Moonbroch #AtozChallenge

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Moonbroch; a halo around the moon which presages an approaching storm. 

Lottie threw the duvet back and got out of bed, giving in to her insomnia. Without fumbling around trying to light a candle, she crossed the bedroom in darkness. She went to the window box and moved the heavy curtains away from the window itself. A cold draft raised the hairs on her skin that wasn’t covered by the long, sweeping white nightdress.

She sat down, comfortable against the plump cushions and quilted seat underneath her. Pulling all of her long, golden hair over to her right shoulder, Lottie played with the gentle curls. First, she straightened them, then twisted the ends around her fingers before throwing the whole lot back over her shoulder.

Lottie looked out of the window into the night which stretched like a never ending sea. Below, the  gas lamps that normally lit the short driveway and gate were out. The moorland beyond, which she couldn’t see, was quiet. It was rare anyone travelled after sunset but on nights of the full moon as it was tonight, nobody left their homes.

The clouds in the sky parted, the moon shone down, casting a dim light which was just enough for Lottie to see by. She watched the moon, noticing the halo of light that surrounded it and how the clouds were lit by the glow. It was a magnificent sight.

An echoing wolf howl broke the stillness. A shiver, that had nothing to do with the cold, ran through Lottie. She reached out to clutch the side of a cushion then tried to move away from the window. Another howl, closer this time stopped her movement and she looked out again.

There was something moving in the darkness of the moor.

Lottie told herself they were just shadows cast by the moon and that the howling only seemed nearby because it had echoed. She put the cushion into her lap and played with the tassels to help calm herself down.

I should go back to bed. Light the candle and read my book until I feel sleepy, Lottie thought.

A movement made Lottie turn her head. Down, next to the gate, a huge grey-black shaggy furred werewolf was standing there in the moonlight, looking up at her with massive yellow eyes. The breathe caught in Lottie’s throat, she became still, frozen by fear that was racing through her blood.

The werewolf threw his head back and let out a mighty, long howl.

From the darkness, another werewolf, slightly smaller and with a light grey fur coat padded towards the gate and joined the first werewolf. They howled together and another werewolf, shorter this time, with a red-grey mixed coat appeared. Then it seemed, more and more werewolves kept coming forward, till at least a pack of twelve stood by the gate.

The first werewolf moved, rising on it’s long, twisted hind legs to stand taller then a man and let out a short howl. He launched himself, trying to get through the gate. He’s long front legs and muzzle fell through the bars, the rest of his body slammed against the metal frame. The gate violently shook but held. The werewolf tried repeatedly, hitting the gate harder and harder as his frustrations rose.

The other werewolves had been pacing around, waiting for the first to break through the gate. They moved in and out of the moonlight, like black ghosts. However, they soon got bored of waiting and began throwing themselves at the gate too. Jaws snapping, claws scrapping, legs flaying and their desperate snarling and howls crying out.

Lottie, fear totally over coming her, screamed and threw herself down to the floor. She tried to get up, but the nightdress was twisted around her legs. Tears of pain and fear wet her eyes. Lottie screamed again louder then before, knowing the noise would awake someone in the house.

Outside, Lottie heard the gate continue to shake and the werewolves, snarling and trying to scramble through.

Finding her feet, Lottie crossed the rug covered floor and opened the door. Light from a left on gas lamp in the hallway stung her eyes and she took a moment. Going over, she stood in the glow and tried to calm herself down.

The swinging of a door opening made her jump and Lottie looked up the corridor to see a bobbing candle in the darkness.

‘Who’s that? Lottie?’ her older brother’s voice asked.

‘Yes. It’s me, John,’ Lottie answered, her voice sounding breathless, ‘there’s werewolves at the front gate!’

‘What?’ John cried and he hurried over to her.

‘I couldn’t sleep, so I looked outside and they saw me!’ Lottie explained.

John rushed into her bedroom, his bare footsteps loud.

Lottie peered around the door frame after him and watched as her brother came to a stop at the window and swore loudly.

Turning away, John came back to her, ‘go to mother’s room. Lock the door and stay there together.’

Lottie nodded and hurried away. She ran along the corridors, her night dress flying out behind her. A few gas lamps lit her way but Lottie knew how to get to her mother’s room without being able to see the way. Up a small staircase and she was there, knocking on her mother’s door, declaring herself and begging entrance.

Her mother, Isabella, opened the door, candle in hand and the light dancing off her loose, long golden hair. Lottie rushed in, closing and locking the heavy wooden door behind her.

‘There’s werewolves outside!’ Lottie shouted.

‘Do your father and brothers know?’ her mother questioned.

Lottie shook her head, ‘Just John knows. He told me to come here, tell you and for us to stay here together.’

‘We should prepare for attack,’ Isabella said, ‘Let’s light candles and the fire. Then get dressed.’

They moved away from the door. Lottie went to the fireplace and began stacking coal and wood on top of the ashes all ready there. Her mother began lighting candles around the room. 

‘Shouldn’t we go to the cellar?’ Lottie asked.

‘There is a passageway from here to there, under the trapdoor by the window.’ 

‘Like in my bedroom?’

‘Yes. Your grandfather’s idea after that horrible night when werewolves got in and roamed through the house,’ Isabella spoke.

‘They killed grandma, uncle William who was only four years old and two maids,’ Lottie picked up, the story having been burned into her memory from the countless retelling of it, ‘the butler’s son, dad’s butler now, has bad scars from trying to protect the other servants.’

‘And it’s how your father lost his  left foot,’ Isabella finished.

Lottie nodded, ‘they trapped all the werewolves in the East wing and burnt it to the ground.’

‘And ever since then, your grandfather and father have trained everyone how to prepare and defend themselves from werewolf attacks; how to fire a gun and fight with a knife. Even you, my only daughter, despite my wishes, have been taught all of that too.’

‘I know,’ Lottie said quietly as she finished setting up the firewood.

She lit a match, placed it into the fireplace and watched the flames quickly beginning to burn the wood. Lottie stood up and joined her mother in the middle of the room. They hugged tightly and her mother kissed her forehead.

A gun shot rang out, followed by shouting men’s voices.

Lottie jumped, gasping and turning towards the door.

‘Let’s get dressed,’ her mother cried as she grabbed Lottie’s hand and pulled her towards the wardrobe.

Yanking open the doors, Isabella pushed through all her dresses and to the back of the wardrobe. She pulled out two sets of men’s clothing; shirts, large travelling jackets, trousers, long woollen socks and knee length leather boots.

Helping each other, they dressed quickly then tied their long hair up in buns.

Then from underneath her bed, Isabella pulled out a rifle, two pistols, ammunition; sliver bullets, and four daggers. They were just like the ones Lottie had under her bed.

Isabella handed her daughter the two pistols and two of the daggers, without saying anything but with a determined look set on her face.

Lottie put one of the daggers in each boot then loaded the pistols and placed them with the rest of the ammunition in the deep pockets of the jacket. Her mother did everything the same.

Ready for anything, they sat down on the bed facing the door and listened to the sounds of fighting raising from the front of the house. Gun shots, male cries and shouts mingled with the howling, snarling and painful cries of the werewolves.

A few minutes later, they heard the clattering of claws across bare floorboards, snarling, snapping of jaws and sniffing from underneath the door. Then the door shook as something huge hit it.

‘Get behind the bed,’ Isabella whispered, nudging Lottie.

The girl did as she was told, drawing the pistols and the ammo from her pockets. Whilst her mother stood up, cocked the rifle and aimed it at the door which was badly shaking as the werewolf tried to get in. The wood began splitting, cracking around a hole in the middle and a large black nose followed by a grey muzzle poked through.

Isabella stood her ground, the butt of the rifle against her shoulder, her eyes fixed along the top of the barrel. Her finger brushed the trigger, waiting for the right moment to fire.

The first werewolf from before burst through the door, using the force of it’s body to break through the hole. Bits of wood flew everywhere and the chaos, Isabella fired.

The shot was loud, deafening herself and Lottie, there was a burst of flame followed by smoke and the werewolf let out a painful cry but didn’t go down. Instead, he leapt through the air and before she could get away, the werewolf landed on Isabella pinning her to the bed.

Lottie screamed, got up and fired at the werewolf without aiming. Both bullets hit the werewolf’s bent neck and sank in deep. The werewolf growled deeply, showing off blood stained teeth, froth dripped from it’s mouth and the werewolf moved up onto of Isabella, trying to reach over to snap at Lottie.

Isabella punched the werewolf’s stomach, grappled the beast and rolled onto the floor with him. Disappearing out of Lottie’s sight. Snarls and her mother’s cries rose, claws and boots scrapped across the floor. Isabella tried to grab one the daggers in her boots but her hands were full of fur as she tried to keep the werewolf’s mouth away from her face.

Shaking, Lottie dashed around the bed and aimed the pistols again. However, she realised that she couldn’t fire as her mother was wrestling with the werewolf and the risk of shooting her was too great. Lottie held her ground, her mind running through everything she could possible do.

Lottie dropped the pistols, pulled the daggers from her boots and waited until the werewolf was on top of her mother. Then Lottie jumped on top of the werewolf, bring the sliver daggers down into the werewolf’s fur. The blades slide into the skin then the body of the beast, going right up to the hilt.

The werewolf let out an anguish cry and twisted to the side. Lottie didn’t let go of the daggers in time and the werewolf fell on top of her. Lottie kicked with both legs, used the force to pull the daggers free then plunged them down to the side of the werewolf before he could get up again. There was a crack of rib bones as the blades drove in and the werewolf’s head snapped around and he’s teeth closed around Lottie’s lower leg.

Lottie screamed in pain then gun shots from the pistols rang out. The werewolf twitched then became still, the jaws loosing on Lottie’s leg. The werewolf’s blood pooled across the floor.

Isabella dragged Lottie away and towards the trap door then down the hidden passageway and into the cellar. Lamps and candles were all ready burning down here and all the female servants were gathered around makeshift beds or the old dinning room table.

Upon seeing their mistresses, the servants hurried to help and hear the tale of the fight. The leather boot and woollen socks had saved Lottie’s leg which was badly bruised but thankfully the skin hadn’t been broken. Once it had been cleaned and treated, Lottie rested in one of the beds and fell asleep.

Voices woke her later and Lottie found that all the men had joined them in the cellar. she listened to some of their talk but finally, she rose and asked, ‘what happened?’

Her mother, father and three brothers turned towards her.

‘It’s over,’ her father replied, ‘we killed them all.’

‘Thank God,’ Lottie answered.

‘And you,’ John spoke, ‘if you hadn’t been awake and seen them at the gate we wouldn’t have had enough time to fight them.’

‘And you fought so bravely against the werewolf that attack us,’ Isabella added.

‘Yes. All the training paid off,’ Lottie said, ‘I’m glad it’s over now.’

 

 

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Snow Sparkle

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The snowflakes came, sparkling in full moonlight whilst everyone slept. Like broken fairy wings, they landed on frost that shone like diamonds. The snow stuck and soon a white blanket glittered under the starry night.

Winter Cometh

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Nights grow longer, colder, sun fades from icy grey sky which dead tree branches claw in bitter winds, water crystallises, glistening in moonlight, winter arrives.

Artificial #FridayFictioneers

The unreal moon rose, full and dull white, shining in a too sea wash blue sky. I moved the netted curtain and opened the window. There should have been the sounds of the town; the cars, the people, the too loud TVs and crying children, but there was hardly anything.

I looked out, wasting more seconds, as I vented silent hatred over how this had all come about. The Government said it was for our own good, war was on, everything was being faked for our protection. I didn’t believe it, but what could one man do against all of this?

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/09/05/7-september-2018 with thanks).

 

 

Bump #TwitteringTales

The full moon rose and Cindy felt the pains in her stomach quicken. She woke her husband which took a lot of effort, they had both been exhausted this last week.

‘What’s it?’ he asked groggily.

‘It’s really time, this time! The baby’s coming!’ she cried.

(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2018/08/14/twittering-tale-97-14-august-2018-of-things-that-go-bump-in-the-night/ with thanks).

 

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…

 

Dear Diary #42

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Dear Diary,

February is here at last! January seems to have lasted forever, probably because I spent most of it being ill. I would like to say I’m feeling better today but it seems I have a cold – been sneezing, coughing and got a sore throat again. I blame the weather! Last night it snowed again and it wasn’t meant too.

I stayed up waiting to see the super blue moon and it wasn’t until 1am that the clouds cleared enough. I then wasn’t impressed! I thought the moon was going to be huge and bright, well it was bright but not as much as I thought it would be. Maybe the bad weather had something to do with that. The photos from America of the added Luna eclipse looked really good and the moon was so massive!

It’s almost 5pm now and I should start making dinner, but I’m not hungry. My new diet is basically not eating which I hear is the wrong way to go about it but on the other hand the book I’m reading says to eat only when you are hungry….So, its a Catch 22. I should really read the novel at some point. Everyone knows that saying but not may know where it comes from.

But I’m on a book buying ban this year! Promised hubby I wouldn’t and the flat is bursting at the seams with everything. This year we should be able to get a house. Thinking that looking in the next few months is a good idea. Our own real place finally! Then maybe I could suggest the ‘b’ word again….Oh, to be like all my other friends and have a little spawn!

I get ahead of myself diary. New job first – I’m so tried of being everyone’s slave at the office. I’ve been applying for lots of things and I get interviews for a three places next week. Hopefully one of them will work out. Perhaps, I’d then find the time to start doing some writing again. Finally get that novel idea into reality?

I’m far too dreamy today! Must be this cold and the weather, though there’s no snow outside now and it’s sunny for a change! Hubby will be home soon, so I must figure out what we can eat. Or at least him…

Till tomorrow then!

Super Blue Blood Moon

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The full moon rose above the Earth, twice the size it normally was and red sand coloured. Humans watched in wonder but I stared in horror. The prophesy the warlock hundred and fifty years ago had uttered with his dying breath was coming true!

I glanced at the gold, designer watch on my left wrist, the thin hands were almost at two AM. A long wolf howl rose from the almost silent night. I gripped the balcony railing and lend out. Below me stretched the ever green pine forest, lit by the glow of the super moon. Another howl from a different direction sounded and even though I couldn’t seen them, I knew the werewolf pack were gathering.

I stepped back into my manor house, closing and locking the balcony doors as if they alone could keep out the cursed prophesy. I went to my vast library, where an unseen servant had light the fire and the gas lamps I still loved so much. Pacing, I tried to think of anything that I could change to stop the full force of what was about to happen.

From one of the hidden drawers in my Victorian writing desk, I pulled out a small leather bound and yellow page book. I had to turn the electrical light on to read my tiny feather quill handwriting. The prophesy was written in full;

On the night when the full moon appears twice in the same month and is monstrous in size and blood red in colour, shall all the evil arise. The world will be consumed, mankind will be over thrown and a new age will begin. Darkness will rule over everything and there’ll be no stopping it. 

I closed the book and pressed it between both my palms. The words; no stopping the evil, spun in my head. I couldn’t sit back and watch this happen! It was partly my fault… I sat down heavily on the leather padded chair and slipped the book away. It’s dark secrets would be safely locked again but my own secrets would be harder to put away.

Leaving the comfort of the library, I thought through all the possibilities as I went to the front door. There was only one way to stop the prophesy and that was to gather all the good forces together to fight this evil. Snagging my cloak and whipping it around me, I stepped into the night and became nothing more then a shadow across the lawn.

Snow Day

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The snow fell silent and heavily on the village, making a perfect picture under the gaze of the moonlight.