Hello. Below is the Fiction I’ve been writing. I’m putting it onto this page so as to keep it separate from the rest of my blog.
My hope is that you’ll find this page entertaining and refreshing. Perfect for a lunch time perusal.
Shimmering blue and reflecting the sky, the river curved softly through the farming land where Kylie had spent her life until the age of 14. It was then that the family decided that to support her desire to be an actress, they would move to the City. It was in the City that the opportunities were.
Kylie had already graced the stages around her country town. She was well known and had a following of fans, mostly boys becoming men, who would buy tickets to any of her performances. Her rich auburn hair would be combed and pulled into any combination of looks for her various characters, not all star roles, but all expertly executed.
After joining the Sydney School of Acting, after her 18th birthday, Kylie had progressed well, winning several awards for her work as well as learning how to critique the talent of the other up and coming stars she both performed with and competed against. It was the end of the year and her last performance before becoming a professional.
Kylie took a shuddering breath. Her lines were getting confused in her head, and she swore that if the performance was being held any place in Australia but at the Opera House that she would have remembered them.
There was no room for nerves and no time to listen to the churning in her stomach. She watched for her cue, walked confidently onto the stage, and…
She looked out past the lights, onto the bright faces watching her.
And then she knew that she knew her lines.
“Felicity, don’t go,” she started.
The end of the performance was met with a round of applause. The curtain descended and then was raised again, while the audience begged for another sight of the performers.
And so Kylie, who knew her lines, stepped out as a new professional in her chosen career.
The clearing was brightly lit, with the savage glow from the sun causing shadows among the trees that framed the site. He stood perfectly still, his quivering nose the only sign of his excitement.
He had not seen his love for 300 years, cursed as they were to never meet.
They had not meant any harm. She had been injured, having fled from her tribe. He had met her in this same place, lying in a pool of her own blood, and had nursed her back to health. How could he have left her there alone? He was not that cruel a man. They had fallen in love, he from the North and she from the South. But their people had been at war for centuries and their Gods had cursed them.
Looking into the trees, the stag saw a shadow flit through the shadows.
The stag looked to the sky. It was almost time. Sunlight softened, and then disappeared.
A man stood in the clearing now. The owl watched on, and then, it too melted into it’s true form.
Out of the forest, a woman, clad in darkness, stepped into his space. “My love”, he murmured, ruffling her hair and holding her close.
Then it was over. Rushing back into day, the sun shone. It was, to the stag, as though the night of moments earlier, had stayed in his mood somehow. A sadness crept back into his heart, as, for a brief moment, the curse had been lifted. He turned back towards his solitude, and she to hers, for another 300 years.
It was small, bright, and perfect; a painting that drew you in, so that the rushes really moved in the breeze, the clouds floated above the mountains, and the badger, with his nose twitching from behind the woodland tree, was clambering over its roots.
The boy stared, transfixed by its beauty.
The strokes were the tell tale sign that it was not real. But then, even they had a magical glow to them, like they knew exactly where to display themselves so as to bring their subjects to life.
Despite its still clear colours, the painting was old. It was rumoured that the boy’s Grandfather, Terence, had painted it in his youth, and that made it very old to the boy.
As a youngster, Terence had been sitting under a woodland tree, when a cautious badger had approached him timidly. The boy noticed a dash of red on the badger’s foot, and, moving quietly, he reached out and carefully wrapped the badger in his scarf. He pulled the foot out from the folds of the make shift blanket, and saw that a nasty gash, infected and painful, was what ailed the little creature.
Terence placed the scarf, badger and all, gently on the ground. He moved to the back of the tree where some herbs grew and, boiling them in his billy, he made an ointment, just like his Grandma had taught him. This, he dabbed onto the now cleaned wound.
Every morning, he would visit the badger, pushing his way through the reeds and to its new home under the roots of the woodland tree, making sure it was warm, and that its wound was healing.
Closer to the time when the foot was healing nicely, Terence visited like always. The badger clambered out of his home among the roots of the tree, and sat back on his haunches.
The badger cleared his throat. “Ahem. You have been kind to me, Boy.”
It’s warm, old voice surprised Terence.
He continued. “Take a hair from my coat, and use it to paint a picture. I promise that whenever you, or a member of your family needs me, I will visit and help, for I am a woodland spirit, and can decipher the strange world in which you and your family will one day visit.”
The now older gentleman, walked up behind the transfixed boy. “It’s yours, you know, “he said to his Grandson.
The boy turned his head to look up at his Grandpa Terence. “Really?” he said with enthusiasm. A smile beamed from his face. The painting had been his favourite, from amongst all his Grandpa’s things.
“One day, if you need anything, just look into that painting, and you will find help.”
The boy gave his Grandpa a hug, stretching his little arms to their limit. ‘Thanks, heaps, Grandpa Terence.”
SOMETHING LOST SOMETHING FOUND
Excited, I stopped infront of the croissants at the Continental Breakfast. I was downstairs in the dining room of the Ibis Motel in Prague. After eating, I stepped out onto the pavement and found my way to the tram into the City. Into the slate coloured morning, I alighted once I was close to where I thought the Centre was.
At the bottom of a large hill in the City Centre, I looked up and spotted what the cross meant on the map. It was a massive Medieval structure, with turrets straining towards the soft grey clouds above. Trudging up the hill, past the shops, I explored the beautiful structure. Afterwards, I sat outside, munching on the croissant I had sneaked into my pocket earlier.
Again, I stepped onto a tram, heading towards where I thought my Motel was. The unfamiliar city gave no clues as to where to alight. I suddenly realised I didn’t know where the tram was. All I knew was that the shops were getting fewer as I headed further into the suburbs.
I asked the person next to me where the tram was going. She only shook her head. “No English,” she muttered.
Looking outside, I pulled the cord when I saw a busy tram station. The tram came to a halt, and I found myself once again on the pavement. Searching the trams that came past, I saw one that was heading back towards the City. I looked at my ticket and realised that it was a timed ticket, like those used in Newcastle, back in Australia. This meant that I only had an hour to find my way back to where I came from before the ticket expired. I quickly queued up with the rest of the commuters and stepped back onto another unfamiliar tram.
Nervously, I stared at the map on the inside of the tram carriage. I couldn’t remember which station I had caught my first tram.
Above the sounds of the tram and the commuters, I heard an English word being uttered, followed by Czech, and then more English. I rushed through the carriage to where I could hear the youthful voice. Three carriages away, I found the person who had spoken.
“You speak English!” I said to a young man.
“Yes,” he said with a strong European accent, tinged with an American lilt.
“Where do I need to go to find my way back to the Ibis Motel?” I blurted out.
The youth smiled. “Just wait on this tram for another three stops. It is not far from the third stop, which is where I think you should get off.”
We chatted until I stepped off the tram for the final time. The young man had finished his schooling in America, graduating from Year 12 and then completing his university studies in Prague. At the time, he had one more assignment due before his studies were finished.
I have never been so happy to hear the English language spoken!
A NEW LEAF
“I hate you!” I slammed the door shut in my Mother’s face.
She continued to knock. “Cynthia, I’m sorry.” I could hear the tears in her voice. She always cried at times like this, so I was immune to it. I didn’t want her to get her own way.
I put on the dowdy black dress that I had worn to my Grandfather’s funeral, finding heels to match and a black scarf should I need to hide my tears from my relatives.
Footsteps disappeared down the hallway and I knew that my Mother had left me.
After a few minutes, I strode in what I thought was a confident manner, out of my bedroom, down the hallway, and into the kitchen. My Mother was finding her keys in her handbag.
“Are you ready now Cynthia?” she asked in a voice that hid so much hurt.
I flounced out of the kitchen door and into the sunlight, deciding to not say a word to her.
In silence, my Mother drove me to the cemetery. Other cars, many of which I recognised as belonging to various Aunts, Uncles and Cousins, crowded into the car park when we arrived.
There was a gathering in the little church in amongst the gravestones. My Nanna’s coffin sat in the middle, surrounded by flowers. The orchids in the flower arrangements reminded me of my Grandfather who had grown them in the greenhouse, and I felt my resolve not to cry start to break down. Being the eldest Grandchild, it was soon my turn to lead my Cousins in our bit of the service.
I held it together, but only just.
We all stumbled out of the dark church and back into the beautiful sunlit day. The sound of quiet weeping filled my ears as I followed the coffin.
At the graveside, as the coffin started to descend, I burst into tears. All the grief I had held onto melted as my beloved Nanna departed from view.
My Mother was standing nearby, watching me.
I walked over to her and put my arm around her shoulders. I realised that I loved her despite our fights, and I was determined to make sure I never said those nasty words to her from now on.