The Awakening

STORY A DAY: Sept. 2015
Day 9
Prompt: Write a story based on the Pavane by Faure

There is but a tinge of light above, the first light of a new dawning day, before the Sun kisses the horizon. The forest of night has gone to sleep. It is that brief time betwix and between, where one day meets the next, receding into the past, giving way to the renewal.

The Centaur trots slowly to where the horizon can be seen, and puts a flute to his lips, and begins to play a sweet melody. A second flute is heard, as another Centaur joins in, both singing the day in through the instruments.

The accompanying harp which led the greeting, continues, the dancing of the Forest Fae keeping time, stepping upon leaves, and hopping up through the trees and bushes in expectation.

Sleepy eyed bunnies crawl out of their warrens, as do the chipmonks, the music calling all to join in the celebration of another day.

Walking with lanterns along forest paths, the Elves lend their voices to the symphony. They stand watcing, all of Gaia’s children, as the great orb begins to ascend. The orchestra is joined by bird song, and the paths become dappled by the light as it filters into through the branches.

Slowly the morning song grows quiet. Each participant turns to tend to that which the day at once requires, and at the same time affords all the Beings who rule the day.

Pick of the Litter

The wind howled like it was angry with the sky itself. Livvy hunkered down in the corner of her room where the box sat; the box with the precious cargo. Six little kittens, and her mamma told her she could only keep one. But that was the hardest thing to do, just pick one, when they were all so cute. She watched them all falling all over each other, and tried to see which one had that something special.

The two gray tiger stripped ones weren’t identical. One had white boots, and one did not. The two pure white kittens, with blue eyes, were exactly alike. It was so hard to tell them apart. And the last two of the litter were both two tone. One was mostly white, and a couple of black spots, and the other was black with a white belly, and white paws. That little black and white one was smaller than the others. Mamma had called it the runt of the litter. Livvy figured nobody else would want it, so that was the reason she decided to keep that one. She named her Oshi.

The storm was still raging when Livvy climbed into bed with the small black and white kitten, and told her what her name was. “You’re gonna stay with us, because you’re the most special.” She leaned in close and whispered in the small feline’s ear. “Don’t ever listen to anyone if they say anything about being a runt. Great things come in small packages, Mamma told me once.”

She cuddled up with her new companion. “I know, I’ll tell you a bedtime rhyme. It goes like this: Hey diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the moon.” Livvy giggled. “Isn’t that just the funniest thing?” The cat purred, and snuggled into Livvy’s arms.

There was so much to tell her about. Livvy thought about how her sister always was writing in that journal, and kept it hidden under her pillow. Livvy thought that was pretty silly, if she did not want anyone to know what she had written about, since everyone could find it and read it. Not that Livvy could, herself. She was not even in first grade yet.  But telling secret thoughts to her little black and white cat, well, that was the safest place to put anything.

Just before she was falling off to sleep, Livvy noticed that the storm had passed.  “Do you hear that? The storm is over. I bet it is because I made my decision to keep you. What do you think?” She fell asleep thinking about that.

In the morning, Livvy brought Oshi to her mother, who was in her bedroom, taking the curlers out of her hair. “Mamma!” she said, holding up Oshi.  “I want to keep this one. I don’t care if she is the littlest one. She will be happy here.”

Her mother nodded. “You know, you are now responsible for feeding her.” She waited for Livvy to acknowledge this.  “I will show you how to do that. For now that will be your chore.” Livvy smiled. This was her first chore.  “Becky will clean the litter box.” Her smile was even bigger. That would be the yucky part, and she did not mind at all.

Livvy and her mother walked around the house while her mother explained a few rules. “You will have to make sure that Oshi doesn’t climb up curtains.” Livvy could not even imagine Oshi would ever do such a thing.  “And cupboards and doors should be kept closed so the little kitty doesn’t get locked away.”  That sounded like a good idea. Her best friend had told her that their puppy had gotten lost, but had really just been locked in a kitchen cabinet.

Her mother’s voice brought her back from remembering her friend’s story. “And under no circumstances is the cat allowed to get on the table where Daddy is playing a chess game with his friend.”

“Yes, Mamma. I mean, not mamma. No getting on the table.”

Cradling Oshi in her arms while she brought her back into her room, she explained all of the rules that her mother had given her. “I know you’ll be a good girl, and we won’t get yelled at.”

Sitting on her bed, she pointed out all of the things she had, that were now also Oshi’s. “See that?” she pointed at the wall mural. It was a beautiful rainbow, and on the far right side was the pot of gold. “mamma told me that pot there with yellow things in it was that piece of resistance. What does it look like to you?” Livvy shrugged. “I don’t even know what that means. But, you know what? There’s going to be lots of time for you and me to figure out all the riddles of life.”

Dark Bends and Dead Ends

Story A Day September 2015

Day 3: Prompt: Your character is lost in a maze with the instructions to find a very important document or treasure hidden in its center. Or perhaps the character has lost this important thing, and must find it before the wrong person does. Added bonus points if they must battle a minotaur, dragon or fearsome magical villain.

At cliff’s edge, the gusts of wind were furious in their assault against that which stood upon the land. Little grew there, yet the grasses were a lush green, with the dark gray faces of stone peeking through. Scattered here and there were low granite walls, moss covered on the north side. It was a lonely place, yet it suited the purpose of one whose life was kindred to desolation. Her long blue dress swirled around her legs, as her lengthy flame colored tresses whipped around her shoulders. Her deep green eyes seemed to search the vast ocean beyond. She did not, however, see out, but, rather within.

The words of La Curandera played over and over in her mind. Going to see the healer was a last resort. The melancholy which had overtaken her heart only grew deeper, as if it was an endless abyss. It was on a trip beyond her town that she found the elder woman, during a celebration that was foreign to her own culture. The very name caused her to depart the carriage which carried her toward an asylum, recommended by the woman who ran her parent’s estate. The trip paused for all the passengers to partake of food, and allow the horses to rest.

She wandered aimlessly through the town square, turning down small cobblestone lanes as they appeared, and found herself staring at a spectacle, where folks were dressed in the dark colors of mourning. Candles decorated tables which lined a small courtyard. A cloth banner was stretched across a fountain in the center of the festivities, with ghoulish figures painted upon the material, surrounding a phrase she did not know. “Dia de los Muertos.”

The tables were like shrines, with pictures, and some fruit, and small pumpkins and orange and black flowers. The scene seemed more like a dream. The scent of burning herbs wafted upon the air. Slowly walking past these miniature tabernacles, for a moment, she felt the heaviness lift. She felt oddly drawn to the strange costumes and the ironic celebratory feel to what she understood inwardly was, if not a funeral, at the very least, a memorial to lost loved ones.

Standing before an older woman, wisps of smoke drifting up from smoldering herbs, her mind drank in the sights. “You have lost something,” the woman said.

This was the moment when she knew someone understood what so many others could not. The woman was not specifically kindly in appearance. Her demeanor, in fact, was a bit coarse. Here was someone who did not make pretense of feeling sorry, only stated a fact she saw in the stranger who stood before her.

The words felt more right than she had been able to tell of her own state of being. It was automatic that she dropped her gaze, as if out of resepct, though it was, in truth, a gesture of shame, but for something which she could not say.

“It is not lost,” the elder said, matter of factly.

They looked at each other again, the woman maintaining an aire of assurance, and the younger searching the strangly twinkling eyes for mockery.

“Can you help me?”

The Elder looked into her eyes, holding the gaze for several long seconds. She nodded. “Return here at the end of this night’s festivities.” She paused momentarily. “Now go.” The older woman turned her attention to her own table.

Slipping into the mingling crowd, the young woman found a spot to sit by the fountain and looked into the water.

A great gust of wind swept in from the ocean, and her thoughts returned to the present. It was not more than one month hence, and she had learned what was at the crux of her current circumstance. As well, she learned what she must do. There was an arduous journey ahead, leading her places that would be terrifying, and the twists and turns would test her beyond anything she had been through before.

She knew, to find what was lost, would mean entering a Labyrinth.

To Be Continued

The Red Trunk Mystery

STORY A DAY: Sept. 2015
Day 2: Personal Prompt: The Tale of the Mysterious Trunk

This story is dedicated to those Quantum Hermit followers and friends who have wanted to know the story of The Red Trunk.


Dropping in on The Little Couple who live in the Applesauce District of the town called Defying Reason, we find ourselves in the middle of a mystery. Of course, it is well known, that a mystery can not just begin in the middle. Where would be the fun in that? To tell this story, we must do the Time Warp, and understand the myriad moments leading up to the mystery of The Red Trunk.

As you might have heard, one year prior, our Heroes were dusting off shelves, sorting through all manner of family memorabelia, belonging to The Lovely Missus, getting ready to move into their inherited house in Defying Reason. When the wife of The Little Couple had been young, many, many years younger, around the time when she was playing dolls,’ on a very merry Hanukmas eve, a mighty special gift arrived.

Perhaps, it was simply a dream, for neither The Little Husband, nor The Little Wife were even aware of Defying Reason. Yet, the recollection could be the very thing which marked The Little Wife for entrance into Defying Reason, later in life. In the wee hours, betwixt and between the eve and the morn of the holiday, The Little Girl who would later become The Little Wife, awoke from sleep to find a magical parade of Elves, tip toeing past the beds of children who should not be stirring. Through sleepy eyes, The Little Girl spied a baby carriage passing by, inside of which was a child.

Sleep overtook The Little Girl, and when she awoke in the morning, and the family gathered for Hanukmas opening ceremonies, she found that there had, in deed, been a carriage, though smaller than she’d thought, and within was a beautiful Tiny Tears Doll.

Now, little girls in all the world, grow up and out of their desire to ‘play dolls,’ eventually, though it has been known that there is always that one treasured toy which a child will carry through their growing years, and somewhere down a long and winding road of life, they will find that coveted toy, once again. It will be a special moment, and on that occasion, faced with To Toss, or Not To Toss, the child will gently wrap the baby doll into her blanket, and place her into a Memory Chest.

The Little Girl had done just that, and it was one of two prized toys with which she could not part. The second toy was a little stuffed dalmation puppy, which The Little Girl had pleaded her parent’s to let her get after leaving the theater where a whimsical tale about 101 Dalmations had been shown. All children fell in love with a particular puppy from the moving picture show, and The Little Girl was no different. His name was Peppy, and she did get this stuffed animal.

Thus, placed in the toy box, next to Tiny Tears, The Little Stuffed Puppy, joined the treasure chest. When The Little Girl had grown to become The Little Woman, and her family moved away from her childhood home, she had found this chest and claimed it for her personal ‘must keep’ items.

Many journeys ensued, and The Little Wife knew her precious belongings were protected within the metal chest in the Town of Defying Reason, where she had moved, as was mandated by those who were called to become true residents of the little town.

And so it was, when The Little Couple were sorting through everything from her family, that she remembered distinctly the chest was last seen beneath the stairs, to where many of The Little Wife’s things had been moved when she had journeyed far, and journeyed wide, to a land beyond a Line which was named for a Mason and a Dixon.

At first, excitedly, she pulled things out from the space beneath the stairs, but non were The Red Trunk. As time passed, and she searched high in the attic, and low in the basement, her hope of finding The Red Trunk diminished. Whatever could have happened to it? Where would the parents of The Little Wife have put it? With a heavy heart, she continued the work of moving, and getting on with living in the Town of Defying Reason.

One afternoon, in the late autumn, when the leaves had fallen from the trees and the bushes, and the land was barren, as it becomes for the winter, The Little Wife was strolling the grounds which belonged to The Little Couple. Once before she had noticed there was a pile of wood, planks, actually, deep within the minor forested borderland, which in summer is not easy to see for the flora which grows in abundance.

The excitement which filled The Little Wife, was not of knowing what lay beneath the wood, but from the possibility of discovering something interesting. Stepping over the drooping skellital branches of once thriving brush, she pushed one plank off the top, and then another, and another until a gasp could be heard from The Little Wife. Standing wide-eyed, there, now rusted, and peeling, was THE Red Trunk! But what would have brought this into being?

Working hard to pull the latch away to lift up the lid, her spirits began to rise! She could not imagine the whys and wherefores of it, but the find alone would be worth all the saddness of believing all was lost.

The top creaked as it was pulled away from the body of the trunk. The Little Wife looked in. It was empty. A perplexed look came over her face, and she made her way back to the house, to bring The Little Husband out so they could both muse over the discovery, which still left a mystery looming large over them.

Defying Reason, once again, lived up to its name. For an empty Red Trunk does not make sense. The tale for this moment is at its conclusion, leaving the question, and the mystery of the missing Tiny Tears, and the Dalmation Puppy.

Without A Trace

Story A Day: September 2015

Day 1 Prompt – write a story that features people disappearing

I woke up before the alarm. It had been happening more frequently of late, and while it puzzled me, I figured it was just too much time spent on the thought treadmill. Round and round they go, at once monontenous, and at the same time flag wavers, trying to get my attention. One after the other, a running banter of mind chatter.

Stepping out of bed, my feet slid into my slippers, and I clomped across the room, seeking to still the running dialog. As I stepped over the doorjam into the bathroom, the silence became tangible. It was like entering a great cathedral, where the quiet was filled with peace. I smiled, and glanced at my reflection as I passed the mirror on the medicine chest. Damned cataracts. I was fuzzy, or to be exact, my refection was. I cut off the inevitable inner voice. No time for filling in an itinerary I’ll never actually do.

The shower felt simply fine, washing away the memories of yesterday. I considered this might be my favorite part during the day. Toweling my hair, I returned to the mirror. “There you are,” I remarked. All brand new, and ready to face the day. The burriness had gone, and I smiled. Just sleep in my eyes. This it is, and nothing more.

After I put the finishing touches on my wardrobe, I went to tend to breakfast. First stop, however, was my bookshelves where the cherished framed pictures of my family stood, memory moments, frozen in a time gone by, but treasured beyond measure.

The first photograph was of my three children, when they were younger, before college, and prior to meeting their respective spouses, and making families of their own. Bringing two fingers to my lips, I kissed them, and touched them to each smiling face.

It seemed so very long since I’d seen any of them. Moving away to places where they could make a living and raise their children away from the city, where there was clean air, good schools, and… I sighed, my mind pushing at a reality I did not care to visit. Better left unsaid, and shoved into the dark recesses.

Each grandchild had their own frame, and cherub faces grinned up at me, their Gammy. By now, those features had matured into boys and girls, who were navigating those treacherous teenage years. And when did they have time for Gammy, anymore? That was a question which haunted my dreams, and sleepless nights. When did I last see them? But of course, my brain could not easily pull up specifics of these questions.

At the end of the line, two final framed images stood. The second to last, a full family shot, all nicely decked out for the holidays. Lifting a cloth up I wiped off the glass protecting the picture. Dust! That was the bane of any house wife’s existance. Some clarity returned, though I could see that some Windex might be necessary on the one section over my sweet departed love, and myself. I rubbed at it a bit more, but the stain remained. Glancing at the last photo, of my too long gone husband, I saw it was quite smudged as well.

Making a mental note to clean that shelf thoroughly, sometime during the day, I continued on my journey to the morning meal. Perusing the cupboards, and refrigerator, I transferred that mental note onto the top page of my notebook under the ‘to-do’ list.  Where in heavens did all the food go? It seemed everything, even in a single person house, disappeared more quickly these days.

As I stood peering into the refrigerator, a flash of the days when it was chock full of all manner of food and drink popped up. But now, well, that was a different story. One person did not need to stock pile gobs of food. One person only needed a quart of milk, a small tub of butter, and no need for a family size loaf of bread.

I wrote down the items I’d need and finally made my simple morning meal. A nice walk to the store would kill two birds with one stone. I wrinkled up my nose at the expression. Couldn’t they have come up with something less dreadful? I wondered, briefly, how the birds felt about it. Dismissing the maudelin thought, I agreed that a walk would fulfill my allotment of exercise for today, and stock my pantry.

Outside, I was greeted with a stunning Autumn-like day. It was that transition time, when the nights were cooler, and the days were not as hot and humid as earlier in the summer. The sky was that striking clear blue, peeking down between the still full green branches of the Maples, and Oaks, and Elms. With my trusty shopping cart, I ambled down the street toward the avenue. At the corner, I turned left to go down to the butcher. They still had them in the city, even with supermarkets popping up everywhere.

I stopped outside, and looked down at today’s specials, displayed in the window. Shading my eyes, I looked inside. Only three others waiting at the counter, which would make it a quick stop. Out of habit, I stepped back to check my reflection, which seemed faded with the sun so bright today. Oh well, Frank the butcher would have to just accept my old dishevelled self. He always did, with a smile and a bright “good morning, Mrs. Singer.”

I saw him glance over at me, when the door jingled as I entered, then turn back to his current customer.  “Sal, go check and make sure the door is catching. I just heard the bell, but nobody came in.”

“That was me, Frank,” I said. He nodded, and I thought he heard me, but was actually focused on the order he was taking from Mrs. Flarity.

Waiting was making me feel very tired. Three other customers came in and lined up against the wall, where I was standing, to wait for their turn. This was going to take longer than I expected, and I decided I’d come back later.

Back on the sidewalk, I walked toward  Food Fair, our small, local grocery store. At the corner of my street, the sky darkened, and rain began falling. I did not even have an umbrella. There was nothing about a storm on news this morning. This day was certainly taking a turn toward getting on my last nerve. I hurried down the block and stepped inside the vestibule of the building where I lived. Retrieving my keychain, I found the little mailbox key, and went to the bank of boxes on the wall. The key slid into place, and I pulled out the mail. The top letter was addressed to a Mrs. Harriet Arnes. I shook my head. This is the problem with all the high tech automation. Now I’d have to go down and drop it into the mailbox. I looked more closely at the address. It was the right street, and the right number, and… I stopped. It was my apartment! I put that letter at the back, and looked at the next envelope. It, too, was also addressed  to Harriet Arnes. That’s odd. I closed up my cart, and pushed through the door into the building’s interior. I had to get to the bottom of this.

The elevator was just on the 3rd floor, and I could hear the gears as it came down to the lobby. I made a note that the doors looked dirty, as I waited. I usually could see myself reflected back, but apparently the super had not taken the time to polish. Polishing was important, didn’t anyone know these things anymore? I sighed.

When the car arrived, I pressed the button marked 2 and rode up. Once was I could walk up the stairs. With a shrug I exited on the second floor, and went to my apartment. The key did not turn in the lock. I jiggled it. It sometimes got stuck. But it still wouldn’t unlatch the door. Oh for goodness sake!

“Can I help you?” a voice asked, from behind. A woman of considerable less years than myself stepped to the side, as I looked around.

“I’m trying to get this blasted key to unlock my apartment.”

She arched an eyebrow. “Your apartment?”

I nodded. “Yes, I live here.”

“As do I,” she said.

I could feel my eyebrows knit together. I suddenly wondered if I’d gotten off at the wrong floor? Had it gone to the third?  “I don’t think so. I’ve lived here for forty years. I think I’d know my own apartment.”  One of my little flag wavers niggled at my consciousness. Those letters which had been addressed to my apartment number were still in my hand. “Harriet Arnes?” I asked suddenly.

“Yes, how did you know?”

I handed her the pieces of mail. “These were in my box, downstairs.”

As she took them, I asked her how long she had lived here. “A little more than a year.”

“And from whom did you get this apartment?” I asked.

She looked beyond, thinking. “I believe it was an Ethan Singer.”

“Ethan?” That was my son. “How did this come to pass?” I asked.

“The apartment was listed. The realtor said it had been vacant for almost five years.  Mr. Singer was selling it as his mother had disappeared five years prior, and the super was raising the rent again, and… Are you alright?”

I felt as if the world was growing dim around me. “I’m not feeling very well. I could use a sip of water,” I said, my mouth feeling dry.

Mrs.  Arnes unlocked the door and ushered me inside. I expected to see all of my belongings, but not a one was in evidence. It occurred to me that I might be having a stroke, and imagining, or hallucinating this circumstance. She led me into the kitchen, and took a bottle of water from the refrigerator, after offering me a chair to sit on. Pouring it into a glass, she handed it to me. I drank a bit, feeling my mind swirling with unimaginable scenarios.

“Do you know how Mrs. Singer disappeared?”

“No one knows,” Mrs. Arnes responded. “She’d been living here all alone, after her children left, and she’d been a widow. One day she was here, so it was said, and then one day she was not.”

I felt the reality of the phrase, ‘blood runs cold.’ Mine felt like icebergs were birthing off the placque in my arteries, melting and flowing. “Would you mind if I used your bathroom?” I asked.

“It’s down the hall.” She gestured with her hand.

I walked back down a hall very different from the one I’d traversed this very  morning, filled with wall hangings that I’d never seen. The bedroom was decorated with updated, modern furniture. There was not a trace of my life left.

Stepping into the bathroom, I paused and turned toward the mirror. I did not see a reflection staring back, only the wall behind me.

Previous Older Entries