Prudence’s Heart

Regency romances are a subgenre of romance novels set during the period of the British Regency (1811–1820) or early 19th century. The distinction rests on the genre definition of Regency Romance: works in the tradition of Georgette Heyer, with an emphasis on the primary romance plot, are considered traditional. I spent many hours doing research and listed links below. I cried at the end of my own story. What I learned with this genre is that there is a lot of research that goes into these fictional stories and have found a new respect for individuals that write in this genre.


My older sister Lucy-Anne and I laid in bed after a long night of dancing and socializing at what was considered the event of the season. Lucy-Anne danced with her fiance and I was introduced to many handsome amiable bachelors. Several calling cards were left for my father, mother, and myself wishing to call upon us for a visit this morning. I was hoping for a card from Ezra. I know that my father didn’t approve of him simply because he didn’t have the same prestige as Lucy-Anne’s soon to be husband. However, I thought being a doctor was quite fascinating. To be able to heal the human body, preventing death, that was the closest relationship with God. What I tried to convey to my father is his hands were tools from God. He had a gift of compassion so he surely must be kind without wanting to impress. Not to mention his choice of employment would always be required. My father disagreed.

Day after day my father received gentlemen who were all of a high social stature and most were handsome. I was endlessly bored listening to how the weather faired or answering about one’s health, and who cared about their kin? I knew what they really hunting, my dowry. It was all a business to them and my family. I was nothing more than chattel. My parents hoped that I marry well, to be best matched with a husband that will further our household. I was handsome, or that’s what my parents would say but the hidden meaning was my female usefulness. I would breed attractive children. I couldn’t play the pianoforte, sing, or sew but I could draw. My family’s only hope for my survival was a proposal of marriage.

My father was approached by the very wealthy and might I add rude Mr. Pembroke. He was the most frequent of my callers and won my father over during their hunting trips. While my father away my mother fussed over my edema. It vexed her so heavily that she called upon my handsome doctor Ezra. The visits started out as once a week. He advised me about my diet, salt intake, and to get as much fresh air and rest as possible. I would confide in him that I had my good days and bad. I expressed that I wished he could see me on my well days. He understood that as seeing me as a patient whereas I wished for him to call upon for other than being my physician. During the course of three months, Ezra would come to see me as a patient whenever my mother called on him or sent a servant to fetch him. I thought we should invite him to stay on our estate so he wouldn’t have to travel so much.

It was close to Christmas when I wasn’t feeling particularly well and I was just betrothed to Mr. Pembroke and our two families were to spend the holidays together. I expressed my ill feeling and wanted to lay down but my father insisted I dress and receive Mr. Pembroke Sr, Mrs. Pembroke, Mr. Pembroke etc…It was as if the entire family line were waiting for the introduction of their soon to be a cash cow or daughter-in-law. We were all sitting in the drawing room when the next thing I remember was waking up on the floor on my back. Such a fuss was being made over me especially by my soon to be mother-in-law. My father gently picked me up and carried me to my room as my mother sent for Ezra.

I laid in bed sweating and feeling ill in my stomach. Ezra arrived when my mother was by my side and a quick introduction was made to the physician and Mr. Pembroke Jr. Ezra walked into the room commanding the room and diligence since my illness has escalated.
‘Am I going to die?’ I managed to whisper as Ezra listened to my heart.
‘Mrs. Worthington, could you please send for a basin was warm water and vinegar. We need to bring Prudence’s fever down. I thought she was suffering from dropsy but I can hear a faint murmur in her heart.’ My mother took off to the kitchen fetching what was needed as this was the hastiest way the ingredients could be attained.

Through the months Ezra and I were able to conversate without a chaperone so I was more intimately comfortable in his confidence than Mr. Pembroke.
‘Ezra, I have a confession.’
‘I know Prudence. My affections for you have always been present. I had asked your father’s permission for your hand in marriage before the ball. He kindly declined, making his intentions of a well-matched marriage known.’
I smiled as I could feel my energy starting to fade.
‘Ezra, say I do start to get well, I don’t want to marry Mr. Pembroke. If we elope my reputation and fortune would be gone. I can be a physician’s wife but could you be happy with someone like me? No fortune, no use other than my drawings.’

My mother came in around that time and began the task of wrapping my feet with vinegar bandages and cooling my body with water. After an hour Ezra sent for Foxglove. My mother went to get fresh water, Mr. Pembroke and my father set out for Foxglove and Ezra and I were alone again.

‘My dear Prudence. I would marry you because of my love for you not for what you can give me.’ He whispered and his warm breath on my ear made it all so real. I place my hand in his. My breaths were shallow now and I knew that I would be alive much longer. I accepted that I was going to die and knowing that he loved me made it both easy and difficult all at the same time. ‘My heart,’ I whispered, ‘I love you with all that I am, til death do we part. Please live a fulfilled life and I will wait for you hereafter.’ With that my life left my body and my hand went limp.
Mrs.Worthington came in to witness Ezra weeping over her daughter and in that moment knew what true love was.


Jo/© thecreativeptsdgal.wordpress.com

Names
Courtship
Professions
Diseases

Pirated Photos

Quantum fiction is a literary genre that reflects the modern experience of the material world and reality as influenced by quantum theory and new principles in quantum physics. Ok…I’ve literally sat here for 30 minutes until I had an ‘AHA,’ moment. Then just when I think I have a grasp of this genre it’s gone. Then I had to research quantum science which was no help. I’m not a damn science type of girl. However, quantum fiction stories are about any subject matter and do not necessarily involve science and deals in possibility and probability. So much research went into this story and trying to figure out all the moving pieces in my head.


What came first? The painter or the subject? The camera or the person? I visit so many museums and galleries and sometimes I swear I see the subject matter moving in my peripheral vision. Sometimes I see me, or my brother, or my kindergarten best friend. I’ll ask someone, ‘Did you see that balloon that went around the corner?t’ Or, ‘When did they bring back the Planter’s Cheez Balls?’ The answer was usually a ‘she’s losing it’ and ‘what is she talking about?’

The exact time I learned t ask the questions happened when I was taking a photo of my brother ice skating and I could see my great grandfather skating in the corner of my eye. My brother asked, ‘Sissy, did you get a picture of grampy and me?’ he asked with a 8-year-olds hopeful questioning. ‘What do you mean Rhett?’ ‘Grampy said that in the time from clicking the button up and down you can see him,’ he said in an annoyed tone. He expected me to know this, I could feel it. ‘Oh yeah? If he was only here for a nanosecond how did you tell you all of that?’ I said in a teasing tone. ‘Time is suspended for him. Every time someone takes a picture here he get’s to move forward in time.’ Rhett was ready to go but I was jealous. I wanted to see the past. Imagine, anything that was painted or pictured is attainable. Was it time travel or would it be visiting memories?

I went to the museum in town that was hosting a Pirate exhibition. There I knew there would be a lot of painting and artifacts. I also thought that would be one of the strongest situations for one of my viewing. Or were they hallucinations. Luckily the museum allowed visitors to take photos but only of the artifacts. I walked around the museum taking random photos when I took a picture of a ruby. In the corner of my eye, I saw a red-headed pirate but didn’t hear anything. I continued to walk around and take photos until I saw the red-head again and thought, ‘Who are you?’ and in my head, I heard, ‘Anne Bonny’.  I snapped another picture and was startled by, ‘He’ll never know.’ I went home excited that I was able to hear something.

I did some research on the pirate and possible pregnancy and was able to go back to the museum armed with the knowledge that would be needed to ask questions. I took pictures and listened. I learned that Anne Bonny gave birth to Calico Jacks daughter, was killed by her cowardly first husband, and her daughter was taken to a church to be raised Protestant. I was in tears when I was ready to leave when I wanted to take a picture of me and the artifacts. I went home and thought about what could Anne tell me about me? I went back to the museum and took pictures but it wasn’t Anne that I heard in my head. Calico Jack said that he knew my inner secrets but could also tell my future. Just as I was learning the truth about my past, he could tell me about my future. Did I want to know how I die or if I would be successful? Instead, I asked what I thought would be a safe question, ‘Will I ever have kids?’ I knew I couldn’t because of how my uterus developed. ‘You will experience the same thing I did.’

I stopped taking pictures and rarely went to museums until one day I met my husband at a town parade. He knew that I wasn’t able to have kids and we were in the middle of an adoption process when we found out that I was pregnant. I wanted a home birth where things went horribly wrong. I never got to meet my daughter but I get to see her grow up through pictures. I hope that one day she will take a picture of herself with something of mine so that I would be able to tell her how beautiful she is and that I love her.

 

Jo/© thecreativeptsdgal.wordpress.com

Asption

Planetary Romance is a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy in which the bulk of the action consists of adventures on one or more exotic alien planets, characterized by distinctive physical and cultural backgrounds. I can’t write romances. It always ends up being a bad middle school retailing of a crush. You know the one that they think notices them but has no clue they are alive but that one time they made eye contact she thought that he was the one. Yup, that kind of romance but in the description of the vocabulary of a tween…with braces. Warning-this is another long one. I think this will be a great start to a longer story and chose to end it in a great spot.


My evenings are usually spent with just me and my cat. Cat’s are awesome to have because they can basically take care and entertain themselves. They offer comfort ideally on their terms but comfort nonetheless. Hemlock was a little different in a way that he knew when I was feeling especially down.

I didn’t have friends, my desk is in a maze of other no-name people, I’m an only child and my parents both died in a car wreck when I 19. With the inheritance, I didn’t have to work my way through college or worry about where I was going to live. I went to a tech college and received an Associates in Web Development & Design Specialist and have made my childhood home an entire place of my own. I have a room with all my computers and equipment, my room, my craft room, and I turned the attic into my amateur astronomer viewing room. My father was an astronomer and would warn me about making wishing could come true so be careful of what I was wishing for. My mother, on the other hand, made beautiful quilts that would win prizes. She taught quilting and even held quilting circles. I learned the simplistic beauty of stitching together shapes and colors to tell a story.

My life was boring and uneventful. I was your all around nerd in the office and the even bigger boring nerd at home. Hemlock would greet me at the door and together we would work on a wedding quilt. I was putting my own spin on it which included beautiful constellations. Then we would work on any freelance computer work which usually didn’t take more than an hour. I ordered dinner so I never have to experience the awkward, ‘table for one’ and then the walk of shame. Hemlock and I ate our dinner in the breakfast nook. I read the town’s rendition of a sophisticated paper and Hemlock sat in my lap waiting for me to finish. We would then migrate to the attic where I would look through the telescope identifying stars, constellations, planets, watched meteor showers, and even got to see the occasional shooting star. Hemlock laying in his basket sleeping. Before I left my attic I sent a wish into the never-ending abyss above for a true love.

My months went on like this without anything out of the ordinary. I was able to gain enough freelance clients, some even large companies, I was able to quit my day job. This allowed me to do more quilting and even took up learning to cook. The only thing I didn’t have was a soul mate to share everything with. One night I cooked up some Creamy Lemon Garlic Salmon Piccata and a separate piece for Hemlock that wasn’t seasoned or sauced. I surprised myself and even Hemlock seemed in heaven with his very own special dinner. The fact that I was able to complete something without burning or turning to fire hazard put me in an extremely great mood. Hemlock and I went to the attic so I could begin my star gazing.

‘Oh, my! This can’t be right,’ I said out loud. I often have one-sided conversations with Hemlock but he seemed to understand. I was shocked to find that there was a planet that I have never seen before close to the moon. Or was it Earth’s second moon? It was a beautiful lilac and white planet. From what I could see the purple was possible water and white the land or vice versa but there were two distinct masses. All I could do was stare and imagined what it would be like on this planet. I fell asleep there in the attic without making my wish.

I woke to Hemlock’s harsh scratchy tongue scraping across my face. My drool was obnoxiously sliding down my chin which I brushed off and remembered what I was looking at the night before. I looked through the telescope and seen the planet and it looked even more brilliant. I looked out the window and noticed that it was closer than the night before. I went downstairs and turned the news on and there was an anchor covering the planet and how NASA and the military were going to join forces to make contact with a planet that may or may not have life on it. T.V. off Hemlock and I started our breakfast ritual but hemlock wouldn’t eat. He just brushed against my leg pacing back and forth. I ignored Hemlock and decided that I was going to take the day off from computer work and add more to my quilt. It was a relaxing project that I will never put on my matrimonial bed but could donate it.

‘KNOCK KNOCK. Tap, Tap. KNOCK.’ The loud knocking startled me so much that I pricked my finger with the needle I was stitching with. I got up from my look, sucking on my finger heading towards the door when I tripped over Hemlock who seemed excited that there was someone else in our area. I opened the door and seen the most beautiful man I have ever laid eyes on. I know my mouth was gaped wide open but I couldn’t help myself.
‘Hello, Ivy?’ The hypnotic voice asked and all I could do was nod. Even Hemlock seemed to be in awe of the man.
‘My name is Echo and I was wondering if we could talk. We’ve never met but you know me very well.’ I opened the door and gestured for him to come in. He walked ahead of me as I passed a mirror and seen my hair was a huge bird’s nest and my clothes were wrinkled. I looked like I fell asleep drunk. I quickly tried to fix my hair and shoved it into a messy bun that passed as trendy straightened out my shirt as best as I could. He glanced over his shoulder and that was my cue to walk ahead and show him a seat. I chose the kitchen, ‘Would you like a cup of coffee, tea, maybe water?’ I asked as I made myself a cup.’
‘No, thank you.’
I waited and when nothing else was added, ‘So, I know you?’ I asked.
‘You didn’t wish for me last night. Has something changed? I panicked and decided it was time.’
‘Time?’ I could feel the color drain from my face as I thought I just let in the next Bundy.
‘I know this all sounds odd but I’m the prince of the planet Asption.’
‘Asption? My father was an astronomer and he never told me about that planet.’
‘He wouldn’t, we were never seen. Our planet wasn’t created until someone wished for it. It wasn’t populated until people started wishing for their soulmates. Slowly we just started evolving. We do pretty much everything people on Earth do except wish.’
‘So, how did you get here from that planet? There wasn’t a news report about a flying object and from what I understand nothing was on a radar or pictures taken by NASA.’ I asked skeptically, slowly standing and walking over to my father’s gun cabinet.
‘I’m not quite sure yet but when our planet was so close I seized the opportunity to come and meet you. The person that created me. I…’
‘Does this mean that I’m your mother?’ I interruptedly blurted out.’
He laughed at me, a first real emotion that I saw where he didn’t look like a robot. ‘No, you are not my mother but I can’t physically or mentally be with anyone else. You, dear girl, you are my significant other. Please allow time for us to get to know each other. We can date and take things slow. After meeting you I can’t leave. I don’t want to leave.’ I looked down at Hemlock, ‘Ok, the fact that you haven’t murdered me and that I’m interested to see how this whole pick-up story is going to play out, pick me up tomorrow evening.’ We both stood and he kissed my hand then walked out the door. He didn’t get in a vehicle, he just walked away.

The next evening he showed and we went to dinner. I was didn’t say much because I wanted to take in every detail of him. At the end of dinner, he apologized for rudely not letting me get a word in but I told reassured him that it was ok. Inside, he was everything I ever wished for in a partner. We set up a lunch date for the next couple of days because I had to get some work done on both clients’ work and the quilt. Hemlock seemed to be ok with me not being home as much, almost like he was relieved. It was 6 months of dates before I kissed him. There was something there that was more cosmically right than magical.

It was our one year anniversary when we talked about him moving in with me and Hemlock. You would have thought that I gave him the world wrapped neatly in a gold box. We became so close and comfortable. I cooked amazing dinners and he showed me stars that I didn’t know existed. I quilted and he read to me. Everything seemed wonderful and over dinner one night I told him,
‘I love you.’ To which he quickly replied.
‘Echo, I have a question? Do you ever regret being created? Do you wish that you were never here?’
‘Ivy, you and Hemlock are the reason everything makes sense. I didn’t know why our planet did things until I spent time here on Earth with you. I can’t imagine life any other way. I was actually going to ask you if we could adopt another cat. One that Hemlock would get along with and something that we take care of together.’ There I was, again, mouth gaped open. He grinned and kissed my hand.
‘Ivy, my dear girl. I love you to Asption and back.


Jo/© thecreativeptsdgal.wordpress.com

Nessie’s Demon

Occult fiction is described for works dealing with witchcraft, spiritualism, psychic phenomena, voodooism, etc., and for works dealing with the mysterious or secret knowledge and power supposedly attainable only through these and other magical or supernatural means. I wanted to use a story that I wrote over a year ago but it’s not on any of my USBs or my computer. A little heartbroken that I can’t find it but I’m going to do the best I can from memory. Who knows I may like this version better than the one I started. This is a long story but I edited a LOT out to shorten the length.


I karate chopped the alarm clock. I’m second guessing the loud and obnoxious tone I chose but whatever gets me out of bed. I rolled over and felt the warmth of Shamrock’s body. I had a wonderful pitbull that was loyal and kind but could also come to work with me. Her appearance of breed alone kept idiots from acting out. Owning a bar is fun and all and I do work at least once a week but there is one night a year that it’s mandatory for me to work. Mardi Gras has its origins, secret societies, and history but there is another realm that only a few know about and even less have experienced.

My feet hit the wood floor of my plantation home that was passed down through the family. It was a bed and breakfast for a decade until my family came to own the bar that is now our source of income. It was 2pm which gave me plenty of time to shower, dress, eat, and get to work to set up. You would think that I need to set up the bar but no that’s why I have employees to do the work. I have to set up for the demonic entity that comes every 75 years to win back the gate that he lost during a bet.

My great great grandmother ran the bed and breakfast. She decided to go to town with my great great grandfather to enjoy the festivities, food, and grab a drink. We weren’t a religious family and that was acceptable in New Orleans. They walked into the bar when a demon and the bar owner were in the middle of settling terms to a bet. My grandmother was the winning part of the bet on the bar owner’s behalf. Everyone else saw a beautiful, young, dark-haired man when my grandmother saw the demon for who it was. The demon had bet the bar owner that if no one comes in and can see his true demonic form that it would win the bar back and would be able to trap souls again. If a person was able to come in and see it for what the demon was he couldn’t come back to the bar for 75 years. My grandmother walked in, seen him, and saved the night.

Over the next 10 years, the bar owner explained what needed to happen to keep the bar patrons and New Orleans safe. When the bar owner got sick in old age the owner asked my grandmother to take over. Over the years through Mardi Gras, my grandmother made the necessary preparations to keep the demon at bay and passed the cursed story through generations to come. So here I am, getting ready for the 75th year reunion. I wasn’t nervous because I have the same sight as my grandmother. I got dressed, had my black coffee and over easy eggs with toast, grabbed the apples and candles then headed to work. I only had one other bartender working with me, my brother. He was already there making sure the corner of the bar was reserved for our special guest.

‘Hey Nessie, got your rest?’ I smiled at J.T. as Shamrock went prancing ahead of me to greet her human uncle. ‘Hey Shammy, you keeping mommy on schedule? It’s a major night tonight. Y’all ready?’
I tossed the apples on the bar, ‘Afternoon J.T., did you remember grandfather’s engraved bar stool? And the iron shavings?’ I asked getting the masks set up by the door.
‘All set, the demon’s spot is set up at the end of the bar. The barstool has a circle of iron shavings around it and the bottle of absinthe is ready with the silver lined shot glass.’

The masks were to hide the identity of whoever may see the demonic form. We wish to keep the bar in the family as we now don’t want to burden anyone else with this responsibility. The barstool is for demonic being and is engraved with a binding spell to keep him from renigging on his end and confined to the stool which is why there will be a circle of iron shavings to work as a boundary. The apples represent knowledge and they are cut to reveal the star shape created by the seeds. This is to envoke a new seer. The silver lined shot glass and absinthe is to bind the demon’s tongue from cursing anyone. The silver makes the alcohol look more appealing no matter what it is.

J.T., Shamrock, and I were behind the bar serving customers and making sure that all of our patrons are adhering to the, ‘no mask, no service,’ rule. The music was great and so far no bar fights or arguments. When the clock struck twelve the door flew open. Everyone saw a beautiful young woman walk in when J.T. and I saw the demon. Shamrock warned us by sounding her low deep growl. It strolled over to it’s designated barstool thanks to the shiny shot glass. Once it seated it howled but everyone else heard laughter.
‘Hello, Nessie. I’ve been waiting to meet you. I see your family has prepared you well,’ the entity said as it downed the liquid revealing a realizing what it had done. An evil eye landed on Nessie and her brother.
‘Realizing  I don’t have to go into details about the bet, the only thing that will stand in the way of me coming back into ownership and opening the gate to let more demons through to this world. So, it goes without saying, let an innocent see me for what I am I go back to hell for 75 years if no one sees me then the bar and gate are mines.’ I smiled realizing the bet was already won. I always prided myself on how clever I was with bets and all. There is a reason I never married and had kids. A reason why I wasn’t considered spoiled.

The evening was successful. The demonic was hit on by several young men but everyone had on masks so they were safe. Bar time came and everyone left. J.T. smiled as he cleaned up the mess and starting stocking the back bar.
‘I won! I won! I knew this day would come. Nessie, give me the key and I’ll let you leave without any harm being done to your family and mutt,’ the demon said with a sneer revealing several rows of sharp teeth. I patted Shamrock on the head as she stayed by my side.
‘You didn’t win the bet or your bar back. The bet is, that an innocent needs to come in and see you for what you really are. Well, sorry to disappoint you but this isn’t your bar. You lost the minute you came in.’ The smile started to fade slowly.
‘An innocent was already in the bar and already seen your true identity through the floozy facade. Me, I’m still a virgin so it’s mine and my families for the next 75 years.’ His grin reappeared.
‘I can bide my time for another 75 years. The cleverness backfired on you. You’re getting too old to have your own children and with your families line ending with you, the only hope that you have is that an innocent walks into the bar.’ He said while he started to vaporized from his hoofs slowly moving up.’
I smiled, ‘Oh demon. You aren’t clever at all, just evil. I expected more from you as an adversary. Have you met my brother J.T.? No, I guess you haven’t since you’ve been dealing with me the entire night.’ The demon shot an evil look over at my brother who just waved.’
‘You see, I may not have any children of my own but I make a wonderful aunt to 6 beautiful boys and girls. All of which have the sight and are being raised with a family bedtime story. When they are old enough they will learn the truth. So, good luck ever getting this place back. ‘Sometimes a person’s sacrifice isn’t really one at all, just a different path in life for the greater good.’ Those were the last words I said as the demon finished vanishing to the underworld.


Jo/© thecreativeptsdgal.wordpress.com

I have to do this now for reasons I’m not going into. 

Solitary Truth

A mystery is a subgenre of narrative fiction; often thought of as a detective story.There are a number of sub-genres within the broad category of mystery/detective/crime fiction. They overlap and are open to subjective interpretation. I’m not a fan of mysteries with the whole cop-whodunit scene. I don’t even like the good cop bad cop scenes. So I tried something different after doing a bit of research.


We all rarely seen the old woman out in town. We rarely saw her at all. The occasional sightings are when she’s in the local hardware store or at the grocery store to buy M&Ms. We never saw her buy meat, bread, fruits, or vegetables. She kept to herself in the house by the river with woods surrounding the structure at the end of town. She had honeysuckle growing wild which brought beautiful birds and butterflies but we never witnessed her outside enjoying them.  When she was outside it was to tend to her massive garden, fish in the river, or care for her mini orchard of the fruit-bearing trees.

Holidays she wouldn’t decorate and wouldn’t hand out candy. She wouldn’t go to town gatherings or parades. The elementary children thought her to be a witch and would be afraid to look her in the eyes.  Some adults thought she was the reason that people went missing in the town. She was even interviewed a couple of times by law enforcement as a last resort. I thought she was happy in her solitude until I had her go through my checkout line at the hardware store. Beep-fishing line, beep-lightbulbs, beep-nails, beep-vegetable seeds. ‘Is this all for you?’ Her eyes met mine and that’s when I witnessed a teary response. Was she sad? Was she thankful someone said something to her? She didn’t reply but paid for her items with gold coins. I haven’t seen those in a long time. I know that they make newer ones but these were the old coins. I asked for her to wait a minute as I spoke to the manager. ‘She pays with those because they are easier for her to count. Take however much you need and put them under the till. I exchange them at her bank the next town over. It’s the only bank that I find will take them.’ ‘Do you know anything about her? She doesn’t speak, she’s always alone, and today I think I made her cry,’ I said sadly. ‘No one really knows anything about her, she was one of the first people to live in the town.’

I took her coins and handed her bags over, ‘Have a good day,’  I said but she didn’t even turn to acknowledge my farewell. I left work that evening and decided to walk by the river on my way home. It was shorter and quieter since people think the old woman is cursed or does the cursing. The sound of the river was soothing until a sound of a massive current of electricity echoed through the woods. As if a transformer was being turned on for the very first time. As I walked past her house I noticed that she was flipping larget switches and lights were turning on around the house, through the woods, and by the river. It wasn’t just lighting up her house. ‘Hi,’ I waved over at her. She jumped and came over to where I was standing. ‘Hello, young lady.’ Her voice was soft and comforting. ‘You really need to get home before the sun finishes setting. I can’t help when the light is fully gone.’ I looked at her puzzled. ‘The sun has already set. It’s dark and now you’re lighting everything up.’ She begged. ‘Please get home, come see me tomorrow.’ I nodded and hurried home.

I couldn’t sleep that night and was at her house at first light. I thought I would wake her up but she was already on the river bank casting her fishing pole. ‘Good morning,’ I said timidly. ‘There’s a fishing pole against the tree that I have prepared for you. Come cast a line and see what happens.’ I grabbed the pole and noticed that there was already a fish on the hook.  I looked at her and she nodded for me to cast. I picked a spot and let loose the line. We both sat there is silence until my pole jerked. ‘You’re going to need to hold on, it’s going to be a big one,’ she said to me in a warning tone and about that time I was nearly pulled into the water. I look at her with a surprised-regretful look. She smiled and patted me on the shoulder. ‘It’s ok dear, at first I lost many poles after I lost my husband.’ She withdrew her rod and started walking towards her house. What did she mean about losing her husband and rods? She was married?

She opened the door for me to walk ahead of her in the house. She has a beautiful cottage style home. Her kitchen had a beautiful wood stove, wooden cabinets, and homemade bread dough rising on the back counter. ‘Sit down dear, I’ll tell you what you need to know.’ I sat down and she placed a teacup in front of me along with some homemade cookies. ‘My husband, Frank and I were the first to move to this town. He built this house with his own hands always reminding me that this is the perfect piece of land. He was excited to fish, garden, and live off the land. ‘Wow, how old are you?’ I instantly regretted the question. She smiled, ‘I’m old enough to watch this town grow from just a few settlers.’ ‘Settlers? The first settlers of the town arrived…’ I trailed off watching her sip her tea. ‘That means that you are..’ she interrupted. ‘I’m old enough to watch the town grow,’ she said slowly. I would like to show you how to survive this town and help others live there day to day lives. I’ve been protecting this town for decades. I’m getting tired and need to teach a young person. Someone who loves this town like I do and can handle being alone and misunderstood.’

I do like being left alone and I do love this small town. ‘What about my job?’ I couldn’t believe I was considering the proposal of learning whatever she was teaching. ‘This will be your job and you would never want for anything, ‘she said as she gestured at the surroundings. ‘Let me explain. When we settled here we thought we hit gold. The land was fruitful and no one around. We built our house and waited for neighbors but no one came. That’s when we learned of the secret the land held. The river is full of creatures that come on land as soon as the last glimmer of light is gone. Even though the sun is gone the last bit of light is gone 14 minutes after the set time. My husband and I learned this the 1st night we were here. We were able to set a fire which kept them at bay. We would fish for them and use them as fertilizer for our garden and trees. We thought after years of fishing they would be extinct. That night we didn’t light any fires. We sat outside enjoying tea and the stars when out of nowhere my husband was drug into the water. There was nothing I could do for Frank. I come from a long line of white witches and part of my promise was to protect this town and I cast a spell for me to live longer. Not be immortal but live long enough to fight these creatures. What I do know is that they live underwater and they breed faster than rabbits. All the missing person reports that you see are of people the creature took.’ I looked at her in disbelief. Before I could say anything she interrupted, ‘Go home and think about it.’

I was home before dark and I walked into an empty house. There was no life and no messages or voicemails, no plans, just me. I went to the internet and searched missing person reports for this town and discovered some that dated all the way back to the 1800’s. In those articles, I found a woman had been committed to a psychiatric hospital a town over for ranting about creatures from the water. I also found a picture of the town’s founders and our very own solitary woman that everyone judged was there, smiling. She was beautiful. The next morning I was over at her house. ‘I would love to protect this town but I would like to know one thing. What is your name?’ She smiled and gestured for me to enter the house, ‘my name is Elizabeth. Are you ready to make the transition?’ she asked. ‘I would be honored but I’m not a white witch and I don’t know how long I’ll live.’ I said. She sat down and clasped my hand, ‘My dear, when I said that you would inherit everything that includes my powers, the house, the money, my skills, and knowledge.’

Here I am, being judged as I’m buying fishing line 82 years later. The rumor is that the last hermit took me as her slave and now I’m looking for mine. Little do they know, my sacrifice keeps them and this town safe.

Mourning Me

A lament is or can be a poem or song expressing grief. The lament is powered by a personal sense of loss. The poetry of lamentation, which arose in oral literature alongside heroic poetry, seems to exist in all languages and poetries. Confession, I can’t write poetry. I don’t know why that is. Even when I was a teen I wasn’t pining over a notebook spilling my thoughts into poems. However, I do miss who I was before things happened in my past.


The sun used to kiss your happiness on the porch swing
and the birds’ song would fill your ears.
Indian summers brought more days to enjoy outside
and more time to offer company to others.

You enjoyed welcoming hugs
and took a handshake as the word and promise.
You helped others without question
because all you had was compassion.

Your laughter was a pleasant sound
and brought smiles to little faces.
Your free spirit made dreams
into a reality.

The isolation took you from sight
and the tears were never seen.
You cried for help but he
made you wear a mask.

Other things I do differently but
I do mourn the loss of me.

Journey

A Kōan a paradox to be meditated upon that is used to train Zen Buddhist monks to abandon ultimate dependence on reason and to force them into gaining sudden intuitive enlightenment. This was so difficult for me to complete. But after a lot of reflection on the statement, I FINALLY understood.


 

Your journey is over when the road ends. Which way do you turn?

April 12, 2018

I haven’t posted a journal entry in what feels like months. I have been busy trying to keep up with the A to Z blogging challenge, my daily doodles, and my 60word stories. I was right, I bit off more than I can chew with the theme that I chose. The beautifully written bright side to all of this hard work and stress about my theme is that I get the chance to explore. I’m exploring new genres and learning that I can do something if I put my mind to it.

 

Things I’ve missed though are starting to add up. I miss my blogging community. Reading posts, poems, and all the artwork. I also miss participating in 99-word prompts and Discover’s daily prompt and hopefully, I’ll be able to get back on track with those. Then throw in being sick, working 40+ hours a week, taking care of kids and house I’m lucky to get in the shower. In all honesty, I think if it wasn’t for my anxiety I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing now. I have stolen a few minutes from my daily chores here at work to write this and I feel better already.

I appreciate all my readers for their support. Also, I do read your posts and find brilliance in words and images. I have big plans for my short stories and will also be doing a couple of give-a-ways through Amazon. This weekend I’m going to try a Pinterest recipe and see if I fail and burn the house down or end up with a family favorite side dish. I do not regret for one moment that I chose to participate in the writing challenge but I think next year I’ll choose something that isn’t so difficult.

An American Jiangshi

Derived from Chinese folklore, jiangshi fiction first appeared in the literature of the Qing Dynasty. The jiangshi is a corpse reanimated by a Taoist priest. The priest commands the jiangshi and directs it to a location for a proper burial. It moves by hopping and steals the life force from living creatures. Some items and methods to counter hopping vampires: peach, the blood of a black dog, mirrors, and dropping a bag of coins (because sometimes they will stop to count the coins). Truth be told, I don’t know how I can make this seem like a horror story. I giggle picturing a hopping old vampire dude counting coins on the ground but here goes nothing. Side note: This is the first I’ve heard of these creatures and with me never grew up with this type of folklore I tried to Americanize it for my understanding.


We weren’t always peach farmers. Actually, my family used to own a prominent cotton plantation using all the high technology machinery and were sought out by many Chinese royals for our product. That all changed when something came back with my great-grandfather from the last cotton trade that our family made. We still have our beautiful plantation home but now mirrors line the walls throughout. At night when the moon hits the grand mirror in the parlor, it creates a romantic view, from moon up to moon down. You’re able to move from room to room watching as the moon moves through the night. That’s not why we have all the mirrors though just like we didn’t always use coins as currency or own roosters. There was a method to what we thought was my great-grandfather’s madness.

How the story goes is that my grandfather was flying back from China meeting with a royal negotiating one of the largest trades we have made. We could have gone commercial but my grandfather had bigger plans. He said personal relationships build a successful business. When he boarded the plane something else boarded as well. We later learned that the deceased human creature is known as a jiangshi. Apparently, another royal family was upset that the one gained such a great deal with our family and let loose one of these things. This, in turn, started a domino effect. Instead of weapons and warfare, royal families used these creatures to do their score-settling. Some of these creatures looked just like us and the only way you could tell a jiangshi from a human was in the movements. I can only describe their motion as a hopping but not in the way that you think. It’s more like a movie that skips when the signal to the picture on the old TVs with bunny ears has been lost. One minute they are a few feet away and the next they have flickered-hopped in front of you. Now our country is swarmed with these life draining pests.

Since these creatures accended onto our soil we’ve somewhat been thrown back into the stone age only to gain baby steps of a world once lost. We do have electricity but we do not have cell phones or internet. I was born when society repaired the old electrical grid. The relationship that my grandfather built with the royal was worth more than money. It was important to this royal that my great-grandfather’s lineage have a chance to survive against the evil and gave him the ancient secrets to abolish the jiangshi. When my great-grandfather learned how to combat these beings our family’s lifestyle and trading habits changed along with decor and how we go by our day to day lives.

Now we have mirrors and operate a successful peach orchard. Peaches are a symbol of the five elements and the wood is sold to other families to ward off the jiangshi. Our roosters that I mentioned in the beginning, yeah those beautiful sounding creatures help keep those pests away except our own personal jiangshi. He was tricky and no matter how many times we thought we banished him he would come back. This meant that we had to get the head of the snake. The kin of the royal that felt my great-grandfather had wronged is still reanimating this creature. After much research and traveling, my father and I learned that it was a priest gone bad. He was being paid a monthly allowance through the royal’s kin to continue tormenting us. He’s even going as far as to figure out a way to reanimate this creature after he has died.

This is when the priest learned that our family roots run deeper than the peach trees and the meaning of an eye for an eye. No, we could not reanimate corpses but what we could do was lodge on this priest’s land. We lured the jiangshi into the priest’s house with coins. Just as the creature finished counting the coins the priest walked into his bedroom. In one flicker-hop the creature was in front of his new victim feeding off his life source. Once the priest was dead by his reanimated monster we were free to hold it by mirrors and set him on fire.

We continue to battle the undead creatures and have a successful business selling peach wood at the same time. We have several close successful relationships with families and even helping others by planting peach trees. Our dream is to one day not need our peach orchard but one thing is for sure, we will not trade with any societies across seas.

 

 

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