Outed

folly- CrispinaKemp

 

“What is this place?”

“An outhouse?” Marti sniffed, perhaps for clues.

Barbara wrinkled her nose. Marti always did have a potty brain. “It would not make sense without a door, now, would it?”

“Ventilation?” Marti doubled down. “And anyway, a door could be removed.”

“No hole in the ground,” Barbara pointed out.

“Could have been filled in or covered.”

Barbara shook her head. Even covered in leaves and mud, the floor of the small structure looked too evenly tiled for that.

“So, if you such a genius,” Marti sneered at his know-it-all cousin, “what do you think it is?”

Barbara inspected the arched entrance, the partially enclosed back wall, the proximity to the ancient manor’s fence. A guard post, she thought, but did not say. There would be no fun in that.

“A portal to Avalon,” she stated loftily.

“Ah,” Marti retorted. “As I said, it is an outhouse, then.”

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

Going Farther

into-the-woods-ccc100

 

On the tenth visit on the tenth week following her tenth birth day, she took ten additional steps beyond the Big Tree Boundary.

She went Farther.

At first nothing happened. The woods looked as they had before. The trees no different in the Farther Realm than they were in the land she’d known and was allowed in until then: Green branches, a ground springy with the fallen leaves, wind whispering in the tree tops, birds’ song.

Then the light shifted and the air shimmered with a sense of something else. A being with.

She shuddered. Not in fear but with expectation. Not everyone went Farther, and none she knew spoke of what they’d found.

She stilled. The world around her blinked. The forest floor awoke.

Her heart raced and she inhaled. Her soul spoke. She knew it! She knew it! She’d be among the few allowed to see Fair Folk.

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

Together

nicola-nuttall-n0gbxCVQ-wA-unsplash

Photo: Nicola Nuttall on Unsplash

 

They walked through fields

Of  heather

Seeking remedy

For those

Soon to be together,

Gathering the makings

Of the broom

They’d use

To sweep away their

Woes.

 

 

For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Heather in 27 words

 

 

 

One For The Mists

low-cloud SueVincent

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

Her people came from the place where the mist rests on the turf and the ladder to and from the heavens can unfurl. It was where they all still lived.

It breathes, mist does. The fog kisses the lungs in moisture like that from which all of them had come: the womb, the sea, the ocean sky.

Alana still dreamed of days before her mind awoke to awareness. Cocooned inside her mother, growing to the beat of steady drums and gurgling songs.

“Wombs are portable heaven,” her grandmother said, the peat spade matching her words thump to thunk. “All is created. All is attended to. All is removed that no longer belongs. It is magic personified.”

And magic has a price, Alana thought. For all things do. Sometimes it sends a mother back to heaven. Sometimes it sends back both if the ladder into heaven leans in too close.

Her grandmother, Meara The Midwife, had delivered her into the world. As she had practically everyone Alana knew. Nana also helped ease the passage of women, including that of her own daughter Nola – Alana’s mother – back into the mists of old where breath was no longer needed to sustain the soul.

“It is a blessing to be from the land of mist,” Nana’s strong arms tossed a steady stream of peat blocks for Alana to stack. “Even if blessings can carry a cost,” she added, pausing for a moment to rub the small of her back, and to regard the ten-year-old.

The child’s auburn curls escaped the confines of her kerchief and any ties and ribbons one tried to wrestle them into. She was a quiet one, even as a wee lass, green-flecked eyes like moss on peat and cheeks like peaches in cream. Observing. Taking in.

She’s one for the mists, Meara thought, but never said. One did not make words for such things. Not for anyone. Let alone for the granddaughter one wrestled back from heaven’s ladder. Born too early, this one was, and at the same time too late for her mother’s life to go on.

Meara sighed and smiled small reassurance at Alana, whose features tightened in response to her grandmother’s exhalation. A mist child indeed, this one. Reading others in the smallest of breaths.

Nola had been this way. Sensitive. Perceptive.

Secretive, too. In many ways like the babe she’d borne. Half of her time spent in dream and memories of mist.

Meara shook her head to clear her own. She pointed her chin toward the ground. “A few more of these and we’ll head home. Let us see if we can get there before this bank of fog rolls down to completely mist up our path through the bog.”

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto

 

 

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

 

 

A Reservoir Of Fate

gunton-well CrispinaKemp

 

Mauve wondered what lay behind the walls. The structure was heavily surrounded by briars, vines, and weeds that would leave welts on anyone who tried to make their way through them. Though many of the plants seemed native to the area, she couldn’t avoid the feeling that their placement and proliferation was intentional.

She saw no opening. The smooth walls were obviously water tight, and the pipe that drained into the small semi-circular pool hinted at some kind of reservoir. But who would build one and leave no means of entry? Why? Why in the forest?

“‘Tis magic water,” Mrs. Ainsley explained that night, wooden spoon stirring pots over the fire.

Was the old woman joking? Mauve couldn’t see her face.

“I would not drink it,” the enigmatic bed-and-breakfast hostess added. “Too potent. But rinse your feet in it if you wish. Been known to change some young folks’ fate.”

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

The Light On

Photo: Sue-Z

 

They left the corner light on at night.

A habit.

A ritual.

An understanding.

The stone path had been there before they bought the property, and the remains of a lantern post. It was right where they’d wanted a vegetable garden, and so at first the plan was to plow the area clear and remove the slabs and pebbles.

But then the hoe broke.

And then the belt on the mower.

And then there was the matter of their daughter’s bellowing every time they tried to work on that part of the yard.

She was barely two at the time. Not quite talking. And yet she managed to throw “No! No!” tantrums and pull at their clothing and plop herself in utter-toddler-dejection right onto where they aimed to work.

“You best give up,” their neighbor nodded her warty chin, sage eyes not unkind in understanding.

It was the Fair Ones, she explained. They had their own paths. Their own energy highways.

“The ancients had marked it. To hold space and to deter the mischief. It is easier. And the young ones can still see.”

They left the light on.

Repaired the path.

Moved the vegetable garden.

Life was better calm.

 

 

 

For Sunday Photo Fiction

 

 

In Their Skin

keith-luke-dKe9GgzS8Ek-unsplash

Photo: Keith Luke on Unsplash

 

Eons had passed

Since when they had

Their skins

Stolen

By man.

 

They learned to love

The life they had

Yet dreams

Cried hope

Aground.

 

Till secrets told

By men at night

Got heard

And sang

Around.

 

And off they went

The selkie all

Safe in

Their skin,

Unbound.

 

 

For the dVerse poetry challenge: Selkie

 

 

Carve The Cliffs

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

The calls of people searching for him reached his ears but he ignored them. They’d find him soon enough, and there would be punishment for him whether he answered or not. He preferred making good use of his time till then. Listening to other things.

The gulls dipped and screamed above the crashing surf. A rain-cloud hovered over the water, advancing like the searchers toward an inevitable drenching of the shore. It was his perfect weather. This mist on air. The colors. The expectation.

Did the cliffs welcome the rain or dread it? Sometimes he wondered whether for the rocks, perched above the ocean, there was relief in showers washing like tears down their stony cheeks.

He could see those. Tears. Cheeks. Faces. Hidden in the rocks.

Others mocked him for it. They said he was loose in the mind. Lacking logic. Too dreamy. Insane.

They tried beating it out of him. Did they think their thumps and slaps and lashes could drive away who he was, the way a kick sometimes dissuaded a stray dog from nosing near the chicken coop? There were times he’d wondered, curled in sobbing misery, whether it would not be better if they could.

Yet as soon as the sting subsided and the tears dried and a new morning dawned, he would feel the itch inside his soul awaken, stronger. It could not be squelched. It would no be ignored. There were spirits in those mountains. There were faces in the cliffs. He saw them. Heard their call.

An arm grasped his shoulder. Shook him. Slapped his head. Angry words garbled at his ears. He let the scolding drip to the ground. He let himself be led.

When he was grown, he vowed, he was going to carve the cliffs and release the stone-people from the prisons of ancient overgrown rock. He was going to help, so the rain could wash, freely, down their liberated cheeks.

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto

 

 

The Wait

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

In the days of old they’d walk out on the water at high tide, appearing to float atop the waves.

It was a sign of trust.

Also of recognition. For they’d come from the water, after all. Their bodies might have forgotten how to live in it, but their cousins — seals, dolphins, whales — still held links to what was possible. And they spoke of long swims and deep dives and frolicking, and of how one day they’d all come home again.

And so they hoped.

And let themselves be carried by tentative feet on mossy rocks built far in and well past the breakers, all the way to the beginnings of the depths.

First as children whose hands were grasped by others’. Then as youngsters showing off their balance and their fearless speed (and perhaps a bit of memory from within their cells, of swiveling agility and joy being in of itself a kind of swimming). Then as new adults, saddled with fuller understanding and big bellies or wrapped by legs and arms of small ones holding tight around the waist and neck. Then as elders, wary of a fall and fearful even more of a child letting go of their hand and drowning. And at the last, as age counted no more, carried, offered, sent home to the sea.

Yes, in the days of old they’d walk out onto the water.

In celebration. In commemoration. In passage. In ritual and prayer and courage and communal hope.

Till they forgot.

And the waves licked the rocks till very little path was left, and dolphins and seals and whales no longer were spoken to and had moved on, and the earth and depths curled tight to wait.

For the people’s lungs still ached for the swim, and their heart still beat to the rhythm of the surf as they slept, and they still made a bit of ocean in their eyes, especially when they wept.

 

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s Write Photo