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12 Days Blog Hop: Sea

The lovely Sophie Moss poked me in the direction of the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop a couple of days ago and I was intrigued! I bookmarked for a rainy day but since it IS January, a snowy day is more likely.

The theme of the hop is ‘gifts’ and today, day eight, is ‘sea’.

Pearl

I never liked the sea.

The roar of the storms, the stench of the water, and the breathtaking cold as it struck my skin and bit into my bones. Everyone here loved the sea, their harsh mistress, but me.

Give me the warm days along softer shores with white sand silken between my toes; the lap of the waves, caressing the earth and carrying it back home with them in an endless circle of mild tides; our beautiful lake, great in size and name.

You don’t understand, the others have told me, the gifts of the abundant sea. She gives us our food and trade; our very livelihoods. But be gentle with her for what she gives, she also takes away. I never argued because they’re right; I don’t understand.

On the pebbled shore, her song roared in my ears and the gulls cried out their harmonies. I don’t understand you, I shouted in my mind, squinting into the stinging winds. You’re so large, so vast – so much.

The waves, icy cold, washed over my bare feet. Driftwood, rocks and shell fragments littered the beach behind me. I’m trying, I wanted to scream into the sky, but I missed the shores of home so very much.

Why did I ever come here?

Wet sunlight shone on the driftwood log and I sat to warm myself. Sharp pain shot through the toes I’d burrowed into gravely sand and I set to work extracting the offender.

A small box with sharp rusted edges and nestled within, a pearl on a tarnished chain. The pearl pulsed warmly in my palm and the warm softness of lost days wound around me. I smiled shyly at the water, at the sky, for my gift.

She knew my heart and I didn’t need to understand.

All mine, all me, all alone.

The world ended the other day.

The click of my heels on deserted city pavement were as sharp as gunfire; the only noise for blocks around.  Cold winter sun peeked through the low grey clouds, twinkling weakly on the rainbow sequined party dress; it barely reached my bare legs.

The world ended; how am I still here?

I tugged at a door and strode into the abandoned salon.  Ages of failed predictions, doomsday scenarios, years of blockbuster Hollywood movies and none of it happened.  The world did not end with a bang or even a pop or hardly a fizzle; it just did.  I woke up and the city was empty; almost like everyone ran off to the beach and forgot to ask me along.  I smiled ruefully at my pallid complexion; no one ever remembered to ask me along.

Bottles of nail polish, arranged in a rainbow of colours, lined the unused manicure tables.  My naked fingernails were begging for colour.  Throwing myself gracelessly into the chair, I frowned.  Which one should I use?

All of them.

I emerged a short time later with nails that matched the dress and others that completely clashed.  There would be no one to notice but me.

When I awoke the last morning, I had been alone in bed; my sweetheart’s side was empty and cold.  There had been words of love the night before, kisses and sloppy, sleepy fumbling; let’s do this later.

I frowned.  Now there was no ‘later’.

Click click click – I entered the square.  Office buildings towered into the sky, casting long, dark shadows on the parked cars.  The traffic lights were still running; how long that would continue before the power grid just gave up?

The hotel sat on the edge of the city park, all marble and granite, still decorated for Christmas; lit up and sparkling like a crystal chandelier.  Beautiful couples from all over the city converged on the ballroom every year, dancing away the final minutes of their old year, toasting and kissing in the New Year.

Stiff and still with a tray of champagne glasses and a plastered on smile, I had wanted to be a part of that; to shimmer in the low lights, on the arm of a handsome ne’er-do-well, toasting to his continued success.

I clicked and clattered through the marble lobby and burst through the doors of the gilded ballroom.  Everything shone; the chandeliers could’ve been the sun.  There were no more self-satisfied millionaires now; only me.

Laughter bubbled up and spilled forth, echoing in the empty room and I skipped awkwardly down to the dance floor.  I spun round and round, laughing until my sides ached and I felt quite sick.  Shimmering and sparkling under the lights, under the sun, I threw my arms out wide, shrieking with glee.

All mine, all me, all alone.

The world ended the other day.

Source: laurenconrad.com via Meg on Pinterest

Unrequited

I typically do not link to my fan fiction here but as there are excerpts on this blog from the work-in-progress, I’ll make an exception:

As a rule, I never take on servants. Magic will do anything that I require and maids tend to cry and snivel a lot. So what was I doing with a new caretaker? She was beautiful, to be sure, but inept in the ways of – care taking? A daughter of a lord of the ravaged frontier lands, she was a fine young lady, raised to become the pampered wife of a greater lord than her father. Instead, I took her away as my price for her father’s victory, serving me tea in her fancy dress and chipping my good china.

I relished the fear and her trembling voice, apologizing for damaging a simple cup. Magnanimous, I waved it off: it’s just a cup.

She is dressed much too fine for this job, I mused, examining the golden gown through narrowed eyes. I ought to have another made. One less – distracting, I decided, tearing my gaze away from her bare shoulders.

After serving my tea, the girl, Belle, hastened from the room. I could feel the magic on the back of my neck, like a gentle breath, as torches and candles sprang to life, lighting her way down to the kitchen.

Damned distracting.

‘Skin Deep’ in Rumpelstiltskin’s brain.

Enchantress

Another snippet from my current Once Upon a Time fan fiction.

******

“Belle,” I murmured into the top of her head, resisting the impulse to kiss her hair. “Belle, wake up, dearie.” My throat constricted, watching her blue eyes flutter open and slowly focus on me; heartbreak blue. I drew a ragged breath. “How can you sleep so peacefully next to a monster?”

“Not a monster.” she mumbled sleepily as she sat up. I smiled thinly at that; of course I was a monster and she was foolish to think otherwise.

“It is late. Perhaps you should retire.” it was more of a command than a suggestion. I longed to take her in my arms and keep her with me, to lose myself in her forever. Closing my eyes, I suppressed a shudder; no, that could not – should not be. She had me be-spelled; had I unknowingly taken in an enchantress? I kept my eyes and hands on the book as she got to her feet, stretching slowly, yawning.

“You are right. Good night, Rumpelstiltskin.” a shy curtsey and she was gone, footsteps fading fast in the dark corridor.

Under my skin

 

A snip from one of my works-in-progress (Once Upon a Time fan fiction).

*******

What is it, dearie?” I muttered, distracted by the ties of her bodice, my fingers itching to touch her bare flesh.

“Is something burning?”

My eyes snapped to Belle’s flushed face and she flinched. “Burning?” I repeated, momentarily confused, my fingers still on her laces but now idle.  Of course something was burning; it was me, burning to a pile of ashes at her dainty feet.  I followed her gaze to one of the laden work benches, thick black smoke snaking its way over the edge of the small cauldron.  I snapped my fingers and the ruined potion was gone but the offensive odor remained; groaning in defeat, I buried my face in the soft fabric of her gown…

Writing prompt #2

What do you think you’re doing –

    You’ll never keep us out.

– temporary set back

      kink in the plan –

Twin voices, gravelly, scraping like stone.

Twin faces, mockeries of Comedy and Tragedy

ripple across the aging wall.

We’ll get you

    – think you’re really safe?

always were stupid!

– shortsighted.

They reach my ears even with my hands clamped over them.

Ignore them.

Ignore them.

  Wearing

   .

    me

     .

      down

         .

    like water on stone

     Wearing

 eroding

Don’t listen

but they always win.

faces

Writing prompt

The lonely tower upon the lake, the one that seems to have a face worn into it; tiny eyes, chin bearded with greenery, crusted with stone, open mouth stained with dampness and age.  You know of what I speak?  The lake itself set in this silent forest, cradled in its leafy arms, no other human souls for leagues around.  What was its purpose way out here?  Was it once part of a wizard’s stronghold or a solitary dungeon for the most dangerous creature?

Or has it always been a home for spirits, lost and mournful on the breeze.

 

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