Quaquaversal #atozchallenge

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Quaquaverasl; moving or happening in every direction instantaneously. 

There were days Nancy felt like everything was happening at once and was all out of her control. She felt pulled like a rubber stretch doll in all directions, knowing she would soon snap. The only escape she had was in her mind where she could pretend everything was all right.

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Potterphile #atozchallenge

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Potterphile; a person who loves the Harry Potter books and films. 

I came down to breakfast, feeling like my brain was still in bed. Sitting at the table, I pulled the box of cereal over to me, grunting a reply back to mum who had just said, ‘good morning,’ to me.

Opening the box, I poured some cornflakes into the already waiting bowl. Placing the box back again, I glanced over at my little sister. All I could see was her violent red hair over the top of a thick book.

I wonder for a moment what she was reading. She was a total bookworm and hardly had her face out of a book. I lost count of how much she had read and most of the time I only half recognised some of the titles from school.

I splashed some milk on top of the bowl and started eating. I wasn’t even hungry but the wrath of mum wasn’t worth it. I glanced up at her as she put some toast down and fussed over a few things. Mum buttered the toast and nibbled on a slice. She looked tried and frustrated. Her hair which was the same color as my sister’s, was super fizzy as if it had been electrocuted.

If I could manged the words, I’d ask her how work last night was. She’d told us things were tough at the nursing home at the moment. Most of the old people had flu and they were dropping like flies. For the past two weeks, someone had died every second or third night. There seemed to be no end in sight for it clearing up.

I couldn’t get everything out of my mouth just yet, so I shoveled in some more wet cornflakes. Then I drank some orange juice, hoping that would wake me up. I felt like a zombie with a headache who was hungover.

‘Time for school,’ mum cut in.

She hurried up from the table and began clearing away. She was eager to go to bed and get some sleep. I wished I could do the same. Instead though, my day was going to be full of boring lessons and detention for not doing my science project.

I abandoned the rest of my breakfast and went to get my things. Behind me, I heard mum telling my sister to put Harry Potter down and get her stuff. Ah, that’s what she was reading! Shaking my head, I finished off getting ready then went downstairs again.

‘Here’s you lunch,’ mum said, handing me my plastic lunch box.

She reached up and tried to flatten down my hair which was doing it’s normal just out of bed sticking up everywhere look. I had red hair too, only it was much lighter then theirs, which I was thankfully for.

‘Thanks,’ I muttered and tried to shove the box into my bag whilst attempting to avoid her hands.

‘Lily! Come on!’ mum called upstairs.

My sister appeared, school bag on her back and that huge book hugged to her chest.

‘Lunch,’ mum said and handed her a pink fabric bag with a unicorn flying over a rainbow on it.

‘Did you put the fairy cakes in?’ Lily asked.

‘No, you know the school doesn’t like unhealthy food. You can eat them when you get back. Have a good day,’ mum added.

She kissed Lily’s forehead, opened the door and pushed us both out. The door rattled shut behind us. We started walking, it was a strangely bright sunny day and it felt like spring had finally arrived. In the front gardens of neighbors, flowers were starting to grow.

Lily fell behind and I reached the bus stop first. There were a few other people waiting there; two younger girls from my high school, a postman, a man in a high visibility vest and an harassed like young mum with three kids one of whom was in a pushchair. I glanced back for Lily and saw her walking slowly over, her face buried in her book.

There was no point in telling her to put it down. She was into nearly all books but there was something about the Harry Potter ones that really made her addicted. She must have read each one a hundred times and watched the movies just as much.

Lily came to a stop close to me, the book totally blocking out her face. Her fingers were wrapped so tightly around the thick spine that her knuckles were turning white. It must be hurting her little hands to carry something so big like that. I saw the page turn.

‘Which one’s that?’ I asked her.

‘The fifth,’ she spoke, ‘The Order Of The Phoenix.’

I pulled a face as if trying to remember which one that was. Lily had dragged mum and I to all of the movies and she must have made me watch each one a few times at home too.

‘Where you up to?’ I uttered.

Lily was quiet for a few seconds then she said, ‘they are at the starting feast.’

‘Here’s the bus. Stop reading whilst you get on,’ I added.

Lily had a habit of tripping up and down stairs and over things whilst she walked with her head in some fictional world. With a sigh and a nudge from me, she lowered the book and got on the bus behind everyone else.

The bus was packed as normal and I pushed Lily into a seat before the young mum could get one of her kids into it. I lent against the plastic panel leading up to the stairs, looming over Lily like an evil step-brother. Lily pulled up the book again and turned to her marked page.

‘What is about those books?’ I spoke loud without meaning too.

Lily glanced at me, ‘they are good,’ she replied.

‘So are many others,’ I put in.

She shot me a dirty look, ‘and what would you know? You hate books.’

The lady next to Lily throw me a disgruntled look then stare down at her Kindle again. Another woman behind her peered at me in horror before turning to the window. A few other people had raised their eyes too and I felt like Lily had just said a swear word.

‘I don’t’ I muttered.

Lily shot me a smug look then put Harry Potter between us. I pressed my lips together before turning away from her. The rest of the bus drive felt like it took forever but finally we made it to the stop outside of the high school and we got off in a crowd of people.

I had to drop Lily off at her primary school around the corner first. I took her arm, not caring that she cried out and almost drop her book.

‘We’re late!’ I snapped and broke into a jog, dragging her behind me.

‘Let go!’ Lily shouted.

She tried to wiggle free but I was too strong and was able to force her onwards. Only when we got to the gates and I pushed her inside, did I let go. She looked disheveled and grumpy.

I turned to go then remembered. I grabbed her shoulder, spinning her towards me then lowered my face to her’s and whispered, ‘wait for me in the library, okay?’

Her eyes got wide, ‘you got detention again?’ she asked then giggled.

‘Just do it,’ I growled and stalked off.

I was late to home room and the excuse of having to drop Lily off wasn’t working anymore. School was as dull as I thought it was going to be. Time seemed to have slowed too and the droning of the teacher’s voices remind me of bees buzzing in the summer heat.

At lunchtime after I had eaten, I crept off to one of my favorite hiding places; the English teachers’ stockroom. There in a back corner, hidden behind all the towering shelves filled with fiction and text books, I sat down. From the bottom shelf next to me I pulled out one of books; Harry Potter and The Order Of The Phoenix. 

Smiling, I turned to the page I’d marked last time. I was far ahead of Lily. But I wasn’t about to tell her or anyone else that.

Occhiolism #atozchallenge

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Occhiolism; the awareness of the smallness of your perspective. 

Looking up into the billions of stars in the sky, Joe realised how small his problems truly were.

Noctuary #atozchallenge

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Noctuary; the record of a single night’s events, thoughts or dreams. 

I had the dream again last night. I was in the library, there were the hushed sounds of voices and pages being turned. The smell of old leather, paper, ink, wax and dust drifted like a strong perfume. I was at an old desk, candles in lamps flickering around me and I was wearing a long white dress with a black corset.

Books were piled around me and I was reading one, open on a stand and the writing seemed to be in Latin. I was looking for something but I couldn’t seem to find the answers in any of these volumes. There was an ink pot and feather quill in a stand on my right side with some sheets of yellow paper.

Closing the book, I selected another one and flipped through it. Stopping at a page with a coloured drawing on one side and tiny writing on the other, I looked at the picture. There was a girl, older then me and she was wearing a white dress too! Her’s was tied with a large black bow at the back. She was going up some stone stairs in the middle of a forest. There were tall, green pine trees fading in the distance and lines of sunlight pouring through them.

I tried to read what the picture was about, but the book was written in a language I didn’t know. I studied the girl, noticing how her hair was the same brown colour as mine but it was straight and not curly. I blinked and the girl’s head had moved! Her face had turned to look over her shoulder and out of the page!

Gasping, I tried to convince myself it wasn’t true but I knew the girl was watching me. Her eyes were the same colour as my own and her face though on the edge of adulthood was mine too. I pressed my face closer to the book, my hands trembling as I clutched the edges. I saw a wind playfully blowing the girl’s dress about.

She was saying something! I lent closer in, trying to hear what the girl was saying.

‘It’s not here, what you seek,’ she whispered.

‘It’s not?’ I uttered back.

‘It’s here,’ she said and waved her hand at the forest in the picture.

‘Where?’ I pressed, desperately.

‘You know,’ she hissed back.

The wind played with her hair and the tails of the long black ribbon then everything became still. The girl’s head turned back and the picture was still again.

The book slipped through my fingers and hit the table top hard. The noise rang through the library then the dream was swirling away.

Next moment, I saw myself standing as the older version of me had done. I was on the steps leading up the forest. I could smell the pines and the green bushes. Birds were twitting and the wind was waving the tree tops. I looked down and saw myself in the same white dress with the black ribbon as she had worn them.

And I as walking through the trees, looking for what I knew to be there; the answers I had been seeking to life itself.

Mangata #atozchallenge (Part 2)

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Mangata; the trail of light left by the moon’s reflection on the sea, ‘the moon road’. 

Someone was calling my name in the distance, I could hear them over the sounds of the waves and the rocking of the little boat.

‘Susy! Susy!’

I opened my eyes and stretched, my body stiff from leaning over. Looking around in a daze, I realised I’d fallen asleep! Luckily though the sea had carried me ashore and the little boat was wedged on the beach. Checking my watch, I saw it was now close to two in the morning.

‘Susy!’ a voice yelled.

It was my older sister, Aura! I looked madly about and thought I saw a blob of flickering light, coming over to me. I looked at the electrical lantern balanced at the head of the boat. It was letting off a good amount of light still. I picked it up and climbed out of the boat.

‘Over here, Aura!’ I yelled and waved the lantern.

‘Susy! she shouted back, ‘are you okay?’

‘Yes,’ I hollered.

I ran along the shore to met her. The surf splashed up against my boat and the wet sand slide underneath me. We almost collided as we were both closer then we thought. Laughing, Aura hugged me tightly, her lantern hitting my back, her wild blonde hair tickling my face.

‘We were worried!’ she gushed, ‘We thought you’d got lost! Father and mother have gone to the cove and to the rocky pools. They thought the tide might have carried you there.’

‘No,’ I replied, I was close enough to shore. I didn’t realise the time.’

Aura let me go and we walked over to the boat.

‘Did you get it?’ she asked, excitement bubbling in her voice.

I nodded and answered, ‘yes and some more things too.’

We hurried over and I grabbed the hiking bag to show her.

Aura grabbed my hand before I could start pulling things out, ‘wait,’ she said.

I looked at her, her face glowing in the lantern lit.

‘We should find father and mother, they are so worried.’

‘Fine,’ I said and flipped the hiking bag closed again.

I heaved it onto my back then we both pulled the boat up the beach. As we neared the low stone wall, two moving lights appeared and we heard running footsteps. Aura, held out her hand and we both stopped. Ducking into the shadows of the wall, we hide our lanterns behind us and waited to see who was coming.

Heavy feet hit the sand, followed by softer ones and the swishing of cloaks. I saw in the gloom, two lanterns holding magical balls of blue and green dancing lights. So, it could only be…

‘Mother! Father!’ Aura cried and she rushed over to them, ‘I found her! Susy! She’s fine!’

I stepped from the wall’s shelter and hurried over. My mother hugged me, repeatedly saying my name, asking if I was okay and that I had worried them all.

‘What happened?’ my father finally cut in.

‘Nothing…I…It was just so nice out there and I caught some stars too. I didn’t know the time had gone,’ I replied.

I couldn’t tell them I had fallen asleep, it’d be awhile before they let me out again by myself.

‘I got The Moon Reflection Essence!’ I cried and struggled to take my hiking bag off to show them all.

My mother stopped me, her hands pulling the straps back on, ‘later,’ she said.

Father collected the boat, heaving it up and and carrying it back. We walked off the beach, breaking the quietness with a little conversation. A sandy path let back to the village. Ours was the first house on the little cliff that looked out over the sea. As we got closer, I saw that all the windows had lights shinning out of them, so it seemed like a beacon. There was a tail of smoke coming out of the small chimney too.

Arriving, we took our boots off then Mother hurried me into the living room, where the fire dully burnt. She threw some more logs on then began helping me out of my damp clothes. In the background, I heard father lowering the boat against the house and coming in with my sister. They joined us and started to get dry too.

Standing in my under dress, I emptied my hiking bag and removed all the jars. Mother inspected them as I did so, nodding and muttering her approval. Lastly, I handed in the biggest jar and watched her face closely.

The Moon Reflection Essence glowed brightly in the living room, casting a pool of light around mother. Her smile grew as she turned the jar to see the light from the reflection of the moon from all sides.

‘It’s perfect,’ she said, proudly.

‘At a girl, Susy,’ father spoke.

‘Wow, it’s so bright!’ Aura awed.

‘Well done,’ mother added and drew me into a hug.

A wave of sleep hit me and I rubbed my eyes as I rested against her shoulder. The warm of the fire, the safety of home and the tiredness of my trip building together.

‘It’s bedtime.’

I agreed with a yawn.

Once in bed, I could see the moonlight dancing on top of the waves before me. I could feel myself drifting away, those waves carrying me out to sea.

‘You’re going to make a great witch, Susy,’ Aura’s voice said.

‘Huh-huh,’ I uttered.

‘We both will do…One day. Next time will you show me how you get the moon essence?’

‘Sure,’ I muttered then let the dream sea carry me away.

Mangata #atozchallenge (Part 1)

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Mangata; the trail of light left by the moon’s reflection on the sea, ‘the moon road’. 

I sat still in the small rowing boat, the sea waves gently bobbing around me. In the distance, I could hear more waves lazily brushing along the shoreline but there were no other sounds. The full moon rose high in an ink black sky, a billion stars surrounding her like people bowing to a Queen.

Looking at my luminous watch, the hands told me it was almost midnight. My breath caught in my throat and I reached for the largest of jars I had brought with me. The oars brushed against my legs as I moved, transferring some of their cold, wetness to my over the knee black socks. They were already damp with the spray off the wave tops.

Careful not to rock the boat, I unlocked the lid and popped it open. Then I looked down into the dark sea. A white shinning line lay across the water, the reflection of the moon, gently moving up and down as it rode along the wave tops. I lowered the large jar, feeling my hands and arms shake slightly under the weight.

Calm, calm! I told myself. My tongue stuck out and pressed to the corner of my mouth as I concentrated. The jar lip tickled the white shinny line. I held still as a statue, holding my breath and not blinking. I heard my heartbeat echoing then I lowered the jar an inch more, breaking the line.

The moon’s reflection trickled into the jar. I held on tightly, the extra weight making my arms ache. The jar began to glow a dim white light. I cast a glance up at the moon, it was hard to till if it looked dimmer or not. Fixing my eyes back on the jar, I waited painstakingly for it to fill. The sea licked at my hands like a happy puppy, making my skin wet and cold. My fingers started to slip on the jar, I clutched it tighter as if my life depended on it.

It had taken all year to reach this point. The conditions for collecting The Moon Reflection Essence had to be just right! The sea had to be almost flat, clear and still whilst the sky had to be empty of clouds, the moon full, the stars bright. The day before had to have been clear and sunny too, so that the maximum of sunlight could be reflected upon the moon. Also, it had to be at midnight, when everything was at it’s highest and the most magically hour had started.

Finally, the line of moonlight in the jar and sea met and I eased the jar back up. Struggling, I grunted and almost dropped it but then I heaved the jar over the side of the boat. I almost fell but recovered fast, the boat rocked wildly then stilled again. I shoved the jar between my knees and jammed the lid on. Then locked the clip, sealing The Moon Reflection Essence inside.

Breathing deeply, I looked up at the moon then at the line of shinny light upon the sea. The moon and line looked dimmer now. Breathing deeply, I wrapped a red velvet cloth around the jar and placed it carefully into my hiking bag, which I had placed a cushion at the bottom and put in a thick blanket. Every precaution was needed right now.

I dried my hands on the edge of my black cloak then reached for an empty smaller jar. Might as well make the most of this trip. I opened the smaller jar and looked down into the sea again. I waited in between the low waves, fixing my eyes on a pinprick of white then dipped the jar in.

The wave bobbed the boat, had I missed? I closed the lid as I withdrew the jar and brought it up to my face. Inside I saw a tiny dot of light; Star Reflection Essence. Smiling, I looked for another one and got ready to try and collected it. I lowered the jar once more, waited then dipped and raised the jar up again. A second white dot had joined the first.

Feeling more relaxed, I collected a few more stars; ten in total before closing that jar. I checked my watch and saw it was half past midnight. It was almost time to leave. Making sure the Star Reflection Essence jar was secure in my hiking bag, I put on top the others I had already filled with different things. Lastly, went the three jars I had not filled. They were spares, as it was always important to be over prepared.

I took a few sips of water from my bottle then tucked that into a side pocked of the hiking bag. I slide down side ways on the boat’s little bench, rested my arms gently on the boat’s side then placed my head on top. I sighed with tiredness and watched the sea gently bouncing the reflection of the moon and stars slowly. A yaw escaped me and lulled by the bobbing boat and quiet echos of the waves, I felt sleep at the edge of my eyes and mind.

To Be Continued…

 

Lisztomaina #atozchallenge

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Lisztomania; the need to listen to music all the time. 

She couldn’t bear not to listen to music, it was the only thing that kept the tinnitus away. At night she always fell asleep listening to smoothing music; rain falling, bells chiming, the calling of whales. During the day, she had the radio on or the TV set to a music channel.

She had to work from home as she couldn’t cope being anywhere else. The office wasn’t happy though, so she left and set up her own handmade craft business. She sold scarfs, baby clothes, toys and everything else it took her fancy to make. She was a lot happier.

Kuidaore #atozchallenge

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Kuidaore; to eat yourself into bankruptcy. 

He didn’t know what else to do now and re-living his past allowed him to feel something again. He made bookings at any restaurant he could, though some he knew lied to him about being fully booked for months. They either remembered him from all those years ago when he had given them bad reviews or they had heard about his demise and thought him out of his mind.

Well, he was wasn’t he? The dementia that had taken his wife had decided it wanted him too. He was a better fighter then her but it was hard now he was on his own. Sometimes he thought about contacting his daughter again and making things right but the pain was too much. So instead, he looked up the newest places to eat and phoned them.

‘Byon’s, how can I help?’ asked the cheerful male voice.

‘Can I have a table for one for tomorrow around half past six?’ he said.

‘Yes, you can. What’s your name, please?’

‘Mr Higgson,’ he replied, trying to hold back a chuckle. Giving false names was his new way to get in.

‘That’s booked for you, thank you.’

‘Thanks.’

Hanging up the phone, he jotted it down in his diary and looked up another place to phone for the next night.

‘Hello, The White Rabbit pub,’ said a tried woman’s voice.

‘I’d like to book a table for two, please,’ he said.

That was his other trick, to book extra seats and then say that person or them weren’t coming but he still wanted to eat.

‘For when?’ the woman asked.

‘Friday lunchtime, around half one.’ he answered.

‘Yes, we can fit you in. Name?’

‘Mr Higgson.’

‘I’ll book that in.’

‘Thanks,’ he said and hung up the phone.

He wrote that down under Friday then leaving the diary open on his desk, turned to his old PC. A document was open on the screen and he had been typing up his notes from yesterday’s meal.

The Toad At The Hall Inn is a most pleasant place though it would be even nicer if dogs and children were banned. My meal which I shall describe shortly, was constantly interrupted by loud barking and crying. Also, there is the constant arriving and departing of hikers, cyclists and drivers, making relaxing in this ‘cosy countryside’ place hard. 

Looking at an open notebook, he re-read his scrambled notes then carried on typing. He worked on his review for another twenty minutes then he needed the bathroom. Getting up on cramped knees, he hobbled to the bathroom.

The phone rang whilst he was in there. He didn’t bother hurrying, the answer machine would get it and it was probably only a cold caller anyway. Gone were the days when, the editors, colleagues, friends and chiefs would phone him to suggested this or that place, to give praise about his latest review or remind him of a deadline.

Who was that ringing him?

He came out and picked up the phone. It stop ringing and there was a dial tone. They had hung up. With a shrug, he wondered what he had been doing. His thoughts had wandered, a bad thing to let happen. He looked around, hoping something would remind him, when nothing came in went into the living room and put the TV on.

There was a daytime cooking show on. It jogged his memory, I must phone those other restaurants and get some more money, he thought.

It was really only food, travel and bills he spend money on now. Well, what was left of it….He had gotten through most of his savings now but what else was he going to spend his money on? And what did the money matter, it was the food that counted! The food was the most important thing!

Speaking of, what was he doing right now? He glanced around, unsure then got up.

‘I should phone those other restaurants,’ he said and hobbled back to his desk.

Jayus #atozchallenge

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Jayus; a joke so poorly told and unfunny that you can’t help but laugh. 

Nerves got the better of him, he stumbled over the joke’s words and messed up the punch line.

Irusu #atozchallenge

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Irusu; pretending to be out when someone knocks at your door. 

The door bell cut through Trudy’s chopping of carrots. She paused, wondering who that could be. Placing the knife down, she shuffled in her slippers towards the front door. It couldn’t the postman, he’d already been and she hadn’t order anything. Perhaps it was a neighbor?

As best her old body would allow, Trudy crept to the door and looked through the peephole. There were two women standing on the doorstep, they looked just a little younger then Trudy did. They were dressed smartly and held paper booklets in there hands.

Religious people, Trudy thought.

She debated a moment then decided she wasn’t interested and turned away. A rapping knock on the door followed and caused Trudy to glance back.

Did they see me? No, the new door is solid. 

Trudy stood still in the hallway. The only window now was the small rectangle one above the door. It was far too tall for anyone to see in or out of.

I’m not in. 

Shuffling off again, she pretended not to have heard anything and went back to the carrots.