Magic of Times Past

(picture credit: Wikipedia)

I close my eyes and I can see them as clear as day before me. Whitewashed walls, glowing in the light of a torch, stretched around the room. Neatly chiselled into the plaster and then painted with a steady hand are shapes and symbols…

I could read them all, once, millennia ago. These strange drawings were words, and these words formed the spells to keep us safe, in this life and the next…

In my mind’s eye, I trace them with my finger, longing for the knowledge I once possessed before time eroded it away, just like the words themselves, which have long since turned to dust.


The Frozen City

I had never seen anything like it.  A city made of crystal, that shimmered in the light of the sun, moon and stars. So different and bizarre to my eyes was it, that I could have been on another planet.  Perhaps I was.  Or perhaps it was the same planet, but a different time; a different reality.  I could not say.  I was puzzled by many things, the chief of which was how I came to be here, a mystery I had yet to find the answer to.

To look at it from a distance – and I did, for I was so taken by its beauty – you would see a collection of upside down icicles.  Some ended in sharp points.  Others appeared as if they had been broken, their tops snapped off, leaving either strange jagged protrusions or else being weathered smooth by the passage of time.

It looked cold, a city of winter in the heart of a forest that stretched for thousands of miles in every direction.  But looks can be deceiving.  There was warmth there and much jollity to be found.  The people were quick to laugh and slow to anger.

It was a pleasant place to stay, but I wasn’t from there.  I wasn’t one of them and this wasn’t my home.  I was stuck here, unable to return, no different from being stranded on another planet…but I could imagine worse places…

Written for Day 13 of A Month of Mini Writing Challenges 2017: The prompt is “another planet”.  Format and length are your choice.

Blinded by Hope

Blinded by hope, it wasn’t until she was at the meeting place – the old house in the woods, at exactly midnight – that she realised that she had, in all probability, walked into a trap…but it was too late now.

Never Alone


Illustration by Ivan Bilibin

Living in the woods all my life, I never thought I would come to fear the forest.  The sounds, especially during the night, once offered comfort in their familiarity.  I felt safe.  I felt secure.

But when my brother left home to find work in the city (there was little work to be found where we lived)…when my sister got married to a man who lived on the other side of the river…when papa died…and then mama too…I was left alone.

The days and nights seemed longer then.  Noises beyond the cottage were magnified and echoed through the trees.

And then one day a stranger appeared on the path that ran close to the garden.  He asked for help; said he was lost.  In that moment I realised how much I missed my family and the company of other people.  The cottage was so isolated that it was rare for people to take the little used forest track that ran for miles between the closest village and the road to the river crossing.

He spent many days under my roof, talking and laughing.  I was content in his company but I couldn’t help but think of the future.  After a few weeks I asked if he would stay…

The look on his face was answer enough.  No, he would not.  Could not.  I nodded and we spoke of it no more.  He had made up his mind.

Over the next few days my anxiety of being alone and my fear of the forest increased.  It was then that I knew I couldn’t let him go.  So I ensured that he would never go away.

Six months later and another wanderer found his way to my gate.  He had hurt his leg, tripping over a hidden tree root in the forest.  Could I help him?  Of course I invited him in, though my first guest did his best to make his warning known.  Sadly, the injured man had yet to learn how to hear him.

However, he did notice strange noises.  I thought he meant from the forest, like the ones that had once scared me.  Instinctively I felt drawn to take care of him, to protect him, but when he too said he must leave…that there was something not quite right here…well, I couldn’t just let him go.  The forest was dangerous but the cottage was safe.  He would understand in time.

Years passed and my family grew.  My home was filled with voices and activity once more, and emptiness was banished to the past.  No longer would I fear the woods, not even in the darkest of winter nights.  Together we were safe, stronger.  I would never be alone again.  And besides, the dead did have their uses…

This was written for Jane Dougherty’s Sunday Strange Microfiction Challenge.  When I saw the picture, I knew I had to give it a go.  Thanks for the inspiration, Jane.  I really enjoyed writing this 🙂

Excavating the Archives: Echoes of the Past

mitchells fold

Footsteps echo on the ancient ground.  Snippets of conversation carried on the wind of time.  Shouting.  Screaming.  Laughter.  Crying.

Experience imprinted on the landscape.  Memories forever carved in stone.  Life and death remembered.

Stories waiting to be told…truths waiting to be heard…

The past is never silent.

A quick read from the archives, dating back to June 2014…


through the tree canopy

I don’t have the words to tell you how I’m feeling; please don’t ask for I will be forced to try and explain, to compromise and approximate, confusing what is with what might be, as if I was writing fiction…exchanging truth for something else entirely.