to what had happened, but there was no-one. Laying my hand on her broken body, I bowed my head and prayed quietly. On finishing my supplication for her soul I wiped away my remaining tears and disappeared into the shadows.

In bed, lying in the dark, she haunted me. Her dark brown eyes, those huge pools sparkling with life that slowly dimmed, retreating somewhere beyond the reach of mere mortals. I squeezed mine shut tightly. I didn't want to see her bewilderment, her unspoken accusations, her pain. Sweat oozed from every pore in my body. Throwing back the covers, I hastened to the living room and poured myself a drink. Knocking it back, I poured another.

The lights twinkled on the Christmas tree, bathing the room in a soft carousel of colour. As I watched them blinking on and off my line of vision was drawn upwards, and there, in the topmost branches, stood my nemesis. I wanted to look away but my gaze was held there by some invisible force. Her golden wings fanned out behind her, emphasising her unstained virtue, mocking me.

Feelings of shame consumed me. Unconsciously my hand strayed to my crutch, as if I expected to feel something different, anything to reassure me my actions had been justified.

''She gave her life to save mine!'' I muttered. ''The bible says 'a life for a life' doesn't it? I guaranteed her a place in Heaven,'' I cried, trying desperately to convince myself that my distorted views were correct.

A cold breeze blew through the room. The strings of sleigh bells strung about the walls began to tinkle. The baubles on the tree swung around as the branches shook. Down the chimney the wind hurled questions at me. Why? Why? Why? And all the time she loomed down at me, ominous in her silence. And as I stared at the angel, the tree disappeared and all I could see was her lifeless body in the snow.

''I didn't mean it to happen. I didn't mean for her to die. I just wanted to bathe in her innocence, for her pureness to cure me of this evil disease.'' I held my head in my hands. ''I didn't mean to kill her. She was making too much noise. I was frightened someone would hear. I put my hand over her mouth, to muffle her screams. When she was quiet I took it away. I didn't realise she wasn't breathing at first, when I did, I didn't know what to do. Then I thought, this is how it was meant to be. She died so I could be saved. A life for a life. Don't you see?'' I pleaded to the angel on the tree. ''A life for a life!'' I whimpered, over and over again.

My mind played over the events of the night. I hadn't planned this, I didn't go out looking for my saviour, but when I laid eyes on her I knew she was the one. A gift from God, that's what she was. I was sure of it. She looked so pretty standing there. A white gown covered her down to her feet, golden wings spread out behind her and a little halo hovered above her head. And she trusted me so easily, so readily.

''Hello! Are you dressed up as an angel?''

She nodded shyly. How my heart raced at the dimples in those cherubic cheeks.

''It's a bit late for you to be out on your own isn't it? Are you waiting for someone?''

''My brother.''

''Ah, I see. Brothers have a habit of forgetting things when it comes to sisters don't they.''

Again she nodded.

My heart was thumping wildly in my chest by this time. I knew I had to act quickly or I would miss my chance. I squatted in front of her and smiled. ''I tell you what. I'm just popping to the shops for some milk then I'm going home. Why don't you come with me? We might run into your brother on the way.'' I held out my hand and after a brief hesitation she took it.

The shops weren't far away, a row of five or six dingy premises, half of which were empty and the only one open at this time of night was at the farthest end. By now she was chattering away quite happily and didn't notice I'd taken a detour leading to the back of the buildings. Only when we turned into the dimness of the alley did she stop sharply.

''I don't like this,'' she whimpered.

I tightened my grip on her hand. ''It's ok, I'm with you,'' I said, pulling her along as I walked further down the filthy passage.

''I want to go home,'' she said, starting to cry.

I stopped and pushed her to the ground. ''I said I'd take you home didn't I?'' My hand pulled at her gown, trembled at the feel of the soft, warm flesh underneath. She started to struggle and sob louder; instinctively my hand covered her mouth

How I wish I had covered her eyes too. They were the only witness to what I had done. I couldn't get them out of my head. Hands shaking, I filled my glass once more. A chill filled the room. Behind me I heard an indistinct mumbling and a sound like snow falling off the roof. Slowly I turned. Snow was blowing down the chimney. My eyes travelled upwards.

''No! No, it can't be!''

I twisted my head and closed my eyes but still I saw her. The voice grew louder; ''A life for a life. That's what you said. A life for a life.''

The glass slipped from my grasp and smashed on the floor. She advanced towards me. No longer the sweet little thing I had encountered only hours before but an incorporeal being seeking revenge.

''A life for a life,'' she chanted, over and over, louder and louder.

I tried to turn, to flee from this horror of my own making. My feet slid on the snow covered tiles and I fell to the floor. A sharp pain pierced my throat and I could only watch as the snow turned red.

''A life for a life.''

Archived comments for Angel Without Wings
thehaven on 2005-07-22 08:58:21
Re: Angel Without Wings
A suitable ending for a terrible crime.The beginning had me fooled .Well written.
Mike

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-07-22 15:30:51
Re: Angel Without Wings
Thanks Mike, appreciate the comment.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Claire on 2005-07-22 21:52:14
Re: Angel Without Wings
I liked this a lot, the ending is appropriate. No complaints or niggles from me. Some great descriptions in this. Tis a very chilling read.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-27 22:08:07
Re: Angel Without Wings
Sorry Claire, I missed your comment before. I wasn't sure about this one, I don't normally do horror type things so I'm glad it worked for you. Thanks for commenting.

ailsa

Author's Reply:


Mind Games (posted on: 22-07-05)
The mind plays the cruelest tricks

Your mind plays tricks
Inflicting pain
Long after the heat has died
The last thing you remember
Plays over and over
Haunting you
Torturing you
With invisible terrors
The subconscious
Spilling into consciousness
Until it is impossible
To tell them apart
Panic stricken
You are caught in a world of fear
And I am helpless to do anything
But watch

Archived comments for Mind Games
Bradene on 2005-07-22 14:27:46
Re: Mind Games
A painful read, that catches the mood and makes the mind explore all the possibilities and terrors. Love Val x

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-07-22 15:32:31
Re: Mind Games
Thanks Val. Sometimes we find terror where we least expect it.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

BaBy_PoeT on 2005-07-22 21:44:35
Re: Mind Games
you've got it all there...the mind defiantly plays cruel games with us and confuses everything don't it. great read.
keep it up
xXx...:::...BaBy PoeT...:::...xXx

Author's Reply:

Emerald on 2005-07-24 11:17:34
Re: Mind Games
As someone who doesn't sleep well, this poem did capture me - the mind came play horrible games, especially when you are at your most vulnerable.

Good poem

Emma:-)

Author's Reply:


Safe Harbours part 2 (posted on: 18-07-05)
continuing the story of Cassie who boxes as a deterent to self-harming

''Hey! Your girl packs a hefty punch. Took me by surprise I can tell you.''

Damis turned to see Alan striding towards him. ''Me too,'' he said, attempting to smile.

''I can guess who wears the trousers in your relationship,'' Alan teased. ''Still, you've gotta hand it to her, it's not often you see a girl with guts like that.''

''No,'' agreed Damis quietly.

''Well, I'd better shoot or I'll be late for work. See you again maybe.''

Damis nodded and watched him leave. He felt in his pocket for a cigarette and lit it, deep in thought. He had known Cassie for over two years now and thought he knew all there was worth knowing about her. She had been quite open about her past, so much so that Damis often wondered if it was a ploy to put him off. Ironically, perhaps, it had intrigued him even more. This though, this was something new, and that worried him.

''Sorry I took so long.''

He turned to see Cassie behind him. His eyes took in her tired frame and his heart lurched. ''Are you ok?'' he asked, concerned.

She touched his arm. ''I'm fine. Really.'' She raised her head and met his gaze. ''Damis I''

He pulled her against him, placing a finger on her lips. ''Sshh. It can wait. For now, let's go home.''

She nodded, grateful for the reprieve. Damis wound his arm around her protectively and led her out of the gym.

There was an uneasy silence in the car and Cassie slid a cd into the player. Creed's 'One Last Breath' flooded the tiny space and she smiled wryly at the irony. She slipped into gear and pulled out of the car park.

''Is a Chinese alright by you?''

''What?'' asked Damis, momentarily confused.

''Food!'' she laughed. ''Is Chinese okay? I don't feel like cooking.''

''Sorry. Yeah, that's fine with me.''

''Good.''

She turned the music up, the hard beat matching her mood. Subconsciously her heavy right foot came into play as she drove along the empty road. Damis observed her silently. Her fast driving had startled him to begin with but now he was at ease with it. He still marvelled that she could become so absorbed in the music on one level yet remain alert. A few minutes later she pulled over to the side of the road.

''What would you like to eat?''

''What would you recommend?''

She laughed out loud. ''Anything on the menu. Don't worry, it's a good place, I use it all the time. You won't get poisoned, I promise.''

''And do you also promise there's no cat on the menu?'' he quipped.

''Not that I'm aware of. But if you start coughing up fur balls you'll know I was wrong,'' she replied, grinning.

''That makes me feel so much better Cassie!'' he mocked. ''Tell you what, why don't we share? Then we can both suffer.''

''Fair enough. I'm more than willing to share with you, you know that.''

With a wink, she got out of the car and went to get their meal.


Back home, she tipped the contents of the containers onto a dinner plate and grabbed two forks. She sank down next to Damis on the couch, placing the meal between them. Jabbing a piece of chicken, she held it to his lips. As he opened his mouth she pulled the fork aside and leaned in, kissing him softly.

''How hungry are you?'' she whispered.


Archived comments for Safe Harbours part 2

No comments archives found!
In The Name of Allah (posted on: 18-07-05)
This angry rant is not directed at Muslims in general, only those who deliver terror.

(Andrea, feel free to pull)

You chose to live among them

You rejected your country
In favour of theirs'
You enjoy a freedom
Denied by your homeland

Yet

You protest
When they risk their lives
Protecting your people
From their own barbarianism

You object
To them
Occupying your country
When you yourself abandoned it

In the name of Allah
You wound, maim and kill
Yet when they retaliate
Claims of torture
Drip from your lips

Allah
God
Are one
And the same

Thou shall not take any god except one God.
"There is no other god beside GOD,"

Thou shall not use God's name in vain.
Do not subject GOD's name to your casual swearing, that you may appear righteous, pious, or to attain credibility among the people

Thou shall not kill.
anyone who murders any person who had not committed murder or horrendous crimes, it shall be as if he murdered all the people

How many children
Have died at your hands?
How many innocent people
Have you slaughtered?

You do nothing
In the name of Allah


Archived comments for In The Name of Allah
tai on 2005-07-18 10:18:54
Re: In The Name of Allah
I understand your anger and confusion as to how and why they justify such atrocities.

A very poignant poem, reminding us all of Gods teachings.

Brave write in the climate of recrimination we live in.

All the best to you

Tai

Author's Reply:

RoyBateman on 2005-07-18 10:52:37
Re: In The Name of Allah
Couldn't agree more - personally, I have no religion in the conventional sense (I'm a humanist) and it's always saddened me, the things done in the name of "God". There's something uniquely awful in Islamic upbringing, though - what other religion espouses this vile behaviour? It's sheer brainwashing - there, now the Thought Police can take me away. They must know where I live by now!!

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-07-18 11:59:44
Re: In The Name of Allah
Thanks Tai. I must admit, I had reservations about posting it on an 'open' site. Che sera, sera as they say.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-07-18 12:16:17
Re: In The Name of Allah
I have no religion either. I respect people's wishes to 'believe' but I'm tired of hearing of things done 'in the name of God'. Maybe they say that to convince themselves they are doing right, I don't know. Islam itself does not condone killing in general, I quoted the bible and Qu'ran in turn. Religion always has, and probably always will be, used as an excuse for war. Personally I feel you are right and brainwashing plays a part.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Kazzmoss on 2005-07-18 20:35:09
Re: In The Name of Allah
Many a true word said in there. All God is one God not matter what the name. It made me think. Thanks for posting it - Kaz

Author's Reply:

Bradene on 2005-07-20 12:41:33
Re: In The Name of Allah
A brave and understandably justified rant, with some truths in there too. Well done Love Val x

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-07-21 14:48:32
Re: In The Name of Allah
Thanks for reading it 🙂

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-07-21 14:49:15
Re: In The Name of Allah
Thanks Val, appreciate it

ailsa

Author's Reply:


Flesh on Bone (posted on: 08-07-05)
Times gone by

In cold damp ground you lie
Becoming one
With the surrounding earth

Ashes to ashes

I grasp at memories
Blurring at the edges
Wishing I could return to the past
Revisit the times you lived

Flesh on bone

Archived comments for Flesh on Bone
Griffonner on 2005-07-08 12:46:58
Re: Flesh on Bone
I lost a friend last week, and as I was walking this morning, almost the same first line came into my mind when thinking about him. Now I will have to change it! A sad, reflective, simple poem, putting into words what we all feel from time to time.

*Sympathetically* Griffonner

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-07-08 13:01:59
Re: Flesh on Bone
Thanks Griffonner. I think this is the one time we all share the same thoughts and feelings. Sorry for your loss.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Apolloneia on 2005-07-09 14:14:32
Re: Flesh on Bone
I have read this five times, and finally I fully appreciated it
--ashes to ashes
--flesh on bone
I loved the composed sadness and serene acceptance of the loss in your poem.


Author's Reply:

Bradene on 2005-07-09 14:17:41
Re: Flesh on Bone
short, but saying so much and very convincingly. A very well written poem I think Love Val x

Author's Reply:

Leila on 2005-07-09 23:46:21
Re: Flesh on Bone
You kept this short and simple and by doing so it's all the more powerful and meaningful...L

Author's Reply:

Emerald on 2005-07-10 09:34:55
Re: Flesh on Bone
A simple yet sad and powerful poem. Wonderful work.

Emma:-)

Author's Reply:

tai on 2005-07-11 01:36:55
Re: Flesh on Bone
Grief in poetic essence ruadh! imo. It's a process.

All the best

Tai

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-27 22:10:03
Re: Flesh on Bone
Thanks Leila, appreciate that so much.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-27 22:10:44
Re: Flesh on Bone
Glad you enjoyed it Emma, thank you.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-27 22:12:50
Re: Flesh on Bone
It's never an easy thing, thanks Apolloneia.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-27 22:13:52
Re: Flesh on Bone
Appreciate your comment Val, thanks.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-09-27 22:15:04
Re: Flesh on Bone
Grief and poetry, go hand in hand 🙂 Thanks Tai.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:


Untitled (posted on: 04-07-05)
Living life in the reject pile

You walk to the closed door
Your eyes scanning around
To see if you were noticed
Self-conscious,
You turn your attention
To the pram you are pushing
The lifeless babe,
Lavished with kisses
Cradled and shoogled
Eight years old,
Sent out to the chippy
And told to eat
Your tea on the swings
No doubt I shall see you again
Older and with child
But still lost and unloved

Archived comments for Untitled
Hazy on 2005-07-04 18:44:00
Re: Untitled
What a sad little poem 🙁

Thought provoking.

Hazy x

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-07-05 15:48:12
Re: Untitled
Thanks Hazy, was inspired by a little girl in my neighbourhood.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

reckless on 2005-07-06 10:29:04
Re: Untitled
Sad indeed, but so often true. When I read it, it called to me mind these lines:
"And round about there is a rabble
of the filthy, sturdy, unkillable infants of the very poor.
They shall inherit the earth."
I've often thought it was a shame in some ways that they didn't. I'd give them the earth, if I had it.

Author's Reply:

reckless on 2005-07-06 10:30:10
Re: Untitled
whoops a daisy! The "me" shouldn't be there. sorry

Author's Reply:

Bradene on 2005-07-06 11:53:24
Re: Untitled
Terribly sad and very real, I have seen this stuff happening. You achieved a very real image and poignancy ailsa. great read. Love Val x

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-07-07 20:50:07
Re: Untitled
I would too. Thanks again.

Oh, I thought the 'me' was meant to be 'my' lol, nm.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-07-07 20:51:57
Re: Untitled
Thanks Val, much appreciated.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

chrissy on 2005-07-11 12:13:34
Re: Untitled
Very touching and very true.
You still see these kids and it still breaks your heart.
Extremely well done.
chrissy

Author's Reply:


Safe Harbours (posted on: 04-07-05)
Everyone has their owns means of survival....

''I think it's time you left,'' said Cassie, anger burning in her chest.

''Oh don't worry slut, I'm going! Being in the same room as you and your friend here makes me wanna puke.''

''That's enough Joe!''

''Enough? I've not even started yet.''

''You know where the door is, I suggest you use it,'' she said, clenching her hands into fists at her side.

He walked over to the door then stopped. ''Don't think you can treat me like shit just cos my skin ain't the right colour. What is it Cass, a white man not good enough for you any more? Or is it because I'm not American? Never took you for a traitor Cass.''

''Get the hell out Joe!'' she screamed.

Mocking laughter filled the air as he left and slammed the door behind him.

Cassie stood still for a moment, not quite believing what had just taken place. Turning, she spoke to the man sitting on the couch.

''I'm sorry Damis. I didn't know he was going to turn up here like that.''

''Yes you did,'' he said quietly. He reached out for her hand. ''You knew he was going to come when he heard I was here, we both did.''

Cassie sighed. ''Yeah, I suppose you're right. I think I hoped it would finally make him realise it was over between me and him and he'd leave us alone.''

''Will never happen babe. In his eyes, I'm the reason you split up. He'll never see you were unhappy with him in the first place.'' He looked at her worriedly. ''I hate seeing you so tense.''

Cassie nodded. The fight with Joe had made her uptight and restless and she knew she'd have to find a release for her anger. ''I think I'll have a session down the gym. Will you be ok on your own for an hour?''

''Can't I come with you? I like the idea of watching you work up a sweat,'' he said with a wink.

She smiled. ''Sure. Not sure you'll find it a pretty sight though.''


Cassie pulled up in the car park. A neon sign declaring 'Vinny's Gym' hung crookedly on the wall. Damis looked at the building then at Cassie.

''You've got to be kidding me! This is it?''

''This is it,'' Cassie confirmed.

''But it's for boxers!''

''I know what kind of gym it is,'' she said grimly, pulling a bag off the back seat and getting out of the car. ''Are you coming or what?''

With some reluctance, Damis followed her into the gym.

''Hi Charlie,'' Cassie called out to the young man at the desk. ''Anyone free for a spar?''

''Sure Cassie, just come through.''

She headed to the back of the gym and a small ring. She unzipped her top and threw it down on a nearby bench. ''You can sit there,'' she said to Damis.

She climbed into the ring and looked around. ''Any takers?''

A young man called Alan looked her over appreciatively. ''I'll take you on. If you're serious that is?''

''Oh I'm deadly serious,'' she smiled.

Charlie appeared with gloves and proceeded to help them get ready.

''Poor guy's not going to know what's hit him in a minute,'' he muttered to Damis.

Damis didn't know whether to be relieved or worried. ''I thought she was joking.''

Charlie whistled softly and shook his head.

The match began slowly with the boxers sizing each other up. Before too long the adrenaline coursed through Cassie and she caught the other fighter with a punch to the head that staggered him. He fell against the ropes and looked at her in surprise.

''Come on then,'' she shouted. ''You wanted a fight so fight.''

He stood up and hesitated, confused.

Cassie dived right in, firing off a few more jabs before he had time to retaliate. ''Come on, yeh big jessie. Fight for christ's sake!''

Humiliation flooded through Alan, then anger. He lunged at Cassie, knocking her backwards.

Damis sprung to his feet. ''Stop this!'' he urged Charlie. ''She's going to get hurt.''

''Cass can look after herself, believe me. I'm watching and I'll break it up if I need to.''

Suddenly a man broke through the small crowd that had gathered. He noticed Cassie in the ring and whirled round to Charlie. ''Did you let her in the ring?''

Charlie nodded silently.

''Get me a pair of gloves, now!''

Charlie fetched the gloves and laced them up. ''What's wrong Vinny?'' he frowned. ''I thought she was allowed in the ring?''

''Not when I'm not here she isn't!''

He climbed over the ropes. ''Out,'' he said to Alan, with a jerk of his head.

Alan left the ring, glad to be out of it.

Vinny looked at Cass with a mixture of sadness and determination. ''Ok Cass, let's have it.''

Cassie eyed him, wavering, then threw a punch to his body. With every punch that landed, he hit one in return. She threw herself into the game, hitting harder, deliberately provoking Vinny into action. Damis protested from the side of the ring but both fighters were seemingly oblivious to his calling.

Vinny watched her carefully. He was no stranger to this. His hits were calculated, weighed up and deliberately pulled. He answered with enough force to keep the upper hand but his object was to wear her out without doing too much damage.

Cassie's throws became erratic. He knew she wouldn't last much longer. He gave a blow to her side and she fell back against the ropes. She staggered to her feet and launched a right, missing him. He hit her again, sending her to the tarpaulin. She lay motionless.

Vinny leant over her. ''Had enough now?''

Damis entered the ring. ''That's enough! End this now.'' He took a step nearer to Cassie.

''Leave her!'' growled Vinny. ''Well Cassie? Are you finished?''

Cassie glared at him and struggled upright. He shook his head and hit her once more. She crumpled into a heap at his feet. For a minute she didn't move then she attempted to sit up. Vinny watched her feeble attempts in silence then dropped down beside her.

He brushed the sweat soaked hair off her face. ''Done?'' he asked softly.

Cassie nodded, exhausted, tears sliding down her cheeks. He pulled her upright and cradled her against him until she recovered.

''Charlie,'' he called sharply. ''Help Cass to the shower room.''

Charlie lifted her and led her away from the ring.

Damis scowled at Vinny. ''How could you do that? She was no match for you!''

''Would you rather she cut herself? Because that's what she would have done. If she hadn't burned off her anger in the ring she would've turned it in on herself.'' He looked at Damis with pity. ''I know Cass well enough by now. There's only one reason she turns up here looking for a sparring match. Now, she'll probably be in the shower for the best part of half an hour, I suggest you take that time to think. If you can't support her, walk away now. Save her a lot of pain.'' Without giving him time to answer, Vinny walked away, leaving Damis staring after him.


Archived comments for Safe Harbours
reckless on 2005-07-06 01:10:44
Re: Safe Harbours
This one grabbed me and took me along with the story, the energy of it is quite something, and I do like the originality of the story line. There are many things here that are unsaid, the racial overtones, the hint towards self harming; all are intriguing. You should write a sequel.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-07-07 20:44:06
Re: Safe Harbours
Thanks Reckless, wasn't sure how this one would be accepted so your comment is much appreciated. I've a couple of ideas in my head to continue.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

glennie on 2005-07-07 23:39:19
Re: Safe Harbours
Liked the plot and the pace, it hs a lot of promise. I felt it was 'in at the deep end' though and would like to know why she was a self harmer? Wishes Glen.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-07-08 13:04:36
Re: Safe Harbours
Thanks Glen. I have decided to continue with this and 'why' will be revealed further on.

ailsa

Author's Reply:


Hidden Realities (posted on: 06-06-05)
Life ain't always as it seems

Dax nodded to the barman to get his attention.

''What can I get you mate?''

''A pint and a whisky chaser.''

As he waited on his order Dax scoured the room for a familiar face.

''Looking for someone?'' inquired the barman as he placed two glasses on the counter.

Dax shook his head. ''Nah, not really.''

There was a wistful sound to his voice and the barman looked at him with pity. 'Poor sod's probably been stood up,' he thought. ''Well,'' he said cheerfully, ''you never know what you'll find when you're not looking for it eh!''

A smile crept across Dax's face. ''With my luck, nothing nice, that's for sure. Cheers mate.''

Over the next hour he watched the floor space visibly shrink as it filled up with people. He swirled the remains of his pint about in the glass, debating whether to order another or call it a night. Swigging the last of it, he banged the glass down and slid off his seat.

Jostling his way through the crowd, he finally made it to the stairs. He stood to one side impatiently to let newcomers in when he spied a girl sitting by herself at a table. One hand under her chin, elbow on table, the other hand played idly with her glass. Her long red hair fell over her shoulders, tumbling onto the table. All thoughts of leaving fled and Dax made his way back to the bar.

''Two bottles of Becks please.''

''Two bottles? I guess you found something after all,'' said the barman.

Dax grinned and took the bottles after paying the man.

As he pushed his way through the ever heaving throng, the sound of Aerosmith's 'Love Bites' reached his ears. 'I hope that's not an omen,' he thought grimly.

Reaching the table where the girl still sat alone, he put a bottle down and slid it across to her. The girl raised her head, startled. For a moment she stared at him in silence then recognition sunk in.

''Dax!''

''You remember me then.''

Ignoring the playful sarcasm, she looked him over.

''You look worn out.''

''Yeah well, five years in the slammer does that to a man.''

She opened her mouth then shut it again. What could she say to that?

''Sit down.''

He sat down on the chair opposite from her and smiled. ''Glad to see the last five years have been kinder to you than to me.''

Libby took a swig of Becks. ''You think so? I wouldn't be too sure about that.'' She dropped her gaze and stared at the table.

Dax watched her, wondering. He couldn't make up his mind if she was reluctant to go into it in case he wasn't interested or whether he was being warned to mind his own business. 'God I hate this. I can't even read people I know any more!'

''When did you get out?''

''Eighteen days ago. Eighteen days, fourteen hours and twenty-nine minutes to be precise,'' he said, looking at his watch.

''Still counting the days huh.''

''You'd better believe it.''

''So what you gonna do now?''

''Put it behind me. Salvage what I can from my life and move on.''

Libby leaned back in her chair. ''Why come back here? I mean, why not go where you weren't known, give yourself a fresh start.''

Dax shrugged. ''Where else would I go Lib? Christ knows there's precious little for me here but there's bugger all for me anywhere else. Besides, I served my time. I paid my dues. There's worse than me walking about our streets, I guarantee you!'' He leaned forward on his elbows. ''If you want me to go just say so.''

''Don't be stupid Dax. You know me better than that.'' After a moment's pause she added: ''You could get me another drink though.''

''Sure,'' he said, relieved. ''Same again or have you changed your poison?''

''Same again is fine thanks.''

She watched him disappear through the myriad of people. 'I must be mad,' she thought. 'God knows what five years inside has done to him.' She shifted in her seat. 'Don't be stupid Libby,' she chastised herself. 'He's not turned into a bloody axe murderer, get a grip!' She spied him coming back with their drinks and mentally tried to relax. 'Besides, you're in a public place. What's he gonna do?'

''Are you ok?'' asked Dax as he handed Libby another Becks.

''Yeah, yeah, I'm fine.''

''You sure?'' he said, frowning.

''I've just got a migraine starting, that's all. I'll be ok.''

Sitting down, he took a long drink from the bottle. ''So tell me, what have you been up to while I've be away?''

''Hmm, I got married to the nicest guy, left him just over a year later after he kicked me so hard in the stomach I lost our baby. Spent the next year living in fear of my life. Then I got lucky and he lost an argument with a brick wall. After that I took stock of my life, set myself up as an interior designer and here I am.''

''Hells bells Libby,'' he said softly. ''And I though I had it bad!''

''Don't try to kid a kidder Dax, Noranside couldn't have been a picnic either.''

''No, but I brought that on myself.''

Libby sniggered. ''People probably say the same about me.''

Dax sighed. ''Yeah well, what does anyone else know eh. Think they know everything and in reality know fuck all.''

Hearing the bitterness in his voice, Libby was intrigued. She had never believed the charges brought against him and wondered what the full story was.

''What happened Dax? Why did you do it?''

He eyes narrowed and he eyed her sharply. ''You know what happened, you read the papers.''

She raised the bottle to her lips and drank slowly. Lowering it to just below her chin, she looked him straight in the eye. ''I don't actually. Waste of money. So tell me, why did you take the fall?''

Madonna was blasting from the speakers, people all around them were shouting to make themselves heard over the music, but all Libby was aware of was the pounding of her heart as she waited on Dax's reaction.

''What makes you think I took a fall?'' he asked at last.

Libby shook her head and shrugged. ''Instinct.''

''Instinct,'' he repeated.

''Yeah, instinct! I've known you a long time Dax. You might play the hardman, you might not give two fucks about what anyone thinks of you, but I'd never take you for a thief.''

To her surprise he laughed loudly. ''You're something else Lib, you know that?''

Relieved he wasn't angry, she smiled. ''So I've been told.''

''I hope that bottle ain't empty cos I've a feeling you're going to need a drink by the time I'm finished.''

She shook the bottle gently. ''Still half full.''

Dax nodded and averted his eyes briefly. ''Ok. You're right, I never took the money. I was blackmailed.''

''Blackmailed!'' said Libby incredulously.

He watched her keenly. ''You know my mum? Well she isn't my mum.''

Libby frowned. ''I don't understand. Who is your mum then?''

He hesitated before answering. ''Dianne.''

''Dianne? Your sister Dianne?!''

''Yep.''

''My god! I can't believe it. Dianne!''

''Yeah. Was a shock to me too I can tell you.''

''What about your father?''

He sneered. ''Oh that's the best bit! My father is my father.''

Confused, Libby stared at him then realisation struck. ''You mean?''

''Seems the old man liked keeping it in the family.''

''Jesus Christ. I don't know what to say Dax.''

Dax gulped the remains of his bottle and banged it on the table. ''Funny that. I was gob-smacked too when I found out. Still, at least I know now why Dianne hates my guts.''

Libby looked away and shifted uncomfortably in her seat.

Oblivious, Dax continued. ''That's why she moved to Guildford you know. She was terrified it would come out. She wanted to live where no-one knew her. Probably wanted the hell away from me too.''

''How did it come out? How did the person blackmailing you know?'' asked Libby quietly.

''His cousin's husband's ex-girlfriend's mother used to work with mum gran in the jam factory.'' He sniggered. ''Something like that anyway, you get the gist.''

Libby nodded.

''I was out for a run when I saw the guy on the ground. When I got to him he was unconscious and bleeding from the head. The bar was lying beside him on the grass; I picked it up and threw it to the side so I could get closer to him.'' He stared into space. ''I didn't even think about it, just did it. You read about things like that and always think, why did they pick it up? How could they be so stupid?'' He turned to face Libby again. ''You just don't think about it Lib. You really don't. All you're concerned with is getting help. The thought of you being a suspect never even enters your head.''

''It was a few days later before I heard from the real culprit. He'd read about me in the paper and gradually, through the grapevine, discovered who I was. Must've made his day. He threatened to make his knowledge public if I didn't keep shtoom. I couldn't let him do that to mum. She'd moved just after I was born to aid the belief that she was my mother, not Dianne. She couldn't live with the shame. If it had come out after all these years it would've destroyed her.''

''But what about the evidence? What if it didn't point to you?''

Dax grunted. ''What evidence? There were no witnesses to the attack, the victim couldn't remember anything, didn't see anything cos he was whacked from behind. All that mattered was there was nothing pointing to the real culprit. It was my fingerprints on the weapon. I should've been more careful. The police needed a culprit; they got a culprit, me. Case closed.''

Libby kept silent. She could only guess at how Dax must feel but thought at that moment he looked so vulnerable.

''She died you know, last year.''

''Your mum?'' asked Libby softly.

''Yeah. Pneumonia.''

''I didn't know, sorry.''

Dax suddenly thumped the table, making her jump. ''Enough doom and gloom. How about a dance?''

Libby giggled. ''I'm not sure my legs will hold me up now.''

''Sure they will, come on.''

He pulled her to her feet and led her onto the dance floor. The slow, seductive tones of Shania Twain's 'You're The One' filled the air.

''I didn't plan this, honestly,'' said Dax, holding up his hands in a feigned surrender.

''I believe you. Maybe it's just as well anyway, my head's spinning.''

''Do you want to sit down again?''

''No, no. I'll be ok.''

He pulled her close and they moved slowly in time with the music. Libby slid her arms around his waist and rested her head on his shoulder. She could feel and hear his heart beating as she relaxed against him.

''Do you often come here on your own?''

''No. My friend was supposed to be meeting me here but she never showed up. I probably would've finished my drink and left if you hadn't arrived when you did.''

''I was actually on my way out when I spotted you. I half-expected someone to be sitting with you when I got back with the drinks.''

''What would you have done then?'' she asked, lifting her head to look at him.

''Depends if he was better looking than me or not. If not, I would've come over. If he was, I would've drank them both myself to drown my sorrows.''

''You're a daft beggar Dax Taylor,'' she said, laughing.

''So I've been told,'' he said mockingly. He slid his fingers under her chin and gently tipped her head back. Hesitantly he placed a soft kiss on her lips. ''Come on, I'll take you home.''

They retrieved their belongings and left the nightclub. The night was mild and clear.

''I live not that far away, we can walk if you like,'' said Libby.

''You live in the city centre? Now that does surprise me!''

''Surprised me too. A woman phoned me one day, said she was going to be selling her flat and wanted to do it up first in the hope of getting a better price. I made arrangements to go and see it and fell in love with it. I made her an offer the same day.''

''Just like that huh!''

''Just like that. Come on, this way.''

They walked in silence through the busy streets. Pub landlords were calling time and punters were leaving in droves with many heading for the nightclubs which were still bursting with energy. Gradually the noise lessened as they left the core of the bustle.

''It's just along here, where the old mill was.''

''They'd just converted that when I went inside,'' Dax mused.

''Yeah, that sounds about right. The woman said she'd bought the flat when they were newly done.''

''Doesn't the sound of the traffic drive you mad?''

''I don't really notice it to be honest. I'm out for most of the day so miss the busiest time. I'm near the top too which cuts out a lot of it.''

She stopped at a large white door. ''Here we are. Home sweet home. I take it you won't say no to a coffee?''

''Is that an offer or would that be me inviting myself?''

Libby smiled. ''That's an offer.''

''Then I accept,'' he grinned.

As they reached the top of the stairs Libby reached into her bag for her keys. ''Oh, I'd better warn you about Grub.''

''Grub?''

''Yeah. He can be funny with strangers. He'll probably be sleeping now so you should be ok.''

''Glad to hear it,'' he said, wondering how worried he should be.

''Come in then,'' said Libby, holding the door open.

Dax entered the flat with caution, his eyes scanning around him for the dreaded Grub. Seeing no sign of him, he breathed a sigh of relief and sat down on the couch. Libby headed for the kitchen area to make the coffee.

''Nice place you've got. I didn't expect it to be open plan. I like it though, gives the flat an airy feel.''

''Yeah, that's one of the reasons I bought it. I like the spacious feel to it. Coffee's just coming.'' At that moment she heard a terrified scream. Libby looked over at Dax to see what was wrong.

He was sitting on the couch, his hands gripping the cushions. On his head, spitting and hissing for all he was worth, sat Grub, her pet rat. To see the six foot four skinhead looking so terrified of something so small was a comical sight and Libby couldn't help but burst out laughing.

''Get it off me. It's gonna bite me.''

Libby watched as Grub jumped onto Dax's shoulder and sniffed about his ear. The colour drained from his face as he felt the rodent against his skin. Grub stood upright with his paws on Dax's ear, and from the motion of his head, Libby guessed he was nibbling. Her assumption was confirmed with another scream. Helpless to do anything for laughing, she clung to the worktop, hugging her stomach.

''Don't stand there wetting yourself,'' screeched Dax. ''Get the bloody thing off me!''

''He's not biting you,'' stuttered Libby, ''he's grooming you. He thinks you're another rat.'' After another peel of laughter she added: ''He's just trying to be friendly.''

''Friendly? Hissing like that! You could've bloody fooled me!''

''Don't be fooled by that, that's just bravado on his part. You've frightened him and he's trying to scare you by showing you how macho he is.''

Having regained her composure a little, Libby walked over to Dax. Grub, by this time, was sitting on his hind legs busily grooming his face and ears completely unconcerned. ''See, he likes you,'' she said. ''Come on Grub, back to bed.''

After returning Grub to his cage she fetched the coffees and sat down. ''Here. Are you ok?''

''Yeah. Thanks for telling me he was a rat,'' said Dax sarcastically. ''I was watching out for a dog.''

''Sorry, I never thought. He's a big softie really. All you had to do was show him you were more macho than him and he would've backed down.''

Dax laughed. ''Oh yeah! I was dead macho wasn't I?!''

Libby ruffled his hair playfully. ''Awe, I know you're a tough guy normally.''

''Funny!'' Looking at his watch he said: ''I'd better get moving, it's getting late.''

For perhaps the first time, Libby realised how much she had been enjoying his company. ''You don't have to go, you can stay here,'' she said softly.

Dax took her face in his hands and kissed her lightly on the forehead. ''Not tonight Lib. Give me your number and I'll phone you.''

Libby fished a business card out of her bag and handed it to him. He pushed it into his pocket and followed her to the door.

''Thanks for tonight Libby, I enjoyed it.''

''Even though you were terrorised by Grub?'' she said smiling.

''Well, I could've done without that particular little incident like, but apart from that'' He reached out and caught her hand. ''I'll call you tomorrow ok?''

She nodded silently.

''Night Libby.

''Night Dax.

She closed the door behind him and locked it. Crossing to the window, she waited for him to come out onto the street. She watched until he was out of view. A noise from the corner of the room caught her attention.

''He's away Grub, I think you frightened him off,'' she said wistfully.


Archived comments for Hidden Realities
thehaven on 2005-06-06 12:14:57
Re: Hidden Realities
In my humble opinion this has enormous potential for a longer story..a novel even.

Exploring the various very complex relationshups and dealing with on of the few taboo subjects still around...incest.

Excellent read.

Mike

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-06-06 12:28:03
Re: Hidden Realities
Thanks Mike, I really appreciate your comment. This story started out as a monthly challenge for a group I'm in, with a word count of 1000-2000. When I got to around 900 words I read it over and thought it was either going nowhere or needed a lot more. I kept writing. I have to admit I've become quite fond of Dax and would like to explore hiis story further.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

thehaven on 2005-06-06 12:37:34
Re: Hidden Realities
Some of the world's best novels have started life as a short piece such as you describe.I think this story has enormous posibilities.]

Mike

Author's Reply:

Eccles on 2005-06-06 13:52:00
Re: Hidden Realities
I liked it too, I found the story very involving and agree it would make a good book.

Sam

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-06-06 14:06:15
Re: Hidden Realities
Thanks for your input Sam, glad you enjoyed it.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

AnthonyEvans on 2005-06-09 20:11:20
Re: Hidden Realities
dear ruadh, i liked your characters and the coming out of jail, meeting the girl in the bar scenario.

however, i got stuck on your backstory (the incest stuff), maybe it was because it was told so bluntly (just when i was getting interested in the relationship between the two) or maybe it was because of the similarity of the plot to the film chinatown (which i've seen more times than i can remember) which, of course, is not your fault.

so, maybe it would work as a longer piece (as somebody else has suggested) where you wouldn't have to throw out all this back story in such a short space. best wishes, anthony.

Author's Reply:


Keepsakes (posted on: 16-05-05)
For the angels among us



Tears woven with heartache
Wrapping you in love
A shroud,
made only for you
To present you to the world
To say
I was real
I was here
If only for a short time

Archived comments for Keepsakes
Hazy on 2005-05-16 11:01:53
Re: Keepsakes
Very sad, if I'm reading it right. Small but perfectly formed. The poem and its subject, I expect.

Hazy x

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-05-16 11:31:45
Re: Keepsakes
Yes, you're reading it right. Thanks Hazy

ailsa

Author's Reply:

AnthonyEvans on 2005-05-16 15:45:44
Re: Keepsakes
the poem is brief just like it's theme, captivating. best wishes, anthony.

Author's Reply:

Kat on 2005-05-18 12:25:36
Re: Keepsakes
This is very beautifully written and I think the title is just right.

Kat 🙂

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 2005-05-18 19:18:43
Re: Keepsakes
Beautiful Ruadh. Deceivingly powerful for such a short piece. Very moving. Congrats on a truly sensitive piece.

s
u
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k
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n



Author's Reply:

Bradene on 2005-05-19 11:17:21
Re: Keepsakes
I know this feeling well, I've been there. beautifully expressed. Love Val x

Author's Reply:

Leila on 2005-05-19 14:59:35
Re: Keepsakes
Great sensitivity displayed in these few words..L

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-05-26 13:21:53
Re: Keepsakes
Thanks Leila, appreciate it.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-05-26 13:23:21
Re: Keepsakes
Your comments mean a lot, thanks Sunk

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-05-26 13:24:13
Re: Keepsakes
Appreciate it Anthony, thank you.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-05-26 13:24:57
Re: Keepsakes
Thanks Kat, glad you liked it

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-05-26 13:26:46
Re: Keepsakes
Thanks Val, glad you liked it.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

tai on 2005-05-26 13:26:51
Re: Keepsakes
ruadh, a very moving piece and Yes! the tears are the shroud that reveal how we will be remembered or not, as the case may be.

I hope my angel is beside me, that's for sure.

Tai

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-05-26 13:29:58
Re: Keepsakes
Glad you liked it Tai, and I'm sure you won't be alone. Thanks.

ailsa

Author's Reply:


In Memory of Charlotte (posted on: 11-03-05)
Remembering ...

I lay flowers at your forgotten grave
Marking my respect
Acknowledging your existence
And the role that was stolen from you
By death
Denied to you by others
Content to let your memory
Die along with you
Until now

Archived comments for In Memory of Charlotte
Sunken on 2005-03-17 17:17:00
Re: In Memory of Charlotte
Simply beautiful Ruadh.

s
u
n
k
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n

Author's Reply:


I saw you today (posted on: 04-03-05)
Some people have to take responsibility for their own actions...

I saw you today

Those sunken eyes
Pricking my conscience
With silent accusations

Your skeletal body
Starved of food
To feed your addiction

Given for free
For your little friend
Hiding in your sleeve

While those soulless eyes
Stare at the ceiling
As his need feeds yours

I tried to save you
But your weight
Became too heavy

Dragging me down
Until, suffocating
I cut you loose

And remembered
How good it was
To breathe

I hold your gaze
Refusing the blame
But letting you know

I saw you today


Archived comments for I saw you today
Apolloneia on 2005-03-04 10:06:30
Re: I saw you today
I find it difficult to refuse the blame but you are right, there is nothing one can do. "I tried to save you but your weight became too heavy" yes, I've felt the same way. A fine poem ruadh.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-03-04 12:47:29
Re: I saw you today
Sometimes people have to help themselves before others can help them unfortunately. It was hard to walk away from this friendship but in the end, it wasn't only affecting me, but my kids too. Thanks again.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

tai on 2005-03-04 12:55:33
Re: I saw you today
Hi ruadh, I really enjoyed your poem very much. The thing is, we all have to be responsible for our actions. There comes a time when you either sink with them or cut free and swim alone. That time, is when we truly take responsibility.imo

All the best

Tai

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-03-04 12:58:12
Re: I saw you today
You could be right there Tai. Thanks, appreciate it.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

Emerald on 2005-03-04 14:17:56
Re: I saw you today
It is always so hard to walk away, but sometimes you just have to - yet it always comes at a cost to your peace of mind. Excellent poem

Emma:-)

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-03-05 13:32:36
Re: I saw you today
That is so true Emma. Thanks.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

shackleton on 2005-03-06 23:02:17
Re: I saw you today
Good one ailsa. Great to read your stuff again. You can only go so far in a case like this - sometimes you just have to walk away, for your own sake and sanity. Sad but true. Good poetry! Bye now.

Author's Reply:


Between The Lines (posted on: 04-03-05)
When things don't need to be said...

I don't ask how you are
Because the words
Are too painful
So I watch
And I judge
And I act
And you never say thank you
Because you know
I'll dismiss it

Like characters on stage
We act out our parts
Putting on two shows
At once
With words being said
And others being heard
And in our finale
We both know I'll cry
But I never said I was perfect


Archived comments for Between The Lines
Apolloneia on 2005-03-04 10:20:07
Re: Between The Lines
Nobody's perfect, but I guess you already know that. I like the way you write poetry. Another good poem.

Author's Reply:

Emerald on 2005-03-04 10:57:57
Re: Between The Lines
Good poem, noone is ever perfect, and the words don't always need to be spoken. A good thoughtful poem which I enjoyed reading.

Emma:-)

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-03-04 12:42:05
Re: Between The Lines
Thanks for reading and the compliment Apolloneia

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-03-04 12:43:20
Re: Between The Lines
No, they don't Emma. Thanks for reading and commenting.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 2005-03-06 20:10:27
Re: Between The Lines
I tried to be perfect once, I just fell over. There's no way you can keep it up. A very thoughtful write Ruadh, glad I caught it before the new batch.

s
u
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k
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n

Author's Reply:


Kindred Spirits (posted on: 24-01-05)
Connections...

Underneath my feet,
This ancient ground lives.
Rising up in the distance,
Attired in green and purple,
Wearing bracelets of silver.
A crown of white
Spawns tendrils
That drift in the air,
And the battle cries of old
Sing their mournful melody,
While the unshed tears
Of spirits fall.
And all around me,
My forefathers
Breathe.

Ailsa Robertson 2005


Archived comments for Kindred Spirits
chrissy on 2005-01-25 06:52:34
Re: Kindred Spirits
So much said in so few words.
Beautifully descriptive and full of longing and melancholy. Wonderful.
chrissy

Author's Reply:

Gerry on 2005-01-25 10:21:09
Re: Kindred Spirits
Ailsa, nicely done. I like it...

Gerry.

Author's Reply:

Kat on 2005-01-25 16:23:44
Re: Kindred Spirits
I enjoyed this a lot Ailsa.

Cheers

Kat 🙂

Author's Reply:

Leila on 2005-01-27 10:16:13
Re: Kindred Spirits
Always a pleasure to read your work, I especially liked the last seven lines of this one...L

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-01-27 12:26:43
Re: Kindred Spirits
Thanks Chrissie, I'm glad it came across that way.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-01-27 12:27:56
Re: Kindred Spirits
Sorry....Chrissy!!!

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-01-27 12:29:11
Re: Kindred Spirits
Thanks Gerry, appreciate it

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-01-27 12:30:15
Re: Kindred Spirits
Thanks Kat, glad you enjoyed it

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-01-27 12:34:18
Re: Kindred Spirits
Thanks Leila. I've had so little time to write these past few months, to write this was very pleasing.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:


If (posted on: 10-01-05)
For my children....

If One day You awake And I'm no longer there Don't cry Be happy For who I was Don't grieve For what I have become Take strength In the love I have given you And know It will always linger Whenever you need me Look to your heart Walk with me through your memories And realise I never left you
Archived comments for If
Nicoletta on 2005-01-10 02:18:20
Re: If
A lovely poem.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-01-10 02:37:20
Re: If
Thank you Nicoletta, much appreciated



Author's Reply:

Emerald on 2005-01-10 03:46:03
Re: If
Hi, a very tender and loving poem.

Emma:-)

Author's Reply:

chrissy on 2005-01-10 04:39:10
Re: If
A truly beautiful piece.
chrissy

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-01-10 08:22:50
Re: If
Hi Emma

I'm glad you think so, thanks!

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-01-10 08:23:42
Re: If
Thanks Chrissy, means a lot to me

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 2005-01-10 15:30:21
Re: If
Your children are very lucky Ruadh. Very sweetly written and refreshingly positive.

s
u
n
k
e
n

Author's Reply:

shackleton on 2005-01-10 15:55:35
Re: If
Smashing Ailsa. Poetry like this, with these thoughts and this love behind it, doesn't really get much better. Thus spake, Shaque Le Tonne.

Lovely poem. You go girl. Bye now.

Author's Reply:

tai on 2005-01-10 18:38:20
Re: If
Hi ruadh, I lovely poem which I can relate to, unfortunately! A comfort all the same.

All the best writers are sensitive souls

Tai

Author's Reply:

Leila on 2005-01-11 10:19:35
Re: If
Beautifully said...L

Author's Reply:

Zydha on 2005-01-11 13:35:51
Re: If
Hello, Leila, this is indeed one of the most beautiful reads this week, truely lovely, Zydha

Author's Reply:

Mehitable on 2005-01-11 19:42:51
Re: If
What a lovely poem. Very sensitive. Anyone with children (I have two lovely daughters) could not help but be moved by it.
x Mehitable

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-01-27 12:41:36
Re: If
Thanks Sunk, appreciate your comment

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-01-27 12:45:46
Re: If
Thanks Mick, glad you liked it

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-01-27 12:47:56
Re: If
Thanks Tai, hopefully it will be a comfort when the time comes.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-01-27 12:49:29
Re: If
Thanks Leila

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-01-27 12:51:13
Re: If
Thank you for saying so Zydha, appreciate it

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-01-27 12:53:23
Re: If
Thanks Mehitable. I also have two daughters, and four sons.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:


Scales of Life (posted on: 08-11-04)
maybe you need to experience it to appreciate it

I never realised how fragile life was
Until mine was hanging in the balance
The hand of Fate, dangling it precariously
Leaving me clinging tightly, hoping, praying

But you never understood that did you?
Didn't see the tenuous threads I hung by
I breathed therefore I lived
To you, it was that simple

I don't think you ever saw beyond that
Looked through the veil of life
And into the cold face of death
Perhaps you were afraid to

I hope the day never comes
When you too catch a glimpse
Of what lies ahead, for I fear
You will be beaten before your battle's begun

Archived comments for Scales of Life
AnthonyEvans on 2005-01-27 14:19:03
Re: Scales of Life
dear ruadh, i have been reading five or so of your most recent poems, i think i like this one the best. i guess it really is a bout a life-threatening moment but it can also be read as the end of a relationship. particularly like the second and third stanzas. best wishes, anthony.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2005-01-27 14:46:29
Re: Scales of Life
Hi Anthony

I never thought of it applying to the end of a relationship, but now you've suggested it I can see it. Thanks for reading and commenting on my work.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:


Senseless (posted on: 08-11-04)
just venting

A lone piper
Signals the battle's begun
And into the fray they go
Fighting for freedom
In a foreign land
In a war
That isn't their own
Risking their lives
To protect and serve
The same people
They're fighting against
A senseless war
And they pay the price
Commanding your reverence


Archived comments for Senseless
zenbuddhist on 2004-11-08 08:06:48
Re: Senseless
'the Ancient Mariner' it is not but I`m sure I heard Jug-Face Jake reciting it on his way to the dentist this morning....*G*...Zx

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-11-08 08:12:29
Re: Senseless
lol, don't mention the 'D' word please, you know it brings tears to my eyes 😉

love ails

Author's Reply:

glennie on 2004-11-08 15:41:29
Re: Senseless
Very poinient, very topical and of course very true. Glen. Nice read.

Author's Reply:

Elfstone on 2004-11-08 18:07:16
Re: Senseless
I read this through three times ruadh and each time i tripped up over the last line. I'm not really sure why mind you, but it doesn't seem to 'sit' with the rest of the poem. I like the rest of it very much - it is short and to the point and it makes a very important point. A potent and topical poem.
"A senseless war
And they pay the price"
- how true and another one dead today - ghastly for the families.
Elfstone.
(PS did you read my poem last week - Requiem for a Wounded World? - along the same lines.)


Author's Reply:

Penprince on 2004-11-08 22:21:39
Re: Senseless
POWERFUL work, Ailsa...I like your style...

D

Author's Reply:

Emerald on 2004-11-09 03:31:11
Re: Senseless
Hi Ailsa, I was wondering if the lone piper was a metaphor for the lone voice - thats how I read this, as people fighting for something they don't believe in, while no one listens to the voice of reason. Good poem,

Emma:)

Author's Reply:

Bradene on 2004-11-09 08:09:14
Re: Senseless
This is so true! Yesterday, today, tomorrow.. forever. great write. Love Val x

Author's Reply:

royrodel on 2004-11-10 01:35:29
Re: Senseless
And the crazy thing is their shutting the Black Watch down on their return.

RODEL

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-11-10 06:38:10
Re: Senseless
Nothing like stabbing them in the back is there?! I hear they are reconsidering that plan though I suspect it has more to do with securing votes in the next election than saving the regiments.

Thanks for commenting.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-11-10 06:39:02
Re: Senseless
Thanks Glen 🙂

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-11-10 06:41:46
Re: Senseless
Thanks Elfstone. The last line was a bugger, maybe I need to think about it some more. I haven't read your poem yet but I will.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-11-10 06:43:45
Re: Senseless
Thanks Deb, much appreciated 🙂

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-11-10 06:59:56
Re: Senseless
Hi Emma, The poem was inspired by the Black Watch. Traditionally, when they went into battle, they were led by a single piper. However your interpretation was a good one as it also sums up the general feeling of this war. Thanks for commenting, appreciate it.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-11-10 07:01:24
Re: Senseless
Thanks Val, much appreciated

ailsa

Author's Reply:

eddiesolo on 2004-11-14 07:55:52
Re: Senseless
Very powerful and very true.

Great.

Si:-)

Author's Reply:


Maisie Days - A Spider on my back (posted on: 06-09-04)
Wasn't sure whether to put this in flash or kids.

''Maisie! Why is this table in such a mess? There's more paint on the table than there is on your paper!''

Maisie looked at the tabletop then up at her mother. ''It wasn't me mum, it was Spider.''

Mum sighed. Spider was Maisie's imaginary friend. ''Spider! I should've known. I thought Spider lived on your back?''

''He does, but today he wanted to paint. Look he did this for you.'' Maisie held up a piece of paper with a solitary purple blob on it.

Mum couldn't help but smile. ''Well, it's nearly time for lunch so you'll have to clear away your painting things. Put your paints in the bucket and your picture in the porch to dry. I'll go and get a cloth to wipe the table.''

As she walked to the kitchen Mum shook her head. Most children had another child as an imaginary friend but not Maisie, she had a spider. And it was truly amazing what this spider could do! She filled a basin with warm water and grabbed a cloth.

Returning to the living room she groaned at the sight of her paint covered coffee table. Maisie had cleared her things away and was playing outside. Mum dabbed the puddles of wet liquid with the cloth to soak them up then rinsed it in the basin before wiping away the residue. Outside, she heard Maisie crying and went out into the garden to see what had happened.

Maisie was lying on the patio, having fallen off the back of her trike. Mum picked her up and gave her a hug. ''Where does it hurt Maisie?''

''On my back,'' Maisie whimpered.

Mum looked at her back and gave it a gentle rub. ''You're ok, it's just a little red mark.'' She gave a mischievous smile. ''I don't know about Spider though. I think you must've squashed him.''

Maisie rested her head on her mother's shoulder and put het thumb in her mouth. ''He's ok mummy. He was fed up living on my back and moved to my pocket instead.''

Archived comments for Maisie Days - A Spider on my back
thehaven on 2004-09-08 18:56:54
Re: Maisie Days - A Spider on my back
As it stands I feel you could make this into a really good childrens story by expanding it.

Mike

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-09-09 08:08:36
Re: Maisie Days - A Spider on my back
Thanks Mike. I wasn't sure if it was a story FOR kids or just about one. I'll work on it.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

expat on 2004-09-12 04:55:53
Re: Maisie Days - A Spider on my back
What a cute and simple story, Ailsa. I think it might lose its appeal if you lengthened it.
:^) :^) Steve.


Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-09-13 05:19:48
Re: Maisie Days - A Spider on my back
Thanks Steve, you might be right.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

Gee on 2004-09-15 17:40:53
Re: Maisie Days - A Spider on my back
I like the simplicity of this and I think it works well as it is.
I had to smile as I read this because my daughter had imaginary horses when she was very little. I remember having to carry them off a bus for her, to the amusement of all the other passengers.

Author's Reply:

Mehitable on 2005-01-11 19:52:11
Re: Maisie Days - A Spider on my back
As a writer of spider poetry I had to read this. I think it would make a great childrens story - not longer, you just need some illustrations to go with it. Than maybe you could write another one about 'spider in my pocket'. Funny really, I've been terrified of spiders all my life but since I started writing poems about Hank the Spider (which I did to stop my daughters having the same phobia) I feel I've been on a crusade to stop the world hating spiders!!
Oh well, funny lot us poets!
x Mehitable

Author's Reply:


Somewhere (posted on: 06-09-04)
out of sight, out of mind



Somewhere,
There is a child
Crying with hunger.
A mother, crying
Because she has no food
To give.

Somewhere else,
There is a child
Who no longer cries.
Because she's learnt,
No matter how long
She cries for,
No-one will feed her.

Somewhere still,
There is a child,
Lying lifeless
On the ground.
A mother
Weeps loudly,
But you don't hear her
Do you?

As long as
Somewhere
Is somewhere else
Why should you care.


Archived comments for Somewhere
Penprince on 2004-09-06 07:08:51
Re: Somewhere
WONDERFUL perspectives, I like the ending!

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-09-06 07:20:56
Re: Somewhere
Thanks Debashish, appreciate it

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

uppercase on 2004-09-06 18:30:47
Re: Somewhere
Very good poem I like it...Erma

Author's Reply:

Bradene on 2004-09-06 18:35:41
Re: Somewhere
You nailed this perfectly, Iy says just about everything. Love Val x

Author's Reply:

Kat on 2004-09-06 18:41:47
Re: Somewhere
Hi Ailsa

You tell it straight in this poem, and it gets to the heart of the matter...excellent.

Kat 🙂

Author's Reply:

silentmemories on 2004-09-07 01:54:49
Re: Somewhere
you Excellently portrayed the truth about the indifference of the satiate western masses. The last verse is the epitomy of social unemotionality regarding the suffering of poor, underprivileged, unfortunate populaces around the world. I really liked your powerful poem. Nic.

Author's Reply:

Emerald on 2004-09-07 03:18:03
Re: Somewhere
Hi, a very stark message, succinctly put. Well done

Emma

Author's Reply:

Dargo77 on 2004-09-07 14:51:36
Re: Somewhere
Very touching and well written.
Best regards,
Dargo

Author's Reply:

bektron on 2004-09-08 06:04:38
Re: Somewhere
very effective and affecting, got me like a kick in the stomach.
bek

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-09-08 07:52:10
Re: Somewhere
thanks Erma, glad you enjoyed it

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-09-08 07:53:10
Re: Somewhere
thanks Val, I'm glad it does.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-09-08 07:53:57
Re: Somewhere
Hi Kat

ta very much 😉

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-09-08 07:55:43
Re: Somewhere
Thanks Nic, your comment is much appreciated

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-09-08 07:57:11
Re: Somewhere
thanks Emma, glad the message gets across

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-09-08 07:58:03
Re: Somewhere
Thank you Dargo for taking time to read and comment

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-09-08 07:58:48
Re: Somewhere
thanks bek, hope it didn't hurt too much 😉

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

tai on 2004-09-08 17:53:32
Re: Somewhere
ruadh, Great piece delivered with panache!

Tai

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-09-09 08:06:26
Re: Somewhere
thanks tai, glad you liked it

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

eddiesolo on 2004-09-11 05:59:51
Re: Somewhere
Great poem and very moving and true, we never think of other places and the horrors going on.

Si:-)

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-09-11 06:04:49
Re: Somewhere
Thanks Si, appreciate it

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

discopants on 2004-09-12 11:39:36
Re: Somewhere
As you've touched upon in your final 4 lines, although we see all sorts of disturbing news items on our TV, it does not have any lasting impact upon our lives. Mind you, is it my imagination or are the news programmes much more blase about showing dead and dying people these days?

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-09-13 05:17:57
Re: Somewhere
I think they are more blase now, but perhaps they have to be in order to get our attention. Thanks for reading and commenting.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Gee on 2004-09-15 17:36:34
Re: Somewhere
It's terrible to think that we can be indifferent to this kind of thing, but it's true.
Well written, Ailsa. Simple, yet powerful

Author's Reply:

deepoceanfish2 on 2004-09-16 07:40:49
Re: Somewhere
ruadh,

A moving piece with good flow and a clean ending. You say a great deal here. Good read.

Cheers,
Adele 🙂

Author's Reply:

ritawrites on 2004-09-18 07:41:30
Re: Somewhere
so true, it’s always somebody else’s problem – a good write --

Author's Reply:


Resurrection (posted on: 30-08-04)
sometimes you're better off not knowing

What are you doing here little girl?
Fluttering around, disturbing my peace.
Many years I have lain here,
Unnoticed
Uncared for
Unloved.
And now,
Now you have found me,
You think you can rewrite history,
Somehow erase the past
That existed before you.
Don't try so hard little girl.
Others forgot me before you came
And no-one will remember after you leave.
What is the point
In opening wounds
When there is no-one left
To heal them?
Leave your flowers
As a sign of acknowledgement,
Appease the guilt
That is not yours to bear,
But as they wilt and die
Let me fade from your memory
And return to the abyss
I know so well

Archived comments for Resurrection
discopants on 2004-08-31 08:14:24
Re: Resurrection
I liked this although I wasn't sure about the use of 'little girl'. Didn't feel quite right to me- perhaps the use of a name instead?

Author's Reply:

Penprince on 2004-08-31 09:22:08
Re: Resurrection
I am probably missing the proper POV in this poem...What I gather it is about a psychological condition of rejection that dogs many of us...However lines 9 to 15 give me a feeling that it is perhaps a personification of a long forgotten monument/place...I was first thrown by "history" in L9 but later thought it was probably more of a suggestive read that descriptive...I thought why not replace "history" by "story"...!

Debashish

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-09-01 08:39:06
Re: Resurrection
I tried a name, but it didn't work for me. The poem's personal so maybe that's the only way to understand it properly. Thanks for reading and commenting, appreciate it.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-09-01 08:47:48
Re: Resurrection
The voice in the poem is my natural grandmother's. I recently found her grave and discovered it had no headstone. I was extremely saddened by this, I felt no-one cared about her. I returned with flowers the following day. Later I wondered what she might think of it all .... hence this poem. Thanks for commenting.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

Bradene on 2004-09-01 13:21:32
Re: Resurrection
Ruadh I don't know if I read this the way you meant it to be but I felt it was akin to the poem I wrote about finding my fathers Grave, whereas I wrote my poem from my point of view I felt you had written this from the deceased's view. Maybe I'm wrong, but this touched me. Val x

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-09-01 15:19:39
Re: Resurrection
Thanks Val, you read it correctly 🙂

love ailsa

Author's Reply:


Blind Generosity (posted on: 30-08-04)
When will people realise that material things mean nothing?

You think you know me
Quietly confident
With your exotic flowers
And expensive perfume
Wrapped in the sweetest endearments

We dine on fresh salmon
Drinking the finest champagne
While you talk of a future
That is alien to me
On the other side of the world

In reality, you know nothing
If you had made me a daisy chain
While rainfall scented my hair
I would've followed you
To the end of the earth


Archived comments for Blind Generosity
Bradene on 2004-08-30 05:27:07
Re: Blind Generosity
This is enchanting Ruadh, and my seniments exactly. Val x

Author's Reply:

ritawrites on 2004-08-30 07:02:18
Re: Blind Generosity
oh, excuse me, but I’ll settle for the exotic flowers..perfume..wining and dining.. if you don’t mind. You’re welcome to the daisy chains – guess I’m one of those plebeian material girls – 😉 -- nice poem –

Author's Reply:

uppercase on 2004-08-30 10:24:47
Re: Blind Generosity
I want both thank you. Congrats on the great read well deserved...Erma

Author's Reply:

Penprince on 2004-08-30 11:01:30
Re: Blind Generosity
POWERFUL poem, and so emotive...I love how you started it an elgent shot on bourgouis mentality and how you ended it in a different shore--where many can identify themselves...

Debashish

Author's Reply:

islathorne on 2004-08-30 14:44:17
Re: Blind Generosity
Hi ruadh,
an excellent and beautiful poem. I enjoyed reading it.
It is always the simple things that bring the most happiness.

isla :0)

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-08-30 15:13:24
Re: Blind Generosity
Thanks Val, much appreciated

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-08-30 15:16:49
Re: Blind Generosity
Everyone loves being spoiled Rita, but, as they say, money doesn't buy happiness. Glad you liked it.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-08-30 15:18:18
Re: Blind Generosity
Thanks Erma. I agree, its nice to be spoiled sometimes.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-08-30 15:19:58
Re: Blind Generosity
Thanks Trevor, appreciate you reading and commenting.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-08-30 15:21:09
Re: Blind Generosity
Thanks Debashish, glad you liked it.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-08-30 15:22:59
Re: Blind Generosity
Hi Isla
The simple things are the ones to treasure. Thanks for reading and commenting.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

Emerald on 2004-08-30 15:25:17
Re: Blind Generosity
Love doesn't have to come at a price - sadly so many think that it does. It is so often the simple things that mean the most. Good Poem

Emma

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-08-30 15:27:04
Re: Blind Generosity
Thanks Emma, I couldn't agree more 🙂

ailsa

Author's Reply:

shackleton on 2004-08-30 15:41:30
Re: Blind Generosity
Smashing Ailsa. You've captured my heart. I'm standing before you with a big bunch of buttercups, a handfull of blackberries and a bottle of home-made elderflower wine. Lovely poetry - a little bit special. Bye now.

Author's Reply:

Kat on 2004-08-30 20:38:07
Re: Blind Generosity
Hi Ailsa

Just loved this poem...

Regards
Kat

Author's Reply:

Claire on 2004-08-31 15:47:00
Re: Blind Generosity
Love it and agree with it.

The very first flower that I got off my husband was a rose handpicked from the neighbours posh looking garden. He swept me away that night. That was 15yrs ago and I still have it all dryed up and wrinkly, I was talking about the rose not the hubby!

Author's Reply:

tai on 2004-08-31 19:01:04
Re: Blind Generosity
Hi Ailsa, A beautiful poem underlining the sad materialistic world we seem to be living in. Since becoming a single woman 2 years ago, I have noticed that people (especially 25 to 40ish) tend to judge me by the shoes, car, designer label (or not, in my case) and what I have/have not. Doesn't bother me, just makes me sad sometimes.

Tai

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-09-01 08:26:06
Re: Blind Generosity
That's exactly the kind of gesture I love Claire. Thanks for the favourite story vote.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-09-01 08:29:16
Re: Blind Generosity
Ah Mick, you're too good to me, thank you 😉
Glad you liked it.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-09-01 08:30:15
Re: Blind Generosity
Thanks Kat, much appreciated

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-09-01 08:33:13
Re: Blind Generosity
It is sad Tai. I was brought up to like people for who they are, not what they own or who they know. I've tried to teach my children the same. Thanks for commenting.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

spacegirl on 2004-09-04 12:37:50
Re: Blind Generosity
Nothing left to say. Love is about the simple things

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-09-04 14:23:20
Re: Blind Generosity
Isn't it 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting Spacie

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

pullmyhair on 2004-09-06 00:25:19
Re: Blind Generosity
Right-o. I'm going to stick my neck out here and go against the majority. This subject has been addressed so very often, that if you do choose to approach it, I personally would like to see a very different set of ideas in play, as well as a slightly more ambiguous title.

The whole "champagne" and "salmon" as a metaphor for wealth and opulence is pretty overdone in a lot of critiques of materialism. Maybe a more subtle choice of objects to illustrate the point a little more sharply? Don;t think you need such blatant words as "expensive" in here, either. They're pretty redundant.

Also, maybe I'd prefer it if there was no subtitle stating what is already a very clear point within the poem. It does detract from what you are trying to say, by making me think: "ok, so this is how the poet feels - why write the following poem if it can be summed up in a sentence?"

Finally, I think you could do without the first line of both the first and the final stanzas. It's clear in the rest of the poem that the addressee does not know the speaker that well, as shown in the scathing views the speaker holds on flashing the cash to impress.

All that said, a lot to like. The last lines of the last two stanzas go nicely against each other and the final lines remind me strongly of "I Wouldn't Thank You For A Valentine" by Liz Lochran, a cracking good satirical poem. "Wrapped in the sweetest endearments" is a lovely line, too; very warm.
There's good stuff here. I just think you're doing it an injustice by using ideas at times that have been round the block once too often.

Phew! And I'm spent. pmh x

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-09-06 05:46:06
Re: Blind Generosity
Hi PMH

This was written from my own experience, hence my choice of salmon and champagne. I wasn't looking for symbolisms of wealth, I was drawing on the facts as I knew them.

There is no subtitle in this poem. I can only assume you have mistaken the mandatory description for the subtitle.

On the contrary, I have known this person for three years. He can give me financial security and can't understand why that isn't enough for me to move half way round the world. Like I said, he doesn't know me, he just doesn't realise it. I think the lines are needed but I will c&p it and remove them, see what I think.

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, I appreciate it.

ailsa



Author's Reply:

pullmyhair on 2004-09-06 21:11:52
Re: Blind Generosity
Hey ailsa! Thanks, that does explain an awful lot. Salmon and champagne for real, eh? Then apologies due on that nitpick. Often people use an invented speaker/situation and I took it for that, rather than a personal account.

And yep, I meant the description. I just felt that the poem spoke for itself on that one.

The description of the person not knowing you but not knowing they don't was clear, yep. It just felt on the first read like someone trying to impress a new lover, rather than a long-term acquaintance. Perhaps we all read in ideas based on our own experience.

And hey, feel free to disagree about the line removal. That's the great thing about UKA. It's a good forum for throwing ideas around. Some work, some aren't right for the piece we're commenting on. In the end, it's you that gets the final say.

Cheers chuck!
pmh x

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-09-08 08:07:24
Re: Blind Generosity
Hey yourself 🙂

No apology needed PMH. Poetry is open to the interpretation of the reader so all thoughts / opinions are welcome. I played about with the lines, and removing them does work, but for me anyway, it also changes the view (?) of the poem. Which isn't a bad thing but it makes it less personal to me personally ... um, if you see what I mean.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

Mehitable on 2005-01-11 20:01:24
Re: Blind Generosity
I totally agree with the sentiment of this poem but, what a wonderful world if we could have it all, the right sentiment, the salmon and the champagne!
Hey ho
x Mehitable

Author's Reply:


A SINGLE ELEVATOR (posted on: 16-08-04)
Are your hands clean?

I feel the wetness on my palms and notice the redness appearing, spreading, and staining my skin. I try to wipe it off on my clothes but as fast as I wipe it, the quicker it is replaced.

I hear voices soft voices, scared voices, angry voices. Voices that whisper through tears and voices that pierce my soul in their anguish. ''Why didn't you help? Why couldn't you see?'' they ask.

Realisation dawns on me. It is their blood I have on my hands, the blood of innocents I tried so hard not to see. I run away, as I have always ran. An elevator door opens, offering me salvation. I enter and sigh in relief as the door closes, shutting out the voices that hound me. As I look above the door to see which floor I am on my blood runs cold. There are no numbers, only a bright red arrow pointing down.

ailsa 14th April 2003

Archived comments for A SINGLE ELEVATOR
zenbuddhist on 2004-08-16 17:34:27
Re: A SINGLE ELEVATOR
a wee bit like a piece of hitchcock this ails...niceoneZx

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-08-16 19:41:16
Re: A SINGLE ELEVATOR
ta very much 🙂

~A~

Author's Reply:

Kat on 2004-08-17 15:55:00
Re: A SINGLE ELEVATOR
Gosh Ailsa, bit spooky this - liked it though and its message.

Regards
Kat

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-08-17 15:58:52
Re: A SINGLE ELEVATOR
Thanks Kat 🙂

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Penprince on 2004-08-19 13:59:55
Re: A SINGLE ELEVATOR
I agree with others...This has a Hitctcock-ish flavor with it

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-08-19 14:31:52
Re: A SINGLE ELEVATOR
Thanks Penprince, appreciate you reading and commenting

ailsa

Author's Reply:

spacegirl on 2004-08-22 10:50:15
Re: A SINGLE ELEVATOR
Twilight Zone. I can hear that errie music and he - it's usually a man in the twilight zone - realises his mistake

Nice one Ailsa

Author's Reply:


PERDITION (posted on: 16-08-04)
may disturb



The flesh weeps.

Hot, crimson tears
Run in rivulets
Down your arm
Burning your skin

Crying in ecstasy,
You think that by
Shedding your tainted blood
Your body will be cleansed
Your sins will be atoned.
But your pleasure
Will be short-lived

For your wounds will heal
But the sickness
That lurks in your mind
Will gather strength

Whispering
Taunting
Festering
Until it can
No longer be contained
And you tear at your flesh
Feel it part beneath the blade
Releasing the contamination
That thrives within.

Ailsa 19th July 2004


Archived comments for PERDITION
Skeeter on 2004-08-16 09:05:01
Re: PERDITION
I do tend to believe in that 'mens sana in corpore sano' thing; that the body is profoundly affected by the contents of the mind. So much research, I believe, bears it out. I liked this, it is well written, and comes from an unusual angle. I find it ambiguous, so I guess it is meant to be so; it could be about someone, it could be about self harming, it could be a metaphor. I liie that ambiguity, I think poetry should never reveal itself straight away,. Enjoyed.

Author's Reply:

glennie on 2004-08-16 10:56:16
Re: PERDITION
Very good poetry Ailsa, gripping. I wonder who it's about? Glen.

Author's Reply:

Penprince on 2004-08-16 13:34:21
Re: PERDITION
FANTABULOUS writing!

Author's Reply:

Bradene on 2004-08-16 13:57:00
Re: PERDITION
I read this as if it were about self harming, I have known several youngsters who do this and it is so distressing in reality. I hope ailsa with all my heart that this is not autobiographical. The poem is a brilliant piece of writing. Love Val x

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-08-16 15:30:06
Re: PERDITION
Thank you Skeeter. Ambiguous.... I didn't mean it to be but I'll take that as a compliment *smile* One of your suggestions as to what it could be is right, however I like people finding their own interpretation. Glad you enjoyed it.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-08-16 15:32:49
Re: PERDITION
Thanks Glen, glad you liked it.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-08-16 15:34:03
Re: PERDITION
Thanks Val. You read it right.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-08-16 15:34:56
Re: PERDITION
Thank you Penprince, appreciate the comment.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

e-griff on 2004-08-16 15:51:35
Re: PERDITION
I like your writing generally. I don't like all this self harm stuff. If I met you I would respect you, chat to you, be interested. But why do I WANT to know about this? Sure it's fashionable (very very), but I don't have any resonance with it at all - might as well write a poem about a man who blows a foghorn up his arse.. as far removed from my reality....

And don't say I SHOULD care. I don't! I may care about YOU, but NOT about THIS!

So stoppit and write something good again.....G

Author's Reply:

shackleton on 2004-08-16 16:22:47
Re: PERDITION
Cor blimey, this is a strong one, Ailsa. Good poetry but very disturbing. I take it to be metaphorical. No subject should be untouched and no stone left unturned in poetry. Still dwelling on it ...

Catch you later. Take care.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-08-16 17:04:00
Re: PERDITION
Thanks Mick, don't dwell on it too much though 🙂

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-08-16 17:14:45
Re: PERDITION
I would never tell you what you should or should not care about, nor do I assume you want to know about anything. As far as poetry goes, I simply write whats on my mind or in my heart. It's not a nice topic, hence the description. I shared it to give people in this situation a voice ... that is all.

I shall try to submit something more uplifting next time....ok?

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

Kat on 2004-08-16 20:08:28
Re: PERDITION
Very well done with this Ailsa. Writing about such subjects is close to my heart and the core of much of what I try to write. Mental health issues are still taboo, and I see that, even reading comments here...Power to you!

Regards
Kat

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-08-16 20:51:06
Re: PERDITION
Thanks Kat. Some people are uncomfortable when reading something like this, for various reasons, but that's ok. Keep writing.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Emerald on 2004-08-17 05:35:40
Re: PERDITION
HI, strong writing, on an emotive issue - I can't say I liked it - but I immersed the impact of this. Well done

Emma

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-08-17 06:29:44
Re: PERDITION
Thanks Emma, appreciate it.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ritawrites on 2004-08-22 04:03:09
Re: PERDITION
I used to know a girl back in school you used to rip herself up with a blade regularly – and I never could understand why she’d do something so bizarre – why hurt your own body, how could one bear to, I’d wonder as she worked on herself – her thigh, or her forearms – it’s only been much later that I began getting glimmerings of why somebody would want to – Sakina, that was her name, I heard much later, committed suicide – Your poem reminded me of her after all this time –

Author's Reply:

spacegirl on 2004-08-22 10:55:28
Re: PERDITION
If this is from personal experience, then it's made me understand why people self harm - even if it isn't. I agree with Shack - how are we to understand if no one expresses their feelings and thoughts.

Deep, powerful poem and very well written

Author's Reply:

Zydha on 2004-09-18 13:15:35
Re: PERDITION
The title drew me to this one, Ailsa, and I have to say, I was not disappointed...an excellent transposition of the disturbed thoughts of self harm to poetic form.

Life is not only black and white, but many shades of grey, and , this is one of today's disorders. Understanding it can only be aided by familiarising ourselves with it. In between sunshine, some do have thunderstorms...the same must apply to poetry, a graphic piece, well written, Zydha

Author's Reply:


Saving Mary (posted on: 23-07-04)
Sometimes we can be a part of the problem rather than the solution, we just don't see it.

''Haven't you got a home to go to?''

Laura looked up to see the young doctor who'd treated Mary in A&E earlier that day. ''How is she?''

''She'll be fine, she's in good hands. Right now she needs to rest, as do you! Why don't you go home, come back tomorrow?''

Laura looked down at her hands. ''She hates me now you know, doesn't want to see me.''

The doctor sat in a chair near her. ''I know it must feel like that but she's not thinking rationally jus'now, you must realise that. Give her time, she'll need your friendship soon enough.''

''I never thought she'd do it,'' Laura whispered. ''I knew she was feeling bad but things have been bad before and she got through it. Why not this time? And why didn't I see it?''

''Don't reproach yourself Laura. Everyone has a breaking point and evidently Mary reached hers. These things can happen very quickly. Even if Mary has been depressed for a long time it doesn't mean she was planning on taking her own life.''

''Maybe'' Laura gazed at the closed door of the side ward that Mary occupied. ''She's been through so much you know. I've seen her so low and yet she managed to get through it. Not sure I could have.''

''So what do you think happened this time?''

Laura shrugged. ''I guess she just got tired of fighting. I know she's been having a tough time recently. She hasn't said anything but I could see her struggling, one day she'd be fine, the next she'd seem down. I didn't know what to do to help her but I thought she'd be ok.'' Turning to the doctor she said: ''Maybe, deep down, she knew she was losing the battle this time.''

''Why did you save her?''

Momentarily dumbstruck by the question, Laura's voice quivered as she answered. ''What do you mean, why did I save her? What was I supposed to do, stand back and watch her die?''

''It was what she wanted wasn't it?''

''It wasn't what I wanted!'' she snapped. ''I couldn't just let her go like that. She had people who needed her. I need her!''

''And who does Mary need?'' asked the doctor quietly. ''Who can she rely on to be there when she needs them? Or does everyone assume she can manage on her own?''

Laura pondered on his words long after he'd left. There was some truth in what he said, or rather what he hadn't said. She did always expect Mary to pull through on her own, and why not? Mary had shown her inner strength time and time again; it never crossed her mind that the day would come where she didn't have the determination to fight back. It had grown dark outside and she decided to go home. On her way out she paused at the door to Mary's room. Tomorrow she would ask to see her.

Inside the darkened room, Mary lay quietly. She saw the shadow through the curtain on the door and knew Laura was there again. Instantly she seethed with anger. It was her fault she was still here. Why couldn't she have left well alone?
**

Mary felt her eyes closing. It was getting too much of an effort to open them again. Gratefully she embraced the darkness. As she slept, her body slowly slipped further into the warm bath water. She was unaware as it washed over her face, flooding her nostrils. She didn't feel her vocal cords constrict, sealing her airways, preventing water from entering her lungs. Nor did she feel her consciousness fade due to lack of oxygen, or her heart stop beating.

Mary slipped into the abyss feeling calm. Blackness surrounded her like a cocoon, steadying her fall. Gradually the darkness faded and she landed gently on her feet. She was standing in the doorway of an old stone built cottage. The smell of bread fresh from the oven filled the air. Wandering outside, she was bathed in warm sunlight. The grass beneath her feet was as soft as feathers. In front of her was a carpet of bluebells as far as she could see, and beyond that lay the lush green hills of Glencoe, twinkling as the sun's rays hit the veins of water scarring the vast hillside

An old rocker sat outside and Mary sat down, admiring the view. Out of the corner of her eye she spied a trio of pine martens tumbling about on the edge of the woodlands to the rear. Peering from the safety of the trees were a handful of deer. Smiling contentedly Mary closed her eyes, allowing the gentle rocking motion of the chair lull her to sleep.

Gradually she became aware of a rhythmic pain in her chest, warm air filling her mouth. Her head was tilted backwards, her nose pinched and again the flow of warm air, this time reaching her lungs. Coughing violently she was rolled onto her side.

''Thank God!'' cried a voice. ''You're going to be ok Mary, just hang on; an ambulance is on its way.''

Mary's eyelids flickered. Through blurred vision she could make out Laura kneeling beside her, the cold tiled floor of her bathroom seeping into her bones. Gone was the soft grass, the carpet of bluebells, her garden of Eden..

''Why did you bring me back?'' she rasped.


Archived comments for Saving Mary
Harry on 2004-07-23 16:06:46
Re: Saving Mary
Very persuasive piece, ruadh. The two points of view are handled beautifully. I liked that question of the Doctor's -- “Why did you save her?”

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-07-23 17:45:17
Re: Saving Mary
Thanks Harry. One reader thought the doctor was out of line so I wanted more opinions on it. Appreciate you taking time to read and comment.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Elfstone on 2004-07-24 11:56:43
Re: Saving Mary
I don't often read fiction here and I'm not sure what subconcious something-or-other prompted me to read this, but I'm glad that I did. The first section is very compelling and, if I may say, a brave piece of writing. Nowadays medics seem to be hell bent on maintaining 'existance' without any thought for the life that goes with it. I'm not for a minute suggesting that we should go around encouraging suicide, but there is an ethical dilemma in preventing it, which is rarely addressed. Is it the Chinese who believe that if you save a person's life, that life is then your responsibility for evermore? That is a sobering way of looking at it.

Having read this I'm going to post a poem I wrote a while back on the subject, for Monday. Thankyou for sharing this. Elfstone.

Author's Reply:

expat on 2004-07-25 13:21:05
Re: Saving Mary
A well presented story with an interesting two-way perspective, Ailsa. I thought that Mary might have 'cried/wept/sobbed' etc instead of 'rasped' in the closing sentence to heighten the sense of pathos, but it's certainly not a criticism. A good read.
:^) Steve.


Author's Reply:

shackleton on 2004-07-26 14:38:12
Re: Saving Mary
Very powerful piece Ailsa - well written. Good to see your work because I don't think I've caught one of yours for some time. I once saved the life of a 'Mary' - someone who is very close to me. I also didn't spot the signs until it was almost too late and it was only by chance that I managed to save them. They also didn't thank me for it at the time. Years later... and they've totally turned their life around and have never been happier which gives me a feeling of great relief that I was in the right place at the right time. Good story Ailsa - you've set my mind pondering on the lottery of it all again. Bye now.

Author's Reply:

Pilgermann on 2004-07-29 14:29:38
Re: Saving Mary
There is so much that is left out of the life of Mary and that is why this is such a compelling piece of writing.



Author's Reply:

ritawrites on 2004-08-06 06:50:32
Re: Saving Mary
the thing i wonder about is why is it that when all of us have to deal with similar vicissitudes that life dishes out some of us succumb and opt for suicide while most os choose to pull on... is it the genes that determines the difference...? are some epople more susceptible to suicide...? Great read, btw...

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-08-14 16:51:33
Re: Saving Mary
Thanks Elfstone, much appreciated.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-08-14 16:58:30
Re: Saving Mary
Thanks Steve, Mary didn't want to be saved so was angry. Glad you liked it.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-08-14 16:59:59
Re: Saving Mary
Thanks Mick, life is all about chance isn't it

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-08-14 17:02:16
Re: Saving Mary
Thanks Rita, I don't know why people act differently, just life I suppose

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-08-14 17:05:51
Re: Saving Mary
Thanks B

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

Gee on 2004-08-14 20:04:11
Re: Saving Mary
I could really relate to this, Ailsa. I fought for years to save my mother from her depression and, in the end, had to give in.
Sometimes, as hard as it is to have to realise it, people just don't want to be saved.
Very well written and I liked the way you showed all points of view.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-08-15 09:23:12
Re: Saving Mary
Depression's a tricky thing, if the victim can't face / doesn't have the strength to help themselves then no-one can. Thanks for reading and commenting.

love ailsa

Author's Reply:


The Healing (posted on: 31-05-04)
When reality's too much....

Emily lay in the dark, listening, waiting for the creak on the stair. When it eventually came she jumped, a cold sweat sweeping down her body. With each successive step her heart raced, thumping so loudly it soon drowned out the noise of the groaning staircase. The footsteps stopped outside her room, a shadow creeping under the door. Emily pulled her covers up to her chin, gripping them tightly, praying that tonight he would leave her alone.

Light from the landing flooded her room briefly as the door opened then closed. As the figure got nearer the smell of alcohol hung in the air. Emily let out a small cry as the covers were ripped from her hands and thrown on the floor.

''You don't need these now, Daddy will keep you warm,'' said a gruff voice.

Covering her body with his, rough hands pulled her nightdress up around her waist as his tongue grotesquely invaded her mouth.

On the opposite wall was a huge poster and it was on this that Emily focused her attention. This was her secret place, the place she fled to in her mind, numbing the pain her father inflicted on her body.

A beautiful white unicorn dominated the picture. Legend has it that it will only approach the purest of humans and its tears will heal all wounds. It stood in a small glade, beside a sparkling pool of water. Its head was raised, as if it had been startled while drinking. In the distance sunlight filtered through the branches of the trees, waterfalls cascading from the cliffs behind. A rainbow glimmered in the sky.

The unicorn was her saviour. Whenever she needed him he magically appeared and galloped away with her on his back, carrying her far away from the ugliness of her life, into the beauty of his world. She could bask in the warm sunshine; dip her feet into the cool, clear water. He was her protector; she was safe here under his watchful eye.

Suddenly the rhythmic rocking of her body stopped and the weight of her father lifted off her. Scooping up the discarded blankets he dumped them on the bed then opened the door and closed it behind him without a word.

For a long time she lay in the darkness, motionless, silent. Fumbling in her bedside cabinet, her fingers circled the cold steel of the scissors she had hidden there. Holding them high in the air in front of her she hesitated. Her eyes focused on the unicorn, his dark eyes filled with sorrow. Emily plunged the blades into her stomach, her blood flowing out, staining everything it touched with her guilt and shame. In his beautiful world, the unicorn wept.


Archived comments for The Healing
Gee on 2004-05-31 05:02:26
Re: The Healing
This is very powerful for such a short piece, Ailsa.
The ending was so shocking that it made me catch my breath. Very well written.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-05-31 06:48:17
Re: The Healing
Thanks Gillian. I was worried it might be too much for the length of it and read as unbelievable, I'm glad it worked for you.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

uppercase on 2004-05-31 09:16:31
Re: The Healing
Powerful write I loved it....Erma

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-05-31 09:27:46
Re: The Healing
thanks Erma

Author's Reply:

expat on 2004-06-01 17:35:16
Re: The Healing
My, my, Ailsa – that's what I call a short story! All the more hard-hitting for its brevity. A couple of points (not criticisms): I wonder if I might suggest changing the passive voice, where it occurs in a few places, for something more immediate. And perhaps Emily might have used the scissors to cut her wrists instead of the more painful death by stabbing. Also, you might find that the final sentence has more impact as a new paragraph. However, it's still a very readable story as it is.
:^) :^) Steve.


Author's Reply:

Heirloom on 2004-06-05 05:42:08
Re: The Healing
Very effective & well written. A good illustration of the power of flash fiction.
-Steven

Author's Reply:

Bettyboo on 2004-07-07 04:15:06
Re: The Healing
For a short story, it had enough, get to the point details and the ending was very sad as with the whole story. It makes your skin go cold when reading this story, as you know that in the real world it is truely happening. This was a fantastic piece of writing.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-07-07 06:10:18
Re: The Healing
Thank you! Much appreciated 🙂

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-08-14 17:09:55
Re: The Healing
I didn't think cutting her wrists would be as shocking. I originally wrote the last line as a new paragraph then changed it when I posted here, I'll change it back now

Thanks Steve 🙂

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-08-14 17:12:33
Re: The Healing
Thanks Steven, glad you liked it.

ailsa

Author's Reply:


For Dean (posted on: 07-05-04)
Click to see more top choices

I originally posted this in my journal and was prompted to submit it here ... thanks guys.

Even as I write I know you'll never read these words, but still I put them down. Maybe one day, in the far off future, this letter will be discovered and someone will read it and understand what you never did.

The beach is beautiful today. The water is calm, sparkling where the sun bounces off it. The sun is shining in a clear blue sky and the sand is soft and warm beneath my feet. Do you remember the first time we came here together? It was the summer of '82, we were only teenagers. A group of us had come to the carnival and while the others enjoyed the rides and ate candy floss we slipped away for a walk along the sands. They didn't even notice until it was time to go home. From then on the beach became our special place, our sanctuary, away from everything and everyone. So many memories are here here is where we talked, laughed, loved cried.

A few years later you wanted more from our relationship, a commitment. I would have given you anything in the world, but not that I couldn't. You were so hurt that day, so confused. You never asked me why, not verbally, just accepted it. Your eyes were a different matter. Every time they met mine they pleaded silently for the answer. I'd gaze into those deep oceanic pools, losing myself, wishing there was some way I could shelter in them for eternity. I wanted so much for you to understand. But how could I make you understand when I couldn't fully grasp it myself?

Two years before we met I'd undergone major surgery on my spine. At that time my condition was still relatively rare, only two cases a year, and although it was treatable no-one knew if it would be successful indefinitely. In my consultant's words, ''they could only buy me time'', no-one could guess at how much or how little. From then on these words ruled my life. I became withdrawn, isolated. How could I let someone get close to me when I couldn't guarantee to be there for them in the future? How could I knowingly allow someone to love me when I might then leave the all alone? I couldn't be that selfish . Could I? Every time I dared to hope a little those words pounded in my ears and reeled me back in, driving you further away in the process.

In time I realised, instead of being frightened of dying, I was frightened to live. And I was being selfish because I was making the decision about you not sharing my life, where that decision should have been yours to make. I owed it to you, to us, to explain everything and let you make up your own mind.

I phoned you, asked if we could meet. I could tell by your voice you were surprised to hear from me, and nervously I waited for your answer. You agreed and we arranged to meet at V's. As I walked down the road the knot in my stomach grew bigger. Standing at the top of the hill I stopped in my tracks. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all. It wasn't too late, I could still turn around and go home. As I dithered about I suddenly had a yearning to see you, to hear your voice so I carried on walking.

When I opened the door I saw you straight away. You were sitting at the table where we always used to sit. Looking closer I noticed you had already ordered for me, a cappuccino and a slab of shortie I should've known you'd remember but it put a smile on my face.

You stood up to greet me, kissing my cheek. For that brief moment I inhaled the scent of your skin, holding my breath lest it disappeared should I breathe out. We sat, and looked, and smiled. The time we'd spent apart disappeared into the air, forgotten. The knot in my stomach began to shrink and once more I dared to be optimistic.

Your eyes were twinkling and I knew from old there was something you wanted to tell me. I smiled and told you to spill the beans before you burst. As I listened to your words it was my bubble that burst, my hope that drifted in the air, my heart that broke. Her name was Lyn. I remembered her from school. A nice girl, quiet. I knew she'd make you happy. I smiled and made all the right noises, and wished you well. The knot in my stomach swelled. I knew you were watching me, could feel your gaze burning through me. I looked at you and once more your eyes asked for answers and in return mine pleaded to be silent.

I never saw you again after that though I thought of you often. Those deep oceanic blues haunted my dreams by night and filled my mind by day. You made your life and I made mine, and the only time we met was in my memories. Sometimes I longed to hear from you, to talk to you, just for a little while. My selfishness again I guess. I'd had my chance to put you in the picture, not once but twice, and both times I let it slip away. Why did I always do what I thought was right instead of what I wanted? And why did I always want to change things when it was too late?

The sun is disappearing now and a cool breeze is coming in off the water. Again I am too late. It is too late to explain things to you, too late to make you understand. I sit here, on the sand, surrounded by memories and regrets. After all my worrying about leaving you alone, you were the one to go first. An aneurysm you didn't know you had. In a way I'm glad you were blessed with ignorance, you lived life to the full and I take comfort in that. Surprisingly it was Lyn who broke the news to me. We talked for a long time. It's because of her I'm writing this now.

I walk to the water's edge and gaze at the horizon. The sun is setting now. How many times have we stood here and watched in wonderment as the sky changes colour, and darkens? Tears spill onto my cheeks then drop to the water below, mingling with the water until both become one. I feel a soft breeze momentarily brush my cheek and I wonder if you are here.

The irony of it all continues. In death you have taught me life. For the first time I appreciate it is not how long someone is with you that matters, it's the memories they create while they're there and you have left me enough to last a lifetime, however long that may be.

Tomorrow is the start of a new day, the start of a new life. My life.



Archived comments for For Dean


Gerry on 2004-05-07 13:58:06
Re: For Dean
This was so moving--I am glad you have these precious memories.
Well written indeed.

Gerry.xxx.

Author's Reply:

dargo77 on 2004-05-07 15:17:51
Re: For Dean
This one got to me and moved me deeply. So very well written.
Dargo

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 2004-05-08 01:19:35
Re: For Dean
Well done Ruadh. Glad you decided to post here. More than worthy of the 'Great read' tag. Very moving piece. You deserve a 'most read' for this. I hope you get it.

s
u
n
k
e
n

Author's Reply:

Gee on 2004-05-08 11:10:48
Re: For Dean
I read this in your journal and found it incredibly moving. I'm very glad you've posted it here so that more people can have the pleasure of reading it.
A beautiful tribute, Ailsa.

Author's Reply:

shackleton on 2004-05-08 13:42:46
Re: For Dean
I reckon he went with the memeory of you very large in his mind Ailsa. Very moving piece.

Author's Reply:

Faerie on 2004-05-09 04:01:10
Re: For Dean
Alisa... beautiful tribute to what was obviously a special friendship. i hope it helped to write this... and share it.
nancy

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-05-09 06:04:15
Re: For Dean
thanks Gerry.... I'm glad too, sometimes they were the only thing that kept me going

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-05-09 06:04:50
Re: For Dean
thanks Dargo... much appreciated

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-05-09 06:06:56
Re: For Dean
thanks Sunk... the 'great read' means a lot to me

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-05-09 06:07:47
Re: For Dean
thanks Gillian, appreciate your thoughts

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-05-09 06:08:47
Re: For Dean
thanks Michael...

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-05-09 06:09:24
Re: For Dean
It did help Nancy, thank you

ailsa

Author's Reply:

flash on 2004-05-09 15:40:09
Re: For Dean
I read the journal too......very sad we all seem to be losing people close to us far too quickly just recently.

A lovely tribute Ailsa.

Alan

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-05-09 20:02:42
Re: For Dean
thanks Alan

ailsa

Author's Reply:

chippy on 2004-05-11 09:11:48
Re: For Dean
This is very moving. It is sentimental, but it's still tough and real, simply because of the events themselves. Thanks for sharing this beyond your journal.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-05-11 14:07:52
Re: For Dean
thanks Chippy, appreciate it

ailsa

Author's Reply:

spacegirl on 2004-05-11 14:56:54
Re: For Dean
I remember the journal. This was well written. It reminds me of a poem I think it was by Vicky Feaver, the one that got away. Being haunted by the kiss, love that never was and the nagging doubts.

Author's Reply:

eddiesolo on 2004-05-14 14:55:48
Re: For Dean
Very moving and beautifully written well deserved of the 'GREAT READ' tag.
Si:-)

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-05-15 05:19:29
Re: For Dean
Thanks Spacey.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-05-15 05:21:40
Re: For Dean
Thanks Si, thanks also for the hot author nomination.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

lostinvenice on 2004-06-21 05:55:51
Re: For Dean
Very intense piece, i hear it used to be just a journal post.. well it definitely had to be more than that, and surely the great read tag is well deserved. Being so personal, the piece shows your sensible nature. not a surprise to me: you being so kind to help out new users like me.
Thanks and well done!

Faye

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-06-21 07:48:02
Re: For Dean
thanks Faye, much appreciated 🙂

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Bettyboo on 2004-07-07 04:36:00
Re: For Dean
This was very moving and in so many ways so true for some people. I really enjoyed reading this short story and it definately brings it home to you to appreciate the life you have no matter how long you may have in this world, to just go with the flow and follow your heart, to not miss an opportunity.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-07-07 06:08:24
Re: For Dean
Thanks Bettyboo. Too often we let things pass us by and regret it.

ailsa

Author's Reply:


FEEL YOUR WAY.... (posted on: 30-04-04)
hmm....

Gently he pushed his fingers between my quivering lips into the wet cavern that lay behind. Holding them open he gently rubbed along my pink flesh, stopping when he felt the swelling. Feeling my body tense he murmured softly to me, telling me to relax. He assured me he had done this more times than he cared to remember and that I was in safe hands. Lured by his comforting words I sank back into the cushions, compliant. His fingers probed further making me cry out. As I scowled at the dentist he retorted ''Sorry, does it hurt if I do this?''

ailsa 7th July 2003

Archived comments for FEEL YOUR WAY....
uppercase on 2004-04-30 07:16:02
Re: FEEL YOUR WAY....
Nice twist at the end very good poem ..Erma

Author's Reply:

dargo77 on 2004-04-30 12:22:32
Re: FEEL YOUR WAY....
You caught me out with this one. Well crafted.
Dargo

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-04-30 12:35:45
Re: FEEL YOUR WAY....
Thanks Erma... it was just a bit of fun, seeing if I could write about something and it not be what everyone thought it was...

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-04-30 12:37:02
Re: FEEL YOUR WAY....
Thanks Dargo, I'm glad it worked the way I hoped it would 🙂

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Gerry on 2004-04-30 14:01:38
Re: FEEL YOUR WAY....
What else could it possibly be? lol.

Gerry xxx.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-04-30 14:05:34
Re: FEEL YOUR WAY....
What else indeed lol. I'm saying nothing! 😉

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Gee on 2004-05-05 05:49:12
Re: FEEL YOUR WAY....
That was fun to read, and a well crafted piece of flash fiction.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-05-05 05:53:19
Re: FEEL YOUR WAY....
thanks Gillian, appreciate it.

ailsa

Author's Reply:


THE FIGHT (posted on: 30-04-04)
An old one I'd like to improve....any thoughts?

Lenny paced the floor nervously, thumping his fist against his open palm. His girlfriend Rosa watched him with equal trepidation.

''Lenny, do you have to do this?'' she asked at last.

He looked at her as if she was an idiot. ''Are you mad? The Shams don't walk away from a fight. Ever!''

''But it isn't even your fight. Why do you have to be involved?''

''I'm a Sham, so it is my fight! You know the rules Rosa. We stick together; if it effects one it effects us all.''

''We're not talking about any ordinary gang here though, this is the Toddies, they've never lost a fight yet.''

Lenny stopped pacing for a minute and looked at her. ''Do you think I don't know that? I've been thinking of nothing else since I heard about this damn fight.''

Rosa walked over to him. ''Don't go Lenny. Don't do it. Please. For me!''

''I have to Rosa. You know that.''

''Bloody Shams! I hate them. I wish you'd never joined them.''

Lenny looked at her, troubled. ''What choice did I have? You know what it's like round here. You need the protection of the gang just to survive.''

Rosa scoffed. ''And you call this protection! Demanding you go to a fight over something that is none of your business. A fight you can't win. It's senseless.''

Lenny grabbed her by the shoulders. ''Rosa, I thought long and hard before joining The Shams. I don't particularly like facing fights like this any more than you do. Some of the boys thrive on them, not me. But what's the alternative? Without back up you're dead meat, easy pickings. The reality is, you don't have a choice whether or not to join the gangs, only which one.'' Looking at his watch he said softly: ''I have to go.''

''When will you be back?''

''I don't know. When I get back I suppose. Don't wait up though.''

''Lenny!'' she called as he opened the door to leave.

''Yeah?''

''Promise me you'll be back.'' she implored.

''What do you mean? Of course I'll be back.''

''Just promise.'' she said in a whisper, tears brimming her eyelids.

Lenny wrapped his arms around her and held her close. ''Hey, don't be silly. I'll be back, don't worry. You're everything to me, you won't get rid of me that easily!''
He lightly kissed her forehead then left, pulling the door closed behind him.



Ten minutes later he joined the rest of the gang at their pre-arranged meeting place. Most were tooled up with knives, steel bars, or baseball bats. Some, like Lenny, were empty handed. The leader, Sheppy, nodded towards a small pile of weapons. ''Take your pick.''

Lenny walked over and after lengthy consideration chose a bat then joined the throng. Looking around them he noted the differences in the members. Skelly, as always, couldn't wait for the action to start. He was pacing about like a hungry lion, his hand gripping a steel bar like a vice, his knuckles white with tension. The scar running from his temple to his left ear was a war wound well earned. He'd lost a finger in that rumble, his opponent lost his life.

Another group stood together, Lenny knew they were also ready for the fight; they just didn't display the same zeal as Skelly. They were the core of the gang, symbolising everything The Shams stood for. Scattered about were others like Lenny, who were here only because it was expected of them. All were quiet, nervous, and wishing like hell they were anywhere other than here. On the fringe stood the newest member, only sixteen years old and facing his first conflict.

'Looks like he's gonna pee his pants.' thought Lenny. He walked over to him and offered him a cigarette. ''What's your name kid?''

''Chick.'' replied the boy, gratefully accepting the cigarette and lighting it quickly, taking the drag deep into his lungs.

''Lenny. This is your first fight right?''

''Yep.'' Looking Lenny square in the eye he said: ''Guess I could've picked a better time to join huh.''

Lenny chuckled. ''You got that right.''

''What's the fight for anyway?''

''Some asshole hit on Sheppy's bird.''

Chick looked at him in disbelief. ''That's it! We're caught in a gang fight for that?''

''Yup.'' Lenny viewed him with pity. 'Poor kid hasn't a clue what he's letting himself in for.'

Suddenly they heard a chorus of voices shouting ''Get ready, here they come.''

A short distance away the vague figures of the Toddies came into view. The Shams prepared for the ensuing battle by quickly grabbing weapons and getting into position. A few minutes later the rivals ran at each other, shouting and laying into each other without discrimination. The only sounds to be heard were the sickening thuds of blows against bone and the agonising yells of pain as steel parted flesh. Blood flowed freely, mixing in the earth.

Lenny screamed in agony as a blade entered his body. Clutching his side he swung wildly with the bat, catching his opponent on the temple. As his assailant dropped to the ground Lenny looked around him. Out of the corner of his eye he caught sight of Chick lying in a pool of blood.

Crossing over to him he could see Chick was in a bad way. He was bleeding from the abdomen and seemed only semi-conscious. Again he scanned the carnage going on around them then looked back to Chick.

'We're fighting for that!''
'Promise me you'll be back.'

Over and over the voices replayed in his head.

Ignoring the searing pain in his side, with difficulty Lenny hauled Chick to his feet and grabbed him around the waist. ''Come on kid, we're getting out of here. I've got a promise to keep.''

As they staggered away from the fight scene Lenny knew only too well they risked facing the wrath of the gang if it was discovered they had deserted the gang before the end but it was a chance he was willing to take. At least they were alive!

Without a backward glance he said: ''Let's go home.''

ailsa 28th July 2003







Archived comments for THE FIGHT
shackleton on 2004-05-01 17:41:39
Re: THE FIGHT
Hi Ailsa. I enjoyed your story. I found the language to be a slight fusion of British and American - I find that in a quite a few pieces of poetry and prose that I read - no real problem - it probably reflects a fusion of cultures. Is the story possible the forerunner of a series? The potential seems to be there for a series. Good one!

Author's Reply:

Skeeter on 2004-05-02 18:23:48
Re: THE FIGHT
Interesting read, thougy it didn't seem complete to me. As a story, I mean. I expected more to happen, expected him to go back to the Rosa character, with perhaps a new outlook, or something changed. I like the cehtral idea, that its daft, no, mental, to fight and possiblt die, over something so trivial. One little niggle, at the beginning, you say "''if it effects one, it effects all" It should be "affects". With an "a".

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-05-03 02:06:32
Re: THE FIGHT
Hi Michael, You're probably right about the language. I hadn't intended it to be a series, not sure I could pull that off, but, now that you mention it, its something to consider.... thanks. Glad you enjoyed it as it is.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-05-03 03:21:45
Re: THE FIGHT
Thanks for pointing out the mistake, its one I often mix up. The story achieved what I set out to do, which was to make the point about the stupidity in gang fights, but I also wanted to show that sometimes people dont really have a choice ... to survive they need the protection of the gang. Obviously this is something pertaining more to the States than the UK. In Lenny leaving the fight scene it shows he was listening to Rosa and does have a change of heart to an extent but he also knows he'll have to face the wrath of the other gang members if its discovered. Michael has suggested a series, perhaps that could be worked by showing Lenny's reluctant life in the gang and, subsequently, his life with Rosa. Thanks for commenting.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Gee on 2004-05-05 06:01:04
Re: THE FIGHT
I liked the way you set this out, the description of some of the characters and the idea behind it.
I think that it could work well expanded into a longer story or possibly a series.
As for ideas for improvement, I would suggest that you go into a little more detail about the characters, not just what they look like, although that would be good to know, but what they're doing.
For example, you have:
Lenny paced the floor nervously, thumping his fist against his open palm. His girlfriend Rosa watched him with equal trepidation.
Perhaps Rosa would be chewing her nails, biting her lip, something to show her feelings.
And you give a great description of the build-up to the fight, the pointlessness of it and the attitide of the fighters, but maybe you could say something about where it takes place to give a little more atmosphere?
For example, an alleyway, where they can hear the noise of the street yet can't be seen, the smell of damp and half-rotted refuse, the walls covered with graffiti.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-05-05 06:06:54
Re: THE FIGHT
Thanks for the suggestions Gillian, especially the point of the atmosphere for the fight. Will work on it.

ailsa

Author's Reply:


WHILE YOU ARE SLEEPING (posted on: 23-04-04)
waking up with the man you love....

I wake in the morning
Feel your breath on my skin
The heat from your body
Warming me within

I watch while you sleep
The rise and fall of your chest
Hear the beat of your heart
As you lie there in rest

Content in sweet slumber
I wonder if you're dreaming
If so, what of
And what is it's meaning

Trace your lips softly
With a light fingertip
Not resisting the urge
To place a kiss on your lips

Lay my head on your shoulder
Wind my body round yours
My fingers gently stroking
In this early morning allure


Archived comments for WHILE YOU ARE SLEEPING
Zydha on 2004-04-23 16:11:59
Re: WHILE YOU ARE SLEEPING
A soft and simple love poem, Ruahd, I really do enjoy a message like this.

Do you think you really need the word 'steady in the second stanza? It seems to make the line out of rhythm and it reads smoother without it, either way, it is a lovely read, Zydha

Author's Reply:

uppercase on 2004-04-23 16:56:10
Re: WHILE YOU ARE SLEEPING
very nice way to wake someone up I'd say. I enjoyed the poem very much

Author's Reply:

spacegirl on 2004-04-23 17:35:33
Re: WHILE YOU ARE SLEEPING
Ruadh, that was a lovely poem and so true. That's the lovliest thing about being in love, waking up next to the person.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-04-24 04:26:48
Re: WHILE YOU ARE SLEEPING
You're right Zydha, steady could be taken out, thanks! Will edit it later. Glad you enjoyed it.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-04-24 04:27:43
Re: WHILE YOU ARE SLEEPING
very nice indeed Erma, thanks

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-04-24 04:28:29
Re: WHILE YOU ARE SLEEPING
Isn't it..... thanks Spacey

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 2004-04-24 07:38:26
Re: WHILE YOU ARE SLEEPING
I hate being single. Great stuff... the poem I mean, not being single. Shall I start again? Very touching and heartfelt piece. You made me feel really bad. Thanks (-;

s
u
n
k

Author's Reply:

Gee on 2004-04-25 12:26:23
Re: WHILE YOU ARE SLEEPING
I liked this a lot, particularly the gentle rhythm it had when I read it aloud.


Author's Reply:

shackleton on 2004-04-25 15:38:11
Re: WHILE YOU ARE SLEEPING
Warm and gentle like the soft breath of a summer's morn. Very feminine poem. Smashing! Good one Ailsa.

Author's Reply:

dargo77 on 2004-04-25 17:02:09
Re: WHILE YOU ARE SLEEPING
So gentle and warm. Reminds me of a Sunday morning. Great.
Dargo

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-04-25 17:11:57
Re: WHILE YOU ARE SLEEPING
Thanks Dargo

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-04-25 17:12:46
Re: WHILE YOU ARE SLEEPING
Thanks Michael

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-04-25 17:17:11
Re: WHILE YOU ARE SLEEPING
Thanks Sunk. If it's any consolation, I probably feel just as bad as you right now, I'm single too. The poem was written in 2002.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-04-25 17:18:24
Re: WHILE YOU ARE SLEEPING
Thanks Gillian, glad you enjoyed it.

ailsa

Author's Reply:


Touch... (posted on: 12-04-04)
a lover's caress

Pouring oil on my hands
I gaze at your beauty.
At ease with your nakedness,
You urge me to begin.
Lightly stroking your back
I feel you tremble beneath my hands.
Running my thumbs beside your spine
You relax and give a groan.
The palms of my hands
Glide over your skin,
The ripples of muscle
Responding to my touch.
I diligently work your body,
Slowly caressing your tensions away.

ailsa 5th September 2002

Archived comments for Touch...
bektron on 2004-04-12 08:15:27
Re: Touch...
AAh... Ailsa this makes me think of when me and the other half first moved in together....smoothly written, sensual and very tender. 🙂 bek

Author's Reply:

uppercase on 2004-04-12 08:26:57
Re: Touch...
ohhhh that feel so good....Erma

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-04-12 12:09:13
Re: Touch...
thanks bek, those days seem so far away I sometimes wonder if they really happened 😉

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-04-12 12:09:59
Re: Touch...
I'm glad it does 🙂

ailsa

Author's Reply:


Yesterday's Child (posted on: 12-04-04)
If I could turn back time....

Thinking back to yesteryear
I see a girl

Red tresses tumbling down her back
Sparkling green eyes
An infectious smile
A soft lilting voice

A carefree girl
A living picture of childhood innocence

Nostalgia fills my soul
To see her once again
To feel her vivacity
But time is relentless in its propensity

That girl has lived and died
Only the woman I became remains.

ailsa 16th August 2002

Archived comments for Yesterday's Child
Bradene on 2004-04-12 06:26:35
Re: Yesterday's Child
I love this ailsa, I can relate to it so readily, it's neat and concise. Love Val xx

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-04-12 06:35:36
Re: Yesterday's Child
Thanks Val, appreciate you commenting, glad you enjoyed it

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Zydha on 2004-04-12 07:40:59
Re: Yesterday's Child
A nostalgiac thought, Ailsa, beautifully worded, shared by many no doubt, Zydha

Author's Reply:

uppercase on 2004-04-12 07:54:01
Re: Yesterday's Child
Don't matter who you are this will fit you. Very nice poem..Erma

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-04-12 08:02:09
Re: Yesterday's Child
Thanks Zydha. I think it is one many can relate to.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-04-12 08:02:49
Re: Yesterday's Child
thanks Erma, I think you're right.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

chrissy on 2004-04-12 08:56:23
Re: Yesterday's Child
Oh, if only we could turn the clock back.
You show us this little girl with such sadness and tenderness.
The other day I found a picture of me as a child. Reading your poem brought back the feelings I had finding that picture.
A lovely piece.
Chrissy

Author's Reply:

Gerry on 2004-04-12 10:44:01
Re: Yesterday's Child
Alas children seem to have lost their childhood--especially girls. I often drift back too.
Nice one.

Gerry.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-04-12 12:03:27
Re: Yesterday's Child
thanks Chrissy, glad you liked it

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-04-12 12:07:24
Re: Yesterday's Child
thanks Gerry. Children always seem in too much of a hurry to grow up nowadays.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

day_dreamer on 2004-04-12 12:35:16
Re: Yesterday's Child
this poem effectively -captures a feeling many will recognise. Sue.

Author's Reply:

richa on 2004-04-13 07:28:27
Re: Yesterday's Child
A pleasant walk down memory lane. I stroll there often, and sometimes wish I could stay there a bit longer. Powerful last 2 lines.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-04-14 06:28:19
Re: Yesterday's Child
thanks Sue

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-04-14 06:29:51
Re: Yesterday's Child
Wouldn't it be nice to stay there for the day every once in a while...thanks Richa

ailsa

Author's Reply:

deepoceanfish2 on 2004-04-14 10:21:47
Re: Yesterday's Child
ailsa....A lovely memory piece. Especially liked this...

'...Nostalgia fills my soul
To see her once again
To feel her vivacity
But time is relentless in its propensity'....

Nice, strong lines there. Something with which we can all relate.....Adele...:-)



Author's Reply:

shackleton on 2004-04-14 14:21:04
Re: Yesterday's Child
Good poem Ailsa - you've set my mind racing back in time, to a certain raggy-assed boy - grew into a raggy-assed man, I suppose. I love poetry like this - looking back in time. Enjoyed it. Bye now.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-04-15 09:50:55
Re: Yesterday's Child
thanks Adele, much appreciated

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-04-15 09:52:17
Re: Yesterday's Child
lol, I guess some things never change *smile*
thanks Michael

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ShadowChaser on 2004-04-15 14:32:15
Re: Yesterday's Child
Very provacative and emotive. Love it :o)

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-04-25 17:22:18
Re: Yesterday's Child
thanks ShadowChaser, appreciate it

ailsa

Author's Reply:

dancing-queen on 2004-07-08 05:59:24
Re: Yesterday's Child
Ailsa, was having a look through some of your work today and came across this little beauty - sorry I missed it when you posted it. I love nostalgia, and reminiscing over the past. Sometimes, I look at photos of my teen daughter when she was little and really miss not being able to sit her on my lap for a cuddle and hold her hand walking down the street etc. We all grow up too soon, don't we? I often joke to her that it would be nice if we were made with a little button (tummy button?) that we could press to halt time, to stay at any given age. Ah...dreams, eh? DQx

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-07-08 06:19:37
Re: Yesterday's Child
Funnily enough I was talking to someone yesterday about children's stages in life and said that I miss the younger ones. Your idea of a button sounds great to me. Thanks for reading DQ

ailsa

Author's Reply:


The Promise (posted on: 29-03-04)
When misunderstandings get out of hand....

As Vicki turned off the main path of the cemetery she noticed activity near her parents' grave. Her footsteps slowed and she watched as two coffins were unloaded from the nearby hearse and lowered into the gaping ground. A lonely figure stood with the priest, who quietly prayed for the souls being interred. The man threw two handfuls of dirt onto the coffins and stepped back, watching silently as the hole was filled with earth. Afterwards the priest consoled the bereft man before leaving him alone to express his grief.



Vicki approached quietly, not wanting to disturb him, and set about arranging the flowers she had brought with her. Her gaze occasionally strayed towards the stranger and she was startled to find his eyes level with her own. A strange look crossed his face before he turned away. Something niggled at Vicki as she followed his movements along the path until he faded from view. There was something familiar about him but she couldn't put her finger on what it was.



Jerad walked quickly through the cemetery and didn't slow down until he reached the sanctity of his hotel room. The last thing he had expected was to come face to face with anyone so soon. In fact, he wasn't sure if he wanted to see anyone period. Closing the door, he sank back against it, his heart still thumping in his chest. He knew she couldn't possibly have known who he was but even so, the puzzled look on her face was etched in his mind. Sighing, he felt weary. The emotional effects of the day were catching up with him, as were the hours spent travelling from his home in Arizona. 'I kept my promise,' he thought, 'and that is the important thing.' Making his way over to the bed, he lay down and closed his eyes. Within minutes he was asleep.



When he awoke it was dawn, the bright sunshine filtering through the blinds. For a brief moment he was confused at his surroundings but then he remembered where he was. The view from the window was breathtaking in the early morning light. 'Everything is so lush and green.' Looking skywards he smiled wistfully. 'You always said there was nowhere more beautiful than Scotland Mom, and you were right. I hope you're glad to be home.'



Later that day, he paused at the iron gates, gripping the armful of flowers. 'It's time to lay the past to rest,' he thought and, resolutely, he continued on along the path.



At the graveside he dropped to his knees, tears blinding him. Yesterday he'd been too tired to feel anything but today the full implications of recent events hit him full force. In a few days time he'd have to return home, leaving his parents far behind. Although he'd known this day would come he didn't realise how hard it would be, how unprepared for it he was. It seemed so long ago now since his father had taken him aside and told him of his wishes, yet their conversation was still clear in his memory.



''Jerad, I want you to do something for me, something important. But, your mother must never hear of it.''



Jerad looked at his father curiously and hesitated with his answer. He loved his mother and the thought of keeping something from her troubled him. ''Why?'' he asked at last. ''What is it?''



''If I should die before your mother, when her life ends I want you to see to it that our final resting place is in Scotland.''



''Scotland! Why? Mom made her life here with you; her family won't even speak to her!''



His father looked at him ruefully. ''The loss of contact with her family was not her choice, but was the result of a misunderstanding that couldn't be resolved. She was devastated. As much as she loves me and enjoys her life here, her heart remains in Scotland. So many times I have watched her in quieter moments, have seen the sadness in her eyes, and I know where her thoughts are. She sacrificed everything to be with me in life. In death, I want to lay her to rest, in peace, where she belongs.''



''I didn't realise.''



''It's painful for her, even now, so we don't talk about it. I will tell you the full story later, but for now, promise me you will do as I ask.''



''I promise!''



''I kept my promise Dad, just as you asked.'' Carefully he placed some of the flowers upon the earth. ''Welcome home Mom, may you both rest in peace.''



Wiping away his tears he stood up and turned to the grave behind him. With faltering steps he crossed the grass and placed the remaining flowers at the foot of the headstone. As he read the epitaph a flood of emotions ran through him; sadness, anger, regret, then finally grief for the grandparents he never knew.



''Who are you? And what are you doing here?'' said a voice from behind him.



Jerard stiffened as Vicki came around to face him.



''I saw you yesterday. Why are you at my parents' graveside?''



He felt her eyes boring into him as she waited on his answer. In desperation he searched for the right thing to say but his mind was blank.



''Your parents are my grandparents,'' he finally uttered.



''Your grandparents? What do you mean? How.?''



Her voice trailed away as realisation dawned on her face.



''Mairi! You're Mairi's child.''



Slowly he nodded and watched in horror as her anger spewed forth.



''What are you doing here? You have no right to be here! How dare you! I suppose your Mother sent you did she? That'd be right! Too ashamed to come here and show her face I'll be bound.''



Jerad felt the anger burning up inside him. ''How dare you put my mother down like that! You don't know what you're talking about.''



''I know a damn site more than you that's for sure. Your mother left here without a thought for anyone else. Out of sight out of mind, that's what we were to her. And where was she when our mother died? She didn't even attend the funeral, no acknowledgement, nothing! No, she married your father and that was it, to hell with the rest of us!''



''And you've never forgiven her for that have you? None of you have! You didn't care about Mom's happiness; all you were concerned about was the possible gossipmongers because she married someone of mixed race. Well let me put you straight on a few things. When your mother died Mom was unconscious in hospital. That's why she never called home or attended the funeral. Not because she didn't care or didn't want to, she wasn't able to. She was devastated when she came round and Dad broke the news to her, the first thing she did was try to call you.''



''She did not! I had no phone calls from her or your father.''



Jerad looked at her, his eyes blazing. ''That's a lie! She called and spoke to your husband, he said you weren't there. Later Dad called and was told you didn't want to talk to her, none of you did.''



Vicki stared at him, astounded. ''Is this what she told you?''



''No. Dad told me.'' Jerad gave a deep sigh. ''Look, she called you. Dad called you. When that failed Mom tried writing to you but all her letters were returned unopened. She was heartbroken.''



''Are you sure about this?''



''I know she wrote, she kept all the letters that were returned. They are in a box in her bedroom.''



''I never knew,'' she whispered. ''I thought she didn't care. Will she ever forgive me?''



Jerad looked at her with pity. ''She cared, she never stopped. But you'll just have to take my word for that. It's not much of a consolation but even though she was happy with Dad she still yearned for Scotland.''



''Was?'' Vicki faltered. ''Oh my god the grave!''



Standing to the side, Jerad waved to where his parents lay. ''Dad made me promise to bring her home, so I have. I hope now she can rest in peace.''



Without another word he left Vicki alone, with her tears, her guilt and regrets.


Archived comments for The Promise
chrissy on 2004-03-29 03:15:17
Re: The Promise
This is so sad. People can be quite horrible some times. I always say the only thing I'm intolerant of is intolerance.
Very well written and well worth the read.
Much thanks for it.
Chrissy

Author's Reply:

bektron on 2004-03-31 13:27:30
Re: The Promise
Hi Ailsa, enjoyed this, kept me gripped all the way through, although this;

'You didn’t care about Mom’s happiness; all you were concerned about was the possible gossipmongers because she married someone of mixed race. '

seemed a bit clunky and unnatural in my opinion, maybe too much of a mouthful for someone to come out with on the spur of the moment... how about something more along the lines of...

'you didn't care about her happiness; all you were worried about was that the neighbours would gossip when they found out dad was black.'

I don't know if he is black or not but the mixed race stands out as unusual especially for someone who grew up in the US.
good read-bek

Author's Reply:

shackleton on 2004-04-03 15:33:12
Re: The Promise
Good read Ruadh - kept me enthralled to the end.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-04-05 06:39:41
Re: The Promise
Thanks bek

This is a tricky one. The person concerned, strictly speaking, is not 'black' but 'coloured' as his father is Arabic not African, a point made to me by himself, so he would not say 'dad was black'. I do take your point though. Maybe a case of writers discretion hmm.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-04-05 06:40:53
Re: The Promise
thanks Chrissy, glad you liked it

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-04-05 06:41:31
Re: The Promise
thanks Michael, much appreciated

ailsa

Author's Reply:


Still (posted on: 27-02-04)
Waiting for news for when things go wrong.

Outside the rain was falling steadily. Great, fat droplets hit the window, sliding down the glass and merging together along the bottom of the window frame. It was getting dark and I knew if there was no word soon I'd have an agonizing wait until they started searching again at first light. Reluctantly I turned away and sat down at the table. My coffee cup was only lukewarm yet I wrapped my hands around it, trying to draw some comfort from its warmth. People were moving all around me; talking in whispers, watching me, and although I was aware of their actions I felt strangely detached. All I could see was Laura's smile as she walked out of the door earlier. All I could hear was my voice telling her to be careful and the echo of her laughter in reply. I returned to the window, peering into the darkness, hoping. The vision of her smile grew blurry and her laughter faded into the distance. A voice was telling me the search had been called off until daybreak. I nodded in acknowledgement, saying nothing. Somewhere, deep in my soul, I knew when morning came around I'd be standing here still.
Archived comments for Still
bluepootle on 2004-02-27 07:10:49
Re: Still
is this part of something? it deserves a longer treatment, I think, to really make it work

Author's Reply:

uppercase on 2004-02-27 13:52:05
Re: Still
I get it but I want to see more I hope it continues...Erma

Author's Reply:

Claire on 2004-02-27 14:20:08
Re: Still
That can't be all!
What happened to her?
Tell us more.
Don't leave it like this!

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-03-20 03:34:41
Re: Still
Part of it was taken out of a short story I'd got stuck on. I had to write a flash using 200 words, based on the word 'Still' and my short story came to mind. I used the first paragraph and added to it to make the flash. Hopefully the short will come together and you'll get the full story. Thanks for commenting, appreciate it.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-03-20 03:35:37
Re: Still
I'm working on it Erma, thanks, as always.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-03-20 03:36:45
Re: Still
The rest will come.... hopefully!
thanks Claire.

ailsa

Author's Reply:


THE GOOD FAIRY THROWN IN JAIL FOR THROWING AWAY THREE BLIND MICE (posted on: 27-02-04)
more snippets from the fairytale tabloids

THE GOOD FAIRY THROWN IN JAIL FOR THROWING AWAY THREE BLIND MICE

The Good Fairy's reputation lies in tatters after recent events. In the Crown Court there were gasps of disbelief as the evidence gathered against her was read out. The Crown heard The Good Fairy was seen by Rapunzel to throw a bag into Lava Lake before making a rapid getaway on a broomstick borrowed from The Wicked Witch. On investigating the scene Rapunzel heard squeaks coming from the bag, which opened, revealing the Three Blind Mice. In a bid to rescue them she had thrown her braid of long hair into the lava. Unfortunately the mice failed to catch it. When questioned The Good Fairy stated she had bought the mice for Cinderella and only realised they were faulty when they drove her coach to a cabbage patch. Presiding judge Little Red Riding Hood banned The Good Fairy from ever keeping animals again and sentenced her to three lunar years atop Jack's Beanstalk.


Archived comments for THE GOOD FAIRY THROWN IN JAIL FOR THROWING AWAY THREE BLIND MICE
uppercase on 2004-02-27 08:19:03
Re: THE GOOD FAIRY THROWN IN JAIL FOR THROWING AWAY THREE BLIND MICE
hahahahah I love it this is cute.....Erma

Author's Reply:

shadow on 2004-02-27 16:20:20
Re: THE GOOD FAIRY THROWN IN JAIL FOR THROWING AWAY THREE BLIND MICE
Quite right too. This sort of behaviour in fairytales cannot be tolerated.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-03-20 03:22:54
Re: THE GOOD FAIRY THROWN IN JAIL FOR THROWING AWAY THREE BLIND MICE
Thanks Erma, glad you got a chuckle out of it 🙂

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-03-20 03:25:12
Re: THE GOOD FAIRY THROWN IN JAIL FOR THROWING AWAY THREE BLIND MICE
I know... Is this the demise of Faiyland I wonder?
😉

thanks Moya

Author's Reply:


Victims (posted on: 23-02-04)
more vampires

I watch you from the darkness,
Quietly, unseen.
Choosing my victims
Meticulously, with care.
Stalking,
Enjoying the hunt.
I can be the companiable stranger,
Or the seductive lover,
But when hunger overcomes me,
I am your eternal nightmare!


Archived comments for Victims
uppercase on 2004-02-23 08:09:40
Re: Victims
Ouch now I don't trust anyone lol..Nice poem....Erma

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-23 15:58:50
Re: Victims
lol, thanks Erma

Author's Reply:

shackleton on 2004-02-26 17:10:20
Re: Victims
Stop it now Ailsa; I thought you were a bonnie weee Scots lassie. This vampire thingamybob worries a bit. Good poem - scary lady.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-03-20 03:49:28
Re: Victims
I AM a bonnie wee Scots lassie ... I just happen to be a bloodthirsty bonnie wee Scots lassie lol

just kidding, nothing scary about me, honest!

ailsa

Author's Reply:


Born to Run (posted on: 23-02-04)
I know I know, I commited the ultimate sin! But read past the first line then judge it 🙂

It was a dark and stormy night
The kind that fill you with fear
When thunder and lightning clash
And the shadow of Death lingers near

She chose this night to run
Hoping nature would cover her tracks
Fleeing as fast as she could
Never daring to turn and look back

Leaving her captors behind
Her heart racing in her chest
Running blindly through the darkness
With no time to stop and rest

Through the hills she tripped and stumbled
In her bid to make her escape
No knowledge of where she was going
Nor what was to be her fate

The rain lashed down
Soaked her through to the skin
Still, she pressed on
Terror locked deep within

Moonlight showing her the way
As she travels on in her plight
Cold sweeping through her bones
Slowing her down in her flight

Tiredness becoming her enemy
As night drifts into day
Frantically she starts looking
For a haven in which she can stay

A place to give her shelter
To shield her from prying eyes
For others will still be searching
And if found, she will surely die

Why must she run, in fear of her life
Leaving her homeland far behind
Just because she was born to a different race
What happened to the species 'mankind'


Archived comments for Born to Run
uppercase on 2004-02-23 17:21:03
Re: Born to Run
I like this poem.if you don't mind my saying I would leave off the last verse. I don't think it needs it. It's a beautiful write. I'm still trying to figure out what sin you commited...Erma

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-24 02:00:47
Re: Born to Run
The poem was written about the war in Bosnia, when the Croats were driven out of their homes by the Serbs, which is why the last verse was there. Do you think the meaning comes across without it there? Did it even come across in the first place?

The ultimate sin was using the line 'It was a dark and stormy night' which is now seen as a clique *smile*

Thanks for commentng, glad you liked it.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Gee on 2004-02-24 17:00:11
Re: Born to Run
I don't have a problem with the first line. I think it sets up the rest of the poem.
Although I could understand that this was someone running, in fear for her life, I didn't realise exactly what the situation was.
I think that's a good thing though because it could have referred to a lot of times within our history.


Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-25 01:58:40
Re: Born to Run
I put the last verse to try to convey it was someone being driven out of their home because they were born to a different race rather than any other reason and although it was written with the Croat / Serbs in mind it could equally apply to the Jews in WW2 etc. I was really trying to get across the terror one human causes another simply because they are from different races and why this is when we are all part of the one race 'mankind'.
Thanks for commenting G, as always.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

shackleton on 2004-02-26 16:10:18
Re: Born to Run
Hi Ailsa. I liked the fast pace of the poem which suggested someone running, in fear of their life - which is in keeping with the content of the poem. I also don't think that the last verse is necessary - you are almost starting another chase with that last verse. I never used to think that punctuation was necessary in a poem - but I have recently come to realise that it can be very important, and I am curently trying to include (and improve) punctuation in all of my poetry. I think this poem would be a bit special with the inclusion of correct punctuation. Just my thunkings. Good poem - nicely handled. Bye now.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-03-20 03:44:53
Re: Born to Run
You're right Michael. I've also started using punctuation when I write poetry and I'll have to go back to my old work and go over that too when I get time. Thanks for your comments, as always.

ailsa

Author's Reply:


Just Like Daddy (posted on: 23-02-04)
a few moments with my two year old niece...

I read you a story,
About a monster
With red eyes.
You point
And say,
''I have brown eyes,
Like my daddy.''

My voices catches
In my throat.
''Yes you do''
I hear myself reply.
''Lovely brown eyes
Just like daddy.''

''I don't know
What my daddy looks like,
I can't remember.
Do you know
Where he is?
I can't see him.''

You shake your head
And look at me,
Expectantly.
Those sad
Brown eyes,
Looking at me
For answers
I do not have.

Instead
I hold out my arms
For you to climb into.
You snuggle in
And suck your thumb,
Accepting my silence.

I stroke your head,
And hold you close,
Willing you
The love
From a father
I cannot replace.

Archived comments for Just Like Daddy
richa on 2004-02-23 05:29:42
Re: Just Like Daddy
Gosh, I can't even imagine what my life would've been without any one of my parents. The lines

Willing you
The love
From a father
I cannot replace

say a lot about how each parent affects our lives.




Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-23 06:20:53
Re: Just Like Daddy
thanks yaar, its something a child that age should never have to go through

ailsa

Author's Reply:

chrissy on 2004-02-23 09:23:44
Re: Just Like Daddy
Thank goodness she's got you.
A beautiful, touching poem.
Much thanks for the read
Chrissy

Author's Reply:

Claire on 2004-02-23 09:28:29
Re: Just Like Daddy
Such a sad thing for a child to go through with.
I'm curious if he's still alive,
if he is he obviously doesn't know how much he's missing from his child. A child is more than a child they are part of you, the best part!
if he is not my heart is braking for your neice and her family. Sending all my love and strength.

Author's Reply:

bektron on 2004-02-23 11:38:24
Re: Just Like Daddy
another beautiful heartfelt piece.-bek

Author's Reply:

uppercase on 2004-02-23 12:41:11
Re: Just Like Daddy
sad and beautiful piece....Erma

Author's Reply:

ShadowChaser on 2004-02-23 14:08:30
Re: Just Like Daddy
Touching and beautiful, it really slams home how much we take for granted the lives we lead and those we share our love with. Brilliant :o)

Author's Reply:

emmy on 2004-02-23 15:23:51
Re: Just Like Daddy
so sad for those who remain behind when one dies, especially for a child.It becomes so frightening when you start forget there face, there smell even the sound of thier voice. I found this very touching

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-23 15:59:55
Re: Just Like Daddy
thanks Chrissy, appreciate it.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-23 16:01:39
Re: Just Like Daddy
No, unfortunately he died last year. Thanks Claire

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-23 16:02:15
Re: Just Like Daddy
thanks bek

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-23 16:02:46
Re: Just Like Daddy
thanks Erma

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-23 16:04:34
Re: Just Like Daddy
Thanks SC. We do take too much for granted sometimes.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-23 16:09:17
Re: Just Like Daddy
Thanks Emmy. She's so young, sometimes I wonder that she remembers a time when she had a daddy... maybe its a case of her memories not being hers but ours.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Claire on 2004-02-24 07:49:47
Re: Just Like Daddy
I was hoping it would be other.
Sorry.

Author's Reply:

Gee on 2004-02-24 16:53:00
Re: Just Like Daddy
Oh Ailsa, this really hit home.
In my daughters case he's alive, but doesn't seem to appreciate her.
This brought a lump to my throat. Beautifully written.

Author's Reply:

riggy on 2004-02-24 17:17:33
Re: Just Like Daddy
This touched me deeply. So well written, thank you ruadh.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-25 01:43:08
Re: Just Like Daddy
Thanks Gillian. In some ways it must be harder for your daughter, to know he's there but isn't interested... the good side to that is there is always a chance later for things to change, albeit slim.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-25 01:44:01
Re: Just Like Daddy
Thank you riggy, much appreciated.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

shackleton on 2004-02-25 14:50:10
Re: Just Like Daddy
Excellent Ailsa. Lovely, simple, heartfelt style that says so much and touches deep chords within us all. I enjoy the diversity of your work. Good one!

Author's Reply:

Sabrina on 2004-02-26 19:31:56
Re: Just Like Daddy
This is a keeper!, I'm tired right now so I'm struggling to express, how this poem gave me just the right snapshot of an entire life, all in one gulp...it is very moving!

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-03-20 03:38:39
Re: Just Like Daddy
Thanks Michael, much appreciated.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-03-20 03:40:04
Re: Just Like Daddy
Thanks Sabrina, your comment means a lot to me.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Bettyboo on 2004-07-07 04:05:33
Re: Just Like Daddy
That was lovely. Can't imagine not having my dad around now...

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-07-07 05:53:39
Re: Just Like Daddy
Thanks Bettyboo. I lost my father nearly five years ago and still find it hard so god knows how it is for kids.

ailsa

Author's Reply:


Dancing in the Fountain (posted on: 20-02-04)
things change

Do you remember the night
When we danced in the fountain?
The water was cold,
Our clothes got wet,
But we didn't care.
We danced and laughed,
Carefree spirits
Just having fun.

But that was before.
Before the years crept by
And wore us down.
The music stopped,
And the laughter.
The laughter retreated
Somewhere in my memory,
Waiting.

Waiting for the day
When the music begins
And the laughter returns
And we dance
And have fun
Even though
The water is cold
In the fountain.

Archived comments for Dancing in the Fountain
bektron on 2004-02-20 04:18:27
Re: Dancing in the Fountain
beautifully melancholic portrayal of what happens when the initial flush of a romantic relationship progresses inevitably to the next stage,although that first feeling remains clear in your memory. love the last line.-bek

Author's Reply:

chrissy on 2004-02-20 09:30:03
Re: Dancing in the Fountain
Speaking as one who did a fair bit of fountain dancing in her youth, I thought this was great, very evocative.
Much thanks for a lovely read,
Chrissy

Author's Reply:

uppercase on 2004-02-20 10:15:14
Re: Dancing in the Fountain
When the blush goes off the rose you still have a rose and a memory of youthful times nice poem...Erma

Author's Reply:

spacegirl on 2004-02-20 14:41:06
Re: Dancing in the Fountain
Another good depressing read.

Sometimes, though, the fun never returns and the water becomes lukewarm.

Author's Reply:

shackleton on 2004-02-20 14:50:26
Re: Dancing in the Fountain
If only we could dance in that fountain forever Ailsa. But we can't - we end up with a chill or we splash all the water out of the fountain. All we can ever hope for, is the chance to one day (at least) dance in that fountain of life, love and youth. Blooming good poem Ailsa!

Author's Reply:

richa on 2004-02-21 03:59:59
Re: Dancing in the Fountain
It's a sad and touching poem. It defines the relationship well, subtly. I liked the use of repetitions.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-21 04:22:44
Re: Dancing in the Fountain
thanks Bek, that first memory still makes me smile 🙂

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-21 04:23:27
Re: Dancing in the Fountain
thanks Chrissy, much appreciated

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-21 04:24:44
Re: Dancing in the Fountain
and that memory is something I treasure
thanks Erma

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-21 04:26:34
Re: Dancing in the Fountain
sometimes you have to move on for the fun to return or you die in freezing waters 🙂

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-21 04:27:26
Re: Dancing in the Fountain
thanks Spacegirl 🙂


Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-21 04:28:34
Re: Dancing in the Fountain
thanks Michael, it would be nice wouldn't it

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-21 04:29:33
Re: Dancing in the Fountain
thanks yaar, much appreciated 🙂

ailsa

Author's Reply:

flash on 2004-02-21 04:38:56
Re: Dancing in the Fountain
I still splash in the puddles on the way to work....... but i'm only forty-one.

nice work Ru.



alan

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-21 04:51:36
Re: Dancing in the Fountain
thanks alan, may you still be splashing at 61 🙂

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Faerie on 2004-02-22 11:15:41
Re: Dancing in the Fountain
i like the fact that almost anyone could read this and find some way to relate.. each of us have our own "fountain" that signifies the memories of a better time.. it also reminds me of the idea that you wouldn't taste the sweetness if you didn't have the bitterness to compare it to.. or something along those lines 🙂

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-22 14:57:09
Re: Dancing in the Fountain
you are right, the fountain can be metaphoric for anything. We need the bad to appreciate the good... unfortunately. Thanks for reading and commenting.

ailsa

Author's Reply:


Unicorn (posted on: 09-02-04)
Wasn't quite sure how to class this one so opted for experimental.Based on the myth that a person's soul 'hangs around' for two weeks after they've died to comfort the bereaved. This was my first attempt at a short story.

Sarah woke up with the same wanting feeling that by now was so familiar to her. Every night this happened, ever since her father had died. She had the same dream night after night.
A unicorn was drinking out of a pool of water. It would stay for a while, lying near the pool, then it would move off into the shadows as if called by an unheard voice. When she called out to it, she would wake up. It had been the same every night for a week now.
Tonight though was different. The wanting feeling that she normally had gnawing at her was quickly replaced by a warm feeling of contentment. Why this should be, she did not know. She sat up in bed and saw the moonlight streaming in the window. As she watched it she was strangely drawn to it. She walked over to the window never taking her eyes off it. Looking outside, she could not believe the sight before her eyes. Tonight the dream had become a reality.
Standing drinking from the pool was indeed a unicorn. Sarah hardly believed her eyes. She was totally in awe of this magnificent beast. His white coat glistened in the moonlight. His horn shone brighter than she had ever seen in her dream. There was a magical glow around him which seemed to move constantly. She had never seen anything quite like it before.
She wanted to get closer to it, touch it even, though she knew it was unlikely to let her. For a second the unicorn stopped drinking and looked up. He appeared to look directly at her as if he knew she was there. Encouraged, she left her room and went outside. Not wanting to startle the unicorn she moved slowly and crept quietly towards it. Stopping at the edge of the clearing she marvelled at the sight of him. She sat quietly, holding her breath and trying not to move. The unicorn drank, seemingly unaware that he was being watched. Now that she was closer she could see that the glow around him was actually lots of little lights darting about. Fascinated, she longed to get closer. Cautiously she took another step then stopped, then another. Every now and then the unicorn would glance up at her as if checking how near she had become.
Sarah stood still, not wanting the unicorn to flee. She watched as the lights around him flew about then one came over to her. Astonished, she saw it was in fact, a tiny angel. It flew around in front of her face for a few minutes before coming to rest on Sarah's shoulder. Curious, Sarah put her hand to her shoulder. The angel flew in to it and sat in her cupped hand. Sarah raised her hand up to her face to have a better look at her. The angel fluttered about before playfully landing on her nose. Sarah smiled. The angel was a beautiful little creature. Her golden hair shone as brightly as her silver wings. She began to chatter excitedly to Sarah. Her voice was soft and melodious, like the gentle tinkling of bells, but too low for Sarah to understand what she was trying to convey.
The angel flew over to where the unicorn lay then back again to Sarah. Sarah realised that she wanted her to go over to the unicorn. Asking the angel this, the angel fluttered her wings as if in agreement. Very slowly she started to walk towards the unicorn , frightened to make a sound lest he ran away. The unicorn however was quite content to lie where he was and made no attempt to move as she got closer. Once Sarah reached the unicorn she sank to her knees. The sight of the unicorn with all the angels hovering around him was more beautiful than anything she had seen before and it brought tears to her eyes. She noticed too that his horn was shining more brightly than ever. The feeling of peace and contentment engulfed her.
Sarah wondered why they were there. The unicorn nuzzled her hand. Sarah stroked his muzzle gently. His coat was soft and smooth. She stroked between his ears and tickled them, laughing with glee as he flicked it. Suddenly he pricked up his ears and looked expectantly into the forest. The angels stopped fluttering about and kept still creating a constant glow around the unicorns head. Feeling apprehensive Sarah followed the unicorns gaze. Someone was emerging out of the trees.
As she stood there a flood of mixed emotions hit her. She felt scared, but at the same time a warm feeling ran through her. Her mouth ran dry as she stood watching. The unicorn stood beside her, nudging her hand with his nose and whinnying. She looked back towards the trees. As the figure emerged into view Sarah gasped. A man walked towards her. He stopped in front of her, smiling. Sarah slowly reached out her hand in disbelief and touched his face. On contact with her skin, tears trickled down her face. She stared into his eyes, gazed at a face she had thought she would never see again. The man smiled at her then bent forward to kiss her on the forehead. She didn't ask him anything, she didn't have to. Somehow she knew the answers herself. He had come back to let her know everything was ok. He was better where he was now, no longer in pain. She also knew he wouldn't stay for long and this was the last time she'd see him. At least, in this world! He gave her a hug, holding her tightly. She closed her eyes and breathed in his familiar smell. He kissed her once more, smiled his own special smile then walked back from her, arms outstretched until they could no longer touch. She smiled back at him and watched as he walked back to where the unicorn and angels were patiently waiting for him, then they gradually faded from view.
Although she knew it would be a long time before she saw her father again Sarah was content in the knowledge that he was in a better place, and, in turn, this would make his absence easier to bear. With a last look into the trees Sarah turned and headed back towards the house.

ailsa 5th December 2001


Archived comments for Unicorn
Penprince on 2004-02-09 09:03:44
Re: Unicorn
Excellent first read..will get back to read!

Author's Reply:

Gee on 2004-02-09 10:54:29
Re: Unicorn
This has a dreamlike quality about it. A lovely story, Ailsa. I like it very much.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-09 15:26:52
Re: Unicorn
Thanks Penprince,

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-09 15:29:20
Re: Unicorn
Thanks Gillian. I agree with you. I'd like to see this one illustrated.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

shackleton on 2004-02-09 16:24:41
Re: Unicorn
Enchanting Ailsa. The world must never lose this art of storytelling. Even a big daft bloke like me enjoyed it. Bye now.

Author's Reply:

TheGeeza on 2004-02-10 14:04:57
Re: Unicorn
Lovely little tale, Ailsa.
Critically - you might say a little cliched - but, so what. Nice to read something a little uplifting for a change!


Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-10 14:44:56
Re: Unicorn
Thanks Geeza, appreciate it!

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-10 14:46:34
Re: Unicorn
Thanks Shack, glad you enjoyed it.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

dargo77 on 2004-02-17 06:07:34
Re: Unicorn
Captivating really enjoyed.
Dargo

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-17 06:09:23
Re: Unicorn
thanks Dargo, glad you enjoyed it 🙂

ailsa

Author's Reply:


Death's Embrace (posted on: 06-02-04)
vampiric

Tilting back your head,
Exposing your neck to my eyes,
My heart beats faster,
The smell of my prize arousing me.
I lean forward,
Caressing your skin with my breath,
As I sink my fangs in your tender flesh,
Your eyes widen in terror, your voice dying in a scream.
I pull you closer, in a warm embrace,
Draining your life
To sustain my own.
The last drop passes my lips,
Divine in it's sweetness.
I capture your soul,
Leaving only an empty vessel behind.


Archived comments for Death's Embrace
zenbuddhist on 2004-02-06 06:53:34
Re: Death's Embrace
a bit of a change for u ails ...been at the all night movie show or somethin....its good though...Zx

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-06 07:03:52
Re: Death's Embrace
thanks Charlie, tis actually old stuff, there's a couple of others I posted the other week. I wrote it during a dark phase in 2002, most of my poetry then was about vampires, self harm, suicide...

ails

Author's Reply:

uppercase on 2004-02-06 08:15:54
Re: Death's Embrace
This sounds like a movie or a real nightmare of a dream . You described the scene very well. ...Erma

Author's Reply:

Penprince on 2004-02-06 08:19:58
Re: Death's Embrace
Great gothic style..ala..Anne Rice..Though second line>>Exposing your neck to my eyes,>
just a suggestion..since it is already specified....I mean your intent..and since it seems you have kept a wonderful economy of words..

I may be wrong..

Penprince

Author's Reply:

bektron on 2004-02-06 08:21:25
Re: Death's Embrace
well crafted and brimful with darkness,-enjoyed it!bek

Author's Reply:

Penprince on 2004-02-06 08:22:04
Re: Death's Embrace
Errata:

Second line could be -->exposing your neck, ((to my eyes))<<

Author's Reply:

richa on 2004-02-06 10:12:54
Re: Death's Embrace
Was biting into a cheese cake just as i read this line - 'As I sink my fangs in your tender flesh'. For a second I almost saw myself as the vampire! (Thank god the feeling passed and I went back to stuffing my face).

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-06 15:00:27
Re: Death's Embrace
Thanks Erma

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-06 15:03:33
Re: Death's Embrace
but you could be right! *smile*
I see what you mean, I'll write it out again as you suggest and compare them, thanks.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-06 15:04:23
Re: Death's Embrace
thanks bek, glad you enjoyed it

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-06 15:06:51
Re: Death's Embrace
I'm glad it passed lol, thanks richa

ailsa

Author's Reply:

shackleton on 2004-02-06 16:19:45
Re: Death's Embrace
Hi Ailsa. I previously had this vision of you, as a wee Gaelic Lassie, dancing around the purple heather. Now.......... well you've worried me with this one. Good poem actually! Should it have been posted in the 'horror' section? Nice one kiddo! I'm enjoying your writings. Bye now.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-06 19:24:52
Re: Death's Embrace
Hi Michael, most of the time your vision is correct, just occasionally does my dark side surface *smile* I'm glad you liked it. Maybe I should've posted it under horror, I tend to post poetry under poetry, without any other classification. Thanks again.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ritawrites on 2004-02-07 04:28:03
Re: Death's Embrace
Brrr… Nicely done –

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-07 04:30:55
Re: Death's Embrace
thanks Rita

Author's Reply:

spacegirl on 2004-02-08 08:03:45
Re: Death's Embrace
I got a bit of a shock, I wasn't expecting this. Loved it though, really dark, reminded me of hammer movies.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-08 15:59:56
Re: Death's Embrace
Thanks Spacegirl, it is a bit different from the norm for me.... glad you liked it.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Gee on 2004-02-10 15:22:26
Re: Death's Embrace
Very unexpected, but enjoyable. I like your dark side, Ailsa.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-10 15:29:46
Re: Death's Embrace
thanks G, glad you enjoyed it
I'm harmless really! 😉

ailsa

Author's Reply:


Empty Vessel (posted on: 02-02-04)
written the night of my father's funeral

I look in your coffin and smile
And see people stand and stare
But deep down in my heart
I know you are no longer there

All that remains is a vessel
That held what was 'you' together
Your essence I feel all around me
In a touch that's as light as a feather

Your feet which kept you earthbound
Are replaced with wings that let you fly
Although your body is no longer with me
I know your spirit does not pass me by

The sudden warmth I feel on my skin
The small breeze that blows through my hair
The peace that flows through my being
And I know, once more, you are here

ailsa 24th November 2002


Archived comments for Empty Vessel
uppercase on 2004-02-02 07:51:50
Re: Empty Vessel
What a beautiful, beautiful poem. The shell that we leave behind is just that, a vessel that keeps our souls in a prison of sorts until we are called home...Erma

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-02 11:07:53
Re: Empty Vessel
thanks Erma, means a lot to me
thanks also for voting it a favourite story

ailsa

Author's Reply:

spacegirl on 2004-02-02 12:49:31
Re: Empty Vessel
Truly beautiful.

The first line is lovely, remembering the person, not allowing the final memory to be the shell

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-02 12:52:01
Re: Empty Vessel
Thanks Spacegirl, much appreciated.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

shackleton on 2004-02-02 14:46:11
Re: Empty Vessel
Nice one Ailsa. As long as you remember him, he's never truly gone. Very gentle reflection. Bye now.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-02 14:56:43
Re: Empty Vessel
Thats so true Shackleton, thank you!

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Chell on 2004-02-02 16:48:08
Re: Empty Vessel
It's true people never leave you. I mean i'm not religious in the slightest but i know what you mean. My Granny died about two years ago and the day she died i put a locket on wiht her picture in, i'm still wearing it now, and i seriously believe she's with me all the time. I know she would be anyway but having the symbol helps, this is really well written good on ya 🙂

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-02 19:28:10
Re: Empty Vessel
Thanks Chell, I know what you mean.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 2004-02-03 04:45:48
Re: Empty Vessel
Blimey! You lot put me to shame with your sensitivity. Does it mean anything coming from me Ailsa, if I say that I think 'Empty Vessel' is a truly moving and yet uplifting piece? Go on, give me a chance... I can be sensitive ya know... if the winds in the right direction.

Respect.

s
u
n
k


Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-03 04:59:06
Re: Empty Vessel
of course it means something... mainly that the wind is in the right direction! *grin*

seriously though, thanks Sunk, it means alot.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

LA on 2004-02-03 07:29:00
Re: Empty Vessel
Ok, I am a big…big, tough guy...ok? But this piece moved me!

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-03 07:34:31
Re: Empty Vessel
I'll believe you! 😉
thanks LA, much appreciated.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Leila on 2004-02-03 07:54:40
Re: Empty Vessel
A lovely poem, the third verse is beautifully written.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-03 07:57:52
Re: Empty Vessel
thanks Lelia, means a lot to me

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Bradene on 2004-02-03 15:30:27
Re: Empty Vessel
This is a really lovely poem written for someone who was obviously loved. Beautiful. Bradene

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-03 19:57:31
Re: Empty Vessel
He was! Thanks Bradene

ailsa

Author's Reply:

richa on 2004-02-05 11:46:25
Re: Empty Vessel
It's a very moving poem Ailsa and I think you've portrayed your love for him beautifully.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-06 01:33:19
Re: Empty Vessel
thanks yaar 🙂

ailsa

Author's Reply:


The Waterfront (posted on: 02-02-04)
When we hear but don't listen....

Brian stood on the deserted beach and looked out to sea. As he listened to the waves crashing on the shore his thoughts turned to Laura.

'How Laura loved the beach!'

They had met on a balmy summer's afternoon. The tide was out and she had been sitting on a large rock reading a book. He could picture it clearly in his mind. Her long red hair tumbling down her back, the too long fringe that she kept tucking behind her ear. Green eyes that sparkled with mischief every time she smiled, and that pale, pale skin! Everything about her was enchanting and Brian was smitten with her. Eventually he had plucked up courage to go over to talk to her.

''Hi there! Good book is it?'' he asked.

''Hello. One of my favourites actually.''

She held the book up and he laughed as he read the title 'The Little Mermaid'.

''It's apt anyway.''

Laura laughed. ''I guess it is.''

''So ... does this little mermaid have a name?''

''Laura.''

''Hi Laura. I'm Brian.''

''Find yourself a rock Brian and sit down.''

They'd spent the next couple of hours talking. Laura was a nurse at an old people's nursing home in the village. She loved her job and got a lot of satisfaction out of it.
''So many of them are shoved in these homes and forgotten about. Most of them just want someone to talk to. What does it cost to listen?'' she said.

And Laura was a good listener. She was always willing to spend time with someone and listen to their problems.

'People like Jack!' thought Brian, an angry frown appearing on his face. Jack was an orderly at the home. He had recently broken up with his girlfriend and had sought solace from Laura. He was forever phoning or popping round unexpectedly.

''Not again!'' Brian groaned.

''Shhh, he'll hear you.'' Laura scolded. ''He just needs someone to talk to.''

''Yes, I know!'' sighed Brian. ''But why does it always have to be you?''

''Don't be such a stick-in-the-mud. Not everyone's as happy as we are you know.'' She kissed him on the cheek. ''I'll just have a quick chat with him then come back. I'm meeting him at the beach.''

''Yeah, okay.''

After she left Brian thought for a while and decided to pick her up at the beach then take her out somewhere. 'Somewhere where Jack can't contact her!' He filled a picnic basket with food and drink and set off to surprise her.

He parked the car at the waterfront and scanned the beach to see if he could see them. He caught sight of them walking up over the sands and was about to shout to them when Jack suddenly stopped, grabbing Laura by the hand. Brian watched as they talked earnestly for a few minutes, then Jack leaned in to kiss her then left, leaving Laura to walk alone.

Brian sat in the car, rage consuming him. As Laura walked closer she noticed him waiting and waved.

''This was a big surprise! I didn't expect to see you here.'' she said as she got in the car.

''Obviously not!'' replied Brian curtly.

''What's that supposed to mean?'' she asked, puzzled.

''I saw him Laura.''

''Saw him?''

''Jack. Kissing you.''

''That! It meant nothing Brian. He was just thanking me for listening to him.''

''Yeah, you're good at that. Makes me wonder what else you're good at Laura!''

Laura looked at him incredulously. ''That's a despicable thing to say! How can you even think that?!''

''Well what am I supposed to think when I see him kissing you?''

''It was a peck on the cheek Brian. Hardly the kiss of the year!''

''Yeah well, you would say that. You're not likely to admit are you!''

''Oh I'm not sitting listening to this any longer. I'll make my own way home.''

As Laura started to get out of the car Brian suddenly felt very foolish. She was right, he was over-reacting. ''Laura, I'm sorry. Get back in the car.''

''What? After your nasty little insinuations? I don't think so! I'd rather walk.'' She slammed the door and, wiping tears from her eyes, she ran off without looking.

The car approaching from the eastside never had time to stop as Laura ran out from the side of the kiosk. She was thrown into the air and as she landed her head struck a concrete bollard, killing her instantly.

A few days later at the funeral Jack gave his condolences to Brian. ''Laura was a good friend to me. She always took time to listen.''

As the memories faded away Brian stared out at the water. 'Why didn't I listen?'' he asked himself. Then slowly he scattered her ashes into the water and watched as the waves pulled her out to the sea, consuming her in death as it had in life.

ailsa 3rd June 2003

Archived comments for The Waterfront
bluepootle on 2004-02-02 03:36:21
Re: The Waterfront
This was a very sensitive story - I think it could be improved if you look at it from a different POV. At the moment its very plot driven - everything obviously happens to tell the story. Why not invest some time in the characters now and try to make them as real as possible? For instance - the later dialogue in particular is very straightforward and designed to get to the point as quickly as possible, but it makes it difficult to really care about the characters. Hope this helps.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-02 03:52:57
Re: The Waterfront
thanks BP, I wasn't happy with this one, particularly the ending, you've given me something to work with

ailsa

Author's Reply:

KDR on 2004-02-02 05:25:15
Re: The Waterfront
I'm just basically going to agree with what Bluepootle said, which probably makes this redundant.
Still, there is a lot of material to work with here. The basic story is good and strong - it just needs something extra, a new dimension, to do it justice. I'm sure you already have a few ideas of how to do this.
The argument in the car, also, didn't seem as 'real' as it could. It was over a little too quickly; Laura was maybe a little too quick to call an end to her protestations, which could be taken as a sign of a guilty conscience. Perhaps if she had had something going on with Jack some time before she met Brian?
If or when you get around to re-working this, I'll be very interested in reading it again. I think it has a lot of potential.

Author's Reply:

ritawrites on 2004-02-02 05:42:01
Re: The Waterfront
I felt the transition from getting to know her and the possessive jealousy was a little too abrupt – but otherwise a good read – sometimes we realise only until too late what life gives to us with open hands –

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-02 05:42:53
Re: The Waterfront
The conversation was over quickly because this was a scenario played many times before and basically she was just frustrated and didn't want to listen to it all again (been there!) but you're right, it could be longer, it does need something more. Thanks for your suggestions.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-02 06:06:37
Re: The Waterfront
Thanks for commenting Rita, too often we don't appreciate what we have

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Gee on 2004-02-02 09:05:05
Re: The Waterfront
I liked your early descriptions - the deserted beach, how Laura looked - but I noticed that, when you came to the conversation in the car, you concentrated more on the speech and less on the descriptions.
I felt it would have been better a little more fleshed out. For example, you could show Brian losing his temper by having him slam his hands on the wheel, or have him panicking and grabbing for the car door as she got out.
That's only my opinion, of course. Apart from that, I thought it was very well told, especially speaking as someone who has been through that kind of conversation. (Without being run over, obviously!)

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-02 11:13:16
Re: The Waterfront
You're right, it does need fleshed out. I think, at the time of writing, I was in a hurry to get the story out and onto the paper. I wasn't happy with it but wasn't sure how to fix it... can't see the wood for the trees kind of thing. I'll take all the suggestions I've been given here and (hopefully) rework it. Thanks Gee.

ailsa

Author's Reply:


With This Ring.... (posted on: 30-01-04)
corny? crap? you decide

Eve looked out across the loch and sighed heavily. The nights were decidedly cooler signalling the end of summer was near. In a few short weeks it would be too cold to sit at the water's edge at this hour. Curling her toes into the cold sand she hugged her knees tightly.

The waves gently lapped on the shore and, looking into the horizon, it was hard to tell where the midnight sky ended and the water began. The breeze tickled her nostrils and she breathed in, slowly sucking the salt air deep into her lungs. For as long as she could remember she had sought solace in the water, be it a loch or the open sea. The sound of it was calming, lulling her into a sense of security, bringing with it a serenity that she could find nowhere else.

When Kieran was alive summer had been their favourite time of the year. Most of the time they were on or close to the water. Spending a lazy day cruising the loch, watching the streams running down the hills, smelling the heather in full bloom, had been a regular past time.

Lying back Eve closed her eyes and listened, concentrating until the ebb and flow of the water were all she was aware of. Gradually their hold on her strengthened and she was floating, pulled free by the waves. Her body relaxed, exhilarated by the feeling of liberation coursing through it as she became one with the surrounding water.

Memories drifted through her mind, pieces of the jigsaw that was her life. Tears stung her eyes as a vision of Kieran slowly materialised into view. His battered body lay in front of her, the pool of warm blood spreading wider as it flowed from his wounds. His eyes stared at her, through her, seeing nothing. Another victim of mindless violence. Eve squeezed her eyes tight in an attempt to block the image from her mind but his presence enveloped her, invading her senses. She could smell him, feel him. Sobbing quietly at this bittersweet torture she thought she could hear him calling her from a distance.

''Eve. Wake up Eve.''

Opening her eyes she looked around. She was lying on the sand at the water's edge, above her she could see Kieran smiling down at her.

''Come on sleepy. You should know better than to sleep so close to the loch.''

''Kieran?'' Dazed, she took hold of his outstretched hand and pulled herself to her feet.

Kieran chuckled and led her higher onto the sand. Standing behind her he covered her eyes with his hands. ''No peeking now. I've got a surprise for you.'' Carefully he guided her over the sand. ''Ok, you can look.''

In front of them, spread on a blanket, was a picnic. Smoked salmon tantalised Eve's taste buds. A quiche with salad followed by cheesecake topped with strawberries completed the menu. A glass of fresh orange juice was already prepared and a bottle of something stronger stood cooling in the ice bucket.

Eve turned to Kieran. ''It's beautiful. Thank you for going to so much trouble.''

''Don't thank me; I did it because I love you.''

''As I do you,'' she replied, smiling.

''Let's eat.''

They sank down onto the blanket and helped themselves to crusty bread then started on the salmon.

''This is delicious!'' Eve mumbled between mouthfuls.

''Mmm,'' agreed Kieran. ''Heavenly.'' He watched her eating for a few minutes, a strange smile on his face.

''I've got something for you,'' he said, then reaching into the picnic basket he pulled out a single red rose bud.

''Kieran! You old romantic you,'' she said softly as she took it from him.

''Hey, less of the old, thank you very much!''

Laughing, she leant forward and kissed his forehead. ''I'll love you no matter how old you are.''

Sitting back she raised the bloom to her nose, smelling its sweet fragrance. As she admired it she caught sight of something shining at the base of the bud. ''What...'' Looking closer she saw it was a ring. Carefully she eased it over the leaves and let it slide down the stem and into her palm. Set into the slim gold band were sapphires interspaced with diamonds.

''It's an eternity ring. Will you spend eternity with me Eve?''

With tears brimming her eyes she replied: ''I thought you'd never ask.''

Taking her hand in his he slipped the ring onto her finger. ''I had to wait until the right time.'' Behind them the sun shone warmly as it crept higher into the sky.

''This is perfect!'' said Eve as she snuggled in close to Kieran. ''I never want this day to end.''

Wrapping his arms around her Kieran replied: ''It never shall end Eve. For us, summer lasts forever, for eternity.''

As he said these words, Eve noticed that although the sun was shining above them they were casting no shadow.

''Eternity,'' she whispered, as the meaning of his words sunk in. ''Heaven.''


Archived comments for With This Ring....
spacegirl on 2004-01-30 06:22:58
Re: With This Ring....
Yeah, it was corny, but I didn't care because the way you described the loch, the sand and the midnight sky just made me wish I was there.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-01-30 06:32:01
Re: With This Ring....
Thanks Spacegirl, glad you liked it.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

uppercase on 2004-01-30 12:52:46
Re: With This Ring....
I would love to watch this on tv on a rainy Sunday afternoon It's like an old romance movie. I like it..Erma

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-01-30 14:25:22
Re: With This Ring....
Thanks Erma, that's a great compliment.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

shackleton on 2004-01-30 16:17:25
Re: With This Ring....
Hi Ailsa. It's not corny and it's not crap. Anyone who says different is just not right. Full stop. I'm still trying to fully appreciate the beauty of your story - and I really do think that it is beautiful. I need to have a further couple of reads. All I can say at this point is - All around the purple heather, will ye go, lassie, go. Lovely piece of work Ailsa. Bye now.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-01-30 19:41:09
Re: With This Ring....
Hi Shackleton, Thank you so much for your kind words, really means a lot to me.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

MEKnight on 2004-01-30 20:40:19
Re: With This Ring....
Not corny. As close as you can get without it being so, and that's a kind of hidden compliment there. It's an enjoyable read, although the conceit is well-known, but that doesn't make it a bad thing.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-01-31 04:10:45
Re: With This Ring....
Thanks MEKnight, glad you enjoyed it.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

spacegirl on 2004-01-31 04:40:09
Re: With This Ring....
I don't think there's any wrong with corny. It's something that's slushy and romantic as Erma says, rainy day, black and white movie material, feet up with tea and choccy biscuits



Author's Reply:

Gee on 2004-01-31 11:39:30
Re: With This Ring....
It's not corny or crap. It's beautiful and left me with a huge smile on my face.
Okay, I admit it. I'm a romantic at heart. Just don't tell anyone.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-01 04:05:35
Re: With This Ring....
lol, your secret's safe with me 🙂
glad you enjoyed it, thanks

ailsa

Author's Reply:


Dreaming (posted on: 26-01-04)
self explanatory


A stream of thoughts and images
Dancing in my head
The nocturnal life I lead
As my subconscious mind stirs
Bringing life to my deepest thoughts
Of which I am unaware

As one mind sleeps
The other awakens in response
Playing with my memory
Weaving intricate paths
That are hard to follow
Forgotten thoughts and unsaid words

As consciousness returns
And each blends with the other
I am left in reverie
Unsure where one ends
And the other begins

ailsa 24th September 2002
Archived comments for Dreaming


uppercase on 2004-01-27 20:49:48
Re: Dreaming
I like this poem I am that way also I dream so much and so vividly that I wonder sometimes if maybe we live on two planes at the same time. One day we could meet ourselves coming in the out door. Erma

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-01-28 06:46:16
Re: Dreaming
Thanks Erma, I've wondered the same myself 🙂

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Gee on 2004-01-29 04:41:43
Re: Dreaming
I liked this very much, and I loved this description -

"Weaving intricate paths
That are hard to follow
Forgotten thoughts and unsaid words"

I felt it was a wonderful way of describing that strange disjointed feeling you get from your dreams sometimes.


Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-01-29 05:35:15
Re: Dreaming
glad you enjoyed it Gee, thanks for commenting, much appreciated 🙂

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 2004-01-29 07:15:07
Re: Dreaming
I like this too. Very vivid and beautifully written.

sunken

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-01-29 07:16:50
Re: Dreaming
thanks Sunken 🙂

Author's Reply:

shackleton on 2004-01-29 15:41:08
Re: Dreaming
Hi Ailsa. This somehow, (to me) has a dreamlike Gaelic 'feel' to it. Just my thinkings. Enjoyed it. Bye now.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-01-29 15:44:28
Re: Dreaming
Now that is a compliment! 🙂
Thanks Shackleton, glad you enjoyed it.

ailsa

Author's Reply:


Childhood's End (posted on: 23-01-04)
Innocence lost

Lying in the darkness,
Naked,
Alone.
She feels the wetness
Between her legs,
As tears
Drop from her eyes.
Innocence lost,
Destroyed,
In the guise of love.





Archived comments for Childhood's End
ritawrites on 2004-01-23 05:02:04
Re: Childhood’s End
Intriguing poem – couldn’t you build it up a little more – just wondered

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-01-23 05:52:25
Re: Childhood’s End
originally it was longer, but reading through it again, I came to that line and thought it might be better to end it there, the reader knows what has happened, no more need be said....maybe not though. Thanks Rita.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

geofftims on 2004-01-23 08:08:44
Re: Childhood’s End
I read this poem and felt even thou it was short, between the lines it was very long. It is amazing when you read a poem like this which is short it feels like you have just read a whole story on this person. You know what she felt and the regrets that she had. Truly amazing work.

Author's Reply:

prism on 2004-01-23 12:52:03
Re: Childhood’s End
Ruadh,
This has a stark power – describing a disturbing event of ‘date-rape’, or first-time casual sex .
There is a desolate aching quality to this short piece that is palpable. It’s also very telling of these sex mad ‘naughties’ that we live in.
Very well done!

Bruce


Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-01-23 15:26:44
Re: Childhood’s End
Thanks Geoff. I shortened it because I felt it had more impact like this, thanks for confirming it.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-01-23 15:27:58
Re: Childhood’s End
Thanks Bruce, much appreciated.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

richa on 2004-01-23 16:54:29
Re: Childhood’s End
I got goose bumps. Very effective.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-01-23 20:02:14
Re: Childhood’s End
thanks Richa 🙂

Author's Reply:

Sabrina on 2004-01-24 01:11:20
Re: Childhood’s End
Very powerful, very deep.

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 2004-01-24 01:47:30
Re: Childhood’s End
I like it the way it is Ruadh. Very deep, very powerful. It needs no more.

sunken

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-01-24 06:30:52
Re: Childhood’s End
thanks Sunken, much appreciated as always

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-01-24 06:31:40
Re: Childhood’s End
thanks for commenting Sabrina

ailsa

Author's Reply:

shackleton on 2004-01-24 10:48:33
Re: Childhood’s End
Good one Ailsa. I can't believe there are many young women who's first experience of sex does not leave them feeling like this. 'In the guise of love' - excellent, so apt.

Author's Reply:

discopants on 2004-01-24 11:09:17
Re: Childhood’s End
Shackleton has beaten me to it- the final words 'In the guise of love' sum it up perfectly for me, too.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-01-25 07:46:50
Re: Childhood’s End
Thanks Shackleton. No, I don't think that first experience ever lives up to expectation.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-01-25 07:47:18
Re: Childhood’s End
Thanks! 🙂

Author's Reply:

Gee on 2004-01-26 06:13:24
Re: Childhood’s End
A very powerful image. The title fitted perfectly, giving this piece a sense of trust betrayed, and of being thrust into adulthood too soon.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-01-26 06:31:53
Re: Childhood’s End
thanks Gee, appreciated.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

spacegirl on 2004-01-26 06:37:19
Re: Childhood’s End
I think it's the right length. I do like in the guise of love, but having 'destroyed' break up the lines before and after really hits home.



Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-01-26 06:44:30
Re: Childhood’s End
Thanks for commenting Spacegirl. I think I made the right decision with the shortened version.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Pilgermann on 2004-01-28 07:08:57
Re: Childhood’s End
Just a suggestion, drop 'As' from 'As tears'. You then have the tears relating both to the beginning and end of the poem

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-01-28 12:26:00
Re: Childhood’s End
I like it! thanks 🙂

ailsa

Author's Reply:


Kiss of Death (2) (posted on: 12-01-04)
An answer to Kiss of Death

You ask me for the kiss of death
To give to you eternal life
You offer your neck, pleading
Yet I turn, though my desire burns

My reluctance, you take as rejection
But my want for you runs deep
Each time I avert my gaze
Hiding the hunger that shows in my eyes

In your world, you have freedom
To live by night and day
In mine, freedom is surrendered
To live in the boundaries of darkness

Never again to see a beautiful sunrise
Feel the warmth of the rays on your skin
Or see the beauty in clear blue skies
Or smell the fragrance of the flowers

Are you ready to forsake all this?
To turn and never look back
Once given, this gift cannot be ignored
You can only respond to its call

Darkness cloaking your every move
As you select your victims from the shadows
The fear in their eyes as you attack
Increasing your need to taste their blood

And as you sink your fangs through their flesh
Feel it part with your voracious assault
Taste the sweet nectar as it passes your lips
Will you discard them without remorse?

I hear the words you whisper to me
See the silent plead in your eyes
But for now I ignore them as best I can
Making you wait, as do I, for an answer

ailsa 1st December 2002


Archived comments for Kiss of Death (2)
Oni-Musha on 2004-02-18 16:07:41
Re: Kiss of Death (2)
Excellent, a lot better than part 1 yet part 1 is improved by this piece, showing that being a vampire isnt all glam. Nice

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-21 21:14:33
Re: Kiss of Death (2)
thanks, much appreciated

ailsa

Author's Reply:


The Kiss of Death (posted on: 12-01-04)
An old one from my vampiric days

I ask you to give me the kiss of death
And grant me the gift of eternal life
To be reborn as a creature of the night
And to end this existence I live by day

To have the blood in my body
Run ice-cold through my veins
Bringing life to my still heart
And a need to fulfil

The compulsion to hunt
To quench my thirst
A burning desire in my being
To satisfy my hunger

I plead with you to drain my blood
Then, before I slip away
To let me drink from you
Replenishing my life's essence

Under the cover of darkness
We will stalk our prey
My dark Lord of the night
With pale skin and black heart

ailsa 30th November 2002


Archived comments for The Kiss of Death
Chell on 2004-01-12 14:49:34
Re: The Kiss of Death
Excellent! Vampire poetry requires some dark essence and an almost romanticised look at death otherwise it doesn't work. You have all the right ingredients in this to send shivers down the spine, absolutely incredible 🙂

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-01-13 05:25:36
Re: The Kiss of Death
Thanks Chell, glad you liked it. Thank you also for voting it a hot story.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

shackleton on 2004-01-14 16:34:26
Re: The Kiss of Death
Scary lady Ailsa. Good dark poem. Good rhythm and flow. Enjoyed it. Bye now.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-01-16 07:45:01
Re: The Kiss of Death
Thanks Shack, glad you enjoyed it.

ailsa

Author's Reply:


Sweet Jeanie (posted on: 26-12-03)
Questions unanswered


Sweet little Jeanie
With skin so fair
Pale blue lips
And eyes that stare

Why are you here?
And what did he do?
I can only guess
As I look at you

Your body was perfect
So dainty and neat
Now it lies spoiled
Like discarded meat

Unaware of temptation
Of seduction and need
I wonder if you wept
As he did this cruel deed

Did he smother your cries
So your voice was unheard?
Or was your mind too numb
To think anyone cared?

Sweet innocent Jeanie
You died all alone
But why did you stray
So far from home?










Archived comments for Sweet Jeanie


zenbuddhist on 2003-12-28 08:28:43
Re: Sweet Jeanie
yes well indeed ...a nice little xmas one this ails.....only jesting ...well written piece on a serious subject...cheersZx

Author's Reply:

shackleton on 2003-12-28 18:04:55
Re: Sweet Jeanie
Hi Ruadh. I'm desperately hoping that this is only from your imagination. Very moving. Bye now.

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 2003-12-31 16:09:20
Re: Sweet Jeanie
One of my favs of recent months this. For such a dark piece it's refreshingly light and easy to read. Does that make sense? Well it does to me. Very well written. Very well done.

sneak (sunken)

Author's Reply:

spacegirl on 2003-12-31 17:05:01
Re: Sweet Jeanie
This is so sad and unanswered questions are always the hardest to deal with.

I really enjoyed this, it lingers in the mind long after it's been read

Author's Reply:

uppercase on 2004-01-01 17:39:29
Re: Sweet Jeanie
very nice poem easy to read I hope it's fiction. uppercase

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-01-02 08:48:22
Re: Sweet Jeanie
yes well, christmas isn't all silver bells and tinsel is it, for some it's just the opposite... Thanks Charlie, as always 🙂

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-01-02 08:52:07
Re: Sweet Jeanie
Thanks Shackleton....it is purely from my imagination, but where it came from... I've no idea.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-01-02 08:55:54
Re: Sweet Jeanie
It makes perfect sense *s* Thank you Sneak and thanks also for voting it as a favourite.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-01-02 08:58:38
Re: Sweet Jeanie
Many thanks.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-01-02 09:00:10
Re: Sweet Jeanie
pure fiction.....thanks uppercase

Author's Reply:

e-griff on 2004-01-02 09:16:25
Re: Sweet Jeanie
IMO there are technical flaws here that would be well worth fixing. the third lines of verses 2,4,5 need attention to the metre, as I read them - and there are a few minor glitches as well. A little polishing would help. 🙂

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-01-02 09:24:54
Re: Sweet Jeanie
thanks griff...you should know by now I don't pay attention to technicalities, I write as it comes 🙂

ailsa

Author's Reply:

blackdyke on 2004-07-10 15:13:22
Re: Sweet Jeanie
Hi Ruadh
Harsh, Harsh, Harsh. But I see the tremors
I feel the terror. I am ashamed. I like your gentleness.

Author's Reply:

Macjoyce on 10-10-2007
Sweet Jeanie
A wondrous and moving poem. I really like it.

Mac


Author's Reply:
Thanks Mac. This is one of my favourite pieces.

ailsa


Twix's Narrow Escape (posted on: 08-12-03)
Remind me again why I have kids and rodents?!

Kevin grabbed his Happy Meal off the table. ''Mum, is there any ketchup?''

''There's some pots in the bag with the straws.''

''Found them. Can I eat mine upstairs?''

''As long as you bring your rubbish down when you're finished.'' warned Susan.

''I will Mum, thanks.''

An hour later there was no sign of Kevin or his rubbish so Susan headed upstairs to his bedroom. ''What happened to you bringing your rubbish down?'' she reminded him.

Kevin looked up from the book he was reading. ''Sorry, I forgot.''

''Take it down now please.'' Looking around the room she added; ''And take your washing while you're at it.'' Walking over to the window to straighten the curtains she stopped to check on Twix, Kevin's hamster. ''Kevin! Where is Twix?''

Kevin put his head around the doorway looking puzzled. ''In his cage.''

''No, he's not. The top hatch is open.''

''It can't be!''

''It is. You must've left it open earlier. You'd better start looking for him. He can't have got far in an hour.''

''But....I haven't had him out today.'' Kevin faltered.

Susan stared at Kevin as his words slowly sunk in. ''Do you mean to tell me he's been missing all night? He could be anywhere by now. We might never find him. How could you be so careless Kevin!'' Noticing his eyes filling up she sighed. ''You look in here while I check the other rooms. Take extra care under the bed and in the wardrobe.''

Entering her own bedroom Susan scanned the floor quickly but there was no sign of the hamster. Getting on her hands and knees she crawled about the room, clicking her tongue and making hamster noises. ''Twixxxxx, where are you? Come on boy...click click click click.'' Pausing for a moment she sat up on her haunches. 'What must I look like?' she thought. 'I must be mad.'

''Have you found him?'' asked Kevin expectantly as he ran into the room.

Susan shook her head. ''Fraid not Kevin.''

''What will we do now?''

''All we can do is keep an eye out for him and hope he turns up.''

''But what if he doesn't? What if he got outside?'' asked Kevin, bursting into tears.

Susan put a comforting arm around his shoulders. ''He's probably hiding somewhere fast asleep. Speaking of which, it's time you were in bed too.''

''But...''

''But nothing. Bed!'' she said firmly. ''Why don't you put Twix's cage on the floor. He's bound to be hungry and he might climb back inside if he smells food.''

''You think so?''

''It's worth a try.''

Kevin nodded in agreement and lifted the cage onto the floor at the side of his bed. Susan kissed him goodnight and pulled his door over without closing it completely. Once downstairs she picked up her empty coffee cup and went into the kitchen. The first thing she saw was the pile of clothes Kevin had unceremoniously dumped in the middle of the floor. ''Kevin!'' she sighed, exasperated. ''You'd think he didn't know what a washing machine was! I mean, it's big enough, hardly as if he could miss it. Kids!'' she mumbled to herself.

Stepping over the offending pile to put her cup in the sink her foot suddenly sunk into something soft and slid across the floor. When she regained her balance she looked down and noticed red staining spraying out from under the t-shirt she was standing on. ''What the heck....?'' She lifted her leg and stepped back.

''Oh my god!'' she groaned as a horrible crossed her mind. ''Twix!'' Kneeling down she gingerly lifted one edge of the material and steeled herself to look underneath. All she could make out was a mass of red pulp. Swallowing hard she pulled back the rest of the t-shirt to reveal a squashed ketchup pot. Relief flooded through her at the realisation that she had not flattened Twix after all.

''Kevin!'' she grimaced. Just wait til I get my hands on him!''

She put the washing in the machine then moved to the sink to wash the dishes. When she'd finished she looked around the kitchen to see if there were any more chores to be done.

''Finished at last. Time for bed I think.''

Upstairs she gratefully crawled into bed and snuggled down under the quilt. Just as she was drifting off to a much welcome sleep she felt something brush against her foot and screamed. Throwing back the bedding she watched as a bewildered Twix ran across the mattress.

''Kevin!!!!''

Archived comments for Twix's Narrow Escape
Chell on 2003-12-08 04:04:38
Re: Twix's Narrow Escape
Ok was almost prepared to be grossed out there for a second, but thankfully you saved me from that, poor little hammie! 🙂 Kind of reminded me of when i saw a dead hedgehog that was squashed by a car, ew!

Author's Reply:

zenbuddhist on 2003-12-08 07:03:26
Re: Twix's Narrow Escape
a little autobiographical methinks ails.......*G*...well written & done ....cheers Zx

Author's Reply:

bluepootle on 2003-12-08 07:06:01
Re: Twix's Narrow Escape
Feeling glad Twix made it out of that.
I think kids might well enjoy this with some appropriately nasty illustrations.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-12-08 07:06:57
Re: Twix's Narrow Escape
I know what you mean.In the summer we drove up the highlands a lot and encountered many squashed rabbits on the road, I swear I shivered every time we went over them. Thanks for commenting.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-12-08 07:09:48
Re: Twix's Narrow Escape
yep, it was Zen. One of our hamsters did escape as portrayed and I did think I'd stood on her in a pile of washing, thankfully she turned up in the bathroom, none the worse for wear lol.

love ails

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-12-08 07:10:44
Re: Twix's Narrow Escape
you could be right there 🙂 Thanks.

Author's Reply:

TheGeeza on 2003-12-08 07:46:50
Re: Twix's Narrow Escape
I had an all too graphical image in my head before you rescued me. Thanks for saving my lunch from reappearing on my desk.


Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-12-08 07:50:51
Re: Twix's Narrow Escape
lol, anytime Steve 🙂

Author's Reply:

shadow on 2003-12-08 15:28:37
Re: Twix's Narrow Escape
Very glad Twix was OK - this reminded my of two gerbils, Black & Decker, we had when my kids were small. They were out of their cage one day running round the living-room while the kids were jumping around on the sofa. Then we realised that for some time we had only seen one gerbil. We lifted up the end of the sofa, and there was poor Black, squashed flat. We gave him a good funeral, though.

Author's Reply:

richa on 2003-12-09 04:01:36
Re: Twix's Narrow Escape
I'm so glad Twix didn't meet with a 'predictable' end. And just to comment on your statement - Remind me again why I have kids and rodents?! - I'm close to being as messy as Kevin. Ask my mum if she can do without me. No way. She'd rather have me home, messiness and all, than look at a tidy bedroom and spotless house. I'm not sure I can justify the rodents part of it.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-12-09 04:21:13
Re: Twix's Narrow Escape
What a send off....it's my worst nightmare!

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-12-09 04:27:23
Re: Twix's Narrow Escape
Oh I know Richa, I couldn't do without the kids any more than I could survive without air but sometimes I want to run to the top of a moutain and scream my lungs out....arggggg. As for the rodents, they're just too cute 🙂

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

dancing-queen on 2003-12-11 09:27:25
Re: Twix's Narrow Escape
Oh wow - this is what happened to our first hamster, Chippy, when my daughter didn't clip his cage down properly one night and we didn't discover it until the next day - except we NEVER found him. 🙁 I wrote a story inspired by Chippy (Fireworks in the Kitchen) but gave it a happy ending. We had the house turned upside-down looking for him - even had the gas fire taken off the wall in case he'd crawled in behind it. For weeks my home was littered with piles of hamster food in the hopes he'd appear. Not a trace. I hasten to add it was before we got the cat! But poor Chippy, eh? I often wonder about him...Methinks he went out with the bag of rubbish in the morning 🙁


I loved this story, Ailsa, although you had my heart in my mouth at the 'sliding on something' stage - thank goodness it was a happy outcome!

DQ 🙂

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-12-13 06:13:47
Re: Twix's Narrow Escape
thanks DQ 🙂

Author's Reply:


Shadows Remain (posted on: 03-11-03)
Will mankind listen to what the shadows say? Probably not.

Her shadow lies upon the stone
Burned by Little Boy's rays
The bomb that fell on August 6th
Dropped by the Enola Gay

Bright light exploded across the sky
The cloud formed in the air
Heat rushed through the city
And my love just disappeared

Her body burned, turned to ash
Lay scattered on the ground
No longer here for me to see
Her soul is heaven bound

Years pass by and memories fade
Cleansing the stains of war
Yet here it serves to remind you
Her shadow, forever more.

Archived comments for Shadows Remain
ritawrites on 2003-11-20 15:04:03
Re: Shadows Remain
It's a poignant journey through a terrible horror.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-11-21 05:42:25
Re: Shadows Remain
thanks rita

Author's Reply:


Shadows of Hiroshima (posted on: 03-11-03)
May disturb

A bright light lit up the sky, brighter than anything I'd ever seen before. Suddenly I was lifted off my feet and thrown through the air. When I came to the sky was dark, I did not know how long I'd lain there. There was something lying over me, trapping my legs. Thinking it to be some kind of debris I kicked to shake it off, only then did I realise it was another human being. Male or female I could not tell. As I staggered to my feet I looked down and wondered why my shirt was torn and hanging in strips, it was a few minutes before I was aware it was my skin. My body felt as if it was on fire and I had a dreadful thirst. I began walking in search of water.

On my way to the river I saw devastation everywhere. All around me people were crying out; some in pain, others calling out the names of their families. Something that struck me was they were all partly dressed, a few were naked. A mother came past me carrying a young child. The child was burnt all over, the mother had lost part of her dress but the pattern of it was imprinted on her back. Further on I saw an old man struggling to get up. I reached out to help him to his feet. His burnt skin stuck to my hands, peeling off his body as easily as a cooked chicken's.

Reaching the river the scene was worse. Bloated bodies floated on the water. People pushed them unceremoniously out of the way to get to the cool liquid. The dead replaced by the dying. I felt a tugging at my leg and looked down to see a pregnant woman at my feet.

''Please, help me. I will die soon, I know this. But my baby still lives. His life need not end with mine.'' Her eyes beseeched me silently. But there were no doctors, no instruments and no time to look after her child.

I settled on the ground beside her. ''Someone will be here soon.'' I lied. She reached out her hand which I grasped firmly. I could not save her or her unborn babe, but I could at least give them the comfort of not dying alone. As time passed she began to cry pitifully, knowing, I suspect, that help was not going to arrive. Gradually her cries became whimpers, then her whimpers became silent. I prayed for their souls before leaving them.

Rain began to fall. Black, sticky rain that clung to everything it touched. I had to go home. I had to find out what had happened to my family. On the way I saw many injured people. Badly burnt and deformed bodies, others were bleeding with bits of wood or glass still sticking in their wounds. I came across a burning house. A woman was trapped inside by heavy beams. I tried to move them to no avail. She screamed at me to leave her, to save myself. I clasped my hands and bowed deeply to her in apology. Turning away my eyes filled with tears. How much more sorrow would I witness?

At last I reached my home, or what was left of it. The building was badly damaged but seemingly empty. My heart lifted slightly in the hope my family had survived this catastrophe and were somewhere safe. I walked around to the other side and found my young son sitting huddled in the doorway.

''Hiroshi!'' I cried.

He turned to me briefly saying nothing then turned back to face the wall.

I ran over to him and placed my hands on his shoulders. ''Where is your mother? Is she alright?''

He looked at me then pointed to the wall. At first I didn't understand what he meant.

''Hiroshi!'' I urged.

Again he pointed to the wall, then down to the ground, and back to the wall. My eyes followed his hand. There, in the earth lay a few buttons from my wife's dress. As my eyes travelled the over the wall I dropped to my knees. All that was left of my wife was her shadow, burned into the wall. I scrabbled to scoop up the buttons and held them to my face. ''Yoshiko, my beautiful wife.'' I sobbed. I turned to the heavens and screamed out her name.


Archived comments for Shadows of Hiroshima
Heirloom on 2003-11-06 13:18:59
Re: Shadows of Hiroshima
I can't think of anything to say about this other than I liked it, esp. the end/title tie-in. Good work.
regards
Steven Dines
Heirloom

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-11-07 05:30:56
Re: Shadows of Hiroshima
thanks Steve

Author's Reply:

Skeeter on 2003-12-07 06:29:35
Re: Shadows of Hiroshima
This is super; very powerful, very human. It doesn't flinch from the realities of war and doesn't setimentalise it either. I would, of course, like to read the sequel......

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-12-07 07:19:47
Re: Shadows of Hiroshima
Thanks Skeeter. I found this difficult to write , it was like I knew where I wanted to go but didn't know how to get there, you know? I'm glad to hear I got there in the end 🙂

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ritawrites on 2003-12-13 03:31:45
Re: Shadows of Hiroshima
Stark and vivid -- a horrible thing war -- very well told --

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-12-13 06:14:37
Re: Shadows of Hiroshima
thanks Rita

Author's Reply:

gouri on 2003-12-14 08:11:50
Re: Shadows of Hiroshima
Ailsa, this story reminds me of the poem 'A Doctor's Journal Entry for August 6, 1945' by Vikram Seth.

The devastation and the destruction caused by the atom bomb is traumatic. Just a few lines from this poem...

"I saw the shadowy forms of people, some
Were ghosts, some scarecrows, all were word
less, dumb ---
Arms stretched straight out, shoulder to
dangling hand."

Again...

"It took some time for me to understand
The friction on their burns caused so much
pain
They feared to chafe flesh against flesh again
Those who could, shuffled in a blank parade
Towards the hospital."

If only people could understand the aftermath of war ...
A disturbing piece indeed.
Gouri.



Author's Reply:


On The Road Again (posted on: 20-10-03)
just seeking opinions really on where to go with this, if anywhere

Lydia tucked her children into bed, turned the light down low and quietly left the room. Peeking her head around the kitchen doorway she saw it was deserted and entered cautiously. She prepared herself a coffee and as she waited for the water to boil she leant against the units, deep in thought.

''Penny for them?'' said a voice.

Lydia jumped. ''I ... I ...'' she faltered.

''Sorry, I didn't mean to startle you. I'm Cathy by the way.''

''Lydia.''

''Hello Lydia. I'm the night sitter here. If you need anything don't be afraid to ask ok.''

Lydia nodded dumbly.

Cathy continued. ''I know you've had a tough time but you're quite safe here. Try to relax and get some sleep.'' She smiled warmly then left.

Lydia made her coffee and took it back to her bedroom. A brief check on the sleeping siblings satisfied her and she walked over to the window. From between the slats of the blind she peered into the darkness, wondering what was hiding there.

The next day she was woken by the persistent shaking of her arm. ''Mum, mum, wake up. Where's the bathroom? I need to go!''

Opening her eyes she saw her four year old daughter standing with her legs crossed. Chuckling softly she threw back her blankets and got out of bed. ''Come on, the bathroom can't be far away.''

In the passageway she hailed a blonde woman who had just passed. ''Excuse me.''

The woman turned, revealing a badly bruised eye and burst lip. Lydia stared at her, her words stuck in her throat. Noting the dancing youngster the woman smiled. ''The bathroom? It's at the end of the landing. Yellow door, you can't miss it.''

''Thank you.'' said Lydia. Pointing to the woman's face she added, ''I'm sorry for staring. It caught me by surprise. I don't know why...''

''This is your first time in a refuge.'' It was more a statement than a question.

Lydia nodded.

''Thought so. It's always a shock to come face to face with the reality that it doesn't only happen to you. Welcome to the real world.''

Lydia watched as the woman continued along the landing and disappeared into one of the rooms. A frantic tugging on her sleeve reminded her of her daughter's predicament so she turned and lead them in the direction of the bathroom.

After breakfast she was sitting in the garden watching the girls playing. Another mother joined her on the bench as her son ran to join in the fun.

''Hello there.''

''Hello.''

''You're new here aren't you. How are you settling in? Getting over the shock?''

''I'm not sure. Do you ever? Every time I think I'm getting used to it I see someone else with worse injuries. Makes me wonder what I'm doing here, I feel such a fake.''

''Where does it say you have to be covered in bruises to be allowed in here? Besides, the deepest wounds are where nobody sees.'' she said softly. ''We all have our battle scars, they're what brought us here in the first place.''

''How long have you been here?''

''Here? Two months. But I've been in places likes this for over four years.''

''Four years!'' said Lydia incredulously.

The woman sat grim faced and looked steadfastly at the ground. ''Every so often my husband tracks me down and I have to move on. Last time it took him ten months. I had started to relax, got myself a job, was looking for a proper place to stay. Then one day at work a bunch of flowers was delivered to me. Lilies.'' She looked at Lydia with tear glistened eyes. ''He always said the last flowers he'd ever buy would be lilies for my grave.'' As Lydia sat contemplating the woman left without saying another word.

During the day she became accustomed to life in the refuge and the other women. Each had their own sorry tale to tell; some were willing to talk about their experiences, others not. One thing that was shared in abundance was understanding. The safety of the women was paramount and strict precautions were taken to ensure their privacy and anonymity. Above all, no men were allowed access to the refuge beyond the front gates.

During supper Lydia looked for the mother she'd spoken to in the garden. She described her to Cathy, the night sitter, and asked if she knew who she was.

''That sounds like Mary. She's in room nine.''

By nightfall Lydia felt more relaxed in her surroundings and secure enough not to go searching the shadows before going to bed.

In the morning she decided to pay Mary a visit. Reaching the door she noticed it wasn't closed properly. Knocking lightly she waited for an answer. When none was forthcoming she knocked a little louder and pushed gently on the door. ''Mary, are you here? It's Lydia. We spoke yesterday.'' Entering the room the first thing she noticed was the empty wardrobe, its doors swinging open. Drawers were pulled out and the contents gone. Lydia was puzzled. Mary had evidently left in a hurry. Turning to face into the room she gasped. In the middle of the bed lay a large spray of fresh white lilies.


Archived comments for On The Road Again


zenbuddhist on 2003-10-20 09:01:57
Re: On The Road Again
I havn`t a clue where you could go with this but I used to deliver free food for crises fairshare to a battered woman`s hostel and you`ve set a pretty accurate scene ails...well done yet again.....oh and who do you support united or dundee?????CheersZx

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-10-20 14:11:48
Re: On The Road Again
Thanks. BP commented on another abuse story of mine and we were discussing how to put a new slant on the whole thing so I posted this one too to get opinions. Oh and what makes you think I'd be silly enough to support any group of men who run around for 90 mins chasing a little ball...hmm?

😉

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-10-20 14:11:59
Re: On The Road Again
Thanks. BP commented on another abuse story of mine and we were discussing how to put a new slant on the whole thing so I posted this one too to get opinions. Oh and what makes you think I'd be silly enough to support any group of men who run around for 90 mins chasing a little ball...hmm?

😉

Author's Reply:

Omma_Velada on 2003-10-23 16:55:47
Re: On The Road Again
Hi ruadh,

This was well-told, but very dark. Sadly, this is reality for so many women. I went to an exhibition recently of c124 pairs of shoes - because that's how many women are murdered each year through 'domestic violence'. It was creepy to see all those empty pairs of shoes - just like the lillies in the empty room at the end of your story.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-10-24 06:21:43
Re: On The Road Again
Thanks Omma. I'm glad you went to the exhibition. Sometimes numbers are meaningless but the shoes representing the women brings home the reality of domestic violence.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Bettyboo on 2004-07-07 07:04:31
Re: On The Road Again
This was a great story with so much truth to how it is cleary seen in a womans refuge. I don't think personally, that you should go too far into the rest of the story, the ends leaves you thinking and guessing your own ending, but then I'm not a writer, just a reader. I enjoyed the story with its really good explaination of things and the women etc. Well done. I liked it.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-07-07 07:38:05
Re: On The Road Again
Glad you liked it, thanks.

ailsa

Author's Reply:


Anya (posted on: 13-10-03)
Sometimes life is hard.

Anya looked at herself in the mirror as she dried her hair. Gaunt and pale through lack of nutrition, the face looking back at her was that of a stranger's. Nausea climbed in her throat for the second time that morning and she closed her eyes, waiting for the feeling to pass. Her hands instinctively reached down to her gently swelling stomach and she wished she could crawl back into bed and sleep. Hunger urged her on for she knew if she didn't work now she wouldn't eat later.

After dressing she ate a light breakfast of toast to try to ease the nausea. She didn't know how much longer she would be able to work in her condition so the last thing she needed was to lose customers now because of sickness. As she ate she reflected on how quickly her life had changed, and how, as hard as it had seemed before, nothing had prepared her for how hard it would become.

The first sixteen years of her life had had been spent in an orphanage. She had never been on her own, never had to depend on only herself. Sharing a room with five other girls, everything had been organised for them, down to what days they could wash, what clothes they would wear. The days were governed by strict routines. Until twelve years old every child had the same haircut and never went anywhere alone.

Upon reaching sixteen Anya was told to collect her belongings and given a key to a communal apartment. Furnished with only a bed, a table and a chair, she was thrown into independent life. Her start up fund of 1500 rubles didn't last long and finding work was difficult. During this time she felt very lonely and spent many days and nights crying. Life was not kind to those who grew up in Russian institutions but she knew she was luckier than some.

At eighteen she decided to find her mother. There was an address on the 'refusal' form she'd filled out at the hospital when she left Anya there at birth. ''I cannot support this child'' was the reason given for abandoning her. Miraculously her mother still lived there after all these years.

Nervously Anya had knocked at the door.

''Yes? What do you want?''

''I wondered if I could ask you some questions. About your daughter.''


The woman looked at her. Anya knew she had immediately guessed who she was.

''I divorced her father when she was born. I have a new husband, a new family, I have no interest in seeing her or knowing anything about her.''

''Don't you want to know how she is? What has become of her? Do you even care she is still alive?''

''To me she is dead.''

''How can you say that?'' Anya said, her voice almost in a whisper.

There was silence. The woman looked uncomfortable and for a few hopeful moments Anya thought she might change her mind.

''I gave Anya her name, I have nothing more to give her.'' The door closed quickly and firmly.


Tears fell slowly down her face at the memory of her mother's harsh words. Afterwards she had written a letter simply asking why, but no reply ever came. From then on Anya had known she had no-one to depend on but herself, and, invariably, life goes on.

Unable to find work she turned to the streets to survive. Life was hard and unfriendly. There were times she had not been paid for her services, times she had been beaten up, thankfully it was seldom both occurred at once. Emotionally she had become as cold as the Russian air, her experience of life taught that lesson well. Men used her body for pleasure and she used them for their money.

Again she reached for her stomach, longing for her baby to be born. To love someone, something, made you vulnerable and she had vowed never to leave herself open to that pain ever again. When the time came, she knew she too would refuse her baby, giving it only life and a name.


Archived comments for Anya
Bee on 2003-10-13 05:11:20
Re: Anya
This had a promising start but as the story progressed I felt I was reading notes for a story rather than the final product. I say this because most of the narrative tells us about Anya but doesn't show us the events and how she deals with them. It's a strutural problem, I know. You've got her history to reveal with and it's hard to know how to deal with it. I think this has enormous potential but my own view is that you need to concentrate on the present - make more of the meeting with her mother and her street life and somehow feed in the additional information as you go. Hope you don't mind this candidness but I think it's best to be sincere.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-10-13 06:17:21
Re: Anya
No, I don't mind candidness, I appreciate your honesty. I didn't go into it in detail because I felt it would've made it too long and the flash element of the unexpected ending would've been lost. I have started it again, as a short story, with more 'show' not 'tell' and will just run with it. Thanks for your input.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Cleve on 2003-10-13 09:35:16
Re: Anya
Quite short and enjoyable. I liked this one. There was a touch of sadness about the story. Life is harsh.
The ending was sad too.

Well done

Best wishes

Author's Reply:

richa on 2003-10-13 10:22:04
Re: Anya
it is a sad tale and i liked it. maybe you could make it longer by showing us some of anya's experiences.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-10-13 10:45:27
Re: Anya
Thanks Cleve, glad you enjoyed it.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-10-13 10:46:11
Re: Anya
I'm working on it Richa 🙂

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Omma_Velada on 2003-10-13 13:52:21
Re: Anya
I enjoyed this, especially the ending. It was a bit short, definitely has potential to be something longer. The ending did surprise me, as right up until the last line, I thought she was going to be the one to break the pattern, as is usual in such tales - nice to be original!

Author's Reply:

TheGeeza on 2003-10-13 18:13:46
Re: Anya
I liked it. You can extend it and make something with it; but I liked it as it is too.

Self-perpetuating cycle of misery - I was glad you didn't break it, it would have made it too predictable - and less realistic. It was short, yet invoked a lot of emotions. (and people say I write grim stuff!)

Good one.


Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-10-14 06:36:36
Re: Anya
Thanks Geeza. I was tempted to go for the fairytale ending but thought better of it. Glad you liked it.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-10-14 06:39:12
Re: Anya
I was tempted to break the cycle but the harsh reality is many of these girls do go on to abandon their child. Thanks for commenting.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

gacampbell on 2003-10-15 07:44:16
Re: Anya
I did like this, but it left me wanting more. I don't think I could have just stopped there - but that's me and I like to spew as much onto the page as I can get out. It's nicely written and clearly emotive. Let me know if you intend to do something with this. By the way, it would be a good start to the background story of Anya, if you were to define her character for a bigger story.

Cheers, Tony

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-10-15 08:16:39
Re: Anya
"but it left me wanting more"
I don't know how many times I've heard this lol, think I'm famous for cutting things short. I often do snapshots, just moments in time, but everyone wants the full story. I guess there's a compliment in there somewhere *smile* I have restarted this, the intention being a short story but I'll just run with it, see where it goes. I've taken your point about the background too, thanks. Will let you know if it comes to anything.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

gacampbell on 2003-10-15 08:45:51
Re: Anya
Sorry to bore you with stuff you've heard before, but it really is true and it is a compliment - it was very well written - just a bit short. All I was saying is that it read to me like a the background story of a character being created for a novel. It perfectly described her emotions, her history, her reason for being, items of her past she could draw upon, as well as her attitude to her life today. It summed her up beautifully. I only commented as I write similar stuff to use in my own stories.

Keep up the good work,

Tony

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-10-15 09:14:29
Re: Anya
Tony, you weren't boring me, sorry if it came across like that. I do take it as a compliment that people want more, but sometimes I feel as if I'm constantly failing for the same reason. I've a few pieces that I intend to rewrite as longer stories, thanks to the prompting of others like yourself.

thanks again

ailsa

Author's Reply:

shadow on 2003-10-16 15:41:45
Re: Anya
I had to agree with Bee on this one. It was interesting, but to me had the feel of a 'case history'. I'll be interested to read the expanded version when you post it.

Author's Reply:

dylan on 2003-10-17 17:19:00
Re: Anya
Mon bon cherie-I do not often comment on prose, as I write mainly poems. However, this really touched me. I am, in West of Scotland parlance, a Big Jessie.I also do not give a fuck.This is excellent work.Also,I have admired all of your recent work-just no time to say so.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-10-18 04:12:08
Re: Anya
Thanks Dylan, appreciate it 🙂

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-10-18 06:33:23
Re: Anya
thanks Moya

Author's Reply:

woodbine on 2003-10-18 17:02:41
Re: Anya
Good story. You don't pull your punches Like some of your other readers I was just getting warmed up to go somewhere and it stopped.

One minor point from a poet who doesn't wite much prose. Sometimes when reading a story I get the feeling that something happens more because it saves the writer time than because it's real. If her mother had brushed Anya out of her life so completely, has a whole new family and hasn't seen her since a baby, why when a stranger says, I want to ask about your daughter, should she assume the daughter in question to be Anya? Am I too picky or what?

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-10-19 07:02:08
Re: Anya
No, it's my fault for not laying the ground properly. Anya's mother knew it was her because she is the spitting image of herself. Thanks for bringing that to my attention.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

idmonster on 2003-10-20 02:03:35
Re: Anya
Enjoyable, though sad; I really felt for Anya.
As for the mother recognising her daughter, it works for me as it is. I agree that the story could be developed into something even better if you choose to do so.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-10-20 14:15:35
Re: Anya
thanks 🙂

Author's Reply:

LezH on 2003-10-20 21:20:19
Re: Anya
Stark. Well-written. I liked the length fine.

Not being a great fan of the pluperfect I re-read it one tense forward and it worked better for me.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-10-21 01:51:28
Re: Anya
Thanks Lez 🙂

Author's Reply:


Another Day (posted on: 29-09-03)
Same shit, just a different day.

Raised voices through the wall,
Quiet sobbing during the night,
Subdued silence in the morning,
Lives lived in fright.

She'll greet you with a smile,
But never meet your gaze.
Eyes red-rimmed with crying,
It's another one of those days.

The bruising round her eyes,
So cleverly concealed.
Not so on her lips,
Where the blood has congealed.

Terror flits across her face,
As she hears him call her name.
Slowly walking up the path,
To face more of the same.

He confronts her at the door,
Fist already in the air,
Pushing her about,
Pulls her in by the hair.

The door slams behind her,
Curtains shut tight.
Voices raised again,
More sobbing through the night.


Archived comments for Another Day
richa on 2003-09-29 02:46:39
Re: Another Day
How scary & vicious. Imagine going through life this way.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-09-29 03:43:10
Re: Another Day
Those who have to imagine, can't and those who don't have to, can't imagine life any other way. Thanks for commenting Richa 🙂

love ailsa

Author's Reply:

petersjm on 2003-09-29 06:30:47
Re: Another Day
Scary indeed. Intense. But I have one little niggling problem - some of the lines don't seem to fit properly for me (one-too-many syllables or one-too-less). Other than that, I found the image stark and realistic (or as realistic as I could imagine it).

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-09-29 07:28:45
Re: Another Day
Now you know why I don't do poetry very often, post it anyway 🙂 I have to admit I don't always pay attention to metre and tend to freewrite, if it flows ok for me I leave it. Thanks for commenting.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

petersjm on 2003-09-29 07:35:31
Re: Another Day
No problem - but you gotta understand, I'm far from a poet! LOL. If it works for you, then it's fine 🙂

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-09-29 07:42:48
Re: Another Day
lol, makes two of us then. My poetry was the first thing I ever wrote and it was therapeutic in the months after I separated from my (then) husband. I call them my mood thoughts rather than poetry 🙂

ailsa

Author's Reply:

dancing-queen on 2003-10-01 10:40:17
Re: Another Day
This sounds like a neighbour I used to have - it was awful having to listen to it all the time. Anyway, thankfully (for her sake) she found the strength to get out of that relationship and really blossomed after that.

Reading this has just brought it all back to me. Makes you wonder what we'd do in that same situation. I guess we never know how strong we are until faced with something like that.

One little point - I think the last line might read easier if it said "...through the night." (rather than throughout). What do you think?

Well done! Leah



Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-10-01 15:39:46
Re: Another Day
You're right Leah, through does sound better. Thanks! 🙂

ailsa

Author's Reply:


The Cut (posted on: 29-09-03)
Masochistic pleasure or painful release...

As the blade slices through her flesh
She winces in pain,
Yet euphoria floods her.
The blood trickling down her arm
Gives her the release she needs.
She watches it pool on the floor,
Gradually getting wider as her senses decrease.
Eyelids closing
Heartbeat slowing
Goodbye world she whispers
As she slumps to the floor.
Archived comments for The Cut
petersjm on 2003-09-29 06:19:08
Re: The Cut
Awfully dark. "heartbeat" (third line from the bottom) is missing the "t", but other than that... It offers the image of an almost maniacal woman, gleefully slashing her wrist in a moment of madness.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-09-29 06:29:12
Re: The Cut
Fixed! Thanks for pointing it out 🙂

ailsa

Author's Reply:


Concerto of Death (Duplicate) (posted on: 22-09-03)
Feb 2002...one of my darker moments

She sits,
With her back against the wall,
Knife at her side.
She stares at it,
Just looking,
Til she no longer see's it.
Her fingers curl around the handle.
She picks it up,
Then holds out her arm,
To place the cold steel against her skin.
She raises her head and stares at the wall.
Drawing the blade back slowly,
Showing no emotion as her flesh parts.
Closing her eyes,
As the warm blood trickles down.
Melancholy thoughts saturate her mind.
Her face contorting in emotional pain.
She plays her arm like a violin,
A crescendo, til at last she screams!
The knife falls from her grasp.
As she's hit with the crimson spray,
Her chin slumps to her chest,
As her scream dies away.

Archived comments for Concerto of Death (Duplicate)
petersjm on 2003-09-23 06:36:53
Re: Concerto of Death by ruadh
This is vivid. I can see "her" sitting against the wall.

Just a few minor spelling points - when using "til" as a contraction of until, you need the apostrophe before it like this: 'til. But, for some reason, some people like to use a double L: till. But I believe the apostrophe is better/correct. Also, "'til she no longer see's it" - the word see's should be sees. But they're just minor changes.

I particularly like the line: "She plays her arm like a violin"

Author's Reply:

richa on 2003-09-25 10:27:48
Re: Concerto of Death by ruadh
i enjoyed this. really wonder what drives people to undertake such decisions.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-09-28 07:27:28
Re: Concerto of Death by ruadh
Thanks for pointing out the spelling, I'd noticed the missing apostrophe but then forgot to correct it, missed the see's though. I like that line too and its where I got the title.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-09-28 07:29:12
Re: Concerto of Death by ruadh
Sometimes surprisingly little in the end. Thanks!

Author's Reply:


Concerto of Death (posted on: 19-09-03)
Feb 2002...one of my darker moments

She sits,
With her back against the wall,
Knife at her side.
She stares at it,
Just looking,
Til she no longer see's it.
Her fingers curl around the handle.
She picks it up,
Then holds out her arm,
To place the cold steel against her skin.
She raises her head and stares at the wall.
Drawing the blade back slowly,
Showing no emotion as her flesh parts.
Closing her eyes,
As the warm blood trickles down.
Melancholy thoughts saturate her mind.
Her face contorting in emotional pain.
She plays her arm like a violin,
A crescendo, til at last she screams!
The knife falls from her grasp.
As she's hit with the crimson spray,
Her chin slumps to her chest,
As her scream dies away.

Archived comments for Concerto of Death
dylantrigg on 2003-09-22 09:30:28
Re: Concerto of Death - distant light.
This is splendidly grim, like a November without respite. And yet it still reads with a vague humanity, perhaps even the warmth of dormant eroticism. Since suicide itself, though a lonely act, is nevertheless an act of passion – and the passion of self-infliction is surely bound to the dank pathos of the erotic. ‘Drawing the blade back slowly’…’As the warm blood trickles down’…I like this but in a way that appeases my own licentious desires.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-09-25 05:44:49
Re: Concerto of Death - distant light.
Thanks! Glad it appealed to you. Most people don't know how to react to pieces like this which is why I rarely post them.

ailsa

Author's Reply:


Abuse of a Child (posted on: 19-09-03)
Something I wrote in 2001 after a child was starved to death.

Suffer little children.
Who cares of your plight?
That you are hungry,
Left alone,
Abused.
Who cares of your misery?
That you're lonely,
Scared,
Freezing.
People don't see you,
Look right through you.
Shut their eyes,
And close their ears.
Pretend to themselves,
That you don't exist.
So easing the guilt,
For not acting,
When your body is found.
Bruised,
Emaciated,
Lifeless!
Will they care then?
Or still pretend not to see?
So suffer little children,
They care not for you.

Archived comments for Abuse of a Child
zenbuddhist on 2003-09-19 06:02:08
Re: Abuse of a Child
A sad little poem. ...nicely done....cheersZx

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-09-19 06:45:23
Re: Abuse of a Child
Thanks Zen

Author's Reply:

spacegirl on 2003-10-25 04:49:55
Re: Abuse of a Child
I enjoyed this.

I was sure about the first 2 lines, they didn't seem to fit at first, but I like the way you change the rhythm throughout the poem

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-10-25 05:08:40
Re: Abuse of a Child
Thanks Spacegirl. I'm not much into technicalities of poetry, I find if I work to a fixed structure then I'm guilty of choosing words to fit it so I prefer to just write what I feel & hopefully find a natural rhythm somewhere. Glad you enjoyed it.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

RoseRed on 2004-01-20 10:20:30
Re: Abuse of a Child
Sadly this occurs thousands of times daily in this world. I am afraid it is one of my soapbox issues. The negelect of children, elderly and mentally infirm is unacceptable for any reason in my mind. Off soapbox now. I enjoyed this poem as the format is understandable by any cretin and hopefully a few quilty souls will take heed. See, I never quite step totally off of the box. Sorry. This is a great write. RoseRed

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-01-20 15:34:40
Re: Abuse of a Child
Glad you enjoyed it RoseRed. All my poetry is simple, I'm afraid I like to read, understand and enjoy it without having to decipher it first.

I totally agree with you that it is unacceptable, its something close to my heart too and I've written a few things along the same theme.. If any of them make only one person think then I'll be happy.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

ailsa

Author's Reply:


Can't (posted on: 25-08-03)
Click to see more top choices

A young boy's world of silence brought on by fear.
May offend, disturb.


''Joe please! Tell us what's wrong.''

Joe's vacant stare gave away nothing.

''Mrs Ciampi, perhaps it would be better if you waited outside.''

Turning towards Dr Stone she shook her head vehemently. ''No! I want to hear what Joe has to say, if anything.''

Dr Stone rose from his chair and took the distraught mother to one side. ''Mrs Ciampi, at the moment we can only guess at the cause of Joe's silence. However, from experience I can tell you in all probability he is feeling frightened, maybe guilty or ashamed. These aren't things he will find easy to admit in front of you.''

''He has no reason to feel ashamed or guilty. May I remind you my son is the victim here!'' Her eyes burned with anger as she spat the words at him.

Dr Stone sighed. ''I am well aware of that Mrs Ciampi and need no reminder I can assure you. But, I firmly believe there is more chance of Joe opening up to me without you present. Obviously I cannot force you to leave but I do think it is in his best interest if you do.''

Glaring at him, Mrs Ciampi flounced out of the room without another word. Dr Stone allowed a small smile to play briefly on his lips at her leaving with such bad grace before turning his attention to Joe.

Rather than choosing the more formal manner of sitting behind his desk he opted to perch on it in front of where Joe was seated, hopefully making him feel more at ease. Quietly he spoke.

''Right Joe, it's just you and me now. Anything you tell me stays within these four walls unless you say otherwise. Do you understand?''

Joe nodded briefly.

''Good. Is there anything you want to tell me, anything you'd like to talk about?''

Silence. Dr Stone watched Joe for a few minutes, noting how he sat with his hands clasped in front of him, his forefinger furiously scratching at the nail of his thumb.

''I'd like to help you Joe, if I can. But in order to do that I need to know what the problem is, what's upsetting you.''

Still Joe made no sound.

''Ok, I'll make a deal with you. I'll tell you what I know and if I get anything wrong you shout out. All right?''

Joe nodded in agreement.

''From my records, you had gone to the park to meet your friends after tea. When you were late home your mother got worried and phoned around them to see if you were there. They all agreed you'd parted company at the park gate around 9pm. The walk home should only take around ten minutes yet you didn't arrive home until 10.30pm. Why was that? Why were you late? Did you meet someone on the way home?''

Joe visibly flinched, his hands becoming more agitated. None of which escaped notice under the doctor's watchful eyes.

''Who was it Joe? Who did you meet? Was it someone you knew? A stranger? Tell me what happened.''

Joe shook his head anxiously. 'No! Can't tell. Mustn't tell.'

''What is it? Why are you frightened? You're not in any trouble Joe, it's ok to tell me.''

Joe's eyes darted around the room, staring at anything that came into sight. Anything that is, other than Dr Stone. The doctor studied him for a while. He knew he had hit the nail on the head; Joe had met someone on the way home that night. The question was who? And why was he so afraid?

When he had arrived home he had refused to talk so his mother contacted the police to see if there were any incidents reported involving a teenage boy. None had.

''Can you remember anything about that night? You were at the park with your friends, you left each other at the gate to go home, what happened after that? Did you start on the road home or did you go somewhere else?''

'Home. I was going home.'

Joe said goodbye to his friends and turned onto the main road. A few minutes later he changed onto a quieter side street. The back entrances to the row of identical houses lead from here and there wasn't another soul in sight. Joe stuck his hands in his pockets and idly walked along.

''I'm here to help you Joe but I can only help you if I know what the matter is. Were you going somewhere else before going home? Is that it? You're afraid you'll get into trouble for not going straight home?''

'I should've listened to mum.'

About halfway along on the opposite side was a park. Not a swing park but a wooded park and in the middle of it was a hill, hence the name Reres Hill. There were two paths leading to the top and from there you got a marvellous view across the sea. Joe often hid out there when he was playing hooky from school.

As he passed it Joe glanced into the trees. There was a woman walking with a leash in her hand but otherwise the park was deserted. His eyes travelled up the hill. 'I wonder if the brambles are ready to eat yet.' His mother always told him to stay out of the park at nighttimes but the thought of juicy berries was making his mouth water. After a few minutes deliberation he headed into the trees.


Dr Stone was beginning to feel frustrated. If Joe would at least nod or shake his head in answer to some of the questions it would help but he'd stopped doing even that. He decided to try another tack.

''What about your mum Joe, do you get on alright with her?''

Joe's head jerked up, confusion on his face at the sudden change in questioning. Slowly he nodded.

''She's very worried about you. That's why she brought you to see me. To find out if I could help.''

An image of his mother appeared in his mind. The concern on her face as she asked him where he'd been; the tears in her eyes as she pleaded with him to talk to her. Joe's eyes misted.

'Mum mustn't know. She won't like me if she knows.'

Joe breathed heavily as he made the trek up the hill. The path he was on was little more than a dirt track worn into the grass by the myriad of feet that had travelled that way over the years. Navigating the last bit was more difficult as he had to scramble over rock. At last he was standing on firm ground. Staggering over to the wooden bench there he sat down to catch his breath. A few minutes later he was startled by the sound of a voice saying hello. Turning, he saw it was the women he had seen earlier, still with no dog.

Jumping off the desk Dr Stone walked over to the window. ''You know, things aren't always as bad as they seem. Often we blow things out of proportion and people don't react nearly as badly as we imagine they will. I'm sure whatever happened, whatever you did, it wasn't so terrible that you can't talk about it.''

'No! No, can't tell anyone. I'd be in so much trouble. Police. They'd call the police.'

The woman walked towards him. ''Have you seen a dog anywhere? A small white one. I let it off the leash a while ago and it's run off.''

''No, sorry.''

Sitting down beside him she sighed. ''Oh well. I guess I'll have to keep on searching.''

Joe appraised her out of the corner of his eye. She wasn't as old as he'd first thought. Mid twenties he reckoned. Her hair was pinned up in a chignon making her appear older. She wore a white fitted shirt and a blue knee-length skirt that had ridden up slightly exposing her smooth tanned legs. The smell of musk hung in the air.

''I could give you a hand if you like. To find your dog,'' he stammered.

''Would you? That would be great, thanks.''

''Yeah, but I can't be long, I have to get home.''

''That's ok, shouldn't take long to search the park anyway. I can drop you off afterwards if you like.''

They both stood up and walked back down the hill using the proper path.


Dr Stone turned to face Joe. He was staring down at his hands in his lap, his fingers constantly moving. A slim built boy with short, light brown hair, he appeared immature for his fourteen years.

''Did someone stop you on the way home Joe? To ask the time or directions maybe? Did you get into the car?''

Joe looked up at the ceiling then screwed his eyes tight as if to shut out the images and thoughts that were drifting into his mind.

Joe and the woman spent ten minutes or so searching for the missing dog but found nothing.

''I'm sorry,'' said Joe, ''but I'll have to get home. I'm late already.''

''I said I'd give you a lift remember. I can explain things to your parents if needs be. Come on.''

Joe hesitated. ''What about your dog?''

''Well, we didn't see it. I think it must've ran out of the park altogether. Maybe it's made its own way home.''

She lead the way to where her car was parked between some trees near the entrance to the park. It was a bottle green Mondeo, unremarkable apart from the red nose bobbing on the ariel. Unlocking it, she smiled at Joe, telling him to get in.


The doctor watched Joe carefully. ''I'm right aren't I? You did get into a car. What happened? You can tell me.''

'Nooo, I can't tell. I've been a bad boy. Please don't make me tell.'

The woman leaned over. Opening the glove-box she rummaged around for a minute. ''Damn! I thought I had some cigarettes in there. I'll have to stop at the garage on the way home for some.'' As she pulled back her hand brushed Joe's leg, making him twitch. She looked at him then laughed.

''Do I make you nervous?'' She watched his face redden. ''Or ... is it that I excite you?'' she said softly, running her fingertips up his thigh. Reaching the top she looked down at his crotch which was beginning to bulge. ''I'd say you were excited. What about this, do you like this?'' she asked as she covered his growing manhood with her hand and rubbed gently. Joe's face was beetroot by now but he made no attempt to stop the woman as she unzipped his trousers.


Dr Stone walked back to the desk and resumed his earlier perch. ''Joe, I am here to help you, not judge you. Whatever it is, no matter how bad you think it is, you can tell me, I'll believe you.''

Joe shook his head violently. 'I'll go to jail. That's what she said. She'd make sure of it.''

The woman manoeuvred herself over Joe's lap, hiking her skirt up her thighs. Rocking her hips she rubbed against him, moaning softly. She unbuttoned her shirt, letting her breasts fall free. Caressing them in her hands, her fingers teased her nipples into peaks. Leaning forward she guided one to Joe's mouth, brushing it against his lips. ''Suck it.'' she said. Joe looked at her then slowly shook his head. She pressed it harder against his mouth. ''Suck it!'' she commanded. Reluctantly he did as he was told.

''Who was in the car Joe? Was it a man or a woman?''

'Neither. A monster! Joe wanted to scream out. 'The worst kind. The kind that nobody recognises cos they look just like you and me.'

The woman took Joe's hand and pressed it between her legs. He could feel his erection burning against his stomach and felt ashamed. The woman's moans grew louder and he felt wetness trickling between his fingers. Her body became still and the only sound was her rapid breathing.

Catching sight of a glint bouncing off Joe's face, Dr Stone looked more closely and saw the tears in his eyes. ''What's making you cry Joe? Can you tell me?''

'No. I can't tell you. Even if I did you wouldn't believe me.'

The woman disentangled herself from Joe and climbed back into her own seat, adjusting her clothing at the same time. Joe stared blankly at the mess on his hand. Laughing out loud the woman threw him some tissues. Joe sat in silence, tears rolling down his face.

''For christ's sake! What you crying for? Don't tell me you didn't enjoy that cos I know you did. Don't worry, I won't tell anyone. It'll be our little secret.'' She grabbed his chin and pulled it to face her. In a more sinister tone she added: ''Don't think about telling anyone either. I'll say you touched me and I tried to stop you but you were too strong. Who are they going to believe? A respectable adult like me or a gimpy kid like you?'' she scoffed. ''Nobody will believe you. You'll go to prison. Your family won't want to know you. Think about that!'' she warned.


Patiently Dr Stone repeated his last question. ''Why are you crying Joe?''

With tears streaming down his face he stayed in his world of silence. 'Can't tell.'


Archived comments for Can't


Romany on 2003-08-25 02:46:17
Re: Can't
Poor Joe! Very frightening, and good on you for taking the abuse and turning it around and making it a woman abusing a boy. I've got boys. This scared the shit out of me.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-08-25 16:05:58
Re: Can't
Can I say I'm glad it scared you and apologise for it in the same sentence? lol. I've got 4 boys & 2 girls & it is a frightening thought.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

richa on 2003-08-26 08:43:08
Re: Can't
poor Joe, did empathise with him. enjoyed the story. kept me hooked till the end.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-08-26 14:20:05
Re: Can't
thanks Richa

Author's Reply:

sirat on 2003-08-27 04:49:25
Re: Can't
Interesting plot. Makes you think about the differences between the genders where this kind of thing is concerned. To be honest I didn't find it entirely convincing that a fourteen-year-old boy would have reacted in quite this way. Fourteen is about the age when both boys and girls are obsessed with sex, and what you describe would probably come close to a lot of teenage boys' wildest fantasies. He seems to derive no pleasure or excitement whatever from the encounter, just guilt and misery. It has about it the quality of a rape. In a strange way, the boy's reaction is too simple and straightforward, it doesn't seem to be mixed with any sense of complicity, of having wanted it and enjoyed it. I think that would be the difference between it happening to a boy and something similar happening to a girl. Boys aren't taught to feel guilt about sex and sexual encounters in the same way that girls are. A sexual episode is perceived by their peers as a "conquest" rather than a humiliation.

Technically I thought the mode of telling, with the flashbacks in italics, was fine, but it might have worked even better if the flashback sequences were told in the first person by the boy. The author becomeas a bit intrusive in sentences like:
"When he had arrived home he had refused to talk so his mother contacted the police...(etc.)"
There is also a lot of avoidable "tell" in the straight narration, such as:
"He knew he had hit the nail on the head; Joe had met someone on the way home that night. The question was who? And why was he so afraid?"
Once or twice you used an odd phrase which distracted my attention from the narrative:
"I wonder if the brambles are ready to eat yet..."
(brambles can't be eaten, not even by goats I think, berries can)
and
"Jumping off the desk..." (too lively an image)
and there were places where I felt a teenage boy wouldn't see the world in the way you have described it (a simple instance: "She wasn’t as old as he’d first thought" - to a fourteen year old 25 would seem pretty old I think) but overall it was very engaging and thought-provoking. I think the weakest part is the inner psychololgy of the boy, which for me just didn't seem quite right.


Author's Reply:

e-griff on 2003-08-27 08:56:14
Re: Can't
I don't really agree, david, although I snickered with the same thought when I read it ... (what's he complaining about?) Perhaps you were a rampant. confident, 14 year old, but although the 14 year old might fantasize about this, I think the reality would be overwhelmingly frightening and layered with guilt, then fear at the threat. Thinking back to when I was fourteen, I feel this would be credible.

Interesting story if the woman was 70.... 🙂

Author's Reply:

Bee on 2003-08-28 03:19:32
Re: Can't
Liked the structure of the story and found it gripping and well written. My interpretation may be wrong but I understood his embarrassment to be in having a sexual encounter with an older woman. Makes him think of his own mother as a sexual being for the first time - a sort of sub-conscious triggering of an Oedipus complex.

Author's Reply:

Romany on 2003-08-28 13:03:02
Re: Can't
No need for apologies and I understand why you're glad it scared me! Thanks ailsa.

Author's Reply:

Thomjack on 2003-08-30 04:00:58
Re: Can't
Thought-provoking story, extremely well told. I think any shy 14 year old would be overwhelmed by the aggressive attentions of an abuser. As for brambles, why can't you eat them? Perhaps it is a Scottish term but brambles refers to the fruit - aka blackberries - rather than the bush. A very powerful story and a great read.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-08-30 07:36:26
Re: Can't
I think that is a mistake too commonly made, any 14 year old can be scared by this kind of behaviour, boy or girl. Many children, and indeed adults, find themselves in situations where they are too frightened to speak out and this only serves to feed the guilt they already feel. It was meant to have the quality of rape because he didn't consent to it.

In Scotland, brambles refer to the berries not the bush.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-08-30 07:39:33
Re: Can't
I agree griff, a shyier (is that a word lol?) person would find this intimidating, even traumatising.

A 70 year old woman....now that's food for thought!

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-08-30 07:43:36
Re: Can't
Your interpretation is equally valid Bee though that wasn't what I had in mind.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-08-30 07:44:44
Re: Can't
Thanks Thomjack.

Author's Reply:

TheGeeza on 2003-08-30 12:28:24
Re: Can't
I thought this was very good and thought provoking. I liked the way the flashback slowly merged with the present.

I agree with Sirat on some of his points regarding narrative, but I think 14 year old boys who would enjoy/not mind this seduction/abuse/rape would be in a minority. I think most would be very embarrassed/frightened and perhaps say nothing - going home and maybe making an excuse like "I forgot the time" etc. - then thinking or perhaps fantasising about the encounter. I think this particular boy's reaction was also in the minority as it was a tadge extreme. I take it he became some kind of mute when he returned late - and why so late? That's the only criticism I would have - the link between the encounter and the session with the doctor.

I found some of the comments interesting regarding a woman seducing/abusing a male in this thread too! As a red-blooded male of 32, I'm not sure I'd really enjoy a woman threatening and doing "something" in this manner. Bravado makes us say "yeah! Love it! Why doesn't it happen to me?" and laugh - but if it really happened ... I'm not sure you can truly know what you would do or think afterwards.


Author's Reply:

zenbuddhist on 2003-09-19 05:57:01
Re: Can't
wow what a lot of comments ...dont think i can add to that tIrade of critique AND JUSTIFIED PRAISE ...I enjoyed it and thought it was very well written.......how come things like that never happened to ME....*G*...Zx

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-09-19 06:47:20
Re: Can't
ahhh, but would you really want it to happen? That's another story *smile*
Thanks!

ailsa

Author's Reply:


SEVENTH DWARF PRAISED FOR DISCOVERING RUMPLESTILTSKIN’S GOLD (posted on: 11-08-03)
fairytale tabloids

The seventh dwarf played down reports that he was a hero this morning claiming it was just good luck. While taking his dragon Sparks for its midnight walk along by Bubbling Swamp he unwittingly discovered a cache of gold believed to have been hidden by the King. Sparks had been playing his favourite game of Puff when he accidentally set a bush on fire. The flames were extinguished, revealing the pile of nuggets. In a case spanning many moons, Rumplestiltskin had been charged with extortion when the miller’s daughter reported he had demanded goods in exchange for him spinning straw into gold on her behalf. In a plea bargain Rumplestiltskin had admitted blackmailing the girl but protested he was also saving her life. In a unique twist he stated that the real culprit was the King, who had kept the girl against her will, locking her up in a room and demanding she turned the straw into gold, threatening her with death if she did not comply. Subsequently the King was charged with Child Slavery and Threatening Behaviour but the case against him was later dropped due to lack of evidence as there was no gold to be found in the palace. Trolls said this discovery was just the break they’d been waiting for. The case continues.


Archived comments for SEVENTH DWARF PRAISED FOR DISCOVERING RUMPLESTILTSKIN’S GOLD
Jen_Christabel on 2003-08-11 05:07:46
Re: SEVENTH DWARF PRAISED FOR DISCOVERING RUMPLESTILTSKIN’S GOLD
You really must collect these and make something of them, they're great!
Jen

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-08-11 07:10:59
Re: SEVENTH DWARF PRAISED FOR DISCOVERING RUMPLESTILTSKIN’S GOLD
thanks Jen, I'm working on it! *smile*

Author's Reply:

Thomjack on 2003-08-13 13:59:59
Re: SEVENTH DWARF PRAISED FOR DISCOVERING RUMPLESTILTSKIN’S GOLD
Thanks for raising another smile, Ruadh.

Author's Reply:


Prince Charming Fined Heavily For Burying Glass Slippers (posted on: 08-08-03)
fairytale tabloids


There were further developments today in the case of Cinderella v Prince Charming. Trolls were called to the Palace last week by a distraught Cinderella who told them Prince Charming had stolen her glass slippers and refused to return them. Upon questioning, the Prince denied he had possession of the slippers, or indeed, he had taken them in the first place. The Trolls however were not convinced and had the Prince placed under surveillance. Their suspicions were proved founded when he was later caught burying the slippers in the Palace swamp. The slippers were retrieved and returned to a grateful Cinderella. Testifying in the Fairy Ring this morning, the Prince stated that the slippers were responsible for him marrying Cinderella and so he wanted to destroy them and the bad karma he considered they carried. The Big Bad Wolf howled with laughter before fining the Prince one hundred mushrooms. Earlier reports of a shoe fetish remain unsubstantiated.


Archived comments for Prince Charming Fined Heavily For Burying Glass Slippers
Jen_Christabel on 2003-08-08 04:43:00
Re: Prince Charming Fined Heavily For Burying Glass Slippers
Thanks again for another good laff Ru.
Jaycee :o)

Author's Reply:

myos on 2003-08-08 05:41:00
Re: Prince Charming Fined Heavily For Burying Glass Slippers
Another good one, keep them coming.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-08-08 07:19:52
Re: Prince Charming Fined Heavily For Burying Glass Slippers
Thanks JayCee 🙂

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-08-08 07:20:22
Re: Prince Charming Fined Heavily For Burying Glass Slippers
thanks myos 🙂

Author's Reply:

JeffDray on 2003-08-08 10:14:12
Re: Prince Charming Fined Heavily For Burying Glass Slippers
I always thought that the old glass slipper story was a fit up.

I wonder if there will be any proceedings in the cattle for magic beans scandal anytime soon?

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-08-08 15:19:53
Re: Prince Charming Fined Heavily For Burying Glass Slippers
lol....

hmm, could be! 😉

Author's Reply:

Scribbler on 2003-08-09 10:04:42
Re: Prince Charming Fined Heavily For Burying Glass Slippers
Teehee 🙂 .........I think Prince Charming suffers from the same affliction as my dog- ie 'foot-fetish'. Someone told me once that dogs lick shoes and feet because they like the taste of the salt. I don't know if this is true, but just in case I advise Cinderella to stock up on some more Saxa salt. It may cure the prince of his little quirks.

Author's Reply:

Thomjack on 2003-08-09 11:18:43
Re: Prince Charming Fined Heavily For Burying Glass Slippers
Another good one, Ruadh. Look forward to reading more.

Author's Reply:


LITTLE BOY BLUE FOUND GUILTY OF STEALING PORRIDGE BELONGING TO THE THREE BEARS (posted on: 04-08-03)
Fairytale Tabloids
Just a piece of nonsense......

There were cheers from the public gallery today as Little Boy Blue was lead from the dock to start a seven day sentence. The jury, which consisted of seven dwarfs, three pigs, and two fairy godmothers, voted unanimously in finding him guilty of stealing porridge from The Three Bears. During the trial the defence claimed that he had been tricked into taking the porridge by a girl called Goldilocks. She reportedly told him that there were monsters in her house that attacked her every time she tried to eat. She further said if he succeeded in sneaking the porridge out of the house she would reward him by asking her sister, Little Bo Peep, to keep an eye on his flock for a day thus enabling him to sleep. His claims were thrown out when Goldilocks denied this by saying on the day the crime was carried out she was dining with Prince Charming. Rumours are now circling that Cinderella is filing for divorce!


Archived comments for LITTLE BOY BLUE FOUND GUILTY OF STEALING PORRIDGE BELONGING TO THE THREE BEARS
JenChristabel on 2003-08-04 03:24:57
Re: LITTLE BOY BLUE FOUND GUILTY OF STEALING PORRIDGE BELONGING TO THE THREE BEARS
Very Pythonesque and therefore just great stuff :o)
Thanks for the read Ruadh
Jen :o)

Author's Reply:

Thomjack on 2003-08-04 06:43:32
Re: LITTLE BOY BLUE FOUND GUILTY OF STEALING PORRIDGE BELONGING TO THE THREE BEARS
Amusing piece, just right for a sunny day. Thanks Ruadh.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-08-04 07:20:46
Re: LITTLE BOY BLUE FOUND GUILTY OF STEALING PORRIDGE BELONGING TO THE THREE BEARS
Thanks Jen 🙂 It was just written for fun. I have a few more but only posted one to gauge reaction. A friend suggested I collect them together and make a tabloid, he's offered to get the artwork. Depending on the response I might just do that.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-08-04 07:21:34
Re: LITTLE BOY BLUE FOUND GUILTY OF STEALING PORRIDGE BELONGING TO THE THREE BEARS
Thanks Thomjack!

Author's Reply:

TheGeeza on 2003-08-04 08:11:24
Re: LITTLE BOY BLUE FOUND GUILTY OF STEALING PORRIDGE BELONGING TO THE THREE BEARS
Think that sounds like a great idea! Make sure there's an electronic version we can read!


Author's Reply:

myos on 2003-08-04 09:40:47
Re: LITTLE BOY BLUE FOUND GUILTY OF STEALING PORRIDGE BELONGING TO THE THREE BEARS
Nice one, short and sweet, but I feel the poor chap was hard done by.
It was Goldilocks who broke into the house originally. And now alleged adultery! I bet it is a case of the scorned woman....after he fell asleep in the Little Bear's bed.

Author's Reply:

JeffDray on 2003-08-04 11:01:30
Re: LITTLE BOY BLUE FOUND GUILTY OF STEALING PORRIDGE BELONGING TO THE THREE BEARS
Free the little blue one. T shirts £9.99 each from me.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-08-04 15:17:01
Re: LITTLE BOY BLUE FOUND GUILTY OF STEALING PORRIDGE BELONGING TO THE THREE BEARS
Sure I will ! Thanks Geeza.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-08-04 15:17:57
Re: LITTLE BOY BLUE FOUND GUILTY OF STEALING PORRIDGE BELONGING TO THE THREE BEARS
lol, you could be right. Thanks Myos

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-08-04 15:19:19
Re: LITTLE BOY BLUE FOUND GUILTY OF STEALING PORRIDGE BELONGING TO THE THREE BEARS
That was quick! *smile*

Author's Reply:

flash on 2003-08-09 09:22:49
Re: LITTLE BOY BLUE FOUND GUILTY OF STEALING PORRIDGE BELONGING TO THE THREE BEARS
Is it true by the way that when pinocchio lied it wasn't his nose that got bigger? i'm sure i read read read it in the Daily Toad!!!

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-08-09 09:49:24
Re: LITTLE BOY BLUE FOUND GUILTY OF STEALING PORRIDGE BELONGING TO THE THREE BEARS
lmho....damn! missed that one...think he'd do an interview?? 😉

Author's Reply:

Smellybaby on 2004-02-15 06:52:38
Re: LITTLE BOY BLUE FOUND GUILTY OF STEALING PORRIDGE BELONGING TO THE THREE BEARS
Great stuff, really liked it. I have always thought that, that Goldilocks was a right little madam!

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-15 16:06:16
Re: LITTLE BOY BLUE FOUND GUILTY OF STEALING PORRIDGE BELONGING TO THE THREE BEARS
Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it

ailsa

Author's Reply:


March Is The Cruelest Month (posted on: 01-08-03)
Mia opened her curtains, the brilliant sunshine dazzling her momentarily.

She opened the window and breathed in the clean, fresh air. 'Looks like spring has finally arrived.' she thought. She smiled to herself as she watched next door's cat rolling in the freshly cut grass. Spring flowers, which had poked their heads tentatively above ground a few weeks before were now opening their petals under the warm rays of the sun. All around were signs of new growth, new life.

''It's like we've been given a clean canvas, the opportunity of a fresh start.'' That was what Marcus, her husband, used to say. Any differences they'd been having were immediately forgotten and disposed of along with the winter debris. It had been a long time since she'd heard him say that.

Fittingly, their only child had been born in this season of regeneration. A girl, Samantha. 'She stole Marcus' heart the first time he laid eyes on her.' Mia reflected.

And she went on to steal many more. Her creamy white skin, red hair and green eyes combined to give her stunning looks. She had married her childhood sweetheart on her 21st birthday and two years later had given birth to a son. His birth had been problematic, with fatal consequences. ''The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.'' muttered Mia, wiping the tears from her eyes. 'It's the cruel reality of life.' she thought.

Suddenly the door flew open and in burst a young boy. ''Are you up Gran? Do you remember what day it is?'' he asked.

Mia stroked his head softly, the same red hair his mother had had. ''Of course I'm remembering Sammy. How could I forget?'' Every year since his birth she'd taken him to the cemetery to lay flowers on his mother's resting place.

''I thought I'd take her some daffodils this year, do you think she'd like that?'' he said.

''I'm sure she will.'' replied Mia.

As Mia listened to the enthusiastic chatter of her grandson she couldn't help but wonder at the irony that March brought so much joy, yet so much sorrow too.


Archived comments for March Is The Cruelest Month
TheGeeza on 2003-08-01 07:17:00
Re: March Is The Cruelest Month
A lot said in the few words of your piece.
I like the boy asking if his mother would like daffodils. I have some experience with a family member dying young and his daughter asking questions of that nature, silly questions almost, that mean nothing to most, but much to some.


Author's Reply:

kenochi on 2003-08-01 09:07:06
Re: March Is The Cruelest Month
I liked it, it was ok. You seem to be going for the heart-string plucking theme with your flash fiction lately and whereas Hannah really got me, this one didn't. I guess Hannah had the twist, whereas this one is just a fairly flat slice of life. I dunno... its not bad (from my point of view) but not great either.

Author's Reply:

Bee on 2003-08-01 09:46:04
Re: March Is The Cruelest Month
This doesn't really work for me and I tried to decide why. I think it's because too much for such a short piece is devoted to telling us about the circumstances of the dead child's birth. We all struggle to show rather than tell and, sometimes, if a piece is longer, we get away with an explanatory passage. But here I don't think there's space for that.
It's a personal judgement so others might disagree, but I like people to give my work honest assesment and, if possible, explain why something isn't working, so I'm doing that for you.

I also wondered why you altered the quotation from Eliot from April to March? Just curious.

Author's Reply:

Thomjack on 2003-08-01 14:39:57
Re: March Is The Cruelest Month
Thought this was a well-described moment in time. The sadness of a mother, the innocence of a child. A nice piece of flash fiction.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-08-01 15:57:19
Re: March Is The Cruelest Month
out of the mouths of babes huh
thanks!

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-08-01 16:08:56
Re: March Is The Cruelest Month
Hi Kenochi

A lot of my writing seems to be about relationships in one form or another, and I do a lot of heart-string plucking lol, been trying to break the habit. The twist (supposed to be!) in this one is in this line; "His birth had been problematic, with fatal consequences." Most people assume the baby died whereas it was the mother.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-08-01 16:14:04
Re: March Is The Cruelest Month
Hi Bee

Thanks for giving an honest opinion, I appreciate it. The title came from a comment a friend made about the weather *smile*

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-08-01 16:18:29
Re: March Is The Cruelest Month
Thanks!

Author's Reply:


Hannah (posted on: 28-07-03)
Click to see more top choices

Not as it first seems...

From my bedside I had a clear view through the window. It was a warm summer's day. Calm. The sky was blue and clear, unblemished by clouds as far as I could see. The sun's rays embraced everything it touched, cloaking it with a serenity that seemed surreal. I stared into the distance, lost in thought, melding myself to the tranquillity.

''Would you like to see your baby now?''

The nurse's voice pulled me back from my reverie. I looked at her in bewilderment before slowly nodding my head. A few minutes later she appeared, pushing the familiar clear plastic crib, bringing it to a stop at the side of my bed. I looked at the tiny bundle lying within.

''She's beautiful.'' I whispered.

''Yes she is,'' agreed the nurse. ''Have you got a name for her?''

''Hannah.''

''Hannah. That's nice.'' After a moment's pause she added; ''Would you like to hold her?''

''Can I?'' I replied tentatively.

''Of course you can. You get yourself comfortable and I'll hand her over to you.''

I pushed myself upright and shuffled back against the pillows. The nurse placed Hannah gently into my arms and withdrew. My eyes gazed at her, memorising every detail of her little face. The blondest of hair covered her head, so fair that at first glance there appeared to be none at all. Picking up her hand I uncurled her fingers, counting them as I did so. Five, all present and correct, as were her toes. I raised her up to place a kiss on her forehead.

''She's perfect.'' I said under my breath wistfully. ''Perfect.''

For hours I cradled her tiny body next to mine, that tiny body that I had nurtured and protected for so long inside my own, but sadly not long enough. Her too pale skin and blue lips belie the perfection she appears to be.

I know they will come for her soon and I hold her ever closer knowing that, whenever they come, I won't be ready to let her go.


Archived comments for Hannah


Icepick on 2003-07-28 11:36:39
Re: Hannah
INCREDIBLT moving. There's a really strange, detatched feel to it, that is also, I feel, more than a little disturbing. Very odd. Is this from personal expeirence? Obv, feel free not to answer that. Well done.

Author's Reply:

jim on 2003-07-28 11:55:44
Re: Hannah
'But sadly, not long enough.' A killer line. Very effective, every understated emotion, and more powerful for it. And a twist that plays on our preconceptions, rather than just being tagged on at the end. Great stuff. Only one tiny editorial comment:

'My eyes gazed at her'. This sticks out a bit. I think 'I gazed at her' would be better. However, if you're going for detatchment then maybe you should expand on this bit. Otherwise I'd keep it simple.

Author's Reply:

TheGeeza on 2003-07-28 16:59:12
Re: Hannah
Well written, and disturbing, however I do think the "end" (if such a thing exists in flash fiction!) was quite predictable.


Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-07-29 00:45:33
Re: Hannah
Thanks Ice. Some of my work has a personal element but thankfully this isn't one of them.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-07-29 00:49:31
Re: Hannah
Thanks for pointing that out Jim. I think originally I was going to say 'my eyes travelled over her face' but thought better of it. I'll change it to I.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-07-29 00:51:45
Re: Hannah
Thanks Geeza. By the end, do you mean the sentences about letting her go were predictable or the fact she was dead?

ailsa

Author's Reply:

TheGeeza on 2003-07-29 03:50:24
Re: Hannah
Hi ... no, the content was fine ... the fact she was dead was predictable. Not a criticism as such, as most stories are predictable aren't they? Despite the end, it still created the desired 'disturbed' effect. I still thought it was good.


Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-07-29 07:25:11
Re: Hannah
Ok thanks. I didn't think this one was obvious. Ah well, che sera sera *smile*

ailsa

Author's Reply:

myos on 2003-07-29 08:31:10
Re: Hannah
Moving and sad, and well written. I'm afraid I cannot add anything constructive to the previous comments.

Author's Reply:

Heirloom on 2003-07-29 13:05:40
Re: Hannah
a good piece. Though the end is fairly predictable, only the hardest of hearts would fail to be saddened by it.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-07-29 15:32:19
Re: Hannah
Thanks again....

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-07-29 15:34:20
Re: Hannah
thanks Heirloom, nice to know it still touches the reader even though they expect what's coming

Author's Reply:

kenochi on 2003-07-30 06:59:01
Re: Hannah
Wooooo.. shit. That blew me away. I mean it. I wouldn't say that if i didn't. I've just had a baby, well, not me obviously, but my lady and I was there all through the birth and everything. This piece got me before the end even - I was quite emotional about the descriptions of the kid because that's exactly how i feel about Lola and she's 3 months old now - but the end just frigging cut me in half. I definitely didn't see it coming.
Great piece Ruadh - I think that's the best example of flash fiction I've read. To get a twist like that into something so short was very cool.

PROPS TO RUADH!!!! 10 / 10

PS - if i was you I'd scrap the intro line 'not as it first seems' - it prepares people for the twist. i didn't see it myself until after i'd read it.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-07-30 07:13:14
Re: Hannah
Heartfelt thanks Kenochi, you've made me a happy bunny today. Congratulations to you & your lady about Lola, birth is an awesome experience...I have six kids myself *smile*

ailsa

ps, thanks also for nominating it a hot story

Author's Reply:

Sunken on 2003-07-30 07:35:26
Re: Hannah
For me, this is as near to perfect as it gets. I may be slow... I dunno, but I didn't see the end coming. And to my impatient mind it's length was just right. Oo er(-;
I don't think size should really be an issue. Small can be just as good as large ya know and this is easily as good as other efforts I've trawled through. Excellent read Ruadh. Well done.


Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-07-30 07:41:07
Re: Hannah
Thanks Sunken. You're not slow lol, you weren't meant to see the end coming so it's a compliment to me that you didn't. Thanks also for voting it a hot story.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Thomjack on 2003-07-31 03:48:36
Re: Hannah
I think the line, not as it first seems, tends to give the game away a bit as you are looking for a twist. The description of the mother's feelings for her lovely baby are great and the ending is heartbreaking. Thanks for a good story.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-07-31 07:05:14
Re: Hannah
Thank you! *smile* The line is there simply because I couldn't think of a description for the story, maybe I should've just left it without one...?

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Icepick on 2003-07-31 07:10:06
Re: Hannah
nor did i. but then i AM quite dumb, so........

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-07-31 15:19:46
Re: Hannah
Dumb! you? Not from what I've seen *smile*

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Bee on 2003-08-01 09:53:59
Re: Hannah
This is heart-breaking. I read it after March is the Cruelest Month and it illustrates the point I made about that story in that this one definitely shows us the pain rather than describes it. I think it's brave of you to write about this and to do so with such control is a real achievement.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-08-01 16:22:41
Re: Hannah
Thanks Bee.

Author's Reply:

JenChristabel on 2003-08-03 05:42:37
Re: Hannah
Very moving.
>>>>dabs face with hanky
Can't say more than that!
Thanks for the read ruadha.
Jen

Author's Reply:

OolonColoophid on 2003-08-04 10:57:02
Re: Hannah
I liked this story. Something about it made me unable to work out the twist, so the twist had more of an impact. A nice change of prose style in the last paragraph slowed down my reading, which was nice.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-08-04 15:21:02
Re: Hannah
thanks Jen

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-08-04 15:22:36
Re: Hannah
Glad you liked it. Thanks OolonColoophid

Author's Reply:


The Great Adventure (posted on: 28-07-03)
This was written as an exercise with the title 'The Great Adventure' being the prompt. The ending was cut short due to time but I'm planning on rewriting that bit with the view of possibly making it into a novel or series of stories. Any comments would be appreciated.

David opened the door of the old house and crept inside. It had been empty for as long as he could remember and he had always been curious about it. He walked from room to room. They were mostly empty except for a few unwanted items lying scattered about the floor. On the second floor it was the same. As he turned to go down the stairs he noticed a door in the back wall of one of the bedrooms. It was papered over to match the wall and if it wasn't for the fact that the paper was torn he would have missed it. He ripped the remainder of the paper off and pulled on the door handle. To his surprise it opened easily. Peering into the darkness he saw a staircase. Slowly he climbed upwards. Reaching the top he found himself in the middle of a large room. It appeared to be a bedroom of sorts. David walked around, looking at the toys and books stacked neatly on the shelves. Everything was extremely dusty and obviously hadn't been touched in years. There were also lots of bags piled up in one corner of the room. David went over and felt them. They were full of hard lumpy things. There was a small window at one end of the room and he went over to it. He heard a tinkling noise as his foot hit something. Bending down, he picked up a circular disc. It seemed to have a picture on it. He gave it a rub with his jumper to clean it. The disc began to get warm and to his astonishment the window steamed up and seemed to disappear. Where it had been there was now a dark tunnel. Just inside the entrance there was an unlit torch. David looked around the bedroom and found a box of matches on one of the shelves. Hurrying back to the tunnel, he lit the torch and cautiously entered.

Holding the torch to light his way, he walked into the darkness. His shadow flickered eerily on the wall. Slowly he proceeded up the tunnel. Every so often he noticed another torch on the wall; none of them had a flame. Suddenly he stopped. He could hear a strange puffing noise a little further on and he had no idea what was making it. He stood still, his heart thumping in his chest. He was torn between going back to the safety of the house or forwards to see whatever was making the noise. For a horrifying moment it crossed his mind that the house might not be there to go back to! Swallowing hard, he tiptoed forward. There was a slight bend in the tunnel and as he rounded the corner he stopped dead and gasped. Here, the tunnel opened up into a cave, and in the cave lay a dragon. An enormous, red dragon! David's eyes opened wide with fear. His lips moved but no more sound came out. Trying to scuttle backwards, he found his legs wouldn't move. The dragon appeared to have his eyes closed and David hoped they stayed that way until he had managed to make his escape.

As he stood there the strange puffing noises continued. In fact, they seemed to be getting louder. After a few moments David realised that the dragon was crying. He put the torch into the holder on the wall and looked over the beast, trying to make up his mind whether it was safe to approach it. Upset or not, it was still a dragon! To his horror, the dragon opened its eyes and raised its head. He looked straight at David. Surprisingly the dragon started sobbing all the louder and lay down his head again. David's fear vanished in an instant and timidly he walked up to the dragon's nose. He put out a shaking hand and touched it. The dragon opened his eyes again.

''What's wrong with you? What are you crying for?'' he asked the beast.

The dragon looked at him with soulful eyes. ''I've lost my fire. I'm hungry and I feel so cold.'' He started sobbing again.

Astonished that they could understand each other, David stroked his nose again. It was cold to touch but he had assumed somehow that a dragon's skin would be. ''How did you lose your fire?'' he asked.

''My master used to bring me ebony rocks to eat. They kept my fire burning, which, in turn, also kept me warm. But my master has not been to see me in such a long, long time.''

David looked at him and frowned. 'Ebony rocks? What can they be?' he thought. Suddenly he remembered the bags in the room of the old house. ''Of course!'' he shouted. ''Coal! That's what is in those bags. Coal!'' he repeated. ''Wait a minute. I'll be right back. Just stay here.'' he implored the dragon. Running into the tunnel again he picked up the torch and ran back to the house.

Back in the room, he went over to the bags in the corner. Tearing one open, he put in his hand and drew out one of the lumps. Sure enough, it was coal, just as he'd thought. He'd never manage to carry a whole bag so he looked around for something to put it in. Partially hidden by one of the bags was a bucket. It was covered in soot and had obviously been used for this before. Quickly he filled it up and hurried back to the dragon. The dragon lifted his head as he heard David approach. When he saw the bucket of coal he looked a lot happier.

''Ebony rocks!'' he exclaimed. ''Where did you find them?''

David put the bucket down in front of the dragon and watched him take a rock and crunch it in his mouth. ''I found them in the room of the old house.''

The dragon stopped eating. ''And my master? Where is he? Was he also in the house? Why hasn't he come?''

David shook his head sadly. ''I don't know where your master is. The old house has been empty for a very long time.''

The dragon pondered this carefully. ''Then how did you get here if my master did not send you?''

David shrugged his shoulders and pulled the disc out of his pocket. ''I found this by the window. When I rubbed it to clean it the window disappeared.''

The dragon looked at him. ''I see. Then you are my new master. Whoever possesses the Dragonlair disc is to be obeyed. Whenever you need me all you have to do is rub the disc and it will open a portal and lead you to me. Also, to maintain my fire you will have to bring me the ebony rocks. Now, can I do anything for you? I am still a little weak but I can fly for a short distance.''

His eyes shining with excitement, David could hardly believe what he was hearing. Fly? He couldn't wait! Carefully, he put the disc back in his pocket. He stroked the dragon's head and found it to be warmer than it had been earlier. ''I'd love to fly. If you feel up to it.'' he said timidly.

''Hop up onto my back and hold on tight.'' replied the dragon.

David scrambled onto the dragon's back. It ambled to the opposite end of the cave and out onto a ledge. David's eyes opened wide at the sight that met his eyes. They were on top of a tall mountain. Below them, lush green trees covered the area for as far as he could see. The dragon flapped his strong wings and David held on as they soared into the air. Soon they were above the clouds. As they flew David was amazed by the strange things he glimpsed and looked forward to exploring them more fully.

All too soon they landed back at the cave. David climbed down off of the dragon's back. ''Thank you! That was wonderful. Now I'll leave you to rest.''

Picking up the torch and with a last look at the dragon, he ran back up the tunnel. Once he reached the portal he blew out the torch and stepped back into the room. At once the tunnel disappeared and the window was in its place. David hugged himself gleefully at thoughts of flying again with the dragon then ran down the stairs and back to his home.


Archived comments for The Great Adventure
myos on 2003-07-29 08:19:21
Re: The Great Adventure
I'm not sure what age group you are pitching this at, but I presume you are looking at a fairly young audience. I wonder if that is the reason you chose to use such short sentences, which I personally found spoilt the flow of the story. I think basically the story line is fine, and I'm sure you will dream up some wonderful follow up adventures. Good luck with it.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-07-29 15:30:10
Re: The Great Adventure
Thanks myos. I think it will appeal to a younger audience, maybe 6-8?

Author's Reply:

shadow on 2003-07-31 07:03:28
Re: The Great Adventure
I thought the basic storyline was fine, and capable of plenty of development (I would have loved a tame dragon when I was little) but I think the beginning needs a little more work. For instance 'David opened the door of the old house' - why wasn't it locked? And hadn't his parents ever told him not to play in empty houses? I would have thought a house which had been empty for years would be a bit creepy, yet he didn't seem at all nervous. When he found the torch - wouldn't a child reader assume you mean an electric torch? I'm not sure how old David is supposed to be, but I would guess under ten. Young child alone in derelict house, matches ... all sounds a bit dodgy. The kids might not pick up on these things, but the parents would (and they are the ones who buy children's books!). Once you got onto the magic part it was fine, and I look forward to David's further adventures.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-07-31 07:19:02
Re: The Great Adventure
The house was supposed to be old and abandoned, probably been vandalised into the bargain so the door could've been hanging off never mind just with a burst lock lol. Of course he'd been told to stay away from it, but kids always go into empty houses, for a dare if nothing else. You're probably right about the torch but I thought it fitted in better with the idea of a dragon because he's been around for centuries, long before electric torches. Saying that, I take your point about matches, from a safety view that might be frowned upon. Tis a pity kids can't have a good old fashioned adventure anymore lol. You made some good points Moya, thanks for your input, I appreciate it.

ailsa

Author's Reply:


HEAVEN CAN WAIT (posted on: 20-06-03)
Sometimes a chance meeting makes all the difference.

Julie watched the ducks swimming in the pond without really seeing them. She sat deep in thought, going over and over her plans in her mind. Everything had to go like clockwork. Pushing her hands into her pockets, she felt the hard bottle and circled her fingers around it, gripping it tightly. The bottle gave her strength and renewed her determination. 'I wonder how long it will be before anyone discovers what I've done? Probably days, and by then it will be too late for them to do anything about it. Far too late!' she grimaced.

An old man shuffled along and eased himself down onto the bench. His clothes were dirty and smelly. Julie gave him a quick glance and frowned before looking away.

''It's a lovely day.'' he said presently. Julie pretended she hadn't heard him and stayed silent. He tapped her on the arm and repeated ''I was saying, it's a lovely day.''

She looked at him with disdain. ''Yes, it is.''

''I like to come to the park on a bonny day like this. Don't suppose I'll be seeing too many more of them now. That's the downside of getting old, not many good days left.'' He started coughing violently, racking his whole body. Pulling a hanky out of his pocket he spat into it then wiped his mouth.

'How disgusting!' thought Julie as she tried to slide a little further away from him.

He turned towards her saying, ''You know ... I have a daughter about your age. Has two kiddies she does. Never seen the youngest one, must be eight years old by now. She moved away nigh on ten years ago after her mammy died. Ashamed of me she is.''

For the first time Julie turned and looked at him, meeting him eye to eye. She saw the sadness staring out of these dark pools of sorrow and pity washed over her. ''I'm sure she's not.'' she said softly.

''Oh aye! Aye she is. Not without good reason mind you. I was a different man back then. Bitter I was. Too fond of the bottle. Can't say as I blame her really. You see, her mammy was dying. Cancer. Refused treatment she did. Didn't see the point. She said to me, ''I've had a long life John, no sense in dragging it out and you've made me a very happy woman over the years.'' A lonely teardrop slid slowly down John's face as he reminisced. Julie felt a lump in her throat and reached a hand out slowly, squeezing his arm.

Not looking at her, he continued. ''Held on for a long time did Amy. A long time! Longer than we dared hope for. I couldn't handle it. Couldn't stand watching my beautiful Amy waste away like that. So I took to drinking. Lived my life in the bottle. Karen, that's my daughter, disowned me in disgust. As soon as her mammy was buried she took off, never came back.''

He carried on talking, almost oblivious to Julie. ''I'd seen so much in the war see. Young lads dropping at my feet and all around me. Good lads they were too. Such a waste of life, senseless. Could never get my head around it, gave me nightmares for years. Still does when I think about it. It's the eyes you know. Windows to the soul they call them, and it's true. Yep, it's true so it is.'' he said, nodding his head as he spoke. ''I'd look in their eyes and see their vitality fading away, as if they knew what was coming and were resigned to their fate. Then they'd stare right at you, through you, sightless. Gave me the willies. It never quite leaves you, the sights and sounds of war. Always comes back to haunt you. When I looked at my Amy and saw the sparkle fade from her eyes ...well ... I knew it wouldn't be long before she left me altogether. Watching her slip away more and more each day was more than I could bear.''

Turning to Julie suddenly he said, ''Do you know one of the last things she said to me? Growing old is a privilege that many don't get, so I've been lucky... You remember that lass. My Amy knew what she was talking about!'' Struggling to his feet, John patted Julie on the arm and slowly walked away.

Julie watched him til he was out of sight, tears running down her face. In her pocket she still had the bottle clenched in her hand. Taking it out she stared at it for a few minutes then shoved it back in. Looking up at the sky she whispered ''God bless you Amy, heaven can wait.''


Archived comments for HEAVEN CAN WAIT
SmirkingDervish on 2003-06-20 07:23:41
Re: HEAVEN CAN WAIT
I tried reading this in reverse paragraph order. It would have probably made more sense if I'd read it the right way - but I didn't.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-06-20 07:35:32
Re: HEAVEN CAN WAIT
I imagine things do make more sense if read in the way they were meant to! Why you would read it any other way is beyond me. The story is quite simple and understandable.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

sirat on 2003-06-21 11:22:41
Re: HEAVEN CAN WAIT
Well, I read it the right way around and I liked the idea but felt that it didn't really come off somehow. I think there were two things that jarred: firstly, the old man entering into his monologue so abruptly and almost delivering a concise lecture on his past life. It didn't feel like natural dialogue, it seemed rehearsed. Secondly, the young woman's distress didn't come across very convincingly. She didn't seem like someone planning suicide, if that is what we were supposed to assume. I think the man should make his speech for a reason, presumably because he picks up the woman's distress, and she should be indifferent to his story and bound up with her own emotions up to the point when his words suddenly strike home. You tried to do this with the "growing old is a privilege" line but it wasn't quite strong enough. He needs to say something that really speaks to the woman's condition, whatever that condition is. As a story I think it's half way there but needs more work.

Author's Reply:

Bettyboo on 2004-07-07 04:49:37
Re: HEAVEN CAN WAIT
I enjoyed reading this short story. The only thing wrong, was how did you know his name was John when, although discussing his life, he did not introduce himself or mention his name. Apart from that, it was an enjoyable read. Makes you wander too, about the people you see living on the streets, drinking, and what had happened in their life to be in this way...

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-07-07 06:00:00
Re: HEAVEN CAN WAIT
His name is first mentioned when he relates what his wife said to him 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting.

ailsa

Author's Reply:


THE HUSBAND, THE WIFE AND HIS LOVER (posted on: 16-06-03)
The title sums this one up

As darkness fell I made my way to his graveside. There would be no-one around to witness my grief. No awkward questions to answer. I had travelled a long way to visit him, this was the first time I had ventured onto his home territory, into her territory, and I knew it was likely to be my last too. As I stood at his resting place my thoughts drifted back in time, back to when he first came into my life.

I'd been sitting on the beach sketching. He was walking along the sands near the water's edge. Every so often he would stop, crouch down to pick up a pebble then throw it into the waves. Sometimes he would just stop and gaze out over the sea. I soon found myself taking more interest in him than in my sketch.

He was a tall man, with short, blonde hair. His skin had a deep tan so I assumed he had been on holiday recently to somewhere hot. I wondered what was causing him to be so pensive. So intriguing did I find him that I turned to a clean page in my sketchpad and started to draw. My pencil flew over the sheet of paper as I tried to capture his likeness before he moved. Suddenly he looked up and started to walk in my direction. I felt uncomfortable then. 'Maybe he doesn't like the idea of a stranger sketching him' I thought. If so, all I could do was give him the sketch and apologise.

Stopping in front of me he said: ''Hello.'' He had an American accent and his voice was surprisingly soft and low.

''Hello.''

''I noticed you sketching. Do you mind if I take a look?''

''No, not at all.'' I replied, handing him my pad.

He surveyed it quietly. ''Can I buy it?''

For a moment I was speechless. ''Take it if you want it. I don't expect you to pay for it.''

''Are you sure? It's very good.''

''I'm positive.''

''Thank you! It makes a nice souvenir.''

''You're welcome.''

''One more thing ... Would you sign it? Please?''

Laughing, I took it from him, signed it then handed it back. He thanked me again and, giving a small wave, he went on his way. As I watched him walking further into the distance I felt a tinge of regret that I no longer had the sketch.


The next day I was back at the same place to finish my original sketch. To my surprise, around lunchtime, the stranger appeared, carrying a picnic basket.

''Hello again. I was hoping you'd be here today. Lunch?'' he asked.

I smiled. ''What would you have done if I wasn't here?''

''Umm, either overeaten or fed it to the birds.''

He put the basket down on the sand. As I cleared away my equipment he laid out a blanket and placed the food upon it.

''How many are joining us?'' I asked as I surveyed the growing mountain of sandwiches and fruit.

''I thought the sea air might make you hungry.'' he chuckled. ''I also thought you might like this....''

Looking at the bottle of wine he had produced I smiled. ''You're a very thoughtful man.''

We ate and chatted well into the afternoon. From then on, he appeared every day at noon, complete with lunch. I couldn't remember a time when I had felt so at ease with someone. He was on holiday for four weeks. Gradually we spent more and more time together and our bond grew stronger. Although we hadn't known each other long I felt like he was my soulmate. For the first time in my life I opened up my heart and soul to another. Our days were filled with picnics on the beach and strolls along the water's edge with waves lapping at our feet. At night we'd eat candlelit dinners and go for moonlit walks. Throughout it all we shared our lives. The night before he left we made love for the first time. It was beautiful, and we both shed tears as we held each other.

A few weeks after he had gone home he phoned me. I knew straight away something was wrong. As he spoke my happiness crumbled. He was married. My silence said more than words ever could. I heard him asking if I was still there but my throat was too tight for words to form an answer. I listened as he tried to tell me about his relationship with his wife, and that he was sorry for hurting me. Hurting me! That didn't even begin to describe how I felt. Deciding I didn't want to hear any more I hung up. I cried enough tears that night to fill an ocean.

He contacted me again a few days later, pleading with me to at least let him explain. I listened as he told me about his marital problems, how his wife had been attacked and that they no longer had a sex life. I listened as he told me he still loved her but he couldn't stop himself falling in love with me. By the time he'd finished I was crying again; for his wife, who would never enjoy his loving caress, for him because of the loneliness he felt and for myself, for falling in love with a man who would never be mine. In that instant I knew I would accept whatever he felt he was able to offer. I loved him and the thought of him disappearing out of my life completely hurt more than the thought of sharing him.

We kept in touch by whatever means possible, mostly using the internet but we talked on the phone as often as we could. The sound of his voice was bittersweet. Each year he spent four weeks of the summer with me in Scotland and the odd week here and there as and when he could manage it. His visits were always over all too quickly and the time between them felt like an eternity. Yet, for all that, the times we had together were precious and we appreciated them fully.

A stab of pain entered my chest as I recalled the day I learnt of his death. Unbeknown to me he had arranged that I be informed should anything happen to him. I sat in silence as the caller told me he had died of a heart attack the day before. It had happened without warning and I could take comfort in knowing it was over quickly.
I was given the details of his funeral should I wish to attend. The inference obviously being that I shouldn't. I carefully wrote everything down, thanking the caller.

'What stupid things we say to the bereaved. The man I love had just died. What comfort could I take from that?' I thought. As for the funeral, I heeded the advice given by not attending, instead coming at night in solitude. I pulled my shawl tight around my shoulders, shivering in the cool night air. It had been six months since I had last seen him. A long six months for me. Tears of regret filled my eyes.

''I knew you would come.'' said a voice, startling me.

I turned to see a woman emerge from the shadows. I knew instinctively who she was. She looked at me with a strange, almost rueful smile.

''You were the only one for him, for years now. Did you know that?''

I looked at her, not knowing what to say.

''You look surprised. Did you think I didn't know? I always knew when he was seeing other women. You were different though. Other women came and went quickly, but not you. At first I was angry. The others I could deal with, they were nothing more than a passing fancy. But he cared for you. Eventually I was glad he had you, you could give him everything. With you he was complete, for however brief a time. He didn't need anyone else.''

I looked at this woman with a new understanding. She had put his happiness before her own. ''He did love you!'' I said softly.

''Yes, I believe he did. But it was to you he was faithful.'' Without saying another word she turned and left me alone in my grief.


Archived comments for THE HUSBAND, THE WIFE AND HIS LOVER
shadow on 2003-06-16 10:15:27
Re: THE HUSBAND, THE WIFE AND HIS LOVER
A good plot, and well handled but - too much telling, not enough showing. The scenes at the beginning where she meets him, and the end at the grave side, are where it really comes to life. We need to listen in on that phone call when he tells her he's married, not hear about it afterwards. The same for the later one where she learns of his death. We want to see her reaction. And how about a scene on the last night of his holiday, to show us how far the relationship has progressed?

Author's Reply:

myos on 2003-06-16 14:58:34
Re: THE HUSBAND, THE WIFE AND HIS LOVER
A nice story well told, and your dialogue was good. I was thrown a little bit by the mention of an American accent, presuming incorrectly that he lived in America, nevertheless I enjoyed it.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-06-19 14:24:19
Re: THE HUSBAND, THE WIFE AND HIS LOVER
You're right Moya, and the scene you suggested is also a good idea. Thanks 🙂

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-06-19 14:25:58
Re: THE HUSBAND, THE WIFE AND HIS LOVER
You presumed correctly, he does live in America, maybe I need to make that clearer. Glad you enjoyed it.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

sirat on 2003-06-20 02:50:26
Re: THE HUSBAND, THE WIFE AND HIS LOVER
This is a simple and enjoyable story but as Shadow has pointed out the middle bit would be greatly improved by a switch from the "tell" to the "show" mode. The real interest of the story for me lay in the shadowy figure of the wife, and the couple's marital relationship. I thought the notion that their sex life had ended as the result of an attack was a bit clumsy. It would have been more interesting and I think more plausible if it had ended as a result of her inability to cope with his infidelities, but leaving something behind that could never be completely extinguished. I thought the title also was a bit clumsy, obviously based on the film title "The Cook the Thief His Wife and Her Lover", but the word order you have used is a bit mixed up. I would look for a much simpler, perhaps single-word title. I thought the strongesdt point of the story was the sensitivity of the writing and the sense of loss when the man dies.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-06-20 06:39:52
Re: THE HUSBAND, THE WIFE AND HIS LOVER
Hello David
I agree about the middle bit. Since Shadow commented on it I've been working on it. The inspiration for this story was two fold. First I had a picture of a woman standing at a graveside at night. My immediate thoughts were that she was someone who had to visit secretly, hence the mistress. I wrote a flash based on that for another site. In turn, this lead me to think of another, real life, situation and I decided to meld the two. The point is, he wouldn't be unfaithful if it wasn't for their sexual problems, and for the mistress, the only reason she carried on with the affair was because of this reason. If he had played around for the sake of it she wouldn't want to know. As it is, he has two women in his life whom he loves, one he has sex with and one he doesn't. As for the title,I'm inclined to keep it. I've never heard of the film you mentioned. I don't own a tv or go to the pictures, as a child I always had books and have continued that lifestyle as an adult. I simply took the title from the characters and liked it because it also sums up the storyline immediately. However, any suggestions for another title would be welcome. Thank you for reading and taking time to comment, it's much appreciated.

ailsa

Author's Reply:


TALES FROM THE SEA (posted on: 13-06-03)
One story from a fantasy collection I'm working on. Do you believe in fairies?

Kerr sat on his log on the sands checking his nets for holes. The old fisherman had lived his life on the sea and was never found to be too far away from it. A group of children approached him, stopping a few feet from him. ''Tell us a story Kerr. Will you? Please?'' they said in unison.

Kerr looked up at them and laughed. ''Seems like I can't disappoint this many of many of you. Find a space on the sand.''

The children settled around him and looked up with expectant faces. Kerr was well known for his sea tales which many people, adults and children alike, were captivated by.

''Well now. You all know about the little people, the fairy folk, don't you? There's a group of fairies called Roanes, who live as seals by day and humans by night. They are sometimes called the selkie seal people, or selchies. They are not good enough to be allowed into Heaven, but aren't bad enough to be sent to Hell, so instead, they are banished to live in the sea. They are the gentlest of all the fairies.''

He watched the children's face's to gauge their acceptance of this story, and seeing their enthralled looks, he continued. ''To enable them to swim in the sea they have seal skins, which they pull on and off as they change between forms. When they come ashore at night they must hide their discarded skins because if a human finds it the selkie must obey their every word.''

''One night, a long time ago, a mortal called Fergus happened to come across the selkies frolicking on the sands. As he watched them he spied a seal skin partially hidden under the seaweed. Creeping over quietly he grabbed the oily skin and hid himself amongst the reeds. When daylight started to break the selkies ran to find their seal skins so they could return to the sea. Fergus spotted someone frantically looking for the missing skin. He emerged from the reeds and held the skin aloft. ''Is this what you are looking for?'' The selkie looked across at him in dismay at the sight of her precious skin in his grasp. Fergus held out his hand. ''Come with me. I take you as my wife.'' The poor selkie knew she had no choice but to obey him and, with a backward glance at the water, she went to his side. Now Fergus was a kind man. He was big and burly but had a gentle nature. He meant no harm to this beautiful creature. He took her by the hand and led her to his home.''

''Her name was Maleen. She had long, dark, wavy hair and her eyes were like ink blots dissolving in water. Fergus was enchanted by this nymph and did his best to make her happy. A little over a year later they had a child, a daughter they named Lutea. Maleen doted on her daughter and had grown to love Fergus too, but as happy as she was, she missed her life in the sea and longed to return to her home under the waves. Many a night she would stand at the window gazing towards the shore and a tear would slide slowly down her face. Fergus would watch her, caught up in his own emotional turmoil as much as she was in hers. He knew if she ever found the seal skin he had hidden so carefully that she would leave. She was happy with him but would be happier in the water. He considered the situation very carefully. He loved Maleen but did not like seeing her so unhappy. There was also Lutea to think about. She was becoming more aware as time went on and the older she was the worse she would be affected by her mother's absence. Eventually he came to a decision. One night, as Maleen was looking out of the window, he gave her back her seal skin. With tears of joy running down her face she rejoined the selkies on the beach and when daylight broke she pulled on her skin and dived under the water. She never forgot Fergus, or her beloved daughter Lutea, and often came towards the shore and watched them from the safety of the waves.''

Kerr looked at the awed looks the children wore then up towards the darkening skies. ''You'd best be getting home now. Looks like there's a storm coming. Go on now, there's always another day for more stories.''

As the children grudgingly stood up and started to walk away one small boy approached Kerr. ''Are there really fairy-humans Kerr? Have you ever seen any?''

He looked at the boy thoughtfully before he answered. ''Well now, fairies are strange folk. There's them that say you have to believe in fairies before you see them.'' Ruffling his hair he added: ''Off home now, before the rain starts.''

The little boy grinned at him and ran off to join his friends. Kerr looked at his hand and slowly pulled off a hair that was caught in the web of his fingers and chuckled.

Archived comments for TALES FROM THE SEA
shadow on 2003-06-14 11:13:02
Re: TALES FROM THE SEA
A charming retelling of a folk legend - and I liked the twist at the end.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-06-15 08:19:52
Re: TALES FROM THE SEA
Thanks Moya 🙂

Author's Reply:

dancing-queen on 2003-09-23 05:25:47
Re: TALES FROM THE SEA
An interesting read and I liked the ending. Not sure what age group this is aimed at though. Going by the general format and language of the story, I think it could be a little complex for under 8s, so my guess is 10-12s (although I'm not even sure this type of fairy story would attract many 12 year olds these days). So that has confused me somewhat.

For that age group you need to keep paragraphs fairly short and snappy - you have a few very long paras in here - which do not look good on the printed page. Something to bear in mind.

The other golden rule with kids stories is "Show not tell" - I know this is a tricky one in this particular story as you have a narrator relating certain events - but it's something to think about. Perhaps there's a way of reworking the narration so that there is more dialogue in there, bringing the storyteller's story to life.

It can be difficult writing for children - getting the mix just right and in the appropriate age group language - but you have the basis of something good here, so keep at it and if you do decide on a rewrite, I'd love to have another read. 🙂






Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-09-25 05:50:07
Re: TALES FROM THE SEA
To be honest it wasn't written with children in mind, but children have enjoyed it, which was why I entered it. Taking your points into consideration I should've changed it to be more child friendly. Thanks for that advice.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Bobby-ray on 2004-02-13 21:15:30
Re: TALES FROM THE SEA
I was like the children- enthralled. It was beautifully told. Thank you.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-02-14 05:13:29
Re: TALES FROM THE SEA
Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it.

ailsa

Author's Reply:


A Widow's Revenge (posted on: 02-05-03)
Not sure it really counts as fantasy but....
Justice is served...in mysterious ways.

Gossamer Icewitch threw a handful of blue powder into the fire. There was a crackling noise, a cloud of smoke, and the flames shot high into the chimney. As it died down again and the smoke disappeared a picture came into view.

Hazel was sitting on the bed with her husband's photograph in her hand. She brushed it lightly with her fingertips then placed it back on the bedside table. 'Why did they do it? Why did they have to kill him? Blair would have done anything they asked. Killing him was so senseless'. Lying down, her attempts to sleep were plagued by revengeful thoughts against his perpetrators.

Gossamer watched all this in the flames and took pity on Hazel. Throwing a yellow powder into the fire, she was able to penetrate into her subconscious mind and dreams.

Hazel and Blair were out for a meal at their favourite restaurant. When they left the building the rain was pouring down. Blair told her to wait in the shelter of the doorway while he got the car. As he crossed the car park a trio of youths approached from the opposite direction. They stopped him and started pushing him about. Blair put his hands up in front of him. Hazel could only guess at what he was saying but assumed that he was telling them he didn't want any trouble. The next thing she knew, a gunshot rang out in the air. She watched as Blair's body fell to the ground and the trio ran away. For a moment she stood paralysed then ran over to where he lay. He'd been shot once, in the heart. She dropped to the ground, frantically trying to find a pulse, screaming for someone to help her. A passer-by heard her and ran over. Quickly assessing the situation he had called for an ambulance. Although medical help arrived within minutes it was too late. Blair was dead. A long, drawn out scream of pain ripped out of Hazel's throat, echoing in the quiet of the night.

The screaming resounded in Hazel's head and with a start she woke up, her face wet with tears. The memory of her last moments with Blair haunted her, leading to many a broken night. She sobbed quietly for a while, the darkness only serving to increase her feelings of being alone. As always, the melancholy gradually gave way to rage. The anger she felt at the injustice of the crime consumed her. The youths had never been caught and it was unlikely they ever would be. She was the only witness that they were aware of and she had been too far away to see any of their faces. She wasn't sure which angered her the most; the fact that Blair had been murdered, or the fact that the ones responsible were going to get away with it. 'I wish there was some way I could make them pay. It won't bring Blair back but at least it will even the score' She pulled the covers up over her and curled into a ball, hugging her knees to her chest. Sleep came quickly but was far from restful.

Far away, in her spiderwebbed wonderland of insect grottos, Gossamer monitored her while she slept, viewing her dreams and thoughts like a movie. Unlike Hazel, she could see the faces of the three youths who had taken Blair's life. She could see and hear them clearly.

Blair heard the youths approaching before he saw them. He kept walking, looking straight ahead of him, and hoped they would just pass by. They stopped in front of him, barring his way. At first there was silence, then Blair asked what they wanted.

''What do we want? Let's see. What do you say boys? What do we want with this gentleman?'' The youth turned to Blair and grasped his wrist. ''Nice watch! Expensive looking too. What about that?''

Another sniggered before saying: ''Nahh, you're better with his wallet, be worth more.''

At this moment Blair raised his hands and said: ''Look, I don't want any trouble. Take what you like and leave me alone.'' Silently he prayed that Hazel didn't draw attention to herself.

The youth that appeared to be the leader gave Blair a shove. ''I don't give a shit if you want trouble or not. This isn't meant to be fun...at least, not for you!''

The other two joined in, pushing Blair from one to another like a rag doll. Again he pleaded to be left alone. They could have anything they wanted if they let him be. His pleas were ignored as they played their little game. Finally the leader grabbed him and Blair hoped this meant his ordeal was coming to an end.

''What makes you think I'm the least bit interested in your poxy watch, or your money? Even your car for that matter?''

Blair looked at him blankly, wondering if this was some kind of trick question.

''Answer him!'' said a voice.

''What did you stop me for then? You must've had a reason.''

''Oh, I had a reason alright. But none of the reasons you were thinking of. You see, I'm beyond petty thieving. I don't get a buzz out of demanding money, or nicking watches. I set my sight on a much higher prize.'' He pulled a gun from his back pocket and aimed it at Blair. ''Now can you guess what I want?'' he said menacingly. Without giving him time to answer the youth pulled the trigger. Blair heard their maniacal laughter drift into the night as he fell to the ground.

Gossamer sat contemplating what she had seen. Throwing more of the yellow powder into the fire she entered Hazel's dreams again. ''Let me see what you would do to them.''

Hazel heard a knock on the door. Answering it she saw two police officers. ''You've discovered something! Have you caught them?''

''We have three people in custody who we believe may be the same three who killed your husband. At the moment we can't say much other than we're waiting on lab tests results. We wondered if you'd come to the station and see if you could identify any of them.''

She quickly agreed and grabbed her coat. As she walked along the line of men she looked at them all carefully. None seemed familiar but when she passed certain ones she felt cold. She told the officers that she couldn't positively identify any of them. The officers apologised for wasting her time and took her back home. Hazel watched them drive off and waited for a few minutes before she got into her car. She drove back towards the station, parking a little further up the street. Waiting.

A few hours later she was rewarded for her patience. The three youths left the police station on foot. She watched them walking along the pavement then started the car and followed them. They turned into an alley. She drove in slowly and brought the car to a standstill. The youths had heard the approaching car and turned around. Hazel got out of the car, standing behind the safety of the open door.

''Yeah? What do you want?'' asked the leader.

Hazel spat out: ''I want you to burn in hell!'' She pulled the gun out her pocket and pointed it at the youths, one after the other, shooting them all. Without waiting to see if they were alive or dead she jumped back into the car and fled.

Gossamer sat silently and nodded.

Hazel was stirring from sleep. In that enchanted moment between sleep and waking she heard a voice whispering to her. ''Vengeance has been done. Blair's spirit can now rest, as can you Hazel.'' She opened her eyes and sat up. 'It was all a dream' she thought with a tinge of regret.

An hour later she was listening to the radio as she drove to work. As she heard the news report she pulled the car off the road and listened, a slow tingle creeping up her spine. Three youths had been found shot dead in their beds. No arrests had been made, no motives were known, although it was suspected of being a gang killing. Police were appealing for witnesses.

''Rest in peace Blair,'' she whispered then she covered her face with her hands and wept.


Archived comments for A Widow's Revenge
e-griff on 2003-05-02 05:28:17
Re: A Widow's Revenge
Very competently written, no real flaws. I found the name 'Gossamer Icewitch' a bit incongruous. main thing was for me, it lacked something meaty, interesting at the end. surely the criminals should suffer in some way, realise what it felt like in their turn? An overall feeling of clinical minimalism, Of course it depends who you are writing for, As I say for me it could stand a bit of enrichment and more plot.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-05-02 08:16:51
Re: A Widow's Revenge
I pondered on the ending but then I thought, if it was her against the three of them and she 'made them suffer' then isn't it likely they would overpower her? Whereas using the element of surprise and doing it quickly meant she had more chance of succeeding. Which, in the end, was more important to her. Gossamer Icewitch is actually a fairy, not a witch, described as a 'chillboning revenger of widows'. thanks for reading and commenting.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-05-02 14:24:21
Re: A Widow's Revenge
damn, that should read bonechilling!! That'll teach me to try to talk on the phone and type at the same time 🙂

Author's Reply:

Bettyboo on 2004-07-07 07:16:11
Re: A Widow's Revenge
I thought it was a great story, I enjoyed reading it and the twists in the story. It seemed to me that she was a kind of witch too and not a fairy as explained in previous comments. An interesting ending which leaves you with something to think about without it directly telling you as such, if you know what I mean.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-07-07 07:36:23
Re: A Widow's Revenge
Thanks BB, I think a few people thought she was a witch but she was supposed to be a fairy ... a fairy to be reckoned with but a fairy none the less lol

ailsa

Author's Reply:


Intimidating Love (posted on: 14-04-03)
Jess looked at the destruction around her and sighed, stifling the tears that threatened to fall.

After a few minutes she began to put the room to right, working like an automaton, going from one mess to the next until it was all tidied again. Picking up the black bag that she'd filled with things that couldn't be salvaged, she headed outside.

The sun was shining, the warmth hitting her as she walked down the path. It did nothing to lift the black cloud that had settled around her. As she walked back up the path a voice hailed her.

''Jess, hold up.''

She turned to see her friend Holly approaching and waited.

''Hi, just wondered ifWhat the hell happened to your face? she cried.

Jess gave her cheek an explorative touch. ''It's nothing.'' she said flatly.

''Like hell it's nothing! God Jess. What did he do this time? What did you do this time? Breathe too loudly? Holly looked at her friend and watched her eyes fill with tears that never fell. She wrapped her arms around Jess' shoulders to comfort her, taking care not to hold her tight. She knew from experience there could be other, unseen injuries.

Jess winced silently and Holly stepped back. ''Where?'' she asked simply. Jess stood mutely. Holly took her hand and gently pulled her indoors. ''What else did he do Jess? Show me!''

Jess slowly unbuttoned her blouse and pulled it off one shoulder to reveal a large dressing. ''His shirt had a crease in it. He told me the iron wasn't hot enough.''

Holly gazed at Jess, her face contorting in anger as the words she'd just heard sank in. ''He burnt you with the iron? He actually pressed that against your skin? What kind of animal is he? she screamed. She gently pulled one side of the dressing up and looked underneath. The sight of the red, sore skin made her stomach turn. ''This needs properly treated. You need to see a doctor.''

Jess shook her head.

Holly took hold of her hand again. ''You have to leave him Jess. Now!''

''I can't.''

''You can! I'll help you. I can give you money, you can leave here altogether.''

''Where would I go Holly?

''Anywhere! As far away from him as possible.''

''And spend the rest of my life looking over my shoulder? No. I'll be fine here. I'll just have to do better next time, be more careful.''

''Do better?! Jess, nothing, but nothing deserves that kind of punishment. You can't let him get away with it. Lord knows what he'll do next time. He could kill you! You can't stay.'' she implored.

Jess looked at her briefly before turning away. ''And what do you think he'll do if I leave?'' she whispered.

Archived comments for Intimidating Love
bluepootle on 2003-10-18 14:32:33
Re: Intimidating Love
this is good, but feels like it belongs to something longer. Have you thought about extending it? Trouble is, how do you stay away from cliches in this field, I suppose. Seems to easy to fall into a 'sleeping with the enemy' style story. But your writing is good, and I think if you could come up with a new angle this could be the beginning of something very readable.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-10-19 07:15:36
Re: Intimidating Love
Hi BP. Essentially it does belong to a larger story, like so much of my work 🙂 It is hard to write this kind of thing with a new slant. I have another short with the same problem which I'm going to post for opinions. I feel the only way to go is for the victim to suddenly fight back but sadly most often they don't. I 'escaped' 2 1/2 years ago but still deal with my ex on a daily basis because of the kids and at times I wonder if I'm any better off.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

bluepootle on 2003-10-19 07:35:54
Re: Intimidating Love
Hi, glad to hear you managed to get out of that, but as you say, are you ever really out? What an awful situation.

I hope you don't mind me saying this, but I think you should write that. Write about that fact that you never really escape if you have kids, and responsibilites that you share. I've never heard of a story about domestic abuse that tells that story... usually, as you say, there's a revenge angle or a tragedy to end the piece. How about cutting to five years/ten years in the future and showing the long term effects? Mind you, I can understand that it might be far too painful to write. Hope you don't mind the suggestion.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-10-19 09:37:03
Re: Intimidating Love
When I first seperated from my husband I wrote poetry, I use that term loosely as technically it leaves a lot to be desired and I preferred to call them 'mood writings' instead. I posted a few here. Basically it was just a way to get my thoughts & feelings sorted out. I made a website but reading it months later I realised a large part of my life was an open book for all to see & pulled it down. I received emails from people who had read it asking me to put it back & continue adding to it. For some it gave inspiration, hope, for others it took away the isolation they felt themselves in. A few were mesmerisied by a life they couldn't imagine. I did begin a novel based on my life hoping, when it was finished, it would send the message that you can get out & survive but slowly I realised my story didn't end there, it just started another chapter, and I abandoned it. Perhaps it is time that side of the coin is shown, thank you for suggesting it.

ailsa

Author's Reply:


BLOOD THIRST (posted on: 14-04-03)
This originally started off as a short story to go with a picture prompt but has now become the prologue for a novel.

My name is Conrad Wilson. I decided to start this journal to leave as a legacy to the human race, to let people know what took place here. I only hope there is someone left to find it.

The year is 2020. Five years ago the world was ravaged by nuclear war. One third of the global population was wiped out within an hour. Food and water were contaminated and in limited supply. Many who survived the blast fell victim to starvation. One race's continued existence surpassed all the others, an ancient race which has prevailed through the centuries largely undetected that of the vampire.

When food and water began to run out humans rapidly died off in great numbers. Since the vampires relied only on blood their race was unaffected. They quickly realised that this was the perfect opportunity for vampirism to rise to the surface, taking over as the supreme species. To increase their numbers even further they began to attack humans, not to kill them, but to covert them. Some humans gave their blood willingly in a bid to live.

As time went on the population of humans dwindled to dangerously low numbers and the vampires soon realised that their food supply would become scarce and eventually run out too. The decision was made by their ruling counsel that no more humans were to be converted or killed. Instead, we were to be seen as donors. We were to be allowed to go about our lives as normal, with no threat of death, on condition that we provided blood willingly when requested. Anyone found not prepared to do this was to be captured and taken to the prison where they would be held indefinitely.

Others, like me, abhorred the vampires. We were not prepared to adopt their lifestyle, nor were we about to become their prey. We came together to discuss what we could do. To fight was futile. At best, all we could do was try to ensure our survival in this crazy world where the hunted had become the hunters, the hunters now the hunted. And so our plans were made. First we had to find shelter, somewhere obscure where they were unlikely to discover us. We also needed to gather as much essentials as possible, particularly food and water, thus cutting down our need to wander in the open and risk being discovered.

Within a few weeks the perfect place was found, an old abandoned church. The main building was dilapidated but the catacombs underneath offered us salvation. It also had the benefit that the vampires were more likely to avoid it. Arrangements were made for the stockpile of necessities to be transferred in small amounts by different people to avoid suspicion. Gradually everything was made ready for our occupation. We moved during daylight hours since this gave us protection from the vampires but we still had to be careful as there were collaborators everywhere. Throughout the day, in small groups, we made our way to our new home.

It was decided to have watchmen on duty at night. During the hours of darkness was when we were most vulnerable to attacks. Six men were assigned each night to patrol the passages that had become our home.

To date, we have been here six months, two weeks and five days. Earlier today we lost two people who had gone to collect provisions. They are the first of our colony to go missing. As of yet, we do not know their fate. We are assuming they have been taken prisoner. If so, the future for all of us is precarious. I will arrange that someone adds to this journal in the days ahead, updating as often as necessary. If no new entries are evident then you must assume that our colony has perished.


Archived comments for BLOOD THIRST

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The Sound of Silence (posted on: 28-03-03)


Beth shifted uncomfortably in her chair and glanced towards the wall, wishing she could see through it. It was transparent enough when it came to noise, that came through all too clear, drifting, unwanted, into her life. If only she could see what was going on! Many times she had picked up the phone to call the police and every time she hesitated. It wasn't really any of her business after all. Maybe it was just a baby who cried a lot. Suddenly there's silence and she puts her ear to the wall, praying for the noise to begin again.
Archived comments for The Sound of Silence


myos on 2003-03-28 05:58:03
Re: The Sound of Silence
Oh how sad. If only we would pick up and use that phone!

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-03-28 15:24:06
Re: The Sound of Silence
I know. Sadly most people are reluctant to get involved.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

Kazzmoss on 2003-03-30 09:34:13
Re: The Sound of Silence
Flash Fiction. I've not seen this before, so yours is the first piece I have seen of this kind to explain what it is exactly.

It was good, neat. Thought I knew what was going on, a noise nusience, but she was actually do the listening. Very good.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-03-30 15:19:52
Re: The Sound of Silence
Thanks Kazz. When I do flash fiction I tend to stick to 100 words but I have seen longer pieces. Not sure myself what the upper limit on words is for it to be considered Flash.

ailsa

Author's Reply:


The Legacy (posted on: 10-03-03)
Sometimes relationships leave behind more than a broken heart.

Warning: may offend

Cassie held her hands under the running water, rubbing them together, turning them, until all the soap had been rinsed off. She stood with her wrists leaning on the rim of the sink, her eyes closed, waiting for the nausea to pass. After a few minutes she picked up the towel, and, holding a corner of it in her hand, she turned off the taps. Sitting on the edge of the bath, she then dried her hands. Silent tears rolled down her face. Continuing to clasp the cloth, she stared out of the window, deep in thought.

'How did I end up like this? I hate it! Hate myself!' she thought.

Her thoughts drifted back to a time that now seemed so long ago she could barely remember it. Sometimes she wondered if it had been real at all. Days where she didn't feel so bad, days that weren't occupied with endless nausea, vomiting and hand washing. Happier days, when she could actually look at herself in the mirror without feeling revulsion.

It had all started when she met Jake. She remembered the first time she saw him. He was standing at the bar, scanning the dance floor nonchalantly, trying to spot any talent. She was dancing with her friend Emma when he caught her eye. As the music ended he strolled over.

''Can I buy you a drink?'' he asked.

''That's soo original!'' I teased him.

He laughed softly, ''Yeah I know! What's your answer though?''

''I'll have a peach Scnapps with ice & lemonade please.'' I replied. ''I'm Cassie, by the way.''

''Ok Cassie, you grab a table and I'll get the drinks.'' he said. ''I'm Jake.''

Turning to Emma I apologised. She just smiled and said, ''You go for it, I'll join Kaz & the others.'' I returned her smile and looked around for a free table.

Jake came over and placed the drinks on the table then sat down. We talked for the rest of the night and were inseparable after that. For eight months we were happy, life was good.


Cassie's thoughts returned to the present and she grimaced as her body threatened to repel her lunch. Waiting for the tremors to subside, her mind drifted and she asked herself the questions she'd asked so many times before without ever finding an answer.

'Why didn't I realise he was hiding something?' 'Maybe I did, I just didn't want to know the truth, didn't want to hear something I'd be better off not hearing.' she thought. 'Maybe I didn't want to risk being hurt, or, most of all, I didn't want to be disillusioned in my opinion of the man I loved. After all, no-one is perfect until you fall in love with themare they?'

Then came 'that' day, the day when she found out what she didn't want to hear, the day that reduced her world to rubble. The day he told her that he was seeing someone else. Screaming at him, she demanded to know who the 'other woman' was. Jake had asked her to sit down, to calm down, then they could talk.

She had sat down as far away from him as possible. He had stepped forward, to sit beside her, but she had put her hands up, warning him not to come any closer. Sighing heavily he had sat on the chair nearest to him.

''I don't know where to start.'' he said.

''Oh please!'' she said sarcastically. ''Mind you, you never were original were you?''

''Cassie!'' he implored.

''Just get on with it!'' she snapped. ''Who is she and how long have you been seeing her?''

Jake looked down at the floor. ''Six years.''

Cassie stared at him. ''Six years? Then that means.''

''Yes Cassie, I was already in a relationship when I started dating you.''

Cassie rose to her feet. ''Why? ''Why Jake? Why did you get involved with me?

Before he had a chance to answer she continued. ''In fact, why bother telling me this at all? Why didn't you simply finish it and leave me in ignorance?''

''You don't understand Cassie.'' he began.

''Don't give me the 'you don't understand' bullshit. At least be man enough to tell the truth.'' she shouted.

Jake jumped to his feet. ''Why don't you give me a bloody chance to explain instead of interrupting all the time? Then you might learn something for once!''

The pair stood in stony silence briefly, then Jake continued. ''As I said, you don't understand. I couldn't leave you in ignorance, there's something you don't know, something I have to tell you, something I should've told you at the start.''

''On my god, you're marriedaren't you?'' she said.

Jake shook his head. ''No, I wish it were that simple.''

''What then?

''The other womanis a man.'' he said quietly, sitting down again.

Cassie sank slowly onto the chair behind her, stunned. ''A man?'' She opened her mouth to say more but no words would form. Misty eyed she looked at the floor, at the wall, anywhere rather than look at him. Eventually she turned to face him. ''Why? Why did you go out with me if you knew you were gay?''

''I'm not gay, I'm bi-sexual. I've been with Barry for six years now.''

Barry. Now she knew the name of the other side of this triangle. In her mind she heard him cry out his name as they made love and her stomach churned. ''And does Barry know about me?'' she whispered.

Jake nodded his head. ''He doesn't mind me seeing women; he doesn't see them as a threat to him.''

''What a pity you didn't extend me the same courtesy by asking if I minded you seeing other men.'' she spat out bitterly. ''Or maybe you think being bi-sexual gives you a license to cheat. You like men and women so are entitled to both!''

''No! I thought you'd just be a quick fling, and then when you weren't I didn't know how to tell youI didn't want to risk losing you.'' he ended quietly.

''Oh that's great! I looked good for a quick fling but nothing long term. Keep going Jake, you're doing really well here!'' she retorted. ''So why tell me now? What's changed?''

Jake shifted uncomfortably in his chair and avoided looking at her. ''Everything. Everything's changed. I'm so sorry Cassie!''

''It's a bit late to be sorry!'' she said scornfully.

''You don't understand Cass.'' he said in a whisper, ''Barry is HIV positive.''

Cassie collapsed back in her chair. ''No! He can't be. What are you telling me Jake? What about you? Are you positive? How long have you known? What about me?...'' her voice trailed off.

''We've only just found out. I'm getting a test done tomorrow. That's why I had to tell you Cassie, so you could get tested as well.'' he said. ''I'm really so, so sorry.''

For a moment Cassie looked at him then anger bubbled to the surface. ''You're sorry! You tell me you could've given me a fatal disease and you say you're sorry! You slept with me, knowing what you were exposing me to, and you're sorry! Sorry just doesn't cut it Jake. Sorry doesn't even skim the surface. You bastard!'' she cried, her voice breaking into a sob.

''I didn't know. We don't know how Barry got it yet. It must've been an ex partner I suppose. But we've been together so long I thought it was safe. Whatever you think of me now, I do love you Cass, and would never do anything to deliberately harm you.'' Rising to his feet he said, ''Please believe me Cassie.''

Making eye contact with him, a look of contempt crossed her face. ''You know where the door is, I suggest you use it.'' she said.

''Cass'' began Jake.

''Now Jake! Just go please!'' she said firmly.


Jake had turned and walked out of the door, and out of her life. After he'd left she cried for the best part of the day before spending hours in the shower, trying to scrub herself clean. Subconsciously she knew it would make no difference, but she felt contaminated, soiled.


And so it began. For over two years now, any time she touched something her skin crawled. Nausea consumed her and she'd run to the bathroom, trying not to vomit before she got there. She'd scrub her hands with the nailbrush until they bled. Even though her tests always came back negative, the feeling never left her.

Still looking out the window, she stared at the sky. 'Jake may be out of my life, but he certainly left his calling card.' she thought wryly.

Archived comments for The Legacy
davver on 2003-03-11 13:19:15
Re: The Legacy
Badly weighted piece. The twists are predictable and we don't have long enough to develop any empathy for Cassie.

Would be better with more background to her and Jake.

I'm left with - 'Was that all the problem was?' - Why is she overreacting like this??

Oh yes and you jump into the first person briefly with your first dialogue.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-03-11 13:33:59
Re: The Legacy
Hmm, ok, you're the only one who I know of that thought it was predictable. As for 'was that all the problem was'....I hardly see someone being left with a compulsive disorder due to the fear of contracting a potentially fatal disease from a partner she trusted....as trivial. Maybe you would take that information calmly, many wouldn't. This is based on fact. I'll check the dialogue again. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

davver on 2003-03-12 14:46:12
Re: The Legacy
Sorry if I seemed harsh. The idea behind it is sound - it's good to base things on experience - even if it's not your own. I didn't mean to be flippant, it's just that the trust doesn't appear to develop between them.

How do the forces which push her into a compulsive disorder, manifest themselves? Her disgust and betrayal doesn't really come across.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-03-12 17:22:37
Re: The Legacy
That's ok, I have a thick skin. The part between Cassie & Jake is flashbacks and isn't really meant to detail their relationship, just enough to show the facts. Her disorder is because of Jake, so she thinks back to when they met, a brief bit to show they were happy, then the bombshell hitting as she finds out he was in another relationship & she was possibly at risk from hiv. You may be right about showing the ritual handwashing developing more.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

sirat on 2003-03-13 07:42:10
Re: The Legacy
I think the idea behind this one is quite good, but the telling of it could be a lot better. The first few paragraphs come across as a very "straight" account of what looks like a conventional situation: woman has been two-timed by her partner. In a way this is good, because when the revalation comes it's all the more powerful. But it does make for a slightly dull beginning. I think I would prefer to have Cassie washing her hands compulsively and just remembering some very idyllic moment in her relationship with Jake: this would be more interesting than just the pick-up scene in the bar.
Again instead of Jake simply stating what has been going on in a bit of dialogue it would have had more impact if, say, Cassie had found an envelope containing a note from Jake's gay lover, maybe referring to the HIV test, or had come home early and "caught them at it".
It's really Cassie's reaction that is interesting, and I can see the logic of her cleanliness compulsion, but maybe we could dwell on her mental state a little more, perhaps we could be shown how the incident has affected her attitude to men and to intimacy generally. There is opportunity here to explore a really messed-up human being. I think the possibilities are under-exploited. Could I suggest you have a look at the way Tanya presents her wounded heroine in "Cuts"?

Author's Reply:

sirat on 2003-03-13 07:46:43
Re: The Legacy
Sorry, I mean Tara, not Tanya.

Author's Reply:


ANGUS (posted on: 03-03-03)
Angus was a well known character around the 'Ferry'.

He had lived there all of his life and had spent his working days on the waves of the River Tay, earning a living as a fisherman. He had been married to Edith for over fifty years and they'd been blessed with three daughters.

A tall, rotund man, with an easy going nature, he was a popular figure amongst the older generation and of an afternoon could be found in his favourite local, nursing a pint and playing dominoes. Along with the pouch of tobacco his wife slipped under his pillow each night, these were his favourite vices.

He had rarely had a day's illness in his life, so when he developed a persistent cough he ignored it. ''It's just the rollies'' he would say, ''you can't smoke for nigh on sixty years without some sort of payback.''

Sadly for Angus the payback was more than he realised, or perhaps he did realise but his conscious mind was burying the fact. In any case, when he started coughing up blood a worried Edith marched him to the Doctor's.

''It's nothing doc, I've tried to tell her but the daft old bird won't listen to me.''

The doctor smiled. ''Well now Angus, why don't you let me be the judge of that. Slip your shirt off and I'll have a quick shufty.''

Angus removed his jacket and shirt, albeit reluctantly, and sat as Doctor Norrie examined him then listened to his chest.

''That's quite a rattle you have there. I think you should have a few more tests to be on the safe side.'' Noting Edith's worried look he tried to allay her fears. ''Now now Edith, don't you go worrying. I just want Angus to have an x-ray; it may be a bad chest infection, that's all.''

Angus dressed himself then, patting Edith's arm, said, ''Ye see, I told you it was nothing.'' Turning to the doctor he said, ''Never listens to me doc, in fifty years of marriage she turns a deaf ear to everything I say. Women!''

Doctor Norrie gave a knowing chuckle. ''Aye, you're right there Angus. Our womenfolk were sent to try us that's for sure, but where would we be without them?''

''Aye, aye. I cannae argue with that right enough.'' replied Angus.

Showing the couple to the door, the doctor told them he'd arrange further tests so to watch out for an appointment card through the mail.

Approximately four weeks later the card fell onto the doormat. Angus picked it up and shoved it into his pocket quickly. Walking into the kitchen and sitting down to breakfast he shook his head at Edith's silent question. ''Nothing yet love.''

A few weeks later Edith waited until Angus left to go to the bookies in the afternoon then anxiously dialled the surgery's number.

''Long Lane Surgery, how can I help you?''

Edith explained the situation to the receptionist, who in turn asked her to hold as she looked into it. A few minutes later she came back on the line.

''Hello, Mrs Williams.''

''Hello, did you find out anything?''

''According to our records, an appointment to be seen at the Chest Clinic was sent to your husband nearly two months ago. He was scheduled for an x-ray last week but never showed up. Are you sure nothing arrived?''

Edith assured the girl that no appointment card had arrived and requested that another was sent out. She thanked the receptionist for her help and hung up.

When Angus arrived home he stood clutching his chest as a coughing fit wracked his body. As Edith stepped forward to help him he waved her away. Once he'd regained his breath he said ''I'm fine lass, I'm fine.''

Teary eyed, Edith looked at the man before her, a man who, although still an imposing figure, was a shadow of his former self. ''No, no you're not Angus Williams. You're anything but fine and you damn well know it!'' She turned and headed to the kitchen to dish up the meal she had prepared for him.

Angus hung up his coat and caught sight of himself in the hall mirror. He knew she was right, he was far from fine. How he had thought she wouldn't notice was beyond him. He had never managed to hide anything from her in all the time they'd been together so it was doubtful he would pull the wool over her eyes now! ''Bloody woman knows me better than I know myself.'' he muttered.

He washed up then sat down at the table to eat. ''Not too much for me Edie,'' he said, ''I don't have much of an appetite.''

''Eat what you can and just leave the rest.'' she said, placing his plate in front of him. ''How was your afternoon? Did you win anything today?''

The meal passed pleasantly, with Angus relaying what had gone on that afternoon. He had lost at the bookies but won at dominoes so that wasn't so bad.

After dinner he helped Edith with the washing up, then, as she watched her soaps on tv, he dozed in his chair. Later, Edith woke him up and helped him through to the bedroom. As he prepared for bed she busied herself making sure everything was switched off and doing the last minute checks that were part of their night time routine. Satisfied, she turned off the light and went into the bedroom.

Before she went to bed, she took a pouch of tobacco out of her handbag and went to slip it under the pillow, where Angus would get it in the morning. With his eyes closed, Angus put out his hand and stopped her. ''I'll not be needing that lass. No more baccy for me.''
Confused, Edith looked at him. Deciding he must be talking in his sleep she placed it on the bedside table instead. Kissing him lightly on the forehead she turned out the light and climbed into bed.

The next morning Edith awoke and padded to the kitchen to make breakfast. She made a pot of tea and a round of toast for them both, set it all on a tray then headed back to the bedroom.

Placing it on the bedside cabinet she opened the curtains and the sun streamed in through the window. ''Angus, wake up, it's breakfast time.''

Receiving no answered she turned towards the bed. ''Angus, come on love, it's a beautiful morning.''

Watching him in silence, a sense of foreboding washed over her. She approached the bed and slowly reached out a shaking hand to touch his forehead. The coldness burned into her palm and although she longed to snatch it away she couldn't move it.

Out of the corner of her eye she caught sight of the tobacco pouch. Remembering his words from the night before, she looked at him. ''You must've known. You knew you were going but you didn't tell me. Why didn't you tell me? Why?'' The words tore angrily from her throat before giving way to tears.

She sat on the edge of the bed, and took his hand in hers. Raising it to her face she cuddled into it. ''Oh Angus, what will I do without you?''

Archived comments for ANGUS

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Memories Flashing By (posted on: 24-02-03)
Memories of a dying woman.

As her eyes closed, hundreds of images flashed through her mind like a video on fast forward. Memories which had been forgotten so long ago now resurfaced with a clarity that made it seem as if they had only just happened. A mixture of emotions ran through her, sometimes changing so quickly that she barely had time to react to one before the next hit her.

She saw herself sitting beside a coffee table, demanding to see her father. Her mother patiently explained to the two year old that her father was away on duty in the R.A.F, and she couldn't see him just now. She grabbed the tray with the coffee pot and cups on it and tipped it up saying ''I want to see my daddy and I want to see him now!'' Hot coffee spilled over the carpet as her mother looked on in disbelief.

Aged about four, she heard her father shouting on her to come in for tea, but she had climbed up a tree and got her foot stuck between two branches. As her cries went unheard she grew more and more anxious. Dad was sounding annoyed now. About ten minutes later she watched him approach the tree in which she was trapped. Seeing her he shouted and told her to come in for tea. With tears streaming down her face she shouted back, ''I can't, my foot's caught in this effing tree!''

A memory of her parents arguing, the unfamiliar sound of their raised voices scaring her. Her father picking up a porcelain horse from the mantelpiece and throwing it, smashing it to pieces. His pint beer glass quickly followed. She sat in silence on the floor, gazing from one to the other, then began picking up the broken bits of porcelain and glass.

A happier day, going to see some German Shepherd puppies. Even at this young age the sad faces tugged her heart strings, making her pick the runt of the litter. ''He's so little no-one else will want him and he'll be left alone.'' Her pleading won and they took him home.

Aged seven, she saw their new home. A lovely old cottage, sitting in the middle of extensive gardens, a high wall at one end and a thick row of trees at the other guaranteeing privacy. She loved it and tore around the garden with an excited Duke barking at her, running alongside. A few weeks later the excitement was replaced with apprehension as she started her first day at a new school.

Pictures raced by, days at the beach, at school, on outings. Family birthdays and Christmases were relived once more. Visits to the dentist seem to stick in her mind, probably because of the fear they reminded her of. She shut her eyes even tighter in her bid to ignore them.

She saw herself as a teenager. Walking into the living room, asking if her friend Sally could stay the night. Her mother looking at her then saying, ''I think it's better if Sally goes home. Your grandfather died last night.'' Shock rooted her to the spot. The family dog, now a chocolate Labrador, jumping up on her, wagging her tail in her happiness to see her. She pushed the dog down, then, needing an excuse to leave the room, she urged the confused pet outside. Standing on the front porch she watched Cocoa through tear filled eyes. Strong arms surrounded her from behind and she heard her father's choked voice saying, ''I know, it's hard to think you won't see the old bugger again.'' She turned her body around, burying her face into the comfort she found there.

Saturday's spent up town shopping with her mother. Gentle arguments as to the suitability of clothes, the height of shoe heels, and the need for make-up. Serious discussions on the reliability and sense of male friends. Comforting words when teenage angst surfaced.

Hearing vague voices as she drifted in and out of consciousness after a major operation. Her mother bending over her, dabbing at her forehead with tissues. Her father calling for a nurse and asking for water. Months later she walks the length of the ward, holding on to her father's arm, only days after being allowed on her feet again. His proud smile burned into her memory, as did her mother's tears. More than twenty years later the memory brings tears to her own eyes.

Years rush past, feeling love for her husband, joy at the birth of children, then darkness and cold seeps into her as fists rain down on her body. Her eyes tighten again and her body stiffens, quickly alternating with laughter and happiness. Making her feel exhausted, she's glad when it stops.

The pictures slow down, blackness descends. She feels herself rising on the breeze. Looking down she sees her slumped figure, blood surrounding it. She watches as medics run towards her, one feels for a pulse, looks at her wrist and shakes his head. ''We never had a chance with this one. Gently closing her staring eyes, he says softly, ''I hope you found the peace you were looking for.''

''More than likely crying for help and was unlucky.'' retorted another.

Looking up his partner, he cradled her wrist gently in his hand and replied, ''No. There is only one cut, clean and deep, she knew exactly what she doing.''




Archived comments for Memories Flashing By
JeffDray on 2003-02-24 08:13:08
Re: Memories Flashing By
I liked this one, anythiong that gets me thinking has to be a winner, If I find myself thinking "What if it were me?" I know I am going to like it.

The twist is good, I like the idea of people taking charge of their destiny like this person did, rather than allowing things to happen to them, which is something we are all guilty of.

gets my vote

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-02-24 15:51:25
Re: Memories Flashing By
Thanks JeffDray. As for the twist, I sometimes wish I had that strength. Glad you liked it 🙂

Author's Reply:

Ems on 2003-02-26 08:28:47
Re: Memories Flashing By
I thought this was very clever,the snaphhot memories were written very well and the twist at the end was so very sad. Definitely original and beuatiful writing.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-02-26 15:41:55
Re: Memories Flashing By
Thank you! 🙂

Author's Reply:

Silverfox on 2003-02-28 08:59:02
Re: Memories Flashing By
Really like this one. Heart wrenching, brilliantly written. Leaves you wonder if she finally did find the peace she was looking for.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-02-28 12:44:30
Re: Memories Flashing By
Thanks Silverfox....I think she did.

Author's Reply:

Sooz on 2003-03-02 11:46:06
Re: Memories Flashing By
I read this one twice. Every word of this one is about emotion, and yet although I think it's a cracking story and well written I read it through (twice) dispasisonately. The first time I thought I had missed something so read it again. This one should be a tear jerker, and yet I read and enjoyed it but I didn't 'Feel' it. The memories are lovely, I like the speed of them, but I'd like to have more of her feelings too.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-03-02 16:14:51
Re: Memories Flashing By
I understand what you mean Sooz. My difficulty here is that these memories are supposed to be passing in seconds so its hard to describe how she feels when her emotions change so rapidly. I think I'd lose the speed of it. If I had started it from when she cuts herself and had her reflecting over her life then I could've fitted more in, as it is, it starts from where she begins to lose consciousness and her life flashes before her in her last moments.

If anyone has any ideas I'd like to hear them.

ailsa

Author's Reply:


The Dream (posted on: 24-01-03)
Not too sure this even belongs here. This is a dream I have had for many years that keeps re-occuring. Someone recently suggested that it may, in fact, be a 'past life' experience and told me to write it down...so here it is. I have tried to convey how I actually feel during it.

As I walked along the narrow lane I listened for the soldiers, peering out into the darkness, eyes straining to pierce through the curtain of rain. I could hear gun shots near me but couldn't tell in which direction they lay. Scurrying along, my eyes constantly surveyed my immediate surroundings. I stopped, not wanting to believe my eyes. A little way in front of me was a young girl, around three years old. "What is she doing here?" I wondered. Quickly I approached her, soothing her, trying to gain her trust. I had to get her out of here, away from danger. She suddenly gave a startled cry. Fear gathering in my stomach I turned around slowly. I was face to face with enemy with no chance of escape.

Confronted by his rifle I raised my hands in the air. He spoke quickly, in a language I couldn't understand. Even so, I knew what he wanted. Turning back around, the little girl was no longer in sight. Puzzled yet relieved, I scanned nearby, trying in vain to spot her. The rifle prodded sharply in my back told me to move. Reluctantly I started walking, what else could I do? My eyes dropped to the ground, tears welling up at the thought of the little girl's fate.

Out of the corner of my eye I spotted her, she had crawled under the hedge at the side of the lane. I walked a little quicker, my one thought was to put distance between her and the soldier in the hope she would stay undetected. With each step I took, my hope grew for her survival. The sound of gunfire rang in my ears, then a terrific heat hit my back. Momentarily, I stood, stunned, uncomprehending. As I fell, my heart wept at my failure as I prayed for her soul.

Archived comments for The Dream
JenChristabel on 2003-08-02 14:30:55
Re: The Dream
Weird stuff! Dreams can grip one's imagination for a long time and to put it down in words is an interesting exercise......
>>picks up pen!
Thanks for the read
Jen

Author's Reply:

Bettyboo on 2004-07-07 04:40:15
Re: The Dream
That is quite a frightening dream really. Have you ever thought about seeing a dream specialist who could perhaps tell you what this dream may mean?

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2004-07-07 06:06:45
Re: The Dream
A friend suggested it may be a past life experience. I've chatted with a hypnotist about the dream and how I feel physically afterwards etc and he said it was a good candidate for it. We discussed past life regression but I haven't done it yet. Thanks.

ailsa

Author's Reply:


Jen's story (posted on: 24-01-03)
Again this is semi-autobiographical. The names have been changed but the events happened last year.

So often I've heard the phrase "you can't help someone unless they want to be helped" but it's only recently I've learned how true that is...and I've never felt so helpless!

There is a girl I have known for eleven years, a girl I used to call a friend. When I knew her, in the beginning, Jen told me she did Speed. Just occasionally, to be sociable. A few years later I accidentally stumbled across a stash of lighter fuel canisters, empty! She gave me a weak excuse which I didn't believe even then.

I moved house a couple of years later and our contact drifted. Every so often she'd turn up out of the blue and then she'd disappear again. Last year I started to see Jen regularly. I assumed it was because I'd separated from my husband, they'd always had a hate-hate relationship! I noticed she seemed more irritable, agitated. She was always borrowing money and never paying it back. Her son was always hungry when they visited. I guess that's when the alarm bells started ringing.

I quizzed Jen, as tactfully as I could. She told me she had debts, owed rent. She became depressed and was prescribed anti-depressants and tranquilizers. She was moody, bad-tempered, always shouting. I had problems of my own and was finding her very difficult to cope with.

One night in January I suspected I had another D.V.T in my leg. My mum had the hospital the following day so I ignored the pain and took her to her appointment. She was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. The next morning I went to see my G.P who sent me to hospital where it was confirmed, I did have another clot. On top of all this I was fighting for my kids in court. I became depressed myself and started avoiding Jen. I was finding it hard to cope with my own problems let alone hers.

She turned up one day, her face burnt over one side. She said she'd put hairspray on while smoking. Unconvinced I pressed the matter further. The truth was she'd been sniffing gas with a cigarette in her hand and set her face alight. What shocked me more was she continued to sniff! I asked her to get counselling, she went once! I encouraged her to go again, offered to go with her. She agreed, but every week had an excuse not to go. Meanwhile her condition worsened.

A few months ago my mum developed an infection so I turned my attention to her, spending my time away from home. I returned home a month ago and once again Jen turned up, late at night. She was obviously wasted and not having the energy to deal with her I made excuses so she couldn't stay long. As I watched her walk away that night I knew deep down I'd never reach her. A few weeks later she was at my door again and I'm ashamed to admit I ignored her.

Last week a neighbour found Jen sitting on my doorstep and told her I was out. She told me Jen refused to move at first and was mumbling incoherently. I later found out that Jen's son had been removed from her care. Apparently she'd been getting through eighteen canisters of gas a day and had sold everything in her house to pay for it. Her son went around all the houses in the street 'borrowing' bread, milk etc just to survive. Jen's brother, who was home on leave from the army, stormed into her house, told Mark to get some things together then took him away.

I don't know the full story yet. I haven't had the courage to phone Jen's parents, much less visit Jen. I'm plagued with thoughts as to whether I did enough to help her or if there was more I could've done. One thing I have realised is not only was I trying to rescue Jen from drugs, I was also trying to save her from herself.

Archived comments for Jen's story
sirat on 2003-01-24 14:41:49
Re: Jen's story
My honest feeling about this one is that it doesn't work so well as autobiography or factual reporting and would be better used as the basis of a fictional story. I say this firstly because it isn't really your own story that you're telling but somebody else's, and also because the points you make about this girl and her situation come across as a bit bland and conventional. I think it would be far more powerful if (for example) you could get inside her head and tell it from her point of view, and follow the "show, don't tell" rule so that the desperation of her situation is a conclusion drawn by the reader, not the author.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-01-24 16:31:21
Re: Jen's story
I wasn't too sure how to class this. I decided on autobiography because although it was telling Jen's story it was supposed to be how I felt about it. Oddly enough, I have it stored in my 'short stories' folder on the pc. I have considered turning it into a story, if so, it would be shown through dialogue etc. I thought about extending it, going on to show how she was affected after her son was taken away and how her situation declined further.

ailsa

Author's Reply:

sirat on 2003-01-24 17:26:25
Re: Jen's story
To me that sounds like a good path to expolore. And if it were me I would try to bring it to some kind of conclusion rather than just stop at a particular point along the girl's decline. Can I recommend a story you might like to read of a generally similar feel that's really beautifully crafted? Have a look at Ed Bruce's Jerusalem.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-01-24 17:33:43
Re: Jen's story
Thanks Sirat. I clicked on the link for Jerusalem but can't view it as its rated over 15 so I'll have to go back and register with the site first before I can read it.

ailsa

Author's Reply:


Control (posted on: 20-01-03)
What makes you crave power
The need to control


Why must you covet
And do damage untold

Why do I feel ashamed
Of what was forced upon me
It wasn't my choice
Of what was to be

You took as you wanted
Then cast me aside
Stripped me of dignity
Took away all my pride

So many nights
I cried myself to sleep
You were oblivious
As to why I should weep

You let loose your demons
And plundered my soul
All for one reason
Your need to control

Archived comments for Control
oldrob on 01-11-2005
Control
This is very good I'm glad I caught it to read. It looked interesting and I was not disappointed.I'll be watching for more.

Author's Reply:


WITHIN THESE WALLS (posted on: 20-01-03)
Not too sure about the ending of this...

Within these walls
Lie secrets held fast
Tales of a life
That belong in the past

The noises they've heard
The things they've watched
Would they ever reveal
What you long since forgot

The softly whispered words
That once filled my ears
Locked away in these walls
With each passing year

The gentle caress
You bestowed upon me
Locked away in these walls
For no-one to see

So too, are the cries
The fear and the pain
As your hand, raised high
Strikes again and again

The torrents of abuse
That poured from your lips
Brought tears to my eyes
Words lashing like a whip

The everflowing tears
That continue to flow
Are absorbed by these walls
So that others never know

Within these walls
The truth lies hidden
Will you seek it out
Or is judgement forbidden

Archived comments for WITHIN THESE WALLS
e-griff on 2003-01-20 06:27:52
Re: WITHIN THESE WALLS
since you ask. I have some suggestions. there is a lack of punctuation (esp question marks) that strikes me overall that you might tidy up.

specifics.

V2 - try 'The things THAT they've watched' I think it flows better.

V3 - try 'soft-whispered'.
there is a 'locked away in these walls' in the next verse as well. also this verse does not have a clear meaning. - perhaps you could try something like
'trapped in these walls/ where nobody hears'

V4 - 'Locked away in' might be clearer as 'Locked inside'
V5 - try 'hand raised ON high
V6 - perhaps 'whips' instead of 'a whip'
V7 - 'everflowing' is a difficult word. It might read better with something like 'The torrent of tears/Continues to flow/Absorbed by these walls/so no-one will know'
V8 How about 'Within these four walls/the truth is well hidden/ Can it be revealed/Or is that forbidden?

I apologise if this is a bit picky, or I seem to be re- writing your poem for you. I am limited in that I can give an example of what I mean, but I am not clever enough to simply describe it without suggesting an alternative. I found your idea interesting and mostly well-expressed. The main thing from my suggestions, as an example, would be to give the poem a more consistent rythm and flow. The actual words don't necessarily matter if they keep to your meaning/plot, which I have tried to do. But you will have your own, I guess.
best 🙂 JohnG



Author's Reply:

PigeonPost on 2003-01-22 09:08:10
Re: WITHIN THESE WALLS
I found this very powerful. I don't agree about it needing punctuation. The lack gave me the choice of how to pace it, as well as prompting reflection. If you're not sure about the ending, my only suggestion would be that it could end very powerfully with the penultimate verse - in any case the first two lines of the final verse are perhaps repeating what has already been effectively said. Thanks. Alex

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-01-22 15:21:18
Re: WITHIN THESE WALLS
John, a lot of my poetry was written to express my feelings after my marriage broke up 2 years ago. I just wrote it and left it, that's why there is little or no punctuation in it. I should've gone through it before posting it, though personally I dont feel poetry always needs punctuation, but thats just me. I don't think you were being picky, and appreciate you taking time to make suggestions. Giving an alternative gives me a clear idea of what you mean. The day my divorce papers arrived I just sat in my chair looking around the room and thought 'if walls had ears', thats where the 'within these walls' came from. Thanks again!

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-01-22 15:24:06
Re: WITHIN THESE WALLS
Thanks Alex. You could be right about dropping the last verse. I'm going to try suggestions by John first before making up my mind .

Author's Reply:

Oksam on 2003-01-22 15:59:25
Re: WITHIN THESE WALLS
I didn't have any problem with the punctation, although it might be intereresting to compare a punctuated version with this one, to see if it makes a noticeable difference.

I liked this poem because I was able to read it several times without becoming bored. It actually seemed to grow on me (NOT like a fungus, either!)

If you are looking for suggestions on a way to end the poem, you might consider tying the last verse back into the first with something like:

Within these walls
The truth was cast
Tales of a life
That belong in the past

Or you might even repeat the first verse in its entirety.

Just a thought.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-01-22 16:21:25
Re: WITHIN THESE WALLS
I like your suggestion for the last verse. I've never repeated a verse in its entirety before, though I have seen it done. Glad you liked it 🙂

Author's Reply:

e-griff on 2003-01-22 16:48:56
Re: WITHIN THESE WALLS
the punctuation wasn't my main messsage. However, you will find that if you are presenting to others, it is important for their understanding, which is what we all seek as authors.

I did understand your message, absolutely! It is clear. My points were technical. However, the more 'little interruptions' there are, the more your message is watered down. I think it's worth promoting, full strength. G 🙂

Author's Reply:

Oksam on 2003-01-22 20:16:01
Re: WITHIN THESE WALLS
I'm still learning the ropes here at UKA. Seems there are almost too many features to keep track of, but I'm sure it'll all come to me in time.

I read your poem several times, and tried to capture the feel of it (you know I'd never do that with a poem I didn't like). Anyway, I tend to find myself tying beginnings and endings together (unconsciously).

I think your poem is quite good.

Bob

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-01-22 20:47:37
Re: WITHIN THESE WALLS
Hi Bob, I haven't been here long either and I'm still feeling my way too *smile*
Thanks again!

ailsa

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-01-22 20:54:17
Re: WITHIN THESE WALLS
You are right about the puctuation. Up til now I've posted short stories, which I check for punctuation as a matter of course while I'm writing, and I just copy & pasted them here, so out of habit I did the same with the poems, which as I've explained, weren't checked. It was very slack of me and you were right to point it out. I will check things over before I post them for others to see in future *smile*

ailsa

Author's Reply:


SNOWFLAKES (posted on: 10-01-03)
Terry looked wistfully through the window at the other children playing outside in the snow and gave a heavy sigh.

''What's wrong Terry?'' asked Miss Brown, his teacher.

''Nothing Miss Brown.'' replied Terry.

Miss Brown put down the paper she was marking and walked over to him. ''That sigh didn't sound like nothing to me. If you tell me what's wrong then maybe I can help.'' she said.

''Nothing can help these!'' he said, thumping his legs. Looking at her he continued, ''Why me Miss? What did I do that was so bad as to deserve this?''

Kneeling beside him, Miss Brown said, ''You did nothing to deserve this Terry. You mustn't think like that.''

''Nobody likes me anymore!'' he cried, wheeling his chair away.

Miss Brown watched after him as he left the classroom, and let out a deep sigh. During the summer Terry had been involved in an accident which had left his legs paralysed. Since he'd returned to school he was finding it difficult to settle in. He expected the other children to reject him so was offhand with them, they in turn didn't know what to say to him so left him alone. Wishing she could help him, Miss Brown began to put the children's pictures of winter on the wall. Admiring the snow scenes they'd made she suddenly had an idea.

After the break was over the children came back into the classroom. Once they were all sitting down Miss Brown walked around them handing out circles of paper in various sizes and colours. ''I want you to make snowflakes to decorate the room with.'' she said. ''Make as many as you like and stick them up where we can see them.'' For the rest of the afternoon the children were busy cutting and sticking the snowflakes on the wall. By the time they'd finished there were hundreds of them.

The bell rang to signal the end of the lesson and the children cleared their desks and left. As always, Terry hung about, waiting for the rush to subside. He wheeled himself over to look at the display they had made.

''Aren't they lovely Miss.'' he said.

''Yes, they are Terry.'' replied Miss Brown, coming over to join him. ''Which one do you like best?'' she asked him.

Terry hesitated. ''I like them all, it's hard to choose one.'' he said.

''Okay, pick out six you really like.'' she told him.

Terry looked at the wall. ''I like that one.'' he said, pointing to a large white flake with an intricate pattern. ''And that one.'' he added, pointing to a purple one. Gradually he picked out six snowflakes.

''Why did you pick these ones?'' asked his teacher. ''What do you like about them?''

''I like the colour of this one, the pattern here, and this small one is cute.'' he continued.

''Is there any you don't like at all?'' she asked.

''No Miss, I may like them less but they're still lovely.'' Terry replied.

Miss Brown crouched down beside him saying, ''You know Terry, people are like snowflakes.''

Terry looked at her curiously, ''How?''

Miss Brown pointed to the snowflakes he had chosen. ''Your snowflakes are all different, in size, colour, patternbut they are all beautiful none the less. People are the same. Our differences are part of our character, our charm. They are what make us unique, what make us 'us'. People are like snowflakes, they are all beautiful too, despite their differences.'' she said gently.


Archived comments for SNOWFLAKES
sirat on 2003-01-10 04:51:37
Re: SNOWFLAKES
This one is well told and readable but as a parable I'm not sure it really works. If Terry was being ostracized because of something to do with his shape, colour or appearance the teacher's story would have force, but he is "different" because something has gone wrong, some part of his body no longer functions. Adults may like to present disability as merely "difference" but I don't think Terry would see it that way. He has been hurt, he can't play in the snow with the other children any more, that's more than just being blue when they are purple. His life choices have become more limited. I don't think the teacher is facing up to the real situation here.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-01-10 05:18:55
Re: SNOWFLAKES
The 'difference' in this story could be changed to suit anything; colour, fat/thin, tall/short, the concept is the same. Terry thinks the children no longer like him because he can no longer walk, it wasn't meant to delve into the deeper concatenation of that. However, it may have been better suited to something like colour, where the situation is more black & white (no pun intended).

Author's Reply:

Sooz on 2003-01-14 17:34:21
Re: SNOWFLAKES
I read both of your comments as well as the story. It IS beautifully told. In fact I agree with everything that Sirat said. But I don't want to agree with him because with two of us thinking the same way I don't want you to be disheartened with the story because it's so beautifully told. I am very keen on stories of courage in disability, you never know who might be reading or how it might positively affect them. But I had to smile when I thought of someone saying the same thing to a friend of mine Rod, he had an aneurism and as if that wasn't enough he had a massive stroke while he was recovering from the aneurism. It's left him quadraplegic. And if someone showed him snowflakes and told him you're just different he'd have said 'bollocks!' and that's only if he was on a 'be polite to the nurses' day Please don't take offense at that, but it made me grin because I could just see him saying it. And I think that's the point, there's no doubt the teacher is well-meaning and trying to be helpful but I can't see him feeling any better about it after her excercise. Now if she'd lifted him out of his chair and the kids had all rolled him down a hill like a gathering snowball that would have ben beauiful. So what if he'd got pheunmonia, rolled in dog-poo or broke his delicate bones, for that one moment at that one time, he'd have something to laugh at and would be a part of what the kids were doing. Love the idea behind this one, but I reckon it needs a re-think.

Author's Reply:


SHORTY (posted on: 10-01-03)
slice of life......may offend

I rubbed my eyes wearily. I'd been sitting in front of the pc for ages and decided it was time I took a break. Looking at my watch, I was surprised to see it was after 10pm. 'No wonder my eyes are tired ' I thought. I'd been sitting here for over four hours straight. Deciding it was time to get something to eat and drink I headed for the kitchen.

A cup of coffee was the first thing on the agenda. I filled the kettle then put sugar in my cup, but opening the fridge I discovered I had no milk. 'Awww, shit!' I thought. The local shop had closed well over an hour ago and the nearest supermarket was a couple of miles away. There was nothing for it, if I wanted a drink then I had to go to the supermarket! I turned off the kettle, then, going through to the living room, I turned off the fire. The pc was left on permanently anyway and I left the lights on to make it look like someone was home. I pulled my coat on; put my mobile in one pocket and my purse in the other. Opening the door, a blast of cold air took my breath away. Fastening my coat, I stepped outside, pulled the door shut and locked it. Slipping the keys in my pocket, I once again regretted the fact that I could not drive.

I walked briskly along the road; one, because it was cold, and two, because of the time. It was nearly 11pm and the pubs & clubs would be closing soon. The streets were all well lit, but even so, I stuck to the main road where there would be more traffic. It was nearly two miles to the supermarket. I'd walked there many times but never at this time of night on my own, alone. I was glad when the lights of the store could be seen in the distance; I knew I was on the last stretch.

I scooted around the aisles, picking up some snacks and tasty bits, as well as the milk. The store was deserted since it was so late so there were no queues at the checkouts. 'This is a first' I thought, as I paid for my shopping. 'Maybe I should do my shopping at night from now on!' As I reached the exit, I braced myself for the cold air outside again.

The journey home seemed longer, probably because of the bags I was carrying. They weren't exactly heavy, but were enough to slow me down a little. By now the pubs were closed and the last of the drinkers would be making their way home. I quickened my pace in my eagerness to get home, scanning around me every so often to check I was still alone.

As I reached the first junction in the road I stopped. If I took this street I could save ten minutes on my journey; if I walked down to the second junction I would be on the main road, which would be busier. As I stood contemplating my options I felt a drizzle of rain. That made up my mind for me; it was bad enough being cold, never mind getting wet into the bargain. My decision made, I turned right on to Balerno Street.

One side of the street was just houses and flats all the way along it. On the other side were houses too, but this side also had a school and a church, so there were large gaps where the playground and churchyard were. When I came to these bits, I hurried on, trying to pass them as quickly as possible. All in all, the street was quiet.

The rain came on a little heavier, and it wasn't long before I was soaked. 'Oh dear lord, is a cup of coffee really worth all this?!' I thought to myself. Thankfully I didn't have far to go now. I came to another junction, and again had a choice to go along it, or down to the next one which would take me on the main road. Going along this one would save me a couple of minute but also meant passing a small swing park. 'Sod it! I'll go along this one' I decided. I was about 500 yards from home, only a few minutes walk.

Next to the park was a bus stop. The last bus for the night was due any time now and there was someone standing waiting. I walked quickly while I was passing the park then stopped at the kerb to wait for a car to pass.

"Excuse me." a voice behind me said.

I turned and saw it was the person at the bus stop talking to me.

"Do you know if the last bus has gone? he asked. "I'm beginning to think I've missed it"

"Sorry, I don't know." I answered. I checked the time on my watch. "I don't think it's gone, it's due any time."

"Ok, thanks!" he said.

"No problem." I replied.

I checked the road was clear then crossed over, walked the short distance to the end of it and turned the corner into my street. Mine was the first house in a row of about 12 terraced houses. I was glad I lived on the end, being on the corner meant I had a bigger garden. I liked my privacy and had grown a hedge around it. Glad to be home at last, I dropped the bags in front of the door then went to fish the keys out of my pocket.

My fingers had just touched them when I felt a hand cover my mouth. I tried, unsuccessfully, to pull the hand away. "Don't try it bitch" a male voice said. Then I was pulled backwards into the far corner of the garden. I was pushed, face first, against the hedge, my mouth still covered. Terrified, I broke into a cold sweat. I felt my coat being unzipped and a hand pawing roughly at my breasts, then travel down my body to my crotch, rubbing hard between my legs."I'm going to enjoy you." he hissed. I could feel his erection being pressed into my lower back, and nausea swept over me. Next he forced me to the ground. I tried to get up but he lay on top of me, pinning me down. I felt a hand slide underneath me, trying to pull my trousers down. I tried to scream, so he grabbed my hair and slammed my head off the ground. I could taste blood in my mouth and feel something wet on my face, at this point I wasn't sure if it was blood or tears. My head felt woozy from the blow and I think I must've blacked out because the next thing I was aware of was the rhythmic thrusting of his body against mine. Within minutes it was over.

I was aware of him withdrawing from me and heard the noise of a zip being fastened. I lay silently, desperately wanting to cover myself but too frightened to move.

"Look at you!" he sneered. "I bet you enjoyed that, didn't you?"

I never answered.

"Don't ignore me, you bitch." he said, kicking my side to get a response. Suddenly he crouched beside me. "Was I good for you? Answer me!" he demanded.

Still I said nothing.

"I'll teach you, you slut." he growled. He kicked me in my side again, hard. I cried out this time. "So now you're talking huh!" he said. "Well now I don't want to hear you!" he said, this time the kick was aimed at my face. After that, I never made another sound. A volley of kicks rained on my body, getting duller and duller until I slipped into darkness, feeling nothing.

I thought I was dreaming. I could feel the darkness ebbing away, and I could hear a voice telling me to get up. I tried to move but pain racked my body.

"I can't." I sobbed.

"You can! You must!" it replied.

Again I tried to move, unsuccessfully. "I can't do it." I whispered.

"You have to! Don't give up!" the voice urged.

Summoning every ounce of strength I could find, I forced myself up onto my hands, I was dazed so sat still, hoping my head would clear.

"Good girl." the voice said.

I saw a figure standing a little way in front of me. My eyesight was still blurry so I couldn't make out who it was. The figure got a little clearer...."Dad?" I asked, before slumping to the ground.

When I came round, it was still raining. How long I'd lain there, I did not know. I pushed myself up into a sitting position, trying to remember what had happened. Pain ran through me as I struggled to my feet.

"Well done Shorty, I knew you could do it." the voice came again.

This time I knew the voice came from my dead father. How? I don't know, or care. All I know is, without it, I doubt I'd have survived that night.






Archived comments for SHORTY
sirat on 2003-01-10 04:32:55
Re: SHORTY
Very harrowing material. I hope it isn't too autobiographical.
Looking at it purely as a piece of writing, I'll give you my feedback for what it's worth.
I thought the story took a long time to get going. The first few paragraphs, right up to "The journey home seemed longer..." don't contribute very much, although I think I can see why they're there. You want us to get to know and to sympathise with your narrator. I think you could start with the journey home, she asks herself "What ever possessed me to walk four miles just so I could make a cup of coffee?" or something. We would actually learn more about her as a character by listening to her anxieties about the journey than from the domestic details of her life, so you could expand the walk sequence a little, build up more tension, foreshadow what's going to happen a bit more. In fact in the present version her gender isn't made clear until the rape scene, which I think it should be. The rape scene itself is well handled, sufficiently graphic I think without actually dwelling on it sadistically.
I am not so happy about the introduction of the father's ghost. It seems a bit pinned on, clumsy by comparison with the rest of the story. At first I thought the significance of her identifying the speaker as "Dad" was that her father had raped her. I think it might work better if she knows it's her Dad all along and is delighted that he's there to comfort her and accepts the situation completely in her drowsy state, and only when she becomes fully conscious realizes that it can't be him, her father is dead. She opens her eyes and there is nobody there. What I'm getting at is, leave the ending open to either a supernatural interpretation or a psychological one. Maybe it's the strength that her Dad gave her while he was still alive that saves her at the end. Maybe he represents the strength of her own will to survive. Things don't have to be so cut-and-dried.
I hope some of the above is useful.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-01-10 04:59:25
Re: SHORTY
Sirat, thank you for your feedback. I wrote this in November and wasn't entirely happy with it, I just couldn't seem to express things the way I wanted to which was frustrating. I agree with you regarding the first bit, I did think it was too long but couldn't see how to change it. I think your suggestion of starting it on the return journey is spot on. Regarding the father...it is supposed to be supernatural. Let me explain something about myself as way of explanation. I lost my father 3 years ago. He was the 'rock' in my life, the one thing I could rely on. I had my hand read by a Romany Gypsy last summer (yeah yeah, I know! *smile*) One of the things she told me was that my father was my guardian angel now & that he was watching over me. This is what I tried to convey in the story, my problem was I didn't know how to get across the fact that it was his spirit talking, hence saying 'dead father'. Basically she survives the attack because of the 'encouragement' of the father...he is telling her to get up...otherwise she would've lain there & given up the fight to live. Do you see what I mean? I'll take your suggestions on board and try to rewrite it. Thanks again!

Author's Reply:

JeffDray on 2003-01-10 13:12:22
Re: SHORTY
I'm not sure about the comments about pace of this piece.



In reality the dull stuff like walking four miles to the shops and back takes the longest time, I like the way that you emphasis the humdrum nature of the task, you also tried to build the tension by taking an alternative route and increasing the character's pace is the spooky bit, then when she should have been safe she is attacked, just as it might be for real.



You try to tease us withthe unfamilar route and mention of the church yard.

if I was that desperate I think I would take the coffee black.


An interesting read, made me think, I remember walking home late one night and there was a woman in front of me, I could see she was getting nervous so I decided to turn off and wait about until she got clear, she turned the same way, I sped up to over take her, so did she.

In the end I went in to a cab office to wait for ten minutes, she waitied outside, the more I tried not to look like a stalker the more I looked like one.


I took a cab home in the end, gues what, when I got home the woman was coming up my street.

Author's Reply:


bryan on 2003-01-10 16:06:53
Re: SHORTY
I didn't mind the opening, it was a bit slow but there was enough in it to keep my interest. I agree that more suspense could have been built up on the journey home. The rape scene was very convincing, best bit of the story I thought. I had no objection to the ending but I agree with Sirat that the idea that this was her father should be introduced a bit earlier. As it is you get the idea that her father is talking to her followed a few words later by the idea that he is a ghost. You haven't got time to think about it, it just seems tagged on at the end. I did enjoy the story overall though.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-01-10 16:40:31
Re: SHORTY
I have walked this journey many times and it always seems to take longer than I remember.

Sounds like maybe you were the one being stalked lol.

Thanks for commenting.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-01-10 16:46:20
Re: SHORTY
Thanks Bryan, I'll work on the father thing, try to improve the clarity of it.

Author's Reply:

emsk on 2003-01-11 08:25:49
Re: SHORTY
I know the feeling that you've walked a route many times before, think that you'll be all right and just want to do something simple like nip out and get a pint of milk. And then your whole life changes or can change.To say that I enjoyed it wouldn't be the right expression, but I did want to keep reading it and found it to be good writing. The only problem for me was, like Sirat, I was a bit confused when the father appears. For reasons that have already been pointed out.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-01-11 13:50:10
Re: SHORTY
Thanks Emsk.

Author's Reply:

Sooz on 2003-01-12 12:04:47
Re: SHORTY
'Oh dear lord, is a cup of coffee really worth all this? (EAM) Hell no, what's wrong with orange juice, or cordial or water! We don't need to know that she takes sugar. We don't need to walk with her from the living room to kitchen. Enough to know she was making coffee and had run out of milk. I think the BIG problem I had was the four miles. 500 yards you might go out at eleven pm in the cold, but unless you have her going for something essential then I think the distance is just too far to be believeable. I know I'd say 'sod it' and wait until morning.

What I think would be nice is if the 'father' tried to stop her going out. Her boots aren't where she thought she left them. The cat tangles round her legs and almost trips her up. The front door has swollen with the recent rain and she strugles like hell to open it.

I agree with all other comments, too much stuffing and not enough ghost.

The rape scene is lovely. I'd like this story to get going faster (a fault I'm oft guilty of) I'd like a stronger ending (Again me too, see I do listen my two favourite critics) But once she gets out there this is compulsive reading. Well done. And I'm sorry for your loss.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-01-12 16:23:41
Re: SHORTY
Sooz, this was based on real life, and the supermarket IS four miles, and yes, I have walked it late at night . As Emsk said, when you've walked it many times before you think you're safe.
Your take on the father though is an interesting angle. The point of this story when I wrote it was 'survival'. I wanted to show how she survived when there was seemingly no help available, hence the ghost. I think I'll try it from a different angle though now, taking into account all the advice I've had. Thanks!

Author's Reply:

Heirloom on 2003-03-15 06:31:41
Re: SHORTY
I understand why there is such a long drawn out opening--to create a stark contrast between the routineness of her life and the rape. However, if you 'lose' the reader at the beginning of the story, it is difficult to win them over again, that is, IF they read on. Although I understand the reasons and it works within the context of the story, I don't think the beginning is entirely successful.
Like Sirat, I, too, found the character's gender unclear until the rape scene - was this deliberate?
The appearance of her father as inspirational ghost or figure (another point that's been brought up) helps us to understand the theme of the piece. I don't really have a problem with it.
Overall, I'd say that I liked it. Sure, it has some flaws, but nothing a revision wouldn't fix. Thanks.


Author's Reply:


DEMON KISS (posted on: 06-01-03)
may offend...

A dark side emerges,
That I'd forgotten exists,
A side so long asleep,
Awakened by your demon kiss.

Your words bite in my soul,
My heart bleeds like a river,
Dark clouds cast overhead,
Keeping me here forever.

Taking pleasure in pain,
A masochist I've become,
Piercing my flesh with the blade,
To watch the blood run.

Crimson rain running down my arm,
Forming a puddle upon the floor,
And when the river stops flowing,
I attack my flesh once more.

Seeing the flesh part,
Makes my heart race.
I soar with the angels,
Fly away from this place.

My earthly binds are broken,
Heaven rejects me as well.
Punishment for my actions,
I'm going straight to hell.

Archived comments for DEMON KISS
e-griff on 2003-01-06 04:07:32
Re: DEMON KISS
As you have rhymed the second and last lines throughout, as well as using a four-line verse, I presume this is a 'traditional' form of poem. However, you have not sustained a rhythm, which makes this difficult to read. Just two example - if you used 'punished' instead of punishment in the last verse, the last two lines would match. For me, at the start, I was just 'getting going' on a regular lilt when I hit the third, then, terminally, the fourth line in the first verse, which screeched me to a halt!But then all the verses are different. I liked the subject, and find it mostly well-expressed, apart from the odd difficulty (eg 'a masochist I've become' is a bit awkward). and I presume it should be 'bonds' not 'binds'


Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-01-06 15:41:27
Re: DEMON KISS
e-griff, being perfectly honest, I don't write poetry with a 'set' form in mind....I just write it. I have to say that I do seem to rhyme the second & fourth lines naturally, though I don't always break it up into four line verses. I usually develop a natural flow too but I will take another look at it. Thank you for the things you pointed out, I appreciate it.

Author's Reply:


KISSES FOR BENNY (posted on: 06-01-03)
''Come on Sarah, time for bed.'' said Rosemary, gently patting Sarahs leg as she lay curled up next to her on the couch.

Sarah sat up and rubbed her eyes. ''Ok Mummy, I'm so tired!'' she replied through a yawn.

''I can see that.'' laughed Rosemary. ''Come on, I'll you carry up.'' she added. She lifted Sarah into her arms, who promptly wound her arms around her mother's neck and her legs around her waist. ''You're like a chimp.'' said Rosemary, heading for the stairs.

She put Sarah down on her bedroom floor and pulled back the quilt. ''Hop in.'' she said.

Sarah climbed into bed. ''I love you Mummy.'' she said.

''I love you too Sweetpea.'' replied Rosemary. ''Gimme a kiss.''

Sarah reached up and planted a kiss on her mother's cheek. After a slight pause she gave her another. ''That's for Benny.'' she said quietly.

Rosemary looked at her for a second, and feeling her eyes begin to water she scooped Sarah into her arms, giving her a big hug. ''Goodnight Honey, sweet dreams.'' She tucked Sarah in, making sure she was comfortable, then left. Pausing at the bedroom door she looked back, a curious look on her face.

Downstairs, Rosemary gazed out the window, 'I wonder what made her do that tonight?' she thought. Turning, she picked up a photo album off the shelf, and sat down. Leafing through the pages, she stopped when she found the one she wanted. It had a single photograph placed in the middle, with a hand and foot print underneath, in ink. She traced them with her finger then looked at the picture of a baby boy.

Her thoughts drifted back to her pregnancy. The day she found out, she was overjoyed. Sarah was just two years old, but even so Rosemary tried to involve her with the pregnancy as it progressed. She explained why she was growing 'fatter' and let Sarah see the scan pictures of the baby. As her tummy grew larger, Sarah liked to put her hands on it to feel the baby kicking and would put her ear to it to try to hear the baby's heartbeat. Then one night at bedtime, after she kissed her mother goodnight, she gave Rosemary's tummy a cuddle and a kiss saying, ''That's for the baby.'' From then on, Sarah always gave a kiss for the baby. A month or so later, Benjamin James Chadwick, affectionately known as Benny, emerged into the world, weighing 9lbs 3oz, and possessing a healthy set of lungs!

'He was a beautiful baby.' thought Rosemary, continuing to stare at the picture. She lightly stroked the photo, tears welling in her eyes and slowly spilling over to drip down her cheek.

Once home, Benny settled quickly, and although he never had a regular routine as such, he fitted into the family's life nicely. He slept and fed, a contented baby most of the time, but when he wasn't he made sure you knew about it! Sarah accepted him straight away, showing no signs of jealousy. Instead, she was eager to do all she could in helping care for him, fetching nappies and gently shougling the pram if he was restless.

One morning Rosemary awoke, and looking at the clock she saw it was nearly 8am. Pleasantly surprised to find that Benny had slept all night, she got out of bed and went through to the children's bedroom. Sarah was sitting on the floor by the side of her bed playing with her toys. Rosemary walked over and sat on the bed. ''Good morning Sweetpea. Did you have a nice sleep?'' she asked, ruffling Sarah's hair and planting a kiss on top of her head.

''Yes Mummy.'' replied Sarah.

''I think Benny's had a nice sleep too. I didn't hear him cry once during the night, did you?'' asked Rosemary.

Sarah shook her head. ''Benny cold.'' she said.

''Benny's cold?'' Rosemary questioned.

Sarah nodded, ''Me put blankie.'' she said.

Rosemary looked at her for a moment, then, with trepidation, she crossed the room to the cot. She saw the blanket that Sarah had tried to push through the bars and slowly her eyes travelled up it til she could see Benny. He looked as he always did when he was sleeping, except this morning there was no mistaking the tinge to his skin. Rosemary held her breath, anxiously waiting to hear the soft sound of his, but it never came.

Rosemary's tears washed anew as she painfully recalled the memories of that day; frantically splashing cold water on his face; giving him mouth to mouth, desperate to blow life into his tiny limp body; the agonising wait til the ambulance arrived, and the numbing realisation that nothing could save her son.

Sarah had been too young to understand properly, still was. At first she asked about him constantly, when was he coming home, but gradually the questions dwindled and Rosemary thought she had forgotten.

Through tear glistened eyes, she studied Benny's picture and wondered what he might've looked like now. Sarah's voice came into her head, 'That's for Benny', and kissing her fingertip, she touched the picture with it, then clutched the book to her heaving chest as she sobbed quietly.

Archived comments for KISSES FOR BENNY
sirat on 2003-01-06 04:27:34
Re: KISSES FOR BENNY
A simple, very sad story, beautifully told. No unnecessary details or padding. The woman's feelings come across without needing to be described. An excellent piece of work.

Author's Reply:

e-griff on 2003-01-06 04:36:29
Re: KISSES FOR BENNY
Yes, excellent! as Sirat said, just long enough, subtly unwound, nicely controlled and properly understated to let the story speak for itself.

Author's Reply:

Sooz on 2003-01-06 13:02:43
Re: KISSES FOR BENNY
I loved it too. The top two stories on the page this week are both excellent. One thing I hated was 'the healthy pair of lungs' cliche. don't all healthy babies have healthy lungs? And I wish the question had been answered.I was left wanting to know why? she had been reminded of her brother that night. Other than that lovely. I've had five miscarriages and two still born children due to rhesus disease and it bloody hurts.This story is lovely in that it isn't overly mushy. that's where its strength lies for me. There isn't that point in it that says 'right you should cry now' 9/10

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-01-06 15:27:10
Re: KISSES FOR BENNY
Thank you! I appreciate your feedback.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-01-06 15:28:05
Re: KISSES FOR BENNY
Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-01-06 15:35:49
Re: KISSES FOR BENNY
I know it was a cliche, but I thought I might get away with it 🙂 I've had another person say they wished there was more, but I felt it might detract from the simple theme of 'kisses for Benny'. I am considering opening it up into a much longer piece, starting with Benny's birth and going on right through to involve the investigations etc done after a cot death, showing the harrowing experience parents go through while trying to grieve at the same time.
I'm sorry to hear of your losses and really appreciate hearing your opinion. Thank you!

Author's Reply:

bryan on 2003-01-06 16:04:57
Re: KISSES FOR BENNY
Beautiful story. It's unusual for a very short piece to be as memorable as this. I hope it makes it to the anthology.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-01-06 16:18:24
Re: KISSES FOR BENNY
Thanks Bryan.

Author's Reply:


Teatime at Mum's (posted on: 30-12-02)
Story about typical chaotic family life

TEATIME AT MUM'S

Well here we again, another week, another Thursday, affectionately known as Pandemonium Day. Why Pandemonium you may ask? Let me explain. Thursday is the day we go to mum's for tea. By 'we' I mean me & my two sisters, along with our respective children. Including mum, that makes four adults & ten children. Pandemonium reigns supreme! Let me give you a glimpse of a typical visit

I barely have the car at a standstill before three doors are thrown open and my kids tumble out onto the pavement before rushing for the garden gate. I hear the sound of running feet and happy voices fading into the distance as I free Emma from her seat then lock the door. I note my elder sister's car is already here.

Emma runs through the gateway and down the path to join the others. I close the gate behind me then stand momentarily, looking around the garden that I grew up in. We moved here when I was seven years old. The tree I used to climb was still standing, which was a miracle really. I remember that I used to get about halfway up it when it started swaying. I lost count of the amount of times I'd been yelled at to get out of that tree. I was a regular tomboy as a child and was for ever climbing trees or walking along the top of the eight feet high wall surrounding the garden. I still loved this old cottage even now, thirty years on.

I walk down the path. As I pass the kitchen window I glance in, seeing Megan standing at the sink peeling tatties so I give her a wave. As I turn the corner I am nearly run over by my four year old nephew Finn on his bike.

''Sorry!'' he giggles. ''I nearly ran your mum over Emma.'' he calls to my daughter, who is also four.

Emma skips over to where I am standing. ''Did he Mum?'' she asks.

''Yes he did.'' I reply. ''But he didn't mean to, he couldn't see me coming around the corner.''

At that moment my daughter Chloe comes over with my niece Isobel.

''Beth, do you like my new clothes?'' asks Isobel.

''They're very smart Isobel!'' I reply.

''I got them for going to a party last weekend.'' she says.

''That's nice. Did you have fun?'' I ask her.

''It was brilliant!'' she enthused.

''Oh there you are!'' says another voice.

I look up to see Mum standing in the doorway of the front porch with my eighteen month old niece Maisie in her arms.

''I was beginning to think you were lost!'' she says, smiling.

I laugh. ''You were just worried I'd left the kids and driven off again more like!'' I reply.

''Aye well, there is that.'' she says.

As I walk towards Mum, Maisie holds out her arms and starts shouting.

''Oh I like that Maisie Birch! Granny's good enough to look after you all day while mummy works, but as soon as Auntie Beth appears it's a different story hmm. I'll remember that!'' she says.

I laugh, taking Maisie in my arms. ''Now you know that's not true! I'm just a novelty, she only sees me once a week.'' I say.

We all turn and go into the cottage, to be met with loud music streaming down the stairs. I walk down the hall and stop at the bottom step. ''Glenn! Turn that music down!'' I shout.

My son's head pops out of his bedroom door, ''Sorry Mum, I was letting Drew and Keir hear my new CD.'' he says.

''Well to my knowledge, none of you are deaf. You can hear it just as well at a lower volume.'' I reply.

''Och, it doesn't sound so good. Hard Rock's meant to be played loud.'' he says, grinning.

''Not that loud!'' I say, smiling in spite of myself, remembering having similar arguments when I was younger.

I walk back down the hall and go into the lounge, plunking myself onto the couch. Maisie beams at me then snuggles in, putting her thumb in her mouth. ''Are you a sleepy girl Maisie?'' I croon, stroking her head lightly.

''Don't let her go to sleep!'' warns Mum, ''Amber will flatten you!''

''Oh, have you been getting Mummy and Daddy up early again?'' I say.

''She was up four times during the night, then wide awake at 6am.'' says Mum.

''Oh Maisie! That's disgracefulyou'll be getting put in the bin.'' I say. Maisie looks at me for a minute, unsure, then deciding she doesn't believe a word of it, she chuckles.

The door opens and in comes Chloe, Finn, Isobel & Emma, all talking at once so we can't make sense of anything that's being said.

''One at a time.'' Mum tells them.

''Emma pushed Finn.'' says Isobel.

''Only because he hit her.'' retorts Chloe.

''I didn't!'' protests Finn.

''Yes you did!'' says Emma, adding, ''I'll tell Mum what happened.'', while pushing her way to the front. ''Me and Finn were standing here beside the path, right, then I went to get a shot on the bike, but he said I wasn't getting to and when I said I was having a shot he hit me and said I wasn't.'' says Emma, demonstrating all this with appropriate actions with her hands.

''And did you push him?'' I ask.

''Yeah I did!'' she says defiantly, standing with her hands on her hips, ''Cos he hit me first!'' she adds, pointing her finger at him.

''Well you shouldn't have pushed him.'' I say, ''And you shouldn't have hit Emma.'' I add, looking at Finn. ''Away you go and play, and stop fighting.''

''Come on.'' says Chloe, ''We'll can play hide 'n' seek. Isobel, you can be 'it'.'' she says, on her way out through the door.

''Aww, I don't want to be 'it'!'' grumbles Isobel, following her.

''Come on Emma.'' says Finn, grabbing her arm excitedly, ''I know a good place to hide.'' He pulls her after him.

''What are they like?!'' I say to Mum, laughing.

''I know! They're unbelievable. One minute they're screaming at each other, next it's forgotten.'' she says.

The door opens and in comes my sister Megan. ''That's everything on now, the tea should be ready in about twenty minutes.'' she says, sitting down on the chair at the window. ''Is Amber not here yet? What time does she finish?''

''Here I am.'' says Amber, coming into the room. ''God what a day I've had today!'' she says, dropping her coat onto the back of the chair. ''Is the tea nearly ready? Are you needing anything done?''

''Not jus'now.'' replies Megan. ''Everything's on, it'll be about fifteen minutes yet.''
''That gives me time for a fag then.'' says Amber, picking up her handbag and rummaging around in it.

I look at her, then Mum, and laugh.

Mum shakes her head. ''Isn't she terrible. It's the first thing she does every night when she comes in. Never mind the bairnslight up a fag instead.'' she says.

''If you did my job you'd need a fag too!'' Amber says defensively. ''How have the kids been?'' she adds.

''They've been fine. Finn made cakes at nursery, but he ate them on the walk home. Maisie's not eaten much, I think she's getting a cold though, her nose has been running.'' says Mum.

''Are you not feeling well Darling?'' says Amber, turning her attention to Maisie.

Maisie turns to cuddle into me, sucking her thumb and closing her eyes. We all laugh at her antics and she peeks at us, chuckling herself.

''What a comedian she is.'' says Megan. ''I'll go and check on the tea, see how it's coming along.'' she adds, getting up.

''I'll come through once I've had my smoke.'' says Amber.

I sit Maisie on the couch beside her mother and start picking up the toys which are strewn over the floor, and then clear the table. The door opens and in come Glenn, Scott, Keir and Drew, collectively known as 'The Boys'.

''Is tea ready yet?'' asks one of them.

''I'm starving.'' says another.

''It won't be long.'' I say. ''You could go through to the kitchen and help bring the plates and things through.''

''Why us?'' grumble a chorus of voices, ''We do it every week.''

''Cos you lot are the biggestit's your job.'' I reply.

Amid complaints they troop through to the kitchen.

''Honest to God, you'd think I'd asked them to do something difficult!'' I say.

''Where's Kyle?'' I ask Mum, ''It just dawned on me there that I haven't seen him since I got here.''

''Beth! That's awful.'' says Mum. ''He's in the bedroom watching a video.''

''I'll better give him a shout now then, by the time he manages to tear himself away from the t.v the tea will be out.'' I say.

''He's not that bad!'' says Mum.

''Oh yes he is!'' I reply, going out the door and along the hallway, stopping at Mum's bedroom door. Peering around it I tell Kyle to come and get his tea.

On the way back down the hall I go to the front door and shout on the younger ones then I go into the kitchen to see if there is anything I can do. I lay the plates out first then give the kids another shout through the window. ''If you're not at the table in two minutes, you can go hungry.'' I warn.

Suddenly the dining room is invaded as the kids appear. ''Find a seat and sit down.'' I say on my way to fetch the food from the kitchen. I return to the table and start dishing up.

''Mum, I don't want tatties.'' says Keir.

''Me neither.'' says Finn.

''Now Finn, I know for a fact you like tatties.'' I say, putting them on his plate in spite of his protests.

''Well I don't want cabbage!'' he says.

''Ok, you don't have to have cabbage, but you must have your tatties & mince.'' I say, hiding a smile.

I go round the plates in turn and eventually everything is dished up. As I take the various empty pots and dishes back into the kitchen, Megan and Amber emerge carrying jugs of juice and tumblers. ''Is that everything?'' I ask them.


''Yes, that's it.'' says Megan.

''I'll get Mum and Maisie.'' says Amber.

As I sit down at the table Emma asks ''Mum, can you mash this up for me?'' I mix her tatties, cabbage & mince together on her plate and hand her it back.

''Eugh! How can she eat that?'' exclaims Isobel in disgust. ''It looks like dog food!''

''Isobel Clay! That's enough!'' says Megan sharply. ''You eat your own tea and leave Emma to eat her's.

''Well it does!'' retorts Isobel.

''Is anyone asking you to eat it?!'' says Mum. ''No! As long as she's happy then leave her alone.

A little put out at being reprimanded like this in front of everyone Isobel eats her tea in silence.

''Oh Maisie!'' groans Amber.

I look up to see that Maisie has food all down her front.

Glenn laughs saying, ''I thought you were supposed to eat your food, not wear it!''

''Oh aye! And I suppose you were eating perfectly with a fork by the time you were her age hmm?'' says Mum. ''It must be nice to be so clever.''

Amber starts scooping most of the food off Maisie's clothes.

''Amber, here's a towel.'' says Chloe.

''Thank you Darling, that was good of you. If only your big brother had thought to be so helpful'' she jibed, looking at Glenn.

''Is there anything for afters?'' says Scott, pushing away his empty plate.

''Are you finished already?'' asks Mum.

''Better check all your fingers are still attached.'' jokes Drew.

''Ha ha, very funny!'' says Scott. ''I was starving. Is there anything Gran?'' he repeats.

''There's ice cream in the freezer, go and help yourself if you like.'' replies Mum.

Scott stands up to leave the table.

''Take your plate through and put it in the sink.'' Amber tells him.

Scott picks up his plate and wanders through to the kitchen. A minute later he returns, ''Can I have a lolly instead Gran?'' he asks.

''How many is there? Is there enough for everyone?'' asks Amber.

''There's four.'' says Scott.

''Then there's not enough. You'll have to have ice cream.'' says Amber.

''I don't like ice cream.'' says Scott. ''Please Gran. The wee ones will have ice cream anyway, they won't want a lolly.''

''Oh take it Scott.'' says Mum.

The rest of the meal passes uneventfully, as one by one the kids finish eating and leave the table. When I finish my meal I start to clear the table.

''Leave it Beth. Sit down and let your meal settle.'' says Mum.

''I'll just take them through to the kitchen and put the kettle on for a cuppa.'' I say brightly.

Going through to the kitchen I put the dishes on the bunker and fill the kettle. 'I'll be as well make a start to the washing up while I'm waiting on the kettle.' I think to myself. Testing that the water isn't too hot I begin to wash the plates.

''Are you doing these dishes?'' Mum calls out.

''I thought I'd make a start while I waited on the kettle to boil.'' I reply.

''I wish she'd sit on her backside.'' I hear Mum saying to my sisters.

''Glenn, Scott. Come and help your mother with the dishes.'' shouts Amber.

Glenn and Scott appear in the kitchen.

''Just leave them Mum, I'll do them later.'' says Glenn.

''Aye, I've heard that one before! We'll all go home and you'll 'conveniently' forget to do them before you go out. Then by the time you come back your Gran will have done them. Do you think I'm daft?'' I chide him. ''Grab a towel and start drying. We'll get it done in no time.''

A few minutes later Megan comes into the kitchen. ''I was going to make the cuppa. Are you nearly finished?'' she asks.

''Just make it, we won't be long now.'' I reply.

''Can we get a biscuit?'' say Finn and Emma together, standing in the doorway.

''I'll be bringing them through in a minute. Go and play jus'now.'' Megan tells them.

Five minutes later we all troop through to the living room. I gladly sink into the nearest chair, sighing.

''I told you to leave the dishes. They could've waited. Glenn would've washed up after you'd all gone home.'' says Mum.

''Och I'm ok, they're done now. Besides, he didn't do them the last time.'' I say.

''Here.'' says Megan, handing me a cup of tea.

''Thanks, just what I need.'' I reply.

''Can we get our biscuits now?'' says Finn, coming into the living room.

''Yes, you can have one now.'' says Megan. ''Go and see if anyone else wants one.''

''They don't.'' replies Finn immediately.

Mum laughs. ''How do you know?'' she asks him.

''Cos I know they won't.'' he says. ''I'll take one for Emma though.''

A few minutes later Kyle appears looking for a biscuit, then Chloe and Isobel.

''I knew they'd want one, that Finn is a little monkey.'' Mum says.

''Where's Maisie?'' I ask, suddenly realising she wasn't there.

''Keir has her. He's taken her into the garden.'' says Amber. ''So I could have my fag in peace.'' she adds.

I shake my head, drink my tea, and say nothing!

''Beth, will Kyle get into Jungle Kids?'' asks Amber suddenly.


''What? Why? Was he banned the last time?'' I say worriedly.

''No.'' chortles Mum. ''She means his height. Is he too big to get in now?''

''Oh, right!'' I say, understanding. ''I think so. It's up to age twelve is it not, or is it ten? He's ten now, but I think he's on the small side for his age. Why?''

''I was thinking of booking it for Finn's birthday. The girls will be ok, but I wasn't sure about Kyle. The bigger ones won't want to come anyway.'' replies Amber.

''I see. I think he'll get in ok, he's not tall.'' I say.

''Ok, I'll go ahead and book it next week then.'' she says.

Megan stands up and begins to collect the cups and tumblers. ''I'll give the kids a shout, tell them to clear up any mess in the garden.'' she says, drifting into the hall.
''Right you lot! Clear up any mess out there.'' she shouts.

Keir comes in with Maisie. ''Are we going away?'' he asks.

''Shortly.'' I say. ''Are they tidying the toys away out there?''

''Yeah. There wasn't much to clear up.'' he replies.

Once more, Maisie reaches out to me to take her.

''Awww, who's a sooky girl tonight?'' teases Mum.

''I'm going away soon Darling. You'll have to go to Mummy.'' I tell her, giving her a cuddle before handing her to Amber.

''Gran, is there anything to go home with?'' asks Keir.

Mum laughs. ''If you go into the cupboard in the kitchen you should find a packet of chocolate bars. Bring them through.''

I go to the front door and tell the kids to come and get their coats.

''Are we going as well?'' asks Isobel.

''I think so. Check with your mum.'' I say.

The kids all go into the house, grabbing their coats off the hooks and descend on the living room. At that moment Keir arrives with the chocolate and they immediately surround him.

''Give me one.'' says Kyle.

''Hey, that was mine.'' snarls Isobel, taking a bar from Drew.

''For goodness sake Isobel! They're all the same.'' scolds Megan.

''Well I touched it first!'' retorted Isobel.

''She can have it, I'll get another one.'' Drew says.

''Here Drew.'' says Keir, handing him another bar.

''Now has everybody got one?'' Mum asks.

''Yes.'' says a myriad of voices.

I pull on my coat. ''Right kids, let's go. Has everyone got whatever they came down with? Check now, because if you forget it, it'll be next week before you get it back.'' I warn, checking the contents of my bag.

After a round of ''byes, see you next week.'' I usher the kids out of the door and up the path. Feeling in my pocket, I tell the kids to go on and turn back down the path. Walking into the living room I sheepishly say ''I forgot my car keys!''

I pick them up off the window sill, ignoring the peals of laughter and flee.

Archived comments for Teatime at Mum's


shadow on 2003-01-02 11:16:17
Re: Teatime at Mum's
A real slice of family life, warm and enveloping and very enjoyable. Autobiographical? Certainly reads like it is. Not sure about last sentence though - might be more effective to end on "I forgot my car keys!"

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2003-01-02 14:21:13
Re: Teatime at Mum's
Thanks shadow. You guessed correctly, it was based on my own family. When I wrote it I used my family's real names then once I'd finished I had to pick other names and go through it changing them. I wondered about the last line too, it does seem kind of tacked on the end, so I think I'll remove it.

Author's Reply:


HER LOVER'S KISS (posted on: 23-12-02)

A lover's kiss
His soft gentle touch
All show her
That he loves her so much


The whispered endearments
Said in her ear
He knows all the words
That she wants to hear


Her favourite pleasures
He knows them so well
Her enjoyment is obvious
So easy to tell


Her urgency heightens
His responds in turn
Their bodies now writhing
As their passion burns


They call out together
As one they are sated
Desires now calming
Heartbeats still racing


Embracing each other
Bodies entwined
Pulses getting slower
The release so divine


As sleep overcomes them
She's glad she didn't miss
The enticing promise
Of her lover's kiss
copyright ailsa 2002
Archived comments for HER LOVER'S KISS


Macjoyce on 30-03-2008
HER LOVERS KISS
I thought there was going to be a nasty twist here, with the bloke turning out a heartless cad. Maybe I'm just cynical.

Nice poem, but not sure about rhyming 'sated' with 'racing'.


Author's Reply:
Of course you are right, saying the words simply as two words, they don't rhyme. But in the poem, to me, it sounds ok. Must be the way I say it 😉

ta very much for reading this oldie


SANTA'S BIRDIES (posted on: 22-12-02)
Cora stirred as the unrelenting shouts from her two year old daughter permeated through her sleep. Looking at the clock she saw it was only 6am.

''Ohhh, not again!'' she thought. These early morning rises of Rosie's were getting beyond a joke. Shivering with the early morning frost, she pulled on her dressing gown and tiptoed through to Rosie's room.

The door was slightly ajar as always. Pushing it open wider, Cora saw her daughter sitting on her bed, surrounded by toys. She also noted that Rosie was wide awake so there would be no point in trying to persuade her to go back to sleep for a wee while longer. Rosie's face beamed at the sight of her mother and she held her arms out to get picked up.

''Och, you're a wee devil so you are!'' said Cora affectionately as she picked Rosie up. Holding her close, she gave her a little squeeze, and placed a kiss on her plump, rosy cheek. Sitting on a nearby chair, she sat Rosie on her knee facing her. Surrounding Rosie's body with her arms, Cora bounced her gently. ''Why are you so bright eyed and bushy tailed this early in the morning? Don't you know it's still sleepy time?'' she chided gently. Rosie's response was to pounce forward onto Cora's stomach chuckling. Cora pulled her close, letting Rosie curl her small body around her own, settling in her favourite position which was lying across Cora's body with her head in the crook of Cora's arm. Cora stroked the hair away from her face, tucking it behind her ears. ''What am I going to do with you, hmm?'' she asked. They sat quietly for a few minutes then Cora declared it was time for breakfast.

Rosie sat at the kitchen table, watching Cora as she set about making porridge. Once it was cooked she poured it into bowls and placed them beside the open window to cool. As it was cooling she poured out fresh orange juice for her and Rosie and set it on the table. Rosie started banging on the table with her spoon, impatient for her breakfast. Cora laughed, ''Hungry are you? Have a little patience; you can't eat it if it's too hot!'' Picking up a spoon, she went over to the window and tested the porridge to see if it was cool enough, deciding it was, she walked over to the table with it. ''Here you are Rosie Posy, nice and cool.''

Rosie pulled the bowl towards her eagerly, and picking up her spoon, she began to eat. She'd eaten about three quarters of it when she decided she'd had enough. She started playing about with what was left in the bowl; filling the spoon then turning it upside down and letting it drop back into the bowl, banging it on the rim of the bowl, sending droplets of porridge flying everywhere. ''No! Rosie, that's naughty! You know not to do that.'' said Cora crossly, removing the bowl from Rosie's reach.

After breakfast it was bath time. Cora started the taps running, added some bubble bath, then undressed Rosie. Turning her attention back to the bath she checked the temperature of the water, which was fine. Rosie was peering over the side and squealed with delight as she watched the bubbles swirling about. Cora checked the water once more before lifting Rosie into the tub.

Rosie immediately started kicking her feet, before they even got wet. She loved being in the bath and was always excited at bath time. Once in the water she moved her arms and legs about, chuckling as the splashes hit her face. Cora crouched down at the side of the bath and gently poured water down her back then started to wash her. As she rinsed the last of the soap off she said ''Five minutes to play, then it's time to come out.'' She picked up the discarded clothes and put them in the laundry basket. Suddenly she heard the unmistakable sound of water hitting the floor! Swirling round she saw that Rosie had filled her toy cup with water and was quite happily pouring it over the side of the bath onto the bathroom floor. ''Rosie!'' she exclaimed. ''That's naughty!'' Rosie just looked at her and chuckled.

Cora lifted Rosie out of the bath, then fetched a towel to wrap her in. Picking her up, she walked through to the living room and sat down near to the fire. Gently she patted Rosie dry.

At that moment the phone rang. Cora answered it. ''Oh hi Mum.'' she said, as she recognised the voice on the other end. ''Listen, can I phone you back? I've just taken Rosie out the bath and want to get her dressed before she catches a chill. I'll talk to you in a few minutes, bye.'' She put the receiver down then looked up. ''Oh no!'' she groaned. Rosie was waving the talc around, covering everything in the fine white powder. ''Rosie! What has got in to you this morning?'' she asked, vexed. She brushed the talc off of Rosie with her hand, sat her on the chair, then fetched the hoover. Ten minutes later the talc had gone and Cora had calmed down. ''Right Missy, let's get you dressed before you have a chance to get into any more mischief!'' she said.

Cora scooped Rosie into her arms and walked through to the bedroom to get clothes. She sat her on the bed while she chose items from the wardrobe. ''Let's see.trousers today I think, it's cold and we'll have to go to the shops in a wee while, and.your fleece jumper.'' she said. Hearing a giggle, she froze, then turned slowly, dreading what she might find. Rosie was standing with her back to Cora, wiggling her bare bottom. Cora laughed, relieved! ''Never you mind doing the Bare Butt Boogie! Come and get these clothes on.'' Rosie giggled again then ran into Cora's arms.

Once Rosie was dressed they headed back into the living room. ''Get something to play with sweetheart while I phone Granny. She probably thinks I've forgotten all about her.'' said Cora

''Hi Mum, it's me.'' she said.

''Hi! I was beginning to think you'd forgotten about phoning me back.'' replied her mum.

''No. Don't ask!'' said Cora.

''Don't tell me Rosie's been playing up already!'' said her mum, laughing.

''Playing up! That doesn't even begin to cover it Mum.'' said Cora.

''What? That little Cherub.I don't believe you!'' said her mum, teasingly.

''Oh you can believe it alright! First she was awake with the birds, then she splattered porridge everywhere, after that she poured bath water on the floor, while you were on the phone earlier she sprinkled talc all over the place'' she stopped as she heard the chuckles down the phone line, ''it's not funny.'' she said, laughing in spite of herself. ''Anyway, what did you want earlier?''

''I phoned to get an idea of what to buy for Rosie's Christmas.'' replied her mum.

Cora laughed. ''She'll not be getting anything if she keeps this up!''

''Tell her Santa's Birdies are watching her, and that they tell him every time she misbehaves. If she does it too much then Santa won't bring any presents for her. It worked on you.'' said her mum

''I'd forgotten all about Santa's Birdies.'' mused Cora ''It's worth a try anyway, certainly can't make things any worse!''

A short discussion followed about what clothes Rosie needed and what toys she might like, and arrangements were made for later in the week. Hanging up the receiver, she called to Rosie, ''Come on sweetheart, time we went to the shops.''

As she fastened up Rosie's coat she said to her, ''Now Rosie, while we are out you had better behave. Santa's Birdies will be watching you and if you are naughty they will fly to the North Pole to tell Santa. Do you know what will happen then?'' she asked.

Rosie shook her head, a puzzled look on her face.

Cora pulled on her own coat then replied, ''Santa won't bring you any presents.''

Rosie looked at her, disbelievingly. ''No birdies!'' she said.

''Yes, there are birdies.'' said Cora firmly. ''They are very small, so you don't notice them, but you can tell they are Santa's because they have red on them.'' she added. She smiled as she saw the look on Rosie's face, and knew she was wondering whether to believe her or not. ''Come on, time to go.''

When she opened the door Rosie gave a cry and pointed. Looking outside Cora smiled. Sitting, on the hedge, was a robin!

copyright ailsa 2002
Archived comments for SANTA'S BIRDIES
shadow on 2002-12-26 11:00:54
Re: SANTA'S BIRDIES
A charming Christmas story, would be just right for one of the cosier women's mags. People's Friend?

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2002-12-26 15:15:15
Re: SANTA'S BIRDIES
Thank you! I was trying to think of where I could submit this, and I think you may have hit the nail on the head 🙂

Author's Reply:

CleanMan on 04-01-2006
SANTAS BIRDIES
This was a great story. (I misread the title, and thought it was called Santa's Bridies.) I think it would be great for a magazine. I'm looking forward to reading more of your stories.

Author's Reply:
Thanks CleanMan. This is one of my favourite stories, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

ailsa


THE WISH (posted on: 20-12-02)
A five minute tale....christmas tearjerker kinda thing



Dave joined the crowd who had come to watch the Christmas tree lights being switched on in the City Square. Unlike most people, who had come out of nostalgia or excitement, Dave was there simply by chance.

He had left home about four months ago. Having no job and little money, he was fed up of the constant stream of rejection letters. Depression had got the better of him, and, thinking he had failed his family and they'd be better off without him, he had left, simply walked out. No explanation, nothing! He just put on his coat and left. Moving to another town hadn't changed his luck. He still had no job and no money.

He looked around the people in the crowd, many of them families with children. Dave's thoughts turned to his own family. Not for the first time he wondered how they were. Often he had sought out a public telephone to call them. How he longed to hear their voices! 'What can I say?' he thought. 'They must hate me for walking out without a word. Probably never want to see me again.' Each time his courage failed him and the call remained unmade.

He had dreamt of finding work and going home with armfuls of presents. 'Maybe then they'd forgive me' he thought. But no matter how hard he tried, he always came up against a closed door.

Feeling something bang into his leg, he looked down to see a small boy about five or six years old.

''Sorry Mister! I was trying to get closer to the tree.'' he said.

''That's okay. No harm done.'' replied Dave, a wistful look coming to his face. His own son was four and had dark hair like this little boy.

''Aren't they lovely Mister, the lights?'' said the boy. ''I'm going to see Santa; I have a special wish for him.''

''I bet you do!'' chuckled Dave. ''What is it? A new bike? A console?''

''Nah!'' replied the boy. ''I don't want them.''

''Connor, I hope you're not making a nuisance of yourself!'' said another voice.

Turning, Dave saw a woman beside him.

''I hope he's not been bothering you.'' she said.

''Not at all, he's been fine.'' replied Dave. ''He was commenting on the lights and said he had a special wish to ask Santa.''

''Sounds about right. He loves the lights.'' she said. ''I'm afraid though Santa will disappoint him this year.'' she sighed.

Dave looked at her, noticing how sad she appeared. ''I understand. It's hard to disappoint kids at Christmas time. They don't seem to realise how much things cost. Or how bad you feel at letting them down.'' His voice trailed away.

''What Connor wants, I can't buy. No matter how much money I had.'' said the woman softly.

Curiosity got the better of Dave, and tentatively he asked, ''What is his wish?''

Before the woman could answer him they heard a loud ''Ho Ho Ho''

''Santa!'' cried Connor. ''Come on Mum. I have to see him.'' he implored, tugging on her sleeve.

''Ok Connor. Take my arm so you don't get knocked in the crowd.'' she said.

Turning around, Connor felt for her outstretched arm then linked it with his. For the first time Dave noticed his eyes.

''He's blind?!'' he asked the mother. ''But, the lights...?'' he said, confused.

''Connor contracted meningitis two years ago. We had decorated the Christmas tree and then he'd gone to bed. He fell ill during the night, was unconscious for days, we didn't think he was going to make it through. The doctors battled to save him, but he lost his sight. A small price to pay I suppose. His recovery was a long, slow processunfortunately his father couldn't handle it and left us.'' she said.

She looked at Dave as she continued. ''The last thing Connor remembers seeing is the Christmas tree with all its lights and decorations on it. He tells me he can still see it in his mind.''

''Is that his special wish? To get his sight back?'' Dave asked.

''No.'' said the woman, putting her hand on Connor's head and ruffling his hair absentmindedly. ''Connor's only wish is for his father to come home.'' she said softly.
''He told me he's been extra good this year in the hope his wish will be granted. He doesn't miss his sight, but he misses his father very much.''

With that, she bade him Goodbye and led Connor across to Santa's Grotto to make his wish.

Dave stood watching them for a minute, thinking. Feeling in his pocket for loose change, he looked around for a phonebox.

copyright ailsa 2002




Archived comments for THE WISH
PigeonPost on 2002-12-20 05:52:48
Re: THE WISH
Yeh, that's beautiful. Once again shows that a simple story can set off profound thoughts. Well done.

Author's Reply:

shadow on 2002-12-20 17:28:39
Re: THE WISH
A lovely story - I can see this in the Christmas issue of one of the women's mags. Too late for this year, but next ...

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2002-12-20 17:57:39
Re: THE WISH
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Author's Reply:

ruadh on 2002-12-20 18:02:19
Re: THE WISH
Thank you, glad you enjoyed it. I wrote in on the 9th Dec & realised it was too late for this year but hopefully it will have a chance next year.

Author's Reply:

CleanMan on 03-01-2006
THE WISH
I've just come across your work, and decided to start at the beginning. I'm very glad I did. This is a lovely story. Did you ever manage to get it published anywhere? It deserves to be.

Author's Reply:
Thank you for reading. It hasn't been published yet, mainly due to the fact I haven't submitted it anywhere yet 🙂 I made a new year's resolution to dust my work off and get it out there so maybe this year it will be.

ailsa