Do You Remember?

Written for Haibun Monday – A Little Romance. Don’t we all have those moments we lock away for a rainy day?

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There was no design, or plan. No thought of what might happen. It was just a touch, just an accidental touch.  I reached for a glass, he reached for his, skin touched skin and just then, just for a moment, I knew it wasn’t over.

I can’t remember where we were or even who we were with. I can’t remember the song that was playing or what was in my glass. But I remember the touch.

Too afraid to let go, yet too afraid of what it meant. We didn’t move our hands.

That night we left together.

Over twenty years later I can still feel that touch. I don’t know where you are, or what you’re doing now. But I like to think you feel it too.

 

A moment to feel,

A lifetime to remember,

Some hurts never mend.

 

Ripples

My 1st attempt at Haibun Monday for dVerse. This weeks prompt uses ‘View of the Church of Saint-Paul-de-Mausole’ by Vincent van Gogh as inspiration.

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Reflected at the water’s edge are all those long forgotten yesterdays. Those fields of green and fertile soil, where we sowed our hopes on fallowed earth.  I can still hear laughter floating on the breeze like a melancholy lullaby sweeping gently across the rooftops and I smell the yards of white linen still billowing in the courtyard, scents of lavender and lemon that tease the noon day sun into surrender.

Until once more the silence comes and I sit awhile and watch.

I dip my fingers in the water and see the ripples widen, see the earth turn cobalt blue and the trees succumb to bronze. I sit and watch the water flow and I wonder where those green fields went, those hopes that never grew. Perhaps a different palette could have changed tomorrow’s view.

Time is a river,

Each life a single ripple,

Paint your palette well.

How Big?

I’m once more attempting Al’s fabulous prompts. I’ve missed a couple of the Haibun Thinking Challenges, but here is this weeks. Haibun is a Japanese literary form that combines one or more paragraphs of your written narrative (prose) with a concentrated (short) poem – the haiku. Hai stands for haiku, bun stands for prose. It’s a great way of getting your creative juices flowing, why don’t you follow the link and have a go. There is a literary prompt or a photo prompt, this week I’ve gone for the photo. I may have gone a bit off slant this week, but I’m still practicing, so please excuse me.

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Mavis’s eyes scanned the water, “Beryl, are you sure that’s him”

“Oh yes, I’d know him anywhere” she replied,

Waves rose out ahead of them, the salty brine of seaweed and fish leaving a taste of something almost forbidden in their mouths. Beryl watched as Mavis traced a thin layer of saliva across her lips. It was almost indecent.

“But you said he was so, so ….” she hesitated not sure how to say it out loud.

“So what?” asked Beryl

“So… mmm…big” she almost whispered.

“OH YES” Beryl’s voice hit a sudden high.

“But it doesn’t seem THAT big to me” said Mavis without moving her eyes from the water.

Beryl reached for her reading glasses in the ruck sack “Well it HAS been a while”

She rubbed the glasses with her hankie and set them in place,

Her mouth opened agape “Oh”

Before adding quickly “Well it is April Mavis, the water must be freezing”

Beryl raised an eyebrow “Huh, huh”

“And you know how the cold can effects things”

“Not that much” said a somewhat deflated Beryl.

The spell was broken as the silver sheen of the dolphin’s hump cut through the swell and disappeared into the grey, blue azure below. Both women turned towards the pier and said in unison,

“Fancy a coffee in Moby Dick’s?”

*

Memory is often,

So much more than we have seen,

Cold affects us all.

 

 

Kissing Toads

I’m once more attempting Al’s fabulous prompts. I’ve missed a couple of the Haibun Thinking Challenges, but here is this weeks. Haibun is a Japanese literary form that combines one or more paragraphs of your written narrative (prose) with a concentrated (short) poem – the haiku. Hai stands for haiku, bun stands for prose. It’s a great way of getting your creative juices flowing, why don’t you follow the link and have a go.

There are two photos provided this week, I’ve chosen the one below. I’m got a bit of an historical thing going on this week, not sure why, but hey a girl’s gotta dream …….

 

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“Find them before daybreak” bellowed the dark figure from his mount.

The thumping sound of hooves grew louder and ever closer. Clara could see the stallion’s nostrils flaring in and out. Foams of saliva congealed at the edges as its teeth bore down on the bit. The rider pulled hard on the reins and a trail of white foam flew across his thigh. He raised a sword high above his head, the metal glistening in the darkness catching the moonlight and shattering it in to a thousand tiny fragments that only seemed to emphasise his savagery.

Clara wrapped the shawl tighter round the two small boys huddled by her knees. Her heart beating so fast and loud in her ears she thought the men would surely hear. Buried beneath the rushes, their feet in the rising water, all three shivered with cold as much as fear. The sound of the dogs moving off through the woods had Clara raising her head above the reeds. She straightened, brushing the damp moss off her dress and stood back from the boys.

“Ok they’ve gone, we need to move quickly” she whispered, all the while her eyes furtively scanning the shores of the river and the forest entrance. The smallest boy, Jonathan, looked up in both awe and apprehension.

“Can’t we go home Clara, I’m cold and I miss my blanket”.

Clara looked down and caught the tears edging his eyes, the ones he was fighting so hard to keep at bay. She smoothed her hand over his forehead moving a loose curl away from his face, and smiled. Perhaps searching for toads in the dead of night wasn’t their best idea after all. She nodded at the two boys, held out her hands and turned towards the house. Papa would be furious; she’d already seen his face when his horse passed them earlier. But she knew he wouldn’t be angry for long. When Mama had told her the story about having to kiss a lot of frogs to meet a prince, Clara thought there was no time like the present and if she started now that she was nine she would find him in no time. Her plan was fool proof, or it would have been without her brothers in tow. She would just have to come back tomorrow night on her own.

 

 Beware of kissing toads,

An innocent kiss can burn,

Love will look for you.

 

Freedom

I’ve been drowning in a sea of real life for the last few weeks and haven’t been able to catch all my usual prompt addictions but Friday has arrived and calm is somewhat restored so here is this weeks Haibun Thinking Challenge. Haibun is a Japanese literary form that combines one or more paragraphs of your written narrative (prose) with a concentrated (short) poem – the haiku. Hai stands for haiku, bun stands for prose. It’s a great way of getting your creative juices flowing, why don’t you follow the link and have a go.

This week’s film prompt is

Golly, did I hear you say you would be free if you could?

Gussy the Goose, Charlotte’s Web (2006)

Watching from the window, her face pressed tightly against the glass, a misty layer of breath trails against the pane. The cool moisture, like ink beneath her skin, as she fuses swirl after swirl with her fingertip, before blowing a little harder widening her canvas. Outside, the rain is still falling; rivulets of water that run down the side of the road and splash almost knee high off the pavement.

She taps at the raindrops from the inside out. She’s calmer now, her breathing steadier, almost normal. All that shouting, the noise, the pain in her head that brought on the blackness. There was no noise now. The stillness was insistent; continual, unyielding, almost suffocating her in darkness. Veiled echoes of blackness swam in her ears. She felt like she was drowning in a sea of shame; a tearful reproach against the blood red stain on the floor behind.

She wrapped her arms around her chest and shivered. A comforting sense of release enveloped her senses. She moved back from the window, stepped over his body and went to the kitchen. Taking out a mug from the cupboard she spooned in a teaspoon of instant coffee and plugged in the kettle. She picked up a damp wash cloth and swiped over some crumbs on the drainer. Her foot hit the pedal bin and she dropped the cloth into it. Spotting an empty can of tomatoes she reminded herself to get another few tins when she went shopping.

She sat  at the table, warming both hands around the mug and studied the body lying prostrate in the lounge. For twenty four years she’d dreamt of this. She’d prayed every night before she went to bed and woke every morning praying God had been listening. This morning she’d finally realised that God had enough on his plate and she’d have to create her own miracle. It was a shame about the knife though. She’d have to get rid of the whole set now. They were sterling silver and razor sharp, could cut through meat like butter. Even toughened old boot leather she thought. Anyway better get on; they’re coming to lay the concrete at 3.00.

 

A woman scorned,

Is a miscalculation,

Death is set in stone.

 

Watching

Here is this weeks attempt at the Haibun Thinking Challenge. Haibun is a Japanese literary form that combines one or more paragraphs of your written narrative (prose) with a concentrated (short) poem – the haiku. Hai stands for haiku, bun stands for prose. It’s a great way of getting your creative juices flowing, why don’t you follow the link and have a go.

There are 2 pictures to use as your prompt, I’ve used the one below –

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A plump wrist reached out, hesitated and then withdrew. Gabrielle thought if he could just touch the notes, catch the music on his fingertips, he would be able to feel it, touch it and keep it forever. He didn’t speak, didn’t make a sound. He didn’t want anything to make the music stop. It reminded him of summertime and sunshine, of hayrides and lemonade. A time before the blackness came, before everything changed.

Micheal was bored. He was cold and tired and he was so hungry his head hurt. He opened his mouth but Gabrielle glared at him and he snapped it shut again. This music was rubbish. He looked back over the balcony at the shapes below, squinting his eyes to focus on the delicate swathes of grey and black that criss-crossed and danced. He flicked his eyes, open – shut – open –shut, fascinated by the kaleidoscope darting back and forth. It made his head hurt more.

At the back of the crowded room the first flicker of flames leapt from the candle to the curtain. Gabrielle and Michael saw the shimmer of red gold snap forward, retreat, and then snap back again; each stroke gaining just a bit more ground. Within seconds the curtain was engulfed, a few seconds more and the flames raged higher. Gabrielle smiled as the music played on. Michael watched entranced.

From out of the flames a cloaked figure rose from the shadows. Black as night and just a encompassing.  Gabrielle and Michael heard the muted cries of the crowd below, their prayers rising higher as the heat grew stronger. The cloaked figure stood majestically in the chaos and fear, slowly raising out its arms.  Gabrielle and Michael were ready. Sucking in a lung full of air they both looked towards the closed doorway and blew. Like the breath of God the swirling mist of air thundered through the flames knocking the oak door cleanly off its hinges, allowing the crowd to escape. The hooded figure turned, dropped to its knees and disappeared.  Death would not feed today.

*

From innocent eyes,

Comes redemption and escape,

Angels watch and wait.

You Are You

Time for another Haibun Thinking Challenge. A weekly writing challenge to create verse, prose and haiku using the prompts provided.  Follow the link, read the others and have a go yourself.

This week I am using the literature prompt –

Today you are you!
That is truer than true!
There is no one alive who is you-er than you!

~ Dr Seuss

 

Holding her hand in his, he teased a faint touch across her palm. A tiny bead of sweat dropped from his forehead  and he wiped it away with his other hand. His heart rate quickened in his chest. Terrified she’d wake, he tried to stay calm. Then the torrent slowed, dissolving into nothing. Casting his eyes back across her face he waited for a flicker, any sign of movement. Nothing. He swallowed.

Raising his hand he brushed his fingertips across her cheek. Molten lava swam beneath his skin and he stilled at the touch. The hairs on his forearm prickled with anticipation and a current of electricity shot straight to his groin.  He lowered his face to hers. The touch of his lips no more than a whisper over her skin. He felt her warm breath like a summer breeze across his cheek. The faintest hint of strawberries, he could almost taste it on his tongue. Her taste was like you, her scent was like you.

She was his reason for rising each morning. The reason his demons stayed buried inside. She was the stars in his empty black sky and the sunrise that made his sins become yesterday’s mistakes. There had been others, many others. He’d moved through the shadows, watching and waiting.  They might have looked like her, had the same colour hair, the same colour eyes, but they didn’t taste like her, they didn’t smell like her. It wasn’t fair to let them live with imperfection. So he’d helped them reach a final blood stained escape.

Her eyes flickered open, slowly adjusting to the sunlight. Without raising her head she turned towards him and smiled. He lowered his mouth capturing her breath with his kiss. Lifting her head he tangled his fingers through her hair, pressing his lips harder onto her own. She matched him stroke for stroke, drowning in the intensity.  He suddenly pulled back catching her eyes with his. She had fallen asleep looking into dazzling blue lagoons. Those same blue eyes were now orbs of black pitch, bottomless and empty. He whispered against her ear, “you are you, not her” as she felt the cold tip of steel slowly slice across her throat.

*

Loving the wrong one,

Brings endless desolation,

Broken hearts don’t lie.

She Sits And She Waits.

So today is Tuesday and time for the ‘Haibun Thinking Challenge‘. This week it’s freestyle week, so the world’s your oyster, so to speak. Clink on the link and have a read at the others and then have a go yourself, go on I dare you…….

 

She sits and she waits. She doesn’t know what for, because nobody ever told her that. They just said to wait. She listens to the wind and holds her breath to hear a breeze. Sometimes she reaches out her tongue, just a little, to catch the teardrops from the sky and when the sky begins to smile again, she reaches our her hand to try and catch a rainbow between her fingers, she never can.

So she carries on watching, waiting in the shadows. Sometimes she sings, no more than a whisper, and watches the trees dance a waltz on the melody. The arms of the old mighty oak sweep down low and she bobs a shy curtsy and holds out her hand.  Sometimes there are others. She sees children playing; hears laughter in the air, sometimes young couples rest against the oak. She keeps very still so they won’t know she’s there.

Time seems to pass in the blink of an eye, the sun rises higher and it sets ever lower, and still she sits and she waits. She remembers Mama wrapping her shawl real tight around her shoulders and sitting her down under the oak. Her ruby red lips shimmering in the moonlight as she kissed her goodbye. Mama said she’d come back when the man paid his dues. She didn’t know what dues were, but Mama said “she’d earned em”. Then the bad man came. He said she had pretty hair but he smelt bad and his prickly beard hurt her face. Then he upped and stole the life right out of her body.

So now she sits and she waits, just like a good girl.

Death is just a door,

That separates you and me,

Love will guide you home.

The Archway

Time again for the ‘Haibun Thinking Challenge’ This weeks prompts are a photo from Sally of My Beautiful Things, and a piece of art from Anja of Oh Pithy Me. I have chosen Sally’s photo. If you would like to have a go, head over and take a look, have a read and then why not give it a go yourself.

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At the eastern edge of the graveyard a barren patch of grass runs from the chapel’s stone turret to the loose brick wall along the edge.  A peculiar spot of earth that has never flourished and where generations of children have grown up on folk lore and legend as to why. Some say a village girl was burned as a witch and the ground was so badly scorched by the heat, nothing has ever grown since. Others say a young boy was hanged from a tree for poaching a rabbit and his swinging shadow casts a permanent veil across the ground. Although the stories may alter and each generation adds a little more colour to its telling, there is always one part that remains constant. A lullaby whisper that can be heard on the wind,

Sing a song of death,

With whispered words to call me,

Run child, run child, run.

But when summer comes and the scent of honeysuckle lingers in the breeze. The villagers gather to honour the tales of old. To an outsider, the symbolism of the tall wooden archway festooned with flowers would seem rather quaint, just a bygone reminder of summer festivals and pagan celebrations. But an outsider would never see this sacred ritual. They would never see the children gather, all in white, barefoot and rosy cheeked. They would never see the elders standing back with heads bowed low. They would never see the sacrificial child, the one with the daisy chain crown, walk under the arch and never return. But perhaps they would catch a whisper or a chant on the wind,

Sing a song of death,

With rising chants we call you,

Run child, run child, run.

Haibun Thinking Challenge – Reflection

This is written for the very  first Haibun Thinking challenge.

I have used the prompt below – 

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

– Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

She looks in the mirror not recognising the face that stares back. Oh, there’s a familiarity alright, a sense of something or someone long gone, but there’s no real connection to the profile looking back. An echo of laughter plays in her head, she smiles. The face in the mirror smiles too, blood red lips that glisten in anticipation. They’re full and rounded, pumping with life; lips to be kissed, to be plundered with passion. And a smile so wide it reaches her eyes. Where blue orbs of mystery are so deep even the water nymphs would drown.

The laughter fades away, replaced by a gentle sway of rhythm. The blue orbs darken into something more, something wild and untamed. Music fills the air and the reflection begins to move, a slow burning flame that dances in the fire. She watches as hands glide over smooth unblemished skin, touching, teasing, and claiming. She sighs, the reflection stalls.

Shadows ebb across the glass, a mist tinged veil colours the edges of the reflection looking back. Her lips become thin and pale against a grey pallid skin and those blue eyes now faded are hidden by the deep lines of age. The reflection recoils at the face looking in. For the reflection is no stranger, but the woman she used to be.

 

Yesterday is gone,

Today will follow swiftly,

Then tomorrow comes.