Of magic and more


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Winston

This is my submission to the Speak Easy writing challenge #162

WINSTON

Until the day I die, I’ll never forget those glassy, unblinking eyes. I’ve tried time and again to weed out the memory from my mind, but to no avail. It’s been twelve years since then, and every time I think about it, I go back to the summer I was sixteen and my mother was scolding me for the umpteenth time about-

 

 

“Don’t you think it’s time to throw that thing away?”

“Mom! Don’t call him a ‘thing’.” I protested indignantly. “Winston is my baby!”

“He was, when you were a baby yourself.” She countered.

“No, he still is!” I insisted.

“Stacy.” My mother sighed impatiently. “Fourteen years you’ve fed that rocking horse, petted it, talked to it, even cuddled with it, for goodness sake! Isn’t that enough?”

“Of course it’s not! Winston’s my best friend. Please let me keep him, just a few days, please?” I begged.

My mother sighed again. “Fine, just for a while.”

 I patted Winston’s head lovingly. I had had him since I was two, and he still looked brand new. His stuffed coat shone a warm brown and his glass eyes were so realistic he almost looked alive. I knew I was being childish, keeping Winston like this, but I was strangely attached to him. I wouldn’t even let Matt, my younger brother, play with him when he was a child.

 I wasn’t throwing him away.

I could have sworn I heard a snort of satisfaction, but I just laughed at my imagination and forgot about it.

 

The next Friday, I came home from school and Winston was missing.

“Mom!” I shrieked. “Mom! What have you done with Winston?”

She spoke calmly.“ Oh, I sold it off to a nice man in the next block. He’s got a little boy at home and couldn’t afford a new rocking horse, you see.” She beamed at me as if it was the best thing in the world.

“I don’t believe this!” I wailed again. She winced. “Lower your voice, Stacy! Winston is gone, and that’s final.”

I spent the next few days in a blue funk until Mr.Hanover, Winston’s new owner, came to return him. He apologized and asked for a refund- a series of accidents had occurred with his family after he brought Winston home, and he felt that poor Winston might have been unlucky for them. Well, his loss! I was just happy to have Winston back. This time I thought I saw a glint in his eyes. Yeah, right. And I’m Wonder Woman. I thought dryly.

I was shaken awake at three in the morning by a hysterical Matt. “Stace.”He sobbed. “Mom’s dead…God…she’s dead.”

The police said that she had been hacked to death with repetitive blows to her face and chest. Investigations were fruitless. The incident faded out of the news and we were left alone to move on with our lives.

 

A few months passed. I was on my bed reading about a painting by Albrecht Dürer, when my brother barged in to borrow a pen. “What did I tell you about knocking?” I grouched. Ignoring my question totally, he pointed at Winston. “You still have this worthless thing? How can you even look at it without remembering Mom?”

“What!” I exclaimed.

“Maybe that Hanover guy was right.” He went on. “Maybe this thing is unlucky.” Matt kicked Winston aggressively and stormed out.

I shook my head. Winston was a toy horse, how could he kill anyone? Except…Winston’s head was the perfect weapon to bludgeon someone…..

But I didn’t question it seriously until the mystery killer claimed both my father and my brother at one go, while I was away for a sleepover. The bloodstains on the floor showed that Matt had been dragged back and forth until he was dead. There were teeth and hoof marks on both of them. Winston had been found standing over their bodies, bathed in their blood. The police figured it was some kind of sick joke.

But I had realized the horrific truth and I knew what to do. The night I was placed under police protection, I lit a match and flung it on my childhood friend Winston. It was over now. Winston would never hurt anyone again.

 

 

I’m jolted back to the present by happy squeals. My daughter Hailey comes running in.

“Mommy, look what Daddy got me!”

I smile and let her take me to see her new gift.

My heart stops.

“Mommy, it’s a horsie!”

It’s Winston.

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Here are the rules:

  • Your post must be dated May 18, 2013, or later.
  • Submissions must be 750 words or fewer.
  • Submissions must be fiction or poetry.
  • You must include the following sentence as the FIRST line in your submission: “Until the day I die, I’ll never forget those glassy, unblinking eyes.
  • You must also include a reference to the media prompt.
  • The speakeasy is for submissions written specifically for the grid. Please don’t submit an entry if you intend to showcase it to another blog link-up. Such posts are deleted without notice.
  • Please don’t post long explanations before your post. We want your writing to be the star of the show. If you need to clarify anything, feel free to do so at the end.
  • Albrecht_Dürer_Oswolt_Krel

 


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Blood Ties

This is my submission for the Write On Edge “It Takes Two” contest.

“It takes two to make an accident.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

The details:

  • 1000 word limit, all genres of creative writing are welcome.
  • linky is open until Friday, February 21, at 11:55pm Pacific
  • Use the F. Scott Fitzgerald quote above as an opening/closing line or draw inspiration from it, your choice.
  • Community voting opens 2/22 and closes 2/28 at 11:55pm Pacific.
  • Community and editorial choice winners will be announced on Write on Edgeand Bannerwing Books on Monday, March 3, 2014.
  • All entries must be original work, only published on your personal blog/website, and by entering you give Write on Edge and Bannerwing Books permission to reprint your entry in Precipice, Volume III‘s print and digital formats, as well as permission to edit for grammatical, spelling, and typographical errors.
  • Have fun!

 

Here are my 952 words 🙂

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BLOOD TIES 

There was a time when things were different.  In those days, Alyssa had worshipped her, and obeyed every command of hers. Phaedra had been her goddess, her muse, her universe and all its planets and constellations. And now…

Phaedra had always said it was compassion that had made her turn Alyssa into her kind, but the truth was that she had fallen in love with the beautiful auburn haired, pink cheeked human girl who walked through the woods every day on her way to school. Never in Phaedra’s four hundred and nine years had she felt this way. There was something about Alyssa that made warmth flood into Phaedra’s undead heart, something that made it flutter like a caged bird. It made her long for Alyssa like she had never longed for anyone before.

Yet how could she reach out? How could she express her love for Alyssa without exposing herself and her clan to the human world? Granted the human world in their case was only a small, nondescript town in the middle of nowhere, but was Alyssa very likely to respond to the affections of one whose clan had just destroyed her family and friends in front of her? She was likely to think of them as monsters and Phaedra did not want that. But then fate had intervened. A young bloodthirsty vampire had attacked Alyssa in the woods one day, and would have killed her if Phaedra had not stepped in timely and destroyed the creature. Phaedra had then seized the golden opportunity and turned Alyssa. Alyssa could have recovered from the attack, healed with surgery and medicine, but Phaedra never told her that. I did it for her own good; she told herself whenever she felt guilty about it.

After Alyssa’s awakening, Phaedra began looking forward to eternity for the first time. Alyssa was deeply grateful to her savior and amazed by her newfound capabilities. She loved the superhuman strength, the vision, the hearing, and most of all being immortal. She was, however, somewhat afraid of the other vampire clans, and Phaedra willingly took her under her experienced wing. Alyssa learnt from Phaedra everything she needed to know in order to survive. Phaedra and she  spent every day and night together as friends, companions, and lovers in the purest sense of the word. For Phaedra, every moment was consumed in memorizing the curve of Alyssa’s smile, drinking in the beauty of her laughter to the last drop and dedicating everything she had to her love.

Phaedra wanted Alyssa to love her back in the same way that, but the sparks just hadn’t flown from the other side. Alyssa worshipped the ground Phaedra walked upon and would do anything she asked for, her world revolved around Phaedra, but she was not in love with her. Phaedra could easily have demanded Alyssa’s affections the way she wanted them, but she loved the younger vampire too much for that. Besides, Alyssa’s loyalty left little to be desired. “I can forget everything, I can leave everything, Phaedra.” Alyssa told her once. “But I’ll never forget you. And I’ll never leave you .”

Those were the golden days, when it had just been the two of them. And then seventy years later, he came in from nowhere. Chris.  The irony of fate was that Alyssa laid eyes on Chris in the same way Phaedra had first seen Alyssa herself. Now Chris was everything Alyssa wanted.  She told Phaedra she wanted to turn Chris so they could live happily ever after, because she was cent percent sure that he was her Prince Charming. “Isn’t it wonderful that I finally found the one I want to spend eternity with?” she asked Phaedra, her eyes shining.

“Does he love you too?” Phaedra asked Alyssa, trying to sound normal.

“Oh he doesn’t know me yet. But he will, soon.” Came the calm reply.

It had taken Phaedra seventy years to realize how selfish Alyssa really was.

Phaedra’s frozen heart wept. Seventy years she had given to this relationship. An eternity she had devoted to this love, and now her princess, her Cinderella no longer wanted her. After all she had done for the lovely redhead, this was what she had received in return.

She felt the grief give way to burning rage. What was Phaedra’s was hers alone, and no one else could dare claim it. Alyssa belonged to her, certainly not to a weak human.

Chris had to be dealt with. Soon.

One month later, Phaedra sat consoling a sobbing Alyssa. “They left! All of them! Chris and his entire family!” Alyssa said, for the tenth time that evening.

“I know.” Said Phaedra soothingly.

“I just loved him so much, you know, Phaedra? So so much…I had such lovely plans for our future together, I was even going to meet him, in that lilac dress you got me that summer in Transylvania, and he just …left.” Alyssa collapsed in Phaedra’s arms.

“There, there. He wasn’t worth you anyway.. And I’m always there, am I not? I’ll love you forever, sweet one…” Phaedra murmured gently and Alyssa sobbed harder. “I know!” she cried. “I’ll never chase anyone again, Phaedra! I will stay with you for the rest of eternity, with the only person who truly loves me.”

Phaedra sighed contentedly and marveled at how easy it had been to get rid of Chris. A little bearing of fangs, some cryptic warnings, and the foolish mortal and his already superstitious family had fled.  It had been by accident that Chris had come into Alyssa’s life and another accident that had chased him away. It is rightly said, Phaedra mused. It takes two to make an accident.

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The Groom Returns

My first entry for Write On Edge and I must say I really like this concept of using a photo as well as quote for the prompt.The writer has the option of choosing the picture or the quote, or both of them as inspiration for their 500 word story.This week I used the photo as my prompt.

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Here are my 497 words 🙂

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THE GROOM RETURNS

The cold night wind scattered sand over the desert. Iris watched the fine silver grains rearrange themselves gracefully into new patterns. Above her, the velvet sky was dotted with stars, but lately Iris had stopped tracing the constellations with her eyes, she found no peace in them any longer. It was all because of him. He had taught her the art of reading the sky, and now he had made her lose interest just as easily.

Iris and her family had lived with their community among the dunes for years, its serenity only disturbed  by the occasional research students, academicians and archaeologists whose curiosity drove them to investigate the mysterious desert and its myriad secrets. But the community was careful not to let anything leak out to the outsiders. Twice that had happened, and the scholars had been captured and put to death quickly, quietly and efficiently.

 

The desert’s secrets had to be protected at all costs.

 

Robert had been another young research student, different from the others only because he had fallen in love with Iris. Attention from men was quite unknown to young Iris, for unlike her (flower) namesake, she was neither delicate nor pretty.She was not particularly intelligent or charming either, so Robert’s wooing had enthralled and enchanted her. She had begun to love Robert back, and the elders had been shocked, but tolerant of their forbidden romance, only because Iris’s father was an important man in the community. Since, Robert was still an outsider, they had merely decided on hiding their rituals and magical skills from him.

 

But as fate would have it, Robert had walked in on a late night sacred ritual worship of a very important deity, disrupting the process and unfortunately becoming a threat to the community. And of course he had been excited and pleased about his discovery, telling the elders how good it would be for their community to be publicized and how famous it would make them. But of course that couldn’t be allowed. The decision to execute Robert was unanimous. It was only after Iris begged and begged and convinced her father, that they agreed upon erasing Robert’s recent memory with a serum rather than killing him.

 

However, fate had intervened again when something in the serum had gone wrong, leading to a painful death for Robert. There was nothing that could be done, no potion, no spell that could revive him, and the entire community went into ceremonial mourning.

 

But now he was back. He had somehow returned from the dead to claim his bride, and he was wreaking havoc all over the desert with famines,droughts, infant deaths and worst of all to Iris, he visited her in nightmares with that gruesome bloodstained smile and equally bloody hands that reached out for her.

Iris shivered in fear.

A hand came down heavily on her shoulder. She screamed.

“Hello Iris.” Robert’s mangled living dead corpse rasped. “This time I’m taking you with me….”