Category Archives: Folklore

The Talisman Of Mara: #FridayFictioneers

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dales-broken-door

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

THE TALISMAN OF MARA

Stolen, traded, gifted, lost, the Talisman of Mara journeyed across the globe, across time. Many hands wielded it; many died doing so.

Naomi found it at the shul’s fundraiser. The piece of colored glazed stone drew her eyes. It wasn’t anything she’d ever buy when Seth was alive. She bought it.

Hanging it, she’d see it when she descended the stairs, turned off the lights, went out.

It was the one piece of color she claimed in a beige house.

Tumbling down the stairs, Naomi broke the glass door.

It was only the first of many nightmarish events to come.

 

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Author’s Note:  I made mention in the comments previously that when I do use names in these short pieces, they have meanings associated with the story. Some drive what I’m writing. So, if you’re curious, look them up. If not, hope you still liked this.

It’s #Friday Fictioneers prompt time, as always created and hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields on her blog, Addicted To Purple.

The rules are simple if you’d like to do this:

    1. Use the photo on Addicted to Purple as your prompt (goes up on Wednesday).
    2. Write a 100 word story, complete with beginning, middle, and end.
    3. Make every word count.
    4. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor of the photo credit.
  1. Add the InLinkz button (below) so your readers can find the dozens of other bloggers who have taken up this challenge.

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In The Cavern Of Transmogrification: #FridayFictioneers

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PHOTO PROMPT © Russell Gayer

In the Cavern of Transmogrification

The screaming battered my ears into a never-ending, throbbing pain. I tried…I tried, but I couldn’t shut them out. Nor I. Weeping red droplets, streaming down onto what was left of our tattered clothing, onto the cavern floor, mixing with the dirt and rocks, creating small pools that, out of the dismal light, appeared black. Driven to our knees, I knew that we were at fault, disturbing this forsaken place; a place that should never have been walked, been wakened. Never.

From nowhere, iridescent globes consumed the darkness. Many-hued we became as well.

Yog-Sothoth, Yog-Sothoth, you have come.

Take me.

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Author’s Note:

1)Hopefully this homage to HP Lovecraft works.

It’s #Friday Fictioneers prompt time, as always created and hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields on her blog, Addicted To Purple.

The rules are simple if you’d like to do this:

    1. Use the photo on Addicted to Purple as your prompt (goes up on Wednesday).
    2. Write a 100 word story, complete with beginning, middle, and end.
    3. Make every word count.
    4. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor of the photo credit.
  1. Add the InLinkz button (below) so your readers can find the dozens of other bloggers who have taken up this challenge.

Djinn Can Only: #FridayFictioneers

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PHOTO PROMPT © Nick Allen

Djinn Can Only

“You said my wish is your command!”

“No, I did not.”

“Did!”

“I did not. Obviously, you misheard.”

“DIDN’T!”

“I said: ‘YOUR wish is MY command.’ Very clear. Wording, you know.”

~ ~~ ~ ~

“Yes?”

“Then grant my…um…the wish.”

“Sorry. I can not.”

“What? You just said…”

“I can not grant unlimited wishes with your one wish. Beyond the scope of Wish Granting Regulations. One wish for one thing.”

“Really?”

“Really.”

“Umm…”

“Think well and true.”

“One wish?”

“One.”

~~~ ~~~ ~~

“I wish…my life was sweetly pleasurable! HAH!”

“As you wish.”

Djinn savored the pastry cream and shell.

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Author’s Note:

It’s #Friday Fictioneers prompt time, as always created and hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields on her blog, Addicted To Purple.

The rules are simple if you’d like to do this:

    1. Use the photo on Addicted to Purple as your prompt (goes up on Wednesday).
    2. Write a 100 word story, complete with beginning, middle, and end.
    3. Make every word count.
    4. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor of the photo credit.
  1. Add the InLinkz button (below) so your readers can find the dozens of other bloggers who have taken up this challenge.

Who Is The Fairest?: #FridayFictioneers

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PHOTO PROMPT © Nathan Sowers grandson of our own Dawn M. Miller

Who Is The Fairest?

Magic Mirror had it rough ever since the Wicked Queen was defeeted. Wearing red-hot metal shoes is one thing; being forced to dance in them? A whole other mishegoss.   Queeny was toast.

The Mirror was in a funk: nobody asked it anything.  On top of that, the Mirror became a magical vagabond. Wherever it was stored, or hung, the locations were beneath it.

“A shack! Alas, alas!”

Its finale placement. It deliberately cracked itself up. Fare thee well.

Who was Fairest wasn’t fair, at all.

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It’s #Friday Fictioneers prompt time, as always created and hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields on her blog, Addicted To Purple.

The rules are simple if you’d like to do this:

    1. Use the photo on Addicted to Purple as your prompt (goes up on Wednesday).
    2. Write a 100 word story, complete with beginning, middle, and end.
    3. Make every word count.
    4. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor of the photo credit.
  1. Add the InLinkz button (below) so your readers can find the dozens of other bloggers who have taken up this challenge.

Kelly’s Viking Funeral: #FridayFictioneers

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PHOTO PROMPT © Carla Bicomong

Kelly’s Viking Funeral

Mewing 'oer the landscape,
Upon a boat of flames,
Felines of the land lamented
Mighty Kelly has passed on.

For sixteen years she hunted
For sixteen years she spied
Mouse, Hare, Bird, and more
She pounced: they died!

From kitten age, to mighty youth,
To grizzled veteran, she,
Her prey, came to fear,
When Kelly’s stalking was near.

Her claws, a mighty weapon,
Her tail, it thrashed and smote,
With glistening sharp teeth snapped
Her yowls of victory did resound!

Here's to mighty Kelly!
She will be forever missed,
Especially by one fair lass
Whose Kelly's nose, she had kissed.

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It’s #Friday Fictioneers prompt time, as always created and hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields on her blog, Addicted To Purple.

The rules are simple if you’d like to do this:

    1. Use the photo on Addicted to Purple as your prompt (goes up on Wednesday).
    2. Write a 100 word story, complete with beginning, middle, and end.
    3. Make every word count.
    4. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor of the photo credit.
  1. Add the InLinkz button (below) so your readers can find the dozens of other bloggers who have taken up this challenge.

NSFW: #FFPhotoPrompt

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NSFW:

Nuku-mai-tore, Spirit Facing Woodland

“One legend says they had large chests and waists, but little heads; another text gives “no head, chest and waist only.” A third says that their arms and legs were so short that they seemed to have no limbs at all, but waved their hands close to their bodies.”

~Encyclopedia Mythica

Whira and Turo laughed their heads off (literally) when they heard the grandfather tell his tiny entourage all about the tree faeries, the Nuku-mai-tore.  They had been leaping from branch to branch of the ancient yew tree they lived on, peering down at the humans who were unaware they were being watched. Turo picked up Whira’s head, and Whira Turo’s, and they juggled them back and forth until they grew tired of the game.

Turo had a wicked grin on his face when he reattached his head. “We should go down and teach the old man how wrong he is.”

“Nah,” Whira said, putting his head on backward.

“Stop that!” Turo laughed, which was Whira’s mission.

Turning his head around, Whira faced his friend. “All we will do is scare them-I know, I know, that is what you want to happen. But, really Turo, would they really believe we were Nuku-mai-tore? We look enough like those humans.”

“Except for being green.”

“There is that.”

“And pretty much au natural. Leaves and bark do not clothe the sidhe.”

“True. Sigh. You really want to do this, don’t you?”

Turo’s wicked grin grew three times its size, nearly splitting his head in half. That was all it took. They both skittered down the yewhome, a race to get to the ground first.

One of the little ones surrounding the old man turned, catching their movements peripherally. A piercing scream followed.

“Girl?” asked Whira, confused by the little thing’s long hair.

“”Hmm. No. Boy.”

The grandfather was scooping up the three children into his arms and against his body. Looking at them, the faeries weren’t sure if he was trying to protect them or use them as a shield.

“Shield,” Whira muttered.

“Maybe. Let’s find out.”

They walked a few steps towards the grouping. All the children screamed, and the old man stepped in front of them, the little ones cowering behind him, shushing them to silence.

“No shield.”

“Nope. Chutzpah.”

The grandfather stuttered out: “Wha..wha..who…”

The two faeries laughed again, this time keeping their heads.

“Hi. I’m Turo. This is Whira.” Whira did a little curtsey; Turo punched him in the arm, gently. Their chuckling sent the children plunging into the old man, almost knocking him over. Whira laughed loudly. Turo shushed him.

The grandfather stood up as straight as he could. This time he was able to make a full sentence. Barely.

“Who…what are you?”

“Well, that’s kinda rude. We are…The Nuku-mai-tore!”

“Taa Daa!” piped up Whira.

The grandfather was sputtering again. “But…but..but…”

Whira turned around. “Yes, see? We have butts,” turning around again, “and heads, and chests, and arms, legs, fingers, toes…and a couple of dangling bits. Not so much the twiddle you told the tykes.”

Turo, who was slightly ignoring the discourse, began dancing. Feet shifting back and forth became a two-step which then morphed into a jig, of sorts, and then into a full-on whirling dervish type movement. The little ones were fascinated and started to move away from grandfather. Soon, Turo had the beginnings of a Conga line going.

“TURO! Enough, really, like, just leave them alone.”

“Hey, they’re having fun!”

“The old guy looks like he’s going to keel over. Look.”

The grandfather’s face, old man frail, had lost all its color. His hands were shaking, and his straightened body began to sag. The faeries and the children rushed over and helped bring him to a sitting position. Whira went off, back in a flash with some water from their stream. They all sat down around the grandfather, who gathered himself into a semblance of order while he drank.

Finishing, he looked at the two. “Thank you,” he said. Both Turo and Whira nodded to him. “What…what do you want from us?”

Whira and Turo looked at each other. Whira spoke up before Turo could botch things up.

“We just wanted to set you straight on us, the Nuku-mai-tore. You were telling these little ones things that just weren’t true.”

“They were funny.”

“Yes, funny, but not true. See? Some differences between us, but nothing as strange as what you were telling.”

Putting down the large cupped leaf he was drinking out of, grandfather asked: “Would you then share with us the truth? We are all ears,” he said, turning to his charges. “Aren’t we?”

All the children hastily agreed. The one who screamed first went to sit in grandfather’s lap.

Whira and Turo took turns telling stories, both true and crafted fantastical. When the human grouping left, with smiles and thanks, the two faeries went back up their yewhome for a well-earned nap.

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Author’s Note:

The above is another photo prompt, this time from Fiction Can Be Fun. I’ve joined Deb, David, and their blog readers before. I loved this picture the second I set eyes on it, but I was not sure, at first, what to do with it.

It was Deb’s statement that sent me on this path: “this is a family show, so we reserve the right not to post anything that strays into NSFW or offends against ‘common decency’.”

Of course, I took that as a challenge this time around.

If you want to join in, and please do, here’s the info you need:

Use the photo (on top) as your prompt.

Word Count: anything up to 1,000
Deadline: 2pm GMT on Friday 6th July 2018

Fiction Can Be Fun


A reminder to new readers/writers, please post on your own site and add a link in the comments section below.  If you don’t have your own blog or similar outlet, do send us your story via the contact form on the About page and we’ll post for you, with an appropriate by-line.  

Two caveats if you want to go down this route: if you want to retain the copyright, then you will need to state this, and this is a family show, so we reserve the right not to post anything that strays into NSFW or offends against ‘common decency’.

Waiting On My Man: #FridayFictioneers

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PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

Waiting On My Man

Milling, milling, milling around. That’s all they do, day after day after day.

They pass me by while doing all those annoying things they do: ignore the screaming kids; scratch their butts; play grab ass; heads bowed, not in genuflection, but consumed by their new iGods; and kiss.

Damn, I miss kissing.

Hephaestus, you bástardos! I’ve been standing around for, oh, over 2,000 of these mortal years, waiting for your sorry ass to show up. ‘I’ll be right back, baby,’ you said. ‘Just wait right here, babe’,” you said. You said a lot of things and I. AM. STILL. WAITING!

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Author’s Note:

It’s #Friday Fictioneers prompt time (and why do I want to sing that to the Howdy Doody theme song?), as always created and hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields on her blog, Addicted To Purple.

The rules are simple:

    1. Use the photo on Addicted to Purple as your prompt.
    2. Write a 100 word story, complete with beginning, middle, and end.
    3. Make every word count.
    4. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor of the photo credit.
  1.       Add the InLinkz button (below) so your readers can find the dozens of other          bloggers who have taken up this challenge.

Waiting On My Man may not have an exact beginning, middle, and end, but…eh. I had to go look up who the statue whose back is to us in the pic. Lots of things to learn about Athena Parthenos, which led me to the question: if a statue got an itch, who would scratch it? That took me to the above drabble.

Hope you got a chuckle.

Philomel, with Melody: #Friday Fictioneers, A Different Take

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dadsshoesPHOTO PROMPT submitted by Courtney Wright. © Photographer prefers to remain anonymous.

Philomel, with Melody

“Will you look at this? Look at these boots! How darest he leave us a pair in such disgusting shape?”

“Yea. How darest he?”

“Look at that! How in Titania’s Tits are we supposed to fix…those?”

“Yea, Titania’s titties. HeHe.”

“Oh, do shut up.”

“Me lips are sealed.”

“And yer still yapping your yap. Damn me for a hobgoblin! This is beyond my ken.”

“You haint no hobgoblin.”

“Oh, double do shut up! Spit and a prayer; they’re falling apart! The soles! Look at the soles!”

“Back to the mushroom fields, then?”

“Ay. No cobbling tonight. Daft shoemaker. Daft boots.”

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So, I look at the picture prompt, and methinks to myself: “Thar be different stories one can tell from a picture of boots.” I thought I just thought it to myself, but when I got strange looks from the other coffee house patrons, I realized I said it out loud, in full Pirate voice. My timbers were shivered.

Yesterday, the picture prompt led to Boots in Distress. Today, the above.
As to the challenge: The above was a prompt from Addicted to Purple by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields that she calls Friday Fictioneers . The rules for this prompt are simple:

    1. Use the photo on Addicted to Purple as your prompt.
    2. Write a 100 word story, complete with beginning, middle, and end.
    3. Make every word count.
    4. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor of the photo credit.

Reflections of the 2018 #AtoZ Blog Challenge: The Abysmal Dollhouse

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A-to-Z Reflection [2018]

For all the information you could ever want about the AtoZ Blog Challenge, Click:  Blogging From A to Z Challenge.

This was my fifth AtoZ Blog Challenge:

The rules are simple: During the month of April, you commit to writing 26 blogs, each day based off the run ot the alphabet. Up to you how you do that. Blog hop around, read and comment on other blogs, build a community. Don’t sleep. You had to sign up through the AtoZ main page. From that, most people chose and announced their Theme (more below): I signed on late, missed that, and, well…I had no idea what I was going to do up to two days before it started.

Yes, I am that unorganized.

I actually had another idea that I thought would be funny, but when I realized the main character I wanted to use was verbotten, the idea lost all its allure. Quelle dommage. That had me in a bit of a spin; I asked on Tale Spinning if anyone wanted to see me continue some previous storylines that I liked, or should I try something new. I got two: TWO, and only two, requests. Hence, The Abysmal Dollhouse.

I have written TAD stories since 2012. Almost always positive comments. A few followers suggested I should add more to the oeuvre and publish it. Hemming and hawing, procrastinating, all my usual excuses for not committing fully added up to one fact: I didn’t.

Scared? Insecure? A rough number of years on so many levels? No motivation? Creativity and passion just drained away?  Lump them all together and I just never carried it through, letting the ideas pretty much just lay there, occasionally bursting forth. Definitely not often enough. Tale Spinning was pretty much an empty space for the last couple of years.

In actuality, boredom with my life, and myself, kicked me in the arse.

I’m what is known as a Pantser: I don’t prewrite, rarely have an outline, especially for continuing series that I like, and only have a basic idea that I use as a jumping off point. When I started off this round of TAD, I just thought I’d continue on my “Monster of the Week” stories, letting the letter of the day create my title, which then started my writing for the day.

One thing I do do (hee hee. Oh, sue me) is take a little bit of time for research. In this case, I just went online and found a whole bunch of Weird, Murder, or Haunted Houses around the world. I chose a number of places that I thought would be great prompts for every day of the challenge. Didn’t use even half of what I found, this go around.

Something happened that changed in me really early on in the process: I started creating a backstory/mythology for the series and began to drop hints and clues about the backgrounds of The Unfolding Doll and the Shopkeeper. Yes: I started to shed my pantsing and began-gasp!-planning. Not 100%, still no outline, but things were starting to gel and I got much more invested in what I was writing.

I look at it this way: X-Files had many episodes of Monster of the Week, with episodes of their mythology scattered here and there. A MOTW episode could still give us more background info on Scully & Mulder while kinda sorta avoiding the BIG story. Character development and whatnot. That’s how I was viewing all this.

Then the next change happened: I got some new readers, who commented, questioned, told me what they liked, and I felt they were really invested in what was going to happen next. I had that in 2016 with that year’s storyline (link at top of the page), but not to this extent. It kind of added to the challenge for me; it definitely altered my thinking on the storyline.

The ending may seem rushed (it was) but I had dropped hints and clues in many of the stories. It’s hard to fill in all the details when I was trying to limit the daily posts to around 1,000 words. Many people will skip a long posting, and I know I lost potential readers for that reason. Nothing I can do about that. I’m sure many will pass up this reflection for the very same reason. Quelle dommage, part two.

For those who might have missed the main posting where I dropped a lot of clues, go to the “I” posting: In The Absence Of…

A couple of more things: please bear with me.

One thing I’m “frustrated” with are the posts that I thought I was being witty with. Alas, alas, alas.  Too gimmicky? Too obtuse? Spot on? No idea: no feedback. Jabber Wonky was my attempt to play on the Jabberwocky poem in Alice in Wonderland (which gave me the reason to rhyme what goes on in The Child’s mind). I used some of the verbal tomfooleries in the piece, more as an homage; In Quoth the Riven, I think it was pretty obvious. I actually wrote following the path Poe’s poem took. One of my favorite pieces by him.; Orchestra! Curtain! Lights! was my wink to one of my favorite things-animation. It’s the opening lyrics from “The Bugs Bunny Show” theme song. My story has nothing to do with Bugs & Daffy, but Orchestra! was my jumping off point for the tale.

I did not blog hop as much as I was hopping to. I always say I’ll do more, and I did, this year, but I fall far short of others. My apologies. I did happen to come across some wonderfully written blogs along the way and picked up some new blogging friends. I’d like to thank (in no particular order): David, Debs, Sharri, Ms. Wolf, Iain, Jo, Jacqui, Varard, and Melanie. If I’ve forgotten anyone, please forgive me. As to previous readers/bloggers: thanks for sticking with me. Roy: didn’t make that many mistakes this time around, eh?

Special thanks go to Arlee Bird for starting this whole thing, and to the hosts who share the duties. It’s been a blast of a month. Next year? When the time comes, we’ll find out.

Thank you, everyone.

Epilogue: Zephyr, A Caress: The Abysmal Dollhouse (AtoZ Blog Challenge)

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** New Readers to this challenge: This is a serialized, continuous work. Please start with the first piece, Abysmally Yours. The AtoZ Blog Challenge began April 1st; ends April 30th. Please check back on Monday, May 7th, for my Final Reflections. Thank you.

zephyr

Epilogue: Zephyr, A Caress

The Abysmal Dollhouse

Grief lasts as long as it will last. There is no timetable when it should end, no scale for how deep it should be. Nothing to say grief won’t return. It is its own living thing, and it either eats away at you or strengthen your resolve to go on, to mourn, to let go.

The Shopkeeper embraced hers as an inner sore: on the outside, she presented herself as was her norm. A freshly starched white buttoned blouse, the top button fastened, her fingers assuring her of this fact. She smoothed down the black fabric of her ankle-length skirt. Putting on her apron, she winced, tying it a touch too tight. She left it as it was, as she had done every time since…

In the many weeks since the incident, the Shopkeeper took her time getting to know all the new dollhouses. They appeared, without ceremony, taking residence in the places of the ones that had been destroyed. Malcanisen remained by her side as she ambled about. She still found some of the debris scattered in the most unlikely of places around the shoppe; but, once found, they simply faded away once she wasn’t looking.

This new crop of minature replicas had wants and needs, just as the previous tenants of her shoppe had. When the opportunities presented themselves, they murmured the same “mine, mine, mine” as the ones now absent. But, things were not status quo as before. Far away enough that it brought something new to the Shopkeeper: worry.

There was a balance shift with the new: more unhappiness, more anger, more depravity. These dollhouses outnumbered those that exuded more peaceful memories and needs. The Shopkeeper did not like this new shift at all. Yet, there was little she could do about the denizens about her. Only another upheaval could, hopefully, tip the balance in the other direction, creating a more harmonious setting.

What she could do, she did. Once she had the feel of the new she began to rearrange the placement of the houses. The darker abodes were situated near lighter natured dollhouses; when she could cluster them, she did. There was a stabilizing effect for a short while, but distinct grumblings permeated the shoppe after the first reshuffling. Twice more she shifted locations around the shoppe; on this third try, the houses seemed to accept their lots. The Shopkeeper was pleased, but not entirely happy.

The window display took on a whole new life. A magnificent replica of the Castle of Goeie Hoop stood there, majestic in scope, taking the whole of the display space. Many called out for their due when the new door chimes tinkled; sometimes many hushes from the Shopkeeper was needed to silence them. Occasionally, when she was at her counter, waiting, sounds of gunfire could be heard. The Shopkeeper would look over with a scowl; the noise ceased. Always.

She had begun to avoid the Conservatoire d’épouvante Maison De Poupée best she could. The Wall of Skulls underwent a thorough cleansing of what had been displayed before. All forty-two specimens were new, with new nameplate labels. She had glanced at them early on, missing a few, especially Sigurd. She felt them all yearning to tell their stories, their need overwhelming. It disturbed her deeply; she kept it locked, a drastic change in her dusting duties.

It was one skull in particular that had her in knots. While she was privy to some ghastly knowledge from many in her care, there was that one: she wasn’t ready for it, wasn’t sure if she would ever be ready to hear the telling of this one’s tale.

The label only read “Child.”

Duster in hand, she busied herself around the shoppe, doing her best not to glance towards the empty far corner.

*** *** ***

The soldier only vaguely remembered the incident. He had a new scar that was painful if he placed any real weight on it. He had no concrete awareness of how he got this scar or even the when or the where. All he knew was it ached at times, and was only one of many scars all over his body. He carried it like the others.

There was a stiffness in his right hand, the outer two digits especially. His EMT buddy said it was probably a bad case of Trigger Finger since they sometimes get locked into a bent position. He was able to release them, so he didn’t bother checking out a doctor for it.

“Look, Tom. A Zayat ahead. I could use a rest stop.” His companion, Mary, tired easily, but he was more than fine with that. Her recovery from her stabbings was labeled a miracle by the nurses that tended her. His EMT buddy thought so too, having read Mary’s charts, even though he wasn’t supposed to.

Tom had awakened one day at the hospital, sitting by Mary’s side, no idea how he had gotten there. He remembered tracking Mary’s assailant, and that was it. The next thing, he’s by her side, an aching scar, stiff right hand, and an awake Mary staring at him. Her smile filled her face when she saw he was awake.

The nurses had told her all about the guy who had brought her in, most likely saving her life. They said he sat by her side more days than they kept count, talking to her comatose form, keeping on eye on her while she was out. He disappeared for a bit, and they all thought he had given up hope, but-surprise-he was back, and just after she, also, was back.

They talked for a long time, first about her attack and the aftermath. Mary was upset that her assailant had not been found, but was also relieved that there had been no further sightings or attacks. Tom was a reassuring presence for her, and she wound up being the same for him.

After her discharge, they got closer. Close enough to the point that he easily asked her to come with him: he needed to travel, come to some peace in his being with the loss of his brothers, and the guilt he still felt for falling asleep while on sentry. She agreed, without a second’s thought.

The Zayat was simple but more than sufficient, as all the others they had stumbled upon. They rested, found fresh food and water, and stayed for a few of the religious occasions that happened around them. Mary had an idea that Tom readily agreed to: they were given permission to stay and help tend this particular Zayat, for the time being, keeping it clean, helping with any chores that needed doing, and welcoming other travelers seeking shelter.

Their lives, for the time being, was enriched by this Zayat, the Jivitandana Sangha, and they enriched it, finding peace and love.

*** ***

The Shopkeeper was resting in her back room, fresh scone devoured, a second cup of tea steaming by her side on the table. She had closed her eyes, leaning into her padded chair. Malcanisen was at her feet; on her feet, more accurately, snoring away. Cleaning around the shoppe, tending to those who entered, the houses that wanted: it all still left a hole in the whole affair.

She had thought with the death of the murderer, the vengeance sought and achieved, that she would be released from her binding. As the Unfolding Doll seemed to have been. There had been nothing left of it from the fire that consumed Muirhouse and its woodshed. There had been no shimmering from the far corner, now less shadow filled than it had ever been. She was left, and it was gone, and the pain in her heart was so severe at times, the grief that subsided but rose again, and again.

Something prevented her from moving on. She racked her memory of everything that happened after that night at the Carousel, her then grief turning into a burning pledge of hatred and revenge. Promises made, from her and…promises made, but not kept, it seems, for her.

Collecting herself, she began to breathe in deeply, hold the breath, and let it out slowly. She continued this, calming herself into a single path of breath. It eased through her, a wind of her own making. It carried out a host of inner turmoil, a monsoon of sadness. She rested for a long time.

Until.

She came awake instantly. The Shopkeeper wasn’t sure if she had dreamed it, or…but, no, there it was, slight but there. A tap, tap, tapping…and it was near, so near.

Malcanisen bounded out of the back room. The Shopkeeper jumped out of her chair and ran through the threshold into the shoppe. Stopping suddenly by her counter, she looked around the entire area, looking under, behind, around; no one was there. Malcanisen sat down, eyes on her.  Tears that she thought she had been finished shedding started to well up once again as her heart shattered once again.

Until.

She glanced down. On the top of her counter was a knife. Long and sharp looking, it had a sheen that caught the light in the shoppe and sent spiraling of colors into the air, a prism of steel. She took hold of the hilt of the blade and brought it up, level with her heart, and held it there.

Looking in the far corner, it was again clouded in the deepest, darkest shadow.

And it was unfolding.

*****************************

The AtoZ Blog Challenge

Here we are: the end of this year’s AtoZ Blog Challenge. During the month of April 2018, the challenge required that we write 26 posts, starting with the letter A on April 1st and ending with Z on Monday, April 30th. On Monday, May 7th,  there will be a reflection post that will wrap up this experience, for me as well as my readers. If you travel back to the main page of the AtoZ Blog Challenge, you’ll find other blogs that participated. Many, I’m sure, will pique your interest, as many did mine.

On May 7th, all of the participants of the AtoZ Challenge are asked to post a reflection on the month’s process: afterthoughts, explanations, frustrations/elations, and whatever else may come to mind.

****After you read the Z post on Monday, April 30th, I will be asking YOU for questions, ponderings, or suggestions you might still have. I found a number of editorial mistakes when I copied and pasted the stories into a Word file (thank you, Grammarly) and already did some (minor) editing. So, if you’ve been with me all along, or just finding your way into The Abysmal Dollhouse, April 30th will be a good time to pose what’s on your mind. I will do my best to answer/address all on the reflection (mentioned above).

Any queries must be posted by Friday, March 4th.

As to what happens next with Tale Spinning &/or The Abysmal Dollhouse…time will tell.

Thanks for reading along.