The Butterfly Princess – A Children’s Story

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Once upon a time, a young Princess lived in a vast kingdom and her home was the mighty castle that stood at the heart of the country.

She lived with her parents; the King and Queen, nine siblings, many uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents, other relatives and an army servants. The family were extreme close and enjoy being together.

One early autumn day, the young Princess and some of the other children were playing outside in the castle’s huge maze of gardens. The girls were catching butterflies and dragonflies whilst the boys hunted for beetles, worms and bugs.

The young Princess caught a very pretty butterfly that had many different reds, oranges and yellows on the wings.

‘I wish I could be like you, butterfly and know what it’s like the fly,’ the Princess whispered.

When the Princess went to bed that evening, her back hurt and she couldn’t settle to sleep. Her skin felt itchy and burning. She called for her Nanny – who was one of many in the castle- by ringing the bell by her bed.

Nanny came at once and looked at the Princess’ back.

‘Nettle rash? Or ivy? Perhaps something else?’ Nanny pondered, ‘well, whatever it is, here is some of Nanny’s magic lotion. It will cool and soothe and make that rash gone!’

The Princess nodded and let Nanny cover her upper back in a sweet smelling lotion.

That night the Princess hardly slept. She tossed and turned, not able to get comfy because her back hurt too much. She felt like her skin was on fire and began crying. The Princess rang the bell for Nanny and a maid then sat wailing till they arrived.

Nanny came and looked again at the Princess back. The skin was bright red and looked like it was bubbling.

‘Not a rash then. Sunburn?’ Nanny wondered, ‘don’t worry, Princess! Nanny has something for everything.’

Turning to the maid, Nanny asked for, ‘cold water, clean cloths and some warm milk.’

They washed the Princess back, put on a different lotion then wrapped her up. The princess sipped the warm milk then lay on her stomach and finally fell to sleep.

In the morning, the young Princess was running a fever and her back was worse. The King and Queen came to see her then sent for a doctor- the best in the kingdom. When he arrived, he was puzzled and declared that the Princess must have sat too close to a fire and had burnt her back.

Nanny disagreed with him but what else could it be?

The doctor give some medicines, instructions and left to see the King’s father who had come down with a bad cold.

By that night the Princess felt little better but her back was still bad and she couldn’t lay down on it. As she tried to get some rest, she felt something moving over her shoulder blades.

Ringing for Nanny, the Princess crawled out of bed and made it across her bedroom to a big mirror. She looked at her back but it was wrapped up and she couldn’t see it.

When Nanny arrived, the Princess told her but Nanny thought she was still feverish.

However, when the Princess awoke in the morning, her back felt like someone was cutting into it and she took the bandages off to see.

There on her back, growing out of her shoulder blades were a tiny pair of black wings!

The Princess gasped and called for Nanny and maid.

‘Look at my back!’ the Princess cried to them, ‘I have wings!’

‘Go and get the King and Queen at once!’ Nanny snapped at the maid, who hurried off to do so.

‘They are real!’ the Princess cried and she tried to move them.

‘How did this happened?’ Nanny muttered.

The King and Queen came and when they saw the wings they wondered if their daughter had been cursed by an evil witch. They decided they would have to seek magical help and the Princess would have to stay in her bedroom and no one would be allowed near her.

The Princess wasn’t happy but no one would listen to her.

Over the next few days and nights the wings carried on growing until they were almost as tall as the Princess was. They were very pretty and brightly coloured in reds, oranges and yellows.

Lonely and bored, the Princess learned how to control the wings and when Nanny and maid were not around, the Princess would try to fly!

This took a lot of time but she began to get the hang of the wings.

Then one beautiful, full moon lit night, the princess decided she wanted to go and fly outside. She crept through the castle using many secret passages and servant corridors. Finally, she made it out into the kitchen gardens and without looked back, she hurried to one of the other gardens furthest from the castle.

There she felt the breeze tug on her wings and she knew what to do.

The Princess stepped up onto a stone bench, she fluttered her wings, closed her eyes,  concentrated and jumped into the air.

She opened her eyes and looked down, her feet were off the ground!

She flapped the wings and rose higher and higher! Soon she was flying over the gardens then over the castle, over the city and towards the moon.

The Princess felt thrilled, she had gotten her wish to fly!

She yawed and decided it was time to return to bed. The Princess flew back to the castle, landed in a garden and sneaked back to her bedroom. No one could ever know what she had just done!

For the first night in a month the Princess slept well.

When she woke in the morning, her back felt different, lighter. The Princess looked down and saw on either side her butterfly wings! They had fallen off in the night. She was a normal girl again.

The End.

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Friday 13th

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It was one of the days Henry dreaded most; a Friday thirteenth, the unluckiest day of the year. He debated if it was even worth getting out of bed. He could call in work sick and just stay here where it was safest. 

No, the boss will know I’m lying, Henry thought, he overhead me talking about today for sure. 

Henry got up and avoided doing anything that might trigger the bad luck. He didn’t look into the mirror, he didn’t walk on any cracks as he headed to work, he didn’t go under any ladders or scaffolding and he prayed no black cats crossed his path.

At work he didn’t speak much and just got on with his accounting spreadsheets. He didn’t take his breaks or stop of lunch, Henry just wanted the day to be over. He ignored his colleagues asking him to come out for drinks or food or dancing. He mumbled he was busy tonight or he wasn’t feeling well.

He left work on time, a rarity for him, and hurried home. Once there, he undressed and got straight into bed even though he was hungry and his favourite quiz show was on TV.

If I can sleep through the rest of the day, everything will be fine, Henry thought.

However, he couldn’t sleep and within an hour had got up and was making something to eat. He had soup and crusty bread whilst watching the end of the news. Seems a few bad things had happened today; but then didn’t they everyday?

As soon as he had finished and tided up, Henry went back to bed and read for a few hours. He felt safer in his bed, nothing could happen here.

He heard it start to rain outside and a cat begin meowing loudly. He tried ignoring the child like crying yowls but the noise was cutting through his concentration.

Henry got up, went to the window and looked out. At the house across the way, he saw an outside lamp on and underneath, on the front door step was a black cat!

Henry clutched his chest and stumbled backwards. Was it okay that he had only glanced the cat? The creature hadn’t crossed his path or touched him or even looked up at him. Perhaps, the cat wasn’t all black?

Henry clung to that thought and got back into bed.

Everything is going to be okay, he started repeating.

He checked the time and saw it was almost ten o’clock. Three hours to go till Friday thirteenth was over.

Henry picked up his book again and tried to get back into it but his mind kept wondering. He got up again and looked out the window but the cat had gone.

‘I don’t know if it was all black or not,’ Henry said aloud, ‘but if it lives in that opposite house then I must have seen that cat before and I know there’s no black ones around here! Unless…they got it recently….’

Trying to get rid of his thoughts, Henry got back into bed again and pulled the duvet over his head. He tried to convince himself nothing was going to happen and somehow he fell asleep.

In the morning, he awoke to his alarm going off. Henry struggled out of a deep sleep and turned it off. Sleepy, he looked at the date and saw that he had made it through the unluckiest day of the year.

Creepy #1LinerWeds

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She had walked down this street many times but in the darkness it took on a different feeling. Shadows lingered, creating a creepiness that didn’t leave until dawn.

 

(Inspired by; https://lindaghill.com/2019/07/24/one-liner-wednesday-creepy/ with thanks).

The Eyes – Mokumoku Ren

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Hideo dashed through the lashing rain, his wooden clogs slipping on the dirt track, his back weighed down by his heavy travelling pack. He looked desperately around but he was surrounded by abandoned rice paddy fields and there seemed to be no shelter to be had.

He made for the nearest tree which was only just taller then himself. Hideo shivered and wondered how far it was to the nearest village. Trying hard to convince himself that he wasn’t lost, Hideo fell into prayer.

When he opened his eyes and looked down the road, he saw a gate sticking out of the undergrowth. Smiling and feeling like his prayers had been answered, Hideo walked over, the rain and wind whipping around him. He tugged himself through the half open gate and went up what had once been a path which led him to an abandoned house.

Entering, he called out and listened to his echoing voice. Normally he had would have taken off his clogs and left them at the porch but he had no idea what would be on the floors and thought it might be safer to keep them on for the moment.

The abandoned house’s roof was sound and the all the rooms were dry. Hideo went into the front room and set himself up on the floor. He was tried but he had something to eat and drink before settling down to sleep.

The rain hammered on the roof like a banging drum and the wind howled through ripped screen windows. Normally such a racket would have kept Hideo awake but he was so tried sleep came easily.

Sometime time later, something disturbed his sleep and Hideo woke up, he lay in the dark wondering what it was. Thunder rumbled and he decided the storm must have awakened him. Grateful, he had found this abandoned house, Hideo lay down to sleep again but a creeping feeling of being watched prickled the back of his neck.

Muttering that it was just the storm and tiredness, Hideo tried to rest. The feeling wouldn’t go away and seemed to grow until he was forced to give in and light his lamp.

‘I’m sorry for entering your house!’ Hideo spoke in Japanese, ‘I was only seeking shelter. Please let yourself be known. I mean no harm, I am but an old travelling merchant who became lost in the storm.’

Hideo listened to his words faded but heard no reply. He debated getting up and walking through the house, making peace and saying thank you for the shelter. Something flickered out of the corner of his eye and Hideo turned to see a shoji screen behind him.

Another flicker of movement and a human eye was staring at Hideo.

‘Thank you for letting me stay here,’ Hideo spoke and bowed low.

When he looked up again more eyes had joined the first and they seemed to be forming across the screen.

Hideo swallowed and watched as soon the whole screen was taken over by staring eyes.

‘Mokumoku Ren – haunted shoji screen. The first sign of a haunted house,’ Hideo whispered.

Quickly, Hideo began uttering prayers, blessing and thanks, everything he could think of that might keep the spirits of the abandoned house at bay.

Finally exhausted, he collapsed on the floor and fell into a deep sleep.

Sunlight tickling his face woke Hideo. Startled, he looked around, the memory of the haunting eyes hurried him to leave this place. Gathering his thing, he rushed outside then remembered to be respectful and turned back with a low bow to the abandoned house.

‘Thank you for letting me stay. Please don’t haunt me!’ Hideo called.

Spinning around, he ran down the pathway and back onto the dirt road, praying that no spirits followed him.

Hidden Face #FridayFictioneers

The mall guard, Stan, made his nightly rounds. Outside in the courtyard, he came to a pause next to the new statue instalment. It was a massive female head with her hands covering her eyes done in white plaster cast.

Stan lifted his cap and scratched his head, I don’t get these new age art pieces, she’s pretty, I guess, but why is she hiding? Maybe, she’s seen something horrible or maybe she’s upset? 

Stan let his cap fall back and strolled away. He hummed softly and decided his job was guard the place not be an art critic.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2019/07/17/19-july-2019/ with thanks).

Questioning

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The neighbour was digging again, shifting soil from the bottom of his garden. He had a wheelbarrow this time and there was something big wrapped in a sheet falling over the edges. The clock read three-thirty AM. I’m worried, should I call the police and report suspicious activity?

Digging

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My neighbour was digging in his backyard. I know it’s a normal task, maybe he’s planting flowers or pulling up weeds but you see, it’s three AM and that to me is not the time to go and do a spot of gardening, so what’s he up to?

Footprints

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Every morning, she would come down to find a trail of footprints across the floor from the back door to the kitchen door. They were small, child’s size and looked wet.

At first, she had blamed local kids for breaking into her house. She had replaced the doors and windows, fitted security locks and confronted every family in the neighbourhood.

Still the footsteps appeared.

Mopping them away, she tried to come up with reasons. Maybe, there was a leak?Perhaps, she was causing them in her sleep? Or and she keep coming back to this, it was children playing tricks on the nasty old woman who hated everyone.

‘I’ll stay up tonight and catch them at it!’ she said aloud.

That night, she made it seem like she had gone to bed but then, she crept back down into the kitchen. Sitting on a stool, torch in hand, she listened into the darkness and waited.

Hours passed, the clock chimed three in the morning and she dozed off.

The sound of a child crying and running wet feet awoke her. Quickly, she turned on the torch and saw before her eyes the footprints forming on the floor.

And there was no one there.

Nyctophilia #FridayFictioneers #AtoZChallenge

Nyctophilia; love of darkness or night. Finding relaxation or comfort in the darkness.

I loved the night. Staying in my friend’s parent’s Greek ‘castle’, whilst I finished writing my sixth novel, I continued my nocturnal habits.

I got up late, joined my friend and her boyfriend for dinner. Then walked around the castle and down to the beach for the sunset. After, I sat by the open door at my desk, letting the night pour around.

Embracing the darkness helped write the horrors within of my novel and peace made me type faster.

The night spoke to me and as I listened to those whispers, ideas flowed into me.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2019/04/10/12-april-2019/ with thanks).

 

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.’