A Thicker Thread

cubed-nut CrispinaKemp


“They left it here for a reason.”

Barbra rolled her eyes. There was hardly a thing Robin would not make a story of. “Okay, I’ll play. Who did and what for?”

Robin approached the holed-out structure with something like reverence. The round openings were just large enough for small children to wriggle through and climb and sit on with legs dangling. She had, when young, though she hadn’t seen many playing on it recently. Perhaps it meant the time was nearing.

“The fuamhairean had,” she said. “The giants left it but they will come back.”

“And supposing they exist, what could possibly be their reason to deposit it here?”

Robin sighed. Barbra wasn’t a believer. She wasn’t expected to understand. Still, it was important to explain. “It is a bead for their necklace. Their string tore. They’re waiting for the elves to weave them a thicker thread. It takes years.”



For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

* fuamhairean – “giants” in Scots Gaelic



The Others’ Side

Photo: Sue Vincent


“Why is it this way, Mama?”

The woman let the small hoe drop from her hand. She straightened, hands over the small of her back, achy from the bending. The plot was spare, and the harshness of many a hard winter had stripped most of the topsoil off, leaving more pebbles than dirt. Still, it was better than nothing, and she was thankful.

The child had been sorting stones into piles. Larger ones. Medium ones. Smaller. There were repairs to make to walls and fences, and very little in the way of clay. Sizing stones helped make the puzzle of fitting the best bit in the best place, easier. It was a tedious chore that the girl somehow managed to make into a game. She had that magic in her, Margot did, the spark of joy that Annabelle spent every night praying would not ever have cause to slough off or be snuffed out.


Annabelle nodded and turned her head toward the object of the child’s query. She’d had no option but to sit the child facing the chasm. One did not turn one’s back to the mist. Disrespectful. Ill fated. Even for children, who normally carried more protection by nature of their youth. Still, it was best to take precaution, and what the child learned early, she was less likely to forget later on and take a wrong step.

There was reason this plot was made available. Not many farmed so near the rift. Some claimed the uneasy air made foodstuffs grow small and weary.

Some did not have the luxury of growing theirs elsewhere.

“The light does not quite shine there the same way,” she said.

“What did they do?” the child’s voice was filled with pity, not fear, and Annabelle did not know whether in this particularity the compassion was something to celebrate or warn against.

“Some say they’d tied their soul to dark,” Annabelle sighed. The split and its reality was not something often spoken of. Yet unless some miracle happened and their circumstances changed, the child was destined to spend many days in close proximity to the Others’ side. It was better she heard truth from her mother, than distortions from those who felt more comfortable with lies.

She felt the child’s small hand slip into her calloused palm.

“They are not different than us, Margot. Not really. There was time before the split, before the earth heaved and the crack formed and separated this land into its pieces, where we all lived mixed together, if we even knew we were more than one kind. Now those who had happened to be on the parts that became the other side of this canyon, have the mountains dump the clouds onto them and the rapids raise a constant mist. It diminishes their sun.”

The child shuddered. Annabelle squeezed her hand to reassure her.

“There are those who chose to make their fear into a hatred, Margot. And that led to needing to make those one hated, be worthy of such ill-regard.”

“So they are good?”

“Most are. And some very likely aren’t.”

“And the big rocks?” Margot turned her head to inspect the piles she had just made. The stones balanced atop each other in formations mirroring the massive ones on the misty horizon.

“Put there, no doubt. No one quite knows why or how. Some say the ghosts of evil did it. The goblins that spit poison from the earth and crack the ground. I? I think it was people who’d arranged them. As you had the smaller ones.”

Annabelle had never shared with anyone the image that she’d seen nine months before the child was born. The figures scurrying on the impossible embankment, tucking what appeared to be smaller stones in the places where rocks nestled atop one another. The reverent silence of the people had her wonder whether they perhaps saw the rocks as headstones, memorials to those who had been lost to the maw that had swallowed so many when it had first sliced open the ground. A maw many did not believe anyone crossed.

She used her free hand to lift the girl’s chin so their eyes met. “Why did you put them this way, child?”

The gray eyes widened for a moment. In thought, not worry. “I wanted to respect the other stones, Mama. Their balance. How they don’t fall into the underside.”

Annabelle’s eyes filled. Her breath caught.

She smiled.

She never did find out who had forced her that night. She was blamed aplenty as it was, and so she never did tell anyone that she’d believed it had been someone who might’ve seen her watch them. Someone from the Others’ side.





For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto



Once Upon A Swing

Photo Prompt © Ceayr


“It’s where he comes to make a wish,” Johanna whispered over her swing’s ropes as the girls passed each other on the swing-set, ringlets flying in the breeze.

Marie’s eyes widened and she forgot to pump her legs. The old man looked like many others she’d seen. Or was he? She’s never known anyone grown who made wishes. In real life. Into a fountain. Like in stories. It made her wonder what other things in tales were true. Perhaps goblins? Or princesses?

“His wife died, you see,” Johanna added, impressed by her cousin’s reaction. “He wishes for her to return.”



For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers





Brugge, Belgium (Photo: Libby Penner on Unsplash)


Some call this city “Venice of the North,” but they don’t know the other direction this town goes, and it is not one of the winds.

I know, because I’ve seen it.

Seen what lies beneath the streets, glazed over by blind eyes of tourists snapping photos, dismissed by those who should know better yet still refuse to view.

For the ones beneath need acknowledgement to manifest. Not trust, recognition.

I know, because I don’t trust them. Not one bit. And yet they are there, plain as anything: The Upenders.

They’ve been here before people, and they expect you pay respects. Their mirage is reflected in the still waters of the canals, and when you let yourself go below the floor, beyond the basement, they’ll reveal themselves. If you won’t visit, beware. For when you least expect, they’ll rise to flip yours over, resentful of a willful ignorance of Upending.



For What Pegman Saw: Belgium


It’s Your Sign


Photo: Josh Rangel via Upsplash


“It’s your sign,” she said.

“I don’t care,” he muttered.

“Yep, in your sign, too.”

He scowled and she laughed and he knew that anything he’d do or refuse to, would become her proof of the zodiac dictating his life, actions, tastes, worldview.



For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Zodiac in 43 words




Praying Mantis Dvora Freedman

Photo: Dvora Freedman


In a world of Divine


Of all kinds,

Little wonder

A Mantis

Folds green limbs

To Life’s design.



Merriam-Webster’s word for June 13, 2018:


This post continues the blogging challenge in which Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day, serves as inspiration a-la the “Daily Prompt.”

Want to join me? Feel free to link to this post on your blog, and/or post a link to your blogpost in the comment section below so others can enjoy it, too. Poetry, photography, short stories, anecdotes: Go for it!

For more visibility, tag your post with #WordOfDayNY, so your post can be searchable.

“Follow” me if you want to receive future prompts, or just pop in when you’re looking for inspiration. Here’s to the fun of writing and our ever-evolving blogging community!





Before you lash out in righteousness to put down someone else,


Before you cling-wrap your views against dissent or protest,


Before you rush to justify hurtful decisions others’ made,


Before you call ‘your’ God the only ‘right one,’


Before you claim your nationality inherently superior,


Before you blind yourself to others’ pain in a show of pseudo-legality,


Before you seek to follow those who leave others behind,


Before you point out others’ hate as ‘causing’ yours toward them,


Before you rate some lives more worthy of respecting or protecting,


Before you stand behind those who object injustice by inflicting it,


Before you turn your back on instability you’d contributed to but now blame on others,


Before you shrug off bullying, rudeness, disrespect, as “saying like it is,”


Before you pack away the sway of facts, veracity, science, reality,



None of the above need be automatic.

None are the only way,

To live with some decisions you have made

Yet elect to look away from

Now that push has come to shove.

You are better than that.

Your soul will recall compassion.

It still remembers how,

If you just pause.



On The Matter Of Monsters

Angelika Scudamore - monsters under bed scene

http://www.angelikasillustrations.com: “monsters under bed scene”


Zane’s mother looked exhausted. I asked her if all was well.

“He won’t go to sleep unless I’m with him, he is taking forever to fall asleep and waking me up several times every night,” she sighed. “It is exhausting.”

“How come?” I asked, looking from the preschooler to his mother.

“It’s the monsters,” he chirped to clarify.

“For the hundredth time, Zane,” his mom exasperated, “there is no such things as monsters and there are certainly none in your room!”

“Is too!” his lower lip tightened in determination then began to tremble.

Zane’s mom took in a long breath and mouthed a silent “help.”

I smiled gently. The matter of monsters comes up often. Many young children–especially between four and six years of age–go through a period where they fear monsters. Under the bed, in the closet, behind the curtains/desk/wardrobe/chair, camouflaged among the stuffed animals on the top shelf … At the age where imagination and reality can merge and the veil between what’s real and what could be is thin, many children find the dark ominous and fear the parting with parents for the night and being left to their own thoughts and imagination. They are often too young to verbalize what it is they fear, exactly, but the feelings are still there: scary, dark, sneaky; the territory and making of monsters.

Scared or fearing to become so, they plead, coerce, and cry for their parents to stay and make sure they are okay.

Some are reassured by the adult checking under bed or dressers. For others, securing the closet door closed can suffice. However, for many, the fear remains in the ‘what if’ category: “what if the monster comes later?”, “what if the monster opens the door?”, “what if it is invisible and you can’t see it?”, “what if it just pretending to be my shoes but it will scare me later?”

Perception, reality, and belief make a sticky trio; and declaring monsters nonexistent rarely helps. To many children–as with Zane–this only makes the fear grow further and adds frustrated loneliness onto it, making nighttime doubly scary.

Zane’s mother needed her sleep. Zane needed his to feel safe. It was time to bring out the ‘big guns.’

I looked at the boy. A messy head of curls, brown piercing eyes under thick brows, a smattering of freckles on a button nose, wide lips, and a tongue that likes to slip out during speech and activity regardless of whether its presence is required (the tongue thrust being the main reason he sees me for speech-therapy).

The little boy regarded me. He needed to ascertain whose side I was on. “I have monsters,” he announced, “under my bed.”

“Yikes,” I replied. “This sounds scary.”

He smiled and turned to glare victoriously at his mommy.

She looked at me with uncertainty.

“You also see monsters!?” he checked, suddenly a bit wary of the possibility. Monsters being real is one thing. Monsters being REAL is quite another.

“Nah,” I shook my head. “But you say you do, so maybe they are there.”

He nodded quickly.

“What do they look like?” I wondered aloud.

“I don’t know!” he exclaimed. “They are hiding under my bed and it’s dark.” He followed that obvious fact with an ‘adults-can-be-so-thick’ look.

“Oh.” I demurred. “What if you turn on the light?”

“You can’t see them in the light. They do magic.”


“If I go to sleep by myself they will come and get me,” he warned. “Mommy says they not there but they are.”

“Well then,” I breathed. “I’m not in your house and I haven’t seen them, but just in case they are there, have you tried telling them you don’t want them there?”

“They don’t know English,” he responded.

“They don’t?” I let my voice rise some.

“No!” he explained, “they only speak Monster.”


He nodded sagely.

“…and they eat children,” he added for emphasis, then his eyes grew big with fright at the possibility of his own words and he backpedaled, “…um, maybe … if they really hungry.”

“We can’t let that happen,” I said.

He nodded again, reached for my hand.

I squeezed his little palm in reassurance. Children may be small but their fears can still be big, and their imaginations; bigger.

“Good thing we know what to do,” I stated.

He looked at me hopefully.

I pursed my lips in contemplation. “Have you tried Monster Spray?”

“Monster Spray?” This sounded intriguing.

“Yeah. They hate the stuff. Makes their noses itch.”

His eyes grew again, this time with wonder. He looked at his mom, clearly expecting her to know everything there is to know about sprays and all manner of remedies.

She raised her palms up in bewilderment and gave me an ‘I hope you know what you are doing’ glare.

“It works every time,” I reassured both of them.

“What’s Monster Spray?” Zane asked. “Mommy, you have to listen, too,” he ordered. “Because you didn’t learn it yet.”

I swallowed a chuckle. I was waiting to see how he would get back at her for not believing him that monsters waited under his bed waiting to eat children (maybe … if they really hungry…).

“It’s a spray and it makes monsters go away. It smells the same as an air freshener or perfume. The monsters don’t know the difference,” I said meaningfully. Mom’s eyebrows lifted and the corner of her month twitched a bit. Good. One aboard.

“Like in the bathroom?” Zane’s eyes narrowed suspiciously.

“Sort of. Doesn’t have to be the same one, though. You can pick any scent you like. They hate all of them. Makes their noses itch. Here is what you have to do. You listening?

He was.

“First, you find a spray that smells good to you. Mommy can help you choose. Next you make a sign that says “Monster Spray” and you tape it on the bottle …”

He nodded in approval. It was important to label things. Especially when it came to monsters.

“…and before you go to sleep you spray a bit under your bed, and if you want you can spray a little in the air, and that’s it. If the monsters are there they will say: ‘Oh, no, Monster Spray, we better come another day!’ and they’ll go away.”

Zane’s jaw hung open in delight. “For really?”

“Yep,” I nodded. “Works every time. If there are monsters there, they’ll run away from the monster spray.”

“What if they come tomorrow?”

“If they come another day, they’ll have to deal with more monster spray … and they’ll say: ‘Oh, no, Monster spray …”

“… better come another day!” he completed, his eyes shining.

“So we’ll have to do this forever?” Zane’s mom. I could sense her wariness about committing to nightly spray-bottle battles till Zane was in college.

“Oh, no,” I clarified. “You see, once you do it a few times, if the monsters come again they will say: ‘Oh no, more Monster Spray; we better go another way.’ They hate this stuff so much, they will tell all their monster friends to go another way!”

“Better go another way!” Zane clapped his hands, intoning, “Oh, no, Monster Spray; better go another way! Hey!” he paused, “Spray-way!” he lisped. “It rhyme!”

“It does indeed!”

“Spray, spray, go away,” Zane sang to himself and doodled as I explained the ‘anti-monster process’ to his mother.

Any scented spray would work. Body mist or freshener or even bottled water with some essential oils, vanilla extract, or lavender for scent. The scent will help Zane remember that the ‘Monster Spray’ is working, and can make associations to feeling safe and in control. I recommended keeping the spray bottle within reach, in case he woke at night and needed a ‘booster squeeze.’

As we returned to speech-sound practice, we spent part of the session making a label with the words “Monster Spray” on it, complete with a drawing of a dark-green/red/black blob (“that’s the monster, but you can’t see it because it is under”) and a figure in a cape holding a spray bottle like a sword (“that’s me, because I am super-Zane”).

The progress report the following week was that the monsters had such itchy noses the first time Zane used the newly minted spray on them, that they declared right away: “Oh, no, Monster Spray; Better go another way.” When a few monsters did not get the memo and tried their luck a few nights later, Zane spritzed them and they reportedly scuttled away to warn all others that: “Zane has Monster Spray, better go another way!”

monster Spray1