Backwards

The Baroness was in fine fettle. She had just finished reading the abridged version of my book, and I was glad it was up to her high standards.

“I love how you explained what a Matrix was.” She leaned forward on her chair, a smile teasing her lips.

We were sitting in the drawing room of her mansion. The chair she sat on had heritage colours embroidered into the material, and my chair echoed the same design. I was her Repair Man, and she had decided, on a whim, to take an interest in me.

“I’m glad you liked it.” I smiled back.
This could be my lucky break. What she didn’t know was I was also a Time Traveller, and the book had been inspired by my foray into the future. With clocks being expensive and hard to come by, I had “borrowed” the Baroness’ clock. She’d never notice, I rationalized to myself.

“Except the bit where you mentioned a computer.”

Her smile stopped and she looked sad. Hastening to cheer her up, I felt the need to explain.

“I’m also an Inventor.”

“Aha, then you’ll be able to fix my clock. It seems to run backwards.”

Scapels and science classes

“That was gruesome.”

Tom was pulling a face as he spoke.

“Yep. I don’t like that section of the Library either,” I said under my breath.

The Librarian put another book on the shelf between us and the exit door.

Curious, we had visited the science display in the school library. Glass jars held the innards of different disembowelled creatures. Mice, frogs and fish with their entrails clearly suspended in liquid, stared glassily at students passing by.

Science was next. Not my favourite subject. Desperately, I was hoping I wouldn’t be adding to the collection of glass entombed animals we had just seen.

A perfectly shaped girl came bouncing around the corner as Tom and I entered the science laboratory. Tracey, the most popular girl in the school, beat us to the door.

I dropped my gaze, then wished I hadn’t. In her hand, Tracey was carrying a scapel. It meant only one thing. We were going to disembowel some poor creature.

Doubling over, I groaned. Mr Pearce, our Science Teacher, glared at me as I staggered to the entrance of the laboratory.

“What’s the matter with you, Richard?” he all but growled at me.

“I don’t feel too good, Sir.”

“You better sit in the Sick Bay. The Flu has been going through the school. Looks like you better stay there for now.”

Turning, I suppressed a grin as I strolled towards the Sick Bay. I had done it. I had managed to avoid hurting any poor animals.

Obediently, I sat in the Sick Bay, until I heard the bell. Then, I walked back down the corridor, heading towards where the buses picked us up.

Along the way, Tracey flounced in the opposite direction.

“Hello, Richard.” She smiled at me.

“Will you help me? I’m trying to stuff this cushion with the stuffing from this teddy bear.”

She thrust an old ragged teddy into my arms, and then used the scapel to cut him open. As the soft white wool came bursting out, Tracey gathered it and pushed it into a lovely patchwork cushion.

“Why weren’t you in Science today?” she asked me.

I stopped and thought for a second, deciding to not answer.

“Did I miss out on much?” I tried to sound casual.

“No. Not really. We were just doing revision before our exam next week.”

Tracey peered into my face. “Are you okay?” she enquired.

I could feel the smile on my face.

“So… the class just did text book work?” I asked her.

“Well. Yes.”

“And this scapel is from Craft?”

An odd look crossed Tracey’s face.

“Yes.”

I had been wrong. No poor creature had been harmed at all. Once he found out what had happened, Tom would never let me live this one down.

Birthday cake

“Steve?” I asked him.

“Yes, Toni.”

“The instance that Mum finds out, we’re in deep trouble.”

My older brother nodded. “That’s okay.” He winked at me. “We’ll just have to make up some story.”

It was our Mother’s birthday. We had been in the kitchen, and had decided to make a cake out of some eggs we had found in the back yard. As soon as I had cracked one, a terrible stench had cleared us into the outside.

“Hey, you two,” bellowed Mum. “Come back here and clean up your mess.”

“Too late,” I informed Steve.

“Sis, why don’t we climb this tree? Mum will never find us up here.”

“Okay,” I said reluctantly, as I followed him amongst the branches.

I don’t know how long we had been up there. It seemed like ages, before the sun dipped below the horizon, and the mozzies drove us down to the ground.

Tip toeing, Steve opened the door to the back of the house. We entered the sunroom, relieved that the smell seemed to be not as strong.

Cautiously, we next entered the kitchen.

“Well it’s about time you two came inside.”

Mum had her hands on her hips, but the kitchen was clean once more.

“Next time you want to bake a cake for my birthday, please use the eggs from the fridge.”

Bedmates,

“Potatoes,” swore Tommy. He was standing next to the little dragon that guarded the garden, his face scowling. His blue eyes were focused on the sky.

I lay down the twig I had been using when sparring with him earlier and stood next to him, trying to see what he had noticed.

He said we were bedmates. My word was Lovers. The difference in words was significant to me for one important reason. It was said that a curse had been cast on the family a long time ago, that if anyone caused a fiasco, there would be an attack by a Gargoyle. And the term Lovers, I felt, would cause less trouble.

Something shadowed us, and we both looked up. Bat-like great wings, and an ugly faced creature swooped low.

“GET DOWN,” Tommy yelled, pulling me to the ground. My hands dug into the garden where I landed, crushing my Mother’s crysanthemums.

The creature missed, but I could hear its wings beating the air. Gasping, I felt wind against my face as it came for us again. My blonde locks fell across my eyes.

Suddenly, it squealed. I realised then, that I had closed my eyes. Opening them again, and blinking the hair away, I was surprised to see a little dragon in the sky, as the bat-like creature disappeared towards the horizon.

The little dragon landed in the garden and became a statue, right where the garden ornament had been.

Tommy reached out his hand and helped me up. It was then I noticed a black and white photo in his other hand.

“What’s that?” I asked him.

Grinning, he handed it to me. There, staring out at me, was the little dragon, identical to the one now innocently sitting in the garden.

“See. I said we could use whatever words we liked to describe our relationship.”

My eyes met his.

“This is a photo of the garden when my Grandfather was alive. He told me a family legend that *our* family is protected from evil by this little dragon.

Hugging him, my eyes pricked with tears.

He hugged me back, tightly, and I realised he’d been scared by the Gargoyle attack too.

“Maybe I can call us Lovers instead of Bedmates,” he murmured into my hair.
“That was close. And I don’t want to risk losing you again.”

Big Billy

The wind was soft on his face, but the blood was pounding in his ears. He had never climbed a tree this high before. This tree climbing challenge was off the charts. It was even a bigger challenge than asking out Olivia, the most popular girl in the school.

“Climb Big Billy,” taunted Craig.

“Yeah, go on, Brendan. You can do it,” called out Chris.

Brendan had arisen to the dare. Big Billy was the tallest Eucalypt around these parts, and the tree had never been climbed before.

The group of school boys were too scared to scale Big Billy, so they had dared the shy bespectacled Brendan.

Wanting to prove himself had spurred him to action, with complete disregard to his own safety. Now, way up high, he was having misgivings.

All he wanted now was to have his two feet squarely on the ground.

“Um. Hello?” said a timid voice. “What are you doing in my tree?”

Glancing to his right, Brendan almost lost his grip on the bough he was clinging to. There, securely and serenely sitting in a fork, was a girl about his age, from school.

“S-sorry,” he stammered. “Is this *your* tree?”

“Yes. It’s my favourite place. I love the peace. No one’s been brave enough to climb as far as me.”

Brendan held his breath. Was she actually blushing?

Then he had a rush of excitement. She thought he was brave!

“Will you go out with me?” He held his breath again.

“Yes, of course I will.”

And with that, they climbed down the tree together, for both Craig and Chris to see.

As he and the girl came down out of the last branch, Craig and Chris were waiting.

But Brendan didn’t care.

“Hello? Meet my new date,” Olivia announced.

Yellow rose

My steps are faltering, as old age has descended. Being all of 80, I think I’m going well. A walker keeps me company, and now, instead of gardening, I admire the plants around the Nursing Home where I live.

“Hello Merryl,” Basil yelled out over the lawn. We were all standing out the back of the Nursing Home, and Basil was the last person I wanted to talk with.

So I ambled down the footpath to the rose garden.

Bending down, I stared over the rims of my bi-focals. There was a tiny… something… on the yellow rose that nodded closest.

I bent over further.

Now, if I’d had more clout, I would have leant against the ledge that ran around the garden. Instead, I leant all my weight on my walker. This was a massive mistake. With a squeal I pitched forwards, bumping my head on the ledge. And then the world went black.

As I came to, instead of the hard ledge, I felt warm gentle arms underneath me. Opening my eyes, I suddenly wished I hadn’t.

I stared up into Basil’s twinkling eyes.

Blue

Blue light shone through my window, waking me.

At first I thought it was a Blue Moon. But then, I heard strange noises. A half heard whisper echoed through the silence, followed by a loud shush.

Someone tripped over my back step, with a thud, a swear word escaping into the night.

Creeping out of my bedroom, I tip toed down the hall and to my back door.

Two tiny blue men were poking around the jug that held a pot plant, decorating my back table. The blue light was emanating from a blue spaceship, and more tiny blue men were hanging out of its windows.

It was then I realised that the little blue men on my table had trained miniscule guns at me.

I raised my hands in the universal guesture to say I was unarmed. They lowered their guns, then one pointed his gun at the tealight holder that sat next to the jug.

The tealights flickered a little before igniting into little blue flames.

In a blink they disappeared.

A hand on my shoulder made me jump.

“Gemma, what are you doing up at this time?” Then my Housemate’s eyes fell on the tealights.

“Wow. How did you do that?” she asked me in disbelief.

Shaking my head, I was silent.
She would never believe me if I told the truth.

Little sister

She lay on the bed, face pale in the moonlight. I gently sponged the sweat from her feverish forehead with a wet cloth. Suddenly, her blood shot eyes opened, staring at nothing. Screaming, she sat up and tried to back into the bedhead.

I felt it rather than saw it. Vapour, thick with sadness, enveloped the bed and groped for both of us.

I needed her to wake up out of her nightmares, out of the Spirit Worlds that haunted her. She was stronger than me. I needed my older sister awake to confront this Evilness.

Desperately, I shook her shoulders, looking for signs that she would be okay, that she would take control. But her eyes closed and her head rolled back and forth without her conscious support.

This time, I had to solve the problem myself. This Apparition, this haunting, this was mine this one time.

Marshalling all my education and knowledge, I raised my hands, like I had seen her done countless times before. I imagined golden light between my palms, expanding into a ball of power. And then I could feel it, the heat radiating out so I could feel it through-out my body. It grew denser and hotter, but did not harm me.

I was doing it! I was raising energy, just like my beloved sister, like I had seen her do on numerous occasions.

Crying defiantly, and with a little shock, I hurled the golden ball at the Vapour.

Then, the sadness left. I could feel it leaving, fading away.

Behind me, my sister moaned. Turning my head, I glanced at her. Her face was glowing with health, blue eyes snapped open, and she stared at me. Disbelief swept over her features.

“Thank you,” she said to me.

“For what?”

“I threw that Demon out of me, but I couldn’t loosen his hold. You killed him, for me.”

Then her arms were around me, holding me tightly against her chest.

“You saved me, Sandy, you saved me little sister.”

I was glad my face was hidden in her embrace. Relief was pounding through me, and all I could do was let the silent tears run down my cheeks.

Self Discipline

Some have it and some don’t. What sets people apart? What makes some people truly great in their own right?

For me, I believe the difference is Self Discipline.

As a Writer, self discipline is the difference between my success and my failure.

Today, I am redeeming myself by writing this article. Today, I have been self indulgent. Now? I am making up for my slovenly ways.

Self discipline is valuable and a trait I am working on. It is a Journey, just like my Writing is.

So join me on the road to success. Invest in yourself. Invest in your Self Discipline and you will never go wrong.

Free

Sobbing, I pushed my way into the Forbidden Garden. It was a secret walled garden, where my Mother and Father once met. Now, with both dead, it had been forgotten. But I had been jilted. Originally in line for the throne, I had been disgraced. For my evil Uncle had changed the law by making it illegal for a woman to inherit the kingdom, hence cementing himself as King. And me? I was only good now, to be a Pawn in his dealings.

The gate was rusty and took a few shoves before it squeaked on its hinges, to reveal the sorry state of this once beautiful place. The pathways were littered with fallen leaves, and plants trailed over the edges of the garden beds. A colourful confusion of flowers and weeds tumbled over tree branches, and the tree branches themselves were too heavy to lift above the mass of vines that conspired to drag them to the ground.

On the other end of the garden, another gate had led to the outside wall and into the wilderness beyond. It was no completely gone.

Green algae and slush glugged out of the fountain in the centre, and the chair where I had sat as a child, with Mum playing with my hair, was rusty and broken. Just as I thought it was a mistake to seek comfort in such a forgotten place, I heard a rustling.

Caught on my Father’s favourite rose bush, was an animal. I crept forward, until I saw it’s wounded paw, trapped by the thorns and torn to bloody ribbons. Wiping the tears from my eyes, so I could see, I felt instant empathy. Just like this beautiful tiger, I too, felt trapped by my Uncle.

She was skinny and her fur was matted. She was tired and elderly, looking like she wouldn’t survive another Winter in the wild where she belonged.

Her deep brown eyes were soft with pain, as she sought my own. Courageously, I crept forward, disentangling her paw from the thorny branches of the rosebush. She whined, but did not move, as I released her.

Feeling more confident now, I tore a strip from my beautiful white dress, and sponged some of the oozing black blood away, until I could see the wound was clean. The tiger winced but did not try to hurt me.

When done, I sat back to see my handy work. With a contented sigh, she leaned against me.

Finally, for the first time since my Uncle had usurped me, I felt I had the strength to fight him. Tomorrow, I would see which Courtiers would support me in leading a wedge against my Mother’s brother.