She was drifting on a sea of dreams to lands unknown.
She was drifting on a sea of dreams to lands unknown.
The wooden back of a huge pocket watch had stood in the corner of the town’s park for hundreds of years. The origins of it had long been lost, but the myth was that the pocket watch had once belonged to a giant.
The giant Haldor was running late for the yearly Giants Together meeting. As he trod over a village, ignoring the fleeing of little people far below him, he drew out his pocket watch and checked the time. Seeing, he was going to be very late indeed, he hurriedly put the watch back into his pocket.
However, he missed and the watch hit the floor. Angrily, he bent to pick it up and swiped down two cottages as he did so. Hurrying on, he didn’t notice that his pocket watch had broken in the fall.
Years later, a shepherd lad was searching for a lost lamb when he came across the back of the pocket watch. He stared up in awe at the huge wooden circle then spotting his lamb nearby, he hurried to collect her. When he returned home, he told his father about what he had seen, for the lad was too young to remember the giant Haldor. His father clearly recalled the day though.
And that was how the myth of the giant’s pocket watch began.
(Inspired from a prompt from; https://rochellewisoff.com/2017/03/15/17-march-2017/ with thanks. PHOTO PROMPT © Jennifer Pendergast)
The High Priestess had heard the crying at the temple door for some time now. She had been hoping that one of The Sisters Of Syreth, her followers, servants or anybody else taking shelter in the temple tonight would have opened the door by now. Wondering why that was, the High Priestess swished down a connecting hallway in her large and heavy blue dress.
Going through a small door, she entered and passed through the huge nave down a side corridor. The air was heavily scented with hot wax, incense and winter flowers from the mountain sides. Flickering candle light glowed from clustered candle groups, but it was not enough to keep the shadows away. A handful of people were sitting in the large, cold wooden pews. Most were silent in prayer or sleep, but every now and then sobbing, moans and whispered voices could be heard.
The High Priestess stuck to the shadows and hurried past. It was late in the night and she had all ready given a long service this evening then spent time with a number of different people. She was tried and had been trying to fall asleep, but the crying had disturbed her.
Going through the large doors into the small welcoming area, she saw the door opposite which led to the porch was all ready open. Voices and light were drifting from the area. Not bothering to be quiet she walked on and came to a stop behind a small group of people. There were five of them; two Sisters of Syreth in there pale blue robes, a male servant and a tall man dressed in a travelling cloak.
‘I am telling you, do not let them in!’ the man was saying.
‘Everybody is welcome in this temple of Syreth. She is the Goddess of protection and guardians. It is our duty to offer whatever we can to anybody who comes to our door,’ the High Priestess broke in.
The two Sisters turned and did little bows. The male servant, who was holding a lantern bowed too, but his was a lot lower. The traveler did not move and the High Priestess saw the tiredness and worry on his face. But he was also trying to mask his fear. Behind them all and coming from the other side of the temple’s double front doors the loud crying continued.
‘What is it? Who is crying out there?’ the High Priestess demanded to know.
There was a pause then the traveler spoke out, ‘creatures. I saw them on my way here and I think they followed me. You must not let them in for surely they are demons.’
‘What do they look like?’ The High Priestess asked.
‘There is two of them,’ the traveler replied, ‘one small, the other tall. They look like ghosts to me. I heard them whispering and calling out to me. But I did not stop. I rushed here and closed the door upon them and since then they have been crying,’ the traveler explained.
The High Priestess fell into thought.
‘We want to open the door to see for ourselves,’ one of the Sisters spoke.
‘Perhaps in the darkness the gentleman was mistaken,’ the second Sister finished.
‘I am not blind! I know what I saw!’ the traveler snapped.
‘Of course,’ the High Priestess murmured, ‘please see to his needs,’ she said to the servant.
The servant give a nod and led the man away. The traveler began to mutter under his breath, but he followed the servant and the steady lantern light.
The High Priestess went to the door and opened it. She peered out then stepped aside.
A strong winter wind blew harsh snowflakes into the temple and set the candles flicking violently. Coldness seeped in and snatched what little warmth there was within the stone walls away. The sound of the river gargling and the rattling of bare tree branches echoed through the temple.
The crying stopped. A large white and light brown cat padded inside followed by a pure white young female deer. Snow dusted their coats, but they seemed unharmed.
‘Do you seek shelter here?’ asked the High Priestess.
‘Yes,’ the cat spoke in a clear voice that was not male or female.
The two Sisters gasped and backed away. They reached for each other, holding hands tightly. Fear passed across their faces, but they did not run away.
The High Priestess shut the door. Snowflakes were melting in her long loose blonde hair and the wind was tugging at the edges of her dress like a naughty child.
‘You are both welcome here,’ the High Priestess continued.
‘Thank you,’ the cat replied.
‘What are your names and how can we help you?’
‘I am known as Horven, the druid,’ the cat spoke, ‘and she is the Princess Graceuvial.’
The white deer nodded and seemed to give a little bow with her long neck.
‘A Princess?’ The High Priestess breathed.
‘We have become lost in the snowstorm,’ Horven added.
‘Yes. It is quite a bad one,’ the High Priestess responded, ‘please let me take you to some warm rooms. There you can rest and I shall see to it you have everything you need.
‘Thank you,’ the cat said.
The High Priestess held out her hand then led the way into the Temple.
The snow was falling thickly outside, burying the moor further under a white blanket. Lisbeth watched the flakes from the library windows which were the biggest in the small manor house and gave the best views. After a few moments of peering out of each of the three windows, Lisbeth climbed into the window box which was in the second window.
The window box had a soft red cushion covered seat and hand stitched square cushions at both corners. It was cosy and always made Lisbeth feel safe in the large cold library. Bending her knees up and tucking her long dark green dress underneath her, Lisbeth wrapped her arms around her legs and stared out of the window.
She could see the small dirt circled driveway, with the fountain turned off for winter. The red brick wall and black iron gates with their covering of ivy. Beyond, was the moor, which seemed to stretched out forever like the sea. Being covered in snow, the landscape looked bleak and boring, but Lisbeth knew come spring and summer, the moors would be brightly colored with flowers and alive with baby animals.
A loud knocking on the door drew her attention away and Lisbeth turned her head to see her maid walking into the library. The young woman was wearing a black dress and a white pinafore. When she got closer, having come around the big oak table that sat in the middle of the room, Lisbeth saw she had something in her hand.
‘This has arrived for you, Miss. A gift from your father,’ the maid spoke.
Lisbeth reached out a hand and took the brown paper and string wrapped packet. It was a rectangle shape and heavy. Slowly, Lisbeth unwrapped it and and found a book inside. The cover was a light brown and golden letters which she couldn’t read, spelled out a title and an author.
‘I’ll lit the fire in here for you, Miss,’ the maid said.
Lisbeth didn’t say anything as her fingers touched the golden lettering. She knew it was French, but she only knew a handful of words. Opening the book, she flipped through the pages and noticed that some of them had drawings on. In the background, she heard a fire being started then the closing of the door.
Turning the pages slower, Lisbeth come across an image that made her stop. There was a man with black curly hair and blue trousers carrying a girl in one hand and leading a white horse in the other. The horse was carrying four or six other girls through what seemed to be countryside. Lisbeth tried to read the pages on either side of the picture, looking for any words she might know. However, the few she did know give her no clue as to what the drawing was about.
Looking harder at the picture, Lisbeth tried to figure out what was going on. Clearly, this man was taking the girls somewhere. Maybe, he was rescuing them? Was he a Prince? A Lord? A poor farmer? And who were the girls and why were there so many of them? Lisbeth counted again and decided there was six of them riding the horse and the girl in his arm made seven. Were they sisters then?
Feeling frustrated, Lisbeth closed the book and set it at her feet. Resting her head on her knees, she looked out the window again. The glass was misting up and the snow was falling faster making the view of the moor even more distant. From behind her came the first curls of warmth from the fire. She heard the flames cracking around the logs, the noise was too loud in the silence of the library.
Lisbeth shut her eyes and though she didn’t want to think about the drawing anymore, she couldn’t help it. Desperately, she wanted to know who the man and the girls were.
Father will know, she thought, when he gets back from his business trip, he can read it to me.
Sighing and feeling the chill leaving her, Lisbeth went to open her eyes again, but found they were too heavy. With the fire lulling her to sleep, she let herself slip away.
When Lisbeth finally opened her eyes again, she found herself not at home in the library watching the snow falling on the moor, but outside in the countryside. The sun was blazing in a too blue sky, tall green trees were dotted around and the grass under her was long. Birds were singing, insects buzzing and the smell of flowers filled the air.
As she was wondering what had happened, Lisbeth heard the sound of horses hoofs. Getting up, she looked around and saw a road close by. Walking over, she soon saw a large white horse being led by a young man with black curly hair. He was wearing medieval clothes like she had seen in paintings. In his other hand, he was carrying a child wrapped in white strips of cloth who had very long blonde hair. Upon the horse, six other girls rode and they were also wrapped in cloth with tangled long blonde hair.
Lisbeth stepped onto the road before them all.
‘Excuse me,’ Lisbeth called, ‘Hello. Could you please tell me where I am?’
The man brought his horse to a stop and looked at her. The seven girls also fixed their eyes to her and Lisbeth could now see that the girls all looked the same, but they were different ages. They all looked weary as if they had been walking for awhile.
‘You are far from anywhere,’ the man replied.
‘This is the middle of the French countryside,’ the man explained, ‘there is nothing but farmers and wine makers out here. We are days from the nearest village and a month from the nearest town.’
‘And who are you all?’ Lisbeth asked.
‘You are clearly a stranger here,’ the man spoke.
‘I’m Prince Louis and these are my sisters. Our kingdom was burnt down and we could not stay there. We are traveling to the next kingdom where my oldest sister is betrothed to the Prince there.’
‘I see,’ Lisbeth answered.
‘And you?’ the Prince asked.
‘I do not know. I woke up over there.’
Lisbeth looked at the spot and fell into wondering how she got here.
‘What’s your name?’ the oldest and first Princess on the horse asked.
‘Lisbeth. That I am sure of!’
‘Do you want to come with us?’
‘I do not think I can. I am waiting for my father. He should be home soon,’ Lisbeth replied thoughtfully.
‘Then we must leave you now,’ the Prince spoke out, ‘the road is still long ahead of us.’
‘It was nice meeting you all,’ Lisbeth said.
With nods of goodbye, Lisbeth stepped off the road and watched the Prince leading the white horse away. When she could not seen them anymore, Lisbeth walked back to the spot she had woken up in and sat down.
‘How do I get out of here?’ she spoke aloud.
Resting back, she looked up at the cloudless sky and felt the heat on her skin. She felt tried and hot. Shutting her eyes, she told herself that after a little doze she would figure this all out further.
Someone was calling her name. She could hear them in the distance. Fighting away sleep, Lisbeth opened her eyes. She blinked a few times then sat up. She was back in the library. Rubbing her face, she looked out of the window, but darkness had now settled outside. Turning away, she saw her maid standing before her and the fire still burning brightly further back.
‘I fell asleep…’ Lisbeth said, ‘and it was all a dream.’
‘A pleasant one I hope, Miss?’ the maid asked.
‘Would you like some supper now, Miss?’
‘No, thanks. I think I shall go to my room,’ Lisbeth said.
She slipped out of the window box and picked up the book. Even though she was tempted to open the pages and see the drawing again, she kept the book closed and walked out of the library.
Outside the snow continued to fall.
(From a prompt by https://janedougherty.wordpress.com/2016/12/09/microfiction-challenge-26-a-journey/ with thanks)
Jack Frost opened his eyes and raised his head up. Around him, in the small underground cave he called home all the dead leaves with covered in ice. He rolled over, stretched and feeling -but not feeling as it- were the chill of the air around him. He rested back, putting his long pale blue arms across his skeleton chest and interlocking even longer fingers.
Looking up at the soil and roots above him, Jack listened to the earth. He had half hoped he’d been wrongly awoken, but no, autumn was coming to an end and it was time for him to go to work. He wiggled his long pointer toes then rolled back over and got on to his hands and knees.
He climbed out of his home and using the roots of the tree above, stood up. He could see the woodland floor was covered in leaves and mud, the tree branches above were bare and the sky was a dark grey wash. He began walking, leaving a trail of shiny white frost behind.
Jack reached his long fingers out and began touching the tree trunks and tall bushes. The icy spikes began to spread and he left them to cover everything. He walked down to the river’s edge and though there was little he could do to make the whole thing ice over, he tried anyway. It just wasn’t cold enough yet though and he could only form small ice patches.
He wandered on, trailing his fingers everywhere and leaving the frost behind him. Jack became lost in thought and sometime later he stopped and looked up at the sky. He could see the coming dawn.
How much longer until Santa arrives and brings the snow with him? Jack wondered.
He could never tell, only he knew it when he felt it.
He walked to the top of a hill. The highest one in the woods. He rose his hands to the sky and sent out waves of frost. Small snowflakes fell about him, telling Jack his frost was on its way to places. Yawing, he saw that dawn was tinting the sky yellow. He walked slowly back to his home, crawled inside and curled up to sleep again.
Tomorrow he would awaken again and create more frost.
It felt good to step back into history, even if is was only in May’s imagination. Approaching the draw bridge, she pictured herself a top a white horse. She would be wearing a plain dress, maybe red and white, with a matching cape? Not like the bright pinks she had as a child dreamed Princesses worn. She knew better now.
The wood bridge did not make a sound under her feet, but she imaged a horse’s hoofs would be pretty loud as they clopped over. Breathing deeply, she thought about what the castle would smell like. Horses and sweaty people for sure, maybe smoke from a fire, cooking food, hay and all the unpleasant smells of a large group of animals and people living together without sanitation.
‘Pretty impressive, huh?’ her boyfriend, Rory asked.
She glanced across at him standing to the left of her. His eyes were fixed on the raising medieval walls and towers about them. His cap was low over his face, but she could still see the excitement in his expression. She took his hand and guided him off to the side as the large family which had followed them in rushed passed.
‘It really is,’ she added, ‘let’s explore.’
May tugged on him like a little child eager to be off. Rory laughed and let her take the led through the nearest doorway. They entered the reminds of some room or another. A notice board on the wall did say where they were, but May was all ready heading off again.
Stepping through another doorway, she let her hand touched the rough wall. She wondered how many others had done the same. Getting back to imaging again, she thought about the sounds she might hear. Now, she saw herself wondering about the castle as it once was; full walled and roofed, doors actually being in place and people dressed in medieval clothes.
May pictured knights standing around or gruffly chatting, their servants helping them with armour, horses or other things. The castle staff roaming about doing their jobs and official looking people on the King’s business getting ready to leave.
‘The church should be quiet,’ Rory spoke out, breaking through May’s daydream again.
She nodded and they followed the signposts to the large chapel area. It was quiet there and very cool. Rory sat down in one of the alcove spaces and pulled May into his lap before she could do anything about it. He nuzzled into her hair then swept it away from her neck and started kissing her.
‘Rory, stop,’ May muttered.
She tried to break out of his grip but he only tightened it. May settled back, letting the kisses get longer. She shut her eyes and thought of her Princess self meeting her Prince. Though really, she did not have to imagine that any longer.
The Princess held the small jar up to the stained glass window. A small gasp rose in her throat and escaped her lips. The tinted red light flittering through into the tower made it easier for her to see the bright beautiful coloured wings of the butterfly. The creature was fluttering madly inside, panicked at being disturbed whilst still not sure of its new form.
The Princess placed the jar on the sill and waited. After a few moments, the butterfly settled down and she was able to see it more clearly. Butter yellow wings, pattern with black curving lines, blue ink smudges and red colour circles bushed against the inside walls of the glass jar. The long green body quivered alongside the ever flicking antenna as of the butterfly was cold and seeking warm.
Kneeling down in her simple shift of a white cotton dress, the Princess rested her arms on the edge of the sill and put her chin on top of her hands. She looked hard into the jar, marvelling that after all this time of giving up hope and believing the caterpillar had died, he had actually transformed into this wonder before her.
Gazing upwards, the Princess saw the window latch and suddenly knew what she had to do. Getting up, she carefully moved the jar out of the way, which caused the butterfly to flap hurriedly again and attempted to pull on the latch. Bits of paint flaked off against her skin as she pushed down on the little iron rod. Having not been open in a while the latch and window were stiff.
Her determination payed off and the latch give way with a sighing groan and the window itself swung with a shocking shriek. The Princess lent out and looked across the clearing where tower sat and into the woods beyond. Everything seemed to be blue or green and the tree tops looked like they were touching the sky and trying to kiss the sun. Despite herself, the Princess laughed and revealed in the warm touch of the fresh air and the pure light falling onto her skin.
She picked up the jar and unwrapped the piece of fabric upon the top. Tipping it a little, she watched the butterfly crawl up and over. Carefully, she let him step out on to the window ledge facing the outside world.
‘You are free now,’ she whispered, ‘go and never come back here. Go and see what lies beyond the trees. Maybe, one day I shall follow you there.’
The butterfly lifted his wings, felt the breeze and took off. He fluttered downwards then back up again and away into the trees as if he had understand the Princess’ words.
Placing the jar back down on the table with a clunk, the Princess sighed and put her elbows out on the ledge. She rested her chin in her open hands, her fingers pressing against her cheeks. She tried to look over the tree tops and through the sky, her thoughts tumbling as to what was out there. A spark of hope lit up inside of her and she knew that one day, just like the butterfly, she too would be free.
Inspired by the daily prompt from; <a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/transformation/”>Transformation</a>
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Nickie lived in kitchens because food was her passion and her dream was to be a top chief. Though some days when she was chatting away to whoever, she came across more like Cinderella or some old fashioned housewife.
He stopped before the tower, gazing up into eyes he couldn’t see, but knew were there. I swung off his horse and went to the door. With a few slashed of his sword and kicks with his boots, he broke his way in. A spiral staircase stood in the dim light and he made his way upwards.
She had seen him riding up then stopping at the foot of the tower. Frightened, she had stepped away from the window, but hadn’t been able to stop herself from peering out at him still. the noise from breaking down the door had sent her rushing to her bed. She threw the sheets around her, feeling safer now she was hidden.
He came to another door and hacked his way through. The chamber he burst into appeared empty and messing. There was a scattering of clothes and bedding on the floor. Books and toys stacked in corners and candle light flicking on cold stone walls. He breathed deeply and thought he saw a heap of bedding moving.
She could no loner hold her rapid breathing steady, nor keep the sheets from shifting above her head. She heard footsteps then felt something pulling everything off her. Her fingers dug into the bed as the last of her cover was removed. She looked up, blinking away small tears.
He stared down at her. His breath snatched away, his body frozen. The stories had been right. She was the most beautiful creature he had ever seen. Catching the fear in her eyes, he slotted his sword away and speaking gently, told her he wouldn’t hurt her and he’d come to rescue her.
She didn’t believe the words she was hearing. Clutching what sheets she could to her, she stared up at him. Noting so much in his face and body. He was a worthy knight. She swallowed, but couldn’t form the words.
He held out his hand, promising to take her far away.
Slowly, she put her hand in his.
He rode through the snow. The tower growing before him. He saw a figure leaning out of the window, blonde hair being swept by the wind. He was close, he could hear his heart beating in his ears. Would the stories be true? Would the princess be as beautifully as they say?
A dose of fetish. Good friends. An incomparable muse.
The Author Blog of Jason H. Abbott
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