The long and winding road.

May was busy, cleaning out the cupboard under the stairs. “It is like no man’s land in here,” she muttered. “And where is Ollie? Typical of him to dodge such a dusty dirty job.”

She stuck at it and an hour later stepped outside the small storage space to view all she had decided to chuck out, just as the front door opened.

“Hi, I have arrived in time to take the rubbish out, have I?” Ollie bent to give her a light peck on the cheek when a box full of colourful bottles caught his attention.

“We can’t get rid of these, Dad made them. ” His words sounded defensive and May bit her lip, she was tired of holding on to the bottles of homemade wines and beers.

Her voice was soft as she said it as she saw it, “well if we aren’t going to drink them they might be considered explosive by some people in authority.”

“We will test them tonight. If they taste foul we can clean the drains with them.”

So it was agreed.

At eight o clock, they sat before the tv set, ready to watch their favourite soap. On the coffee table, there was an assortment of dips, crisps and the colourful bottles. The back door opened and their neighbour and friend Liz trundled in, “my tv’s on the blink do you mind if I gatecrash your party?” She smiled at them and then looked pointedly at the assortment on the table.

“Not at all,” Ollie said scooting off to get another class and some peanuts.

“Delighted to have another person to give their opinion on Ollie’s dad’s wines and beers.”

So it began. The first bottle they declared was rank, the next a little bit better so they left the last one aside and began to drink. At 12.30 there was only one bottle left but as May declared, “My eyes are seeing four of you so I think it is time to end this party night. Ollie, will you see Liz to her front door?”

“Of course I will love. Come on Liz.” Pulling her to her feet he linked her arm and with a wave at May he left saying, “I’ll be two minutes, back in a jiffy, they don’t call me twinkle toes for nothing.”

Twenty minutes later there was no sign of him. May was worried.  She went to the front door and saw her husband and her friend arm in arm meandering across the road. Once they got to the other side, he released her arm and with a bow said, “Good night Liz.” Just then a car sped by and the blast of a horn had him wobbling on his feet.

“Ahh hang on Ollie who is going to see you across the road safely. It is like a flaming racing circuit tonight.” Liz bent towards him, linked arms and turned about.

When they got to the other side, Liz didn’t like the look of the stray moggie who hissed and spat at Ollie. “Just to be safe I’d better see you to your house now Liz, come on.”

May watched this performance happen twice. On the third occasion, she videoed it on her phone. Ten minutes of this and her patience grew thin.

She walked over to them. “Hi, Can anyone join in this walk or is it just for the lame-brained?”

“Ahh, you are funny. No. Yes, of course, you can.” Liz’s eyes twinkled at May as stepping between both of them she walked them across the road, and straight up to Liz’s front door. Not taking any chances,  May opened the door, gently nudged her friend inside, and then pulled it shut. After locking the door, she posted the key through the letterbox.

Taking hold of her husband she smiled and said, “Right let us go home.”

“I was just being chivalrous,” he said between hiccups.

“Of course you were love isn’t that why I love you as much as I do.”

Putting a broad smirk of delight on his face Ollie allowed her to lead him home.

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A gift for Santa

The North Pole bustled and hummed with the sound of hundreds of elves calmly working through the last Christmas orders, while inside Santa’s house Constance Claus tried not to panic. The cause : she had no gift for Santa. Eleven hundred years of buying a present for someone makes it hard to surprise them.

Her dilemma had her in a snappy humour. It was noticed by Enda, chief elf. When he stopped to enquire for the fourth time in an hour if Constance was ok, it took all of her patience not to snap, “Course I am,” somehow she calmly nodded and smiled.

Time was running out, only twelve days to Christmas, she thought, why that is a mere flash of a few moments no time at all to create an exotic fun surprising gift.  Constance looked at Summer who was lying at her feet snoozing and dreaming. The cat’s tail twitched now and then as though she were re enacting a dream.

For the next week Constant spent a lot of her time considering a present for  the champion present giver. It was tough, but she knew if she persisted she would finally catch that elusive idea. With only three days to Christmas day she was a nervous wreck.

Finally exhaustion took hold, perhaps I should meditate on it, Constance settled down in front of the fire and closing her eyes let her mind drift. There was an awful lot of Christmas in their past, but as they flashed about in her head, time after time she returned to one Christmas. “ Problem solved”, she whispered to Summer.

Constance didn’t delay she went straight to the kitchen and began to cook and create. She worked at a frantic pace, not stopping to talk to Rudolph when he wandered in looking for a carrot. He reported back to the other reindeer “sorry guys looks like supper is going to be boring hay tonight.”

Enda overheard Rudolph’s comments and went to investigate

Constance first became aware of Enda’s presence when she counted the star shaped ginger cookies. “I could have sworn I cut out five dozen, where did the last twelve go?” She stared hard at Enda who was sitting on a stool at the table, the empty space in front of him provided the answer to Constance’s question.

“You ate a dozen?” She narrowed her eyes. “Help me make some more. I don’t have enough yet!”

Enda did as he was told and though he asked why they were baking such a lot of cookies, Constance refused to answer. When the final batch of cookies were baking, Enda slipped away to report to the elves. “She has lost the plot,”

Constance locked the door of her workshop.  “It is top secret, a Santa surprise. “ She told everyone and warned them under pain of being banished from the Christmas dining table not to go into the workshop.

Late on Christmas Eve , Constance seemed  fussier than usual.

“Constance, are you okay dear, you seem a little frazzled, ouch, Enda watch where you are shoving those extra toys.” Santa grimaced as the elf ignored him and pushed another train set into the gap in the back seat. “I wish the elves would do as I ask and sprinkle more magic dust on the toys, wouldn’t it be much better and safer if we made everything teeny tiny, just for the trip,” he finished.

“We tried that before, “ Sam replied. He was at that moment balanced on Santa’s hat and attempting to tie a sack to the back of Santa’s seat,  to anchor it.

Santa blushed and sighed, “It wasn’t my fault the magic wore off. The town square looked huge, but it wasn’t big enough to deal with the exploding growing gifts.. Lucky the reindeer were in top form and we got to hide them all on the roof tops. It was a long night.”

“It was for Bob he had to keep jumping off the sleigh to retrieve lost toys.” Sam slid down Santa’s hat, onto his shoulder, arms and tumbled onto the ground before walking away, happy his work was done.

“Well there is only so many times you can wind the clock back, so, don’t have any accidents this year.” Constance scolded as she handed him his warm gloves and fastened a hard hat over his santa hat, just in case. She wondered if she should sprinkle some pixie dust on him for a little luck then deciding it wouldn’t do any harm threw a whole sackful over him.

“Hoi,” Santa roared. The reindeers took it as his usual roar for go, leapt into action.

Constance turned about and raced back indoors.

That is strange Enda thought. Usually Constance stood watching the Reindeers fly into the sky and waited to see if their flight path would create a heart shape or a star. Tonight it was a glowing heart.

Constance finished her surprise with minutes to spare. The sun was peeping into the workshop when she made a discovery. Her present was too big to fit through the door.

“Bother, and triple bother. Now I will have to get help.” Summer stared at Constance and seemed to be smirking.

With a sigh Constance headed off in search of help. Minutes later her helpful elves, Enda, Slim, Noel and Sam stood and asked, “Why?”

“Because…well….it doesn’t matter but he will know, if he hasn’t forgotten.” Constance said with a racing heart and hoped that indeed Nick would remember.

“It won’t fit through the door,” Slim declared as he took out his tape measure and measured it for the fourth time.

“We know that you idiot.” His brothers sang at him.

“Perhaps we could take it apart and then put it back together.”

“No time”. Constance said.

“Bother, we will have to try the weave dance”. The elves sang and leapt into action.

Constance stared at them as they began to run around the giant gift. “If we run fast enough it will shrink.” They sang.

She grimaced. “ No it won’t but you guys will.”

They stopped running. “No. We are small enough.”

“Pixie dust”  Enda declared and ran to collect some. It took a while as the pixies’ were having a party before Christmas day and were not inclined to stop partying to work up a little magic dust even if it was for Constance.

However at last, with ten minutes until Santa’s arrival, they finished.

With a giant yawn each of the elves raced back to bed.

Constance sat and nibbled on a candy cane. She was too anxious to sleep.

There was a clatter of hooves, a few tired snorts mainly from Santa,  announced their return. She went to meet him and help get the reindeer settled. Bob, she saw was curled up asleep on the now very empty sack.

“Job done, all I need is a nice quiet day ..” Santa began and sighed, “but I am not going to get that am I?”

He produced a package from his pocket and handed it to Constance. She smiled, twinkled and whispered,” thank you but first I want you to see your present.”

Santa seemed to shrug off the tiredness as he walked quickly to the hall, he pushed open the door and stopped. There in the corner of the great hall sat a Santa Gingerbread House!

He put his hand on his belly and laughed, “Does it, will it?”

She smiled and said, “try it.”

Santa didn’t hesitate hand in hand with Constance he walked through the door of the gingerbread house and immediately a shimmering light surrounded it.  Ten minutes later the hammering of hundreds of elves feet announced their arrival into the great hall.

The excitement created by the gingerbread house was understandable as elves adore gingerbread however when they tried to reach out to eat a piece their hands hit an invisible wall. Inside Santa sat beside Constance with a grin on his face.  “A perfect present. You remembered what I wished for in the beginning and have been afraid to utter since… a few hours of rest in a peaceful silent room with not a yammering elf in sight. How long will it last?”

“As long as we don’t eat a piece.” She sighed and hoped the elves would forgive her but perhaps the dozens of gingerbread cookies sitting on the tables in the hall would help.

Afterall if Santa couldn’t have his perfect present once in a millennium then what chance would anyone have of ever getting their perfect gift?

The Christmas photo shoot was a disaster, all were grumpy, refusing to pose, the reason? I was working and late home.

Have a great and peaceful Christmas everyone..

The long and the short of it.

A very short story featuring Bob and his friend Maxwell

It was looking like snow. This was a special event in Ireland.

Bob was sitting staring out the kitchen window. He suspected it might snow but more importantly the oven was humming along with the cook who was rolling out biscuits.

“Hmm, biscuits,” Bob thought and set off to tell Max who lived a short distance away.

Cold, wet weather never bothered him because his thick coat kept everything from touching his skin. The extra bonus was fleas usually died before they fought their way through his coat.

Bob arrived at Max’s door. “Where is Ellie?” Max was peering over Bob’s shoulder.

“Didn’t bring her she is on cookie guard duty.”

Max didn’t linger. His short legs worked hard to keep up with his taller stocky friend.

“What happens if we get lost in this snow,” Max asked Bob as he pushed his way through the deepening snow.

“Trust me,” said Bob, “we won’t.”

However when they passed a tree they had marked some minutes earlier they sought shelter and had a meeting. “We are lost, aren’t we?” Max nudged Bob as he spoke.

“Maybe we should have a nap?” Bob suggested.

Max objected to this and they continued on for a while until they arrived back at the tree once more. “We are lost.” Bob said.

“What can we do?”

Bob sighed. “I was hoping it wouldn’t come to this? How is your singing voice?”

“Superb” Max boasted.

So together they began to sing, their favourite, – who let the dogs out.

Within minutes they heard a familiar bark and Ellie trotted up to them.

She looked at both dogs covered in layers of snow and simply said, “hurry up the biscuits are cool, well not as cool as you guys” and she led them home.

Much later, Bob and Max sat beside the fire munching on lavender dog biscuits.

“Do you know Bob it was worth the trip. But perhaps we shouldn’t go out in it again. What do you think Ellie?”

“Please don’t, your singing almost knocked the tiles off the roof.” She mumbled as she rolled over for a snooze.

They simply joined her in their favourite competition; snoring.

(Future trouble lay in the fact that Bob was dreaming of digging a tunnel to Max’s house.)

Lottie Weeds Words

I borrowed Lottie and Bob from Mudpilewood’s site.

Mudpile Wood

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Lovisma Tabitha Toothwich (or Lottie for short) was asked to mind her friend Molly’s house. Molly was going on holiday.

Lottie said, “Yes, please.”

They packed with care, for Lottie was bringing Bob with her.  This meant there was a lot of extra’s : jelly babies, bones, and his favorite pink sunglasses.

When they arrived at the address they were surprised. Lottie danced and cartwheeled to the front door. She turned to wait for Bob who, wearing his pink sunglasses, plodded after her.

“Isn’t it perfect Bob? I forgot Moll lives in a lighthouse.  I love circles and look the garden is one giant circle.”

Bob said, “Woof.” They did a lap of the garden to celebrate.

On the first morning Lottie raced to the top of the lighthouse and ran around shouting hello to the birds and animals far below. They spent the day exploring the lighthouse. They decided…

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The Tattoo

 

I’m staring at my arm. I blink. Blink again, in the hope that I will wake up. I have to be dreaming. The painful, carefully drawn dragon that I paid good hard earned cash for some days ago, has vanished.

It began this morning. While showering, I noticed that the ink was fading.
I attempted to reason the hows and whys of this happening. Had I been conned? Money exchanged for a simple cheap tacky job. But no, I couldn’t call it either tacky or cheap and it hurt.

The tattoo was to mark the turning point in my life. I was free from him. My husband. This was to be the start of my new life and to mark it I went out and did something incredibly stupid. I got a tattoo. I had always said tattoo’s were pointless and not for those over thirty. But here I was at thirty eight complete with tattoo.

Except for one small puzzling fact. It was disappearing.

dragon

Dragon by Sara M.

I decided to return to the scene of the crime – the tattoo shop. It was small, crowded and busy.

A fact not to be ignored given that thousands of us (Irish people) rant and rave about taxes and the loss of income, many of us compound our misery by acquiring a tattoo.

Anyway, the door bell jangles as I enter. He looks up. Squints, at me, which should have been off putting given his employment asks for keen eyesight.  He scowls, then flicks the cigarette butt into a can sitting on a shelf and grunts. The current victim sitting in the chair is young, pale faced and clutching a tin of alcohol. I grimace, turn from him and face my problem.
“Lo.” He grudgingly acknowledges my presence and waves his implement of torture at me.
“I….” Clearing my throat I start again. “We have a problem. The tattoo you gave me is disappearing.”
He smiles. This is not a pleasant smile. It is a horrific metal smile. Cool and ugly.
“I want whatever you are on.” His throaty reply brings a squeak from the boy in the chair.
“Can I have some? Does it make the pain go away?”
I ignore the artists latest victim and focus on my problem.

I stare at him but he is staring at my arm. I l discover, that once again, I have a tattoo of a dragon on my arm.
“I think you should go for a sleep and relax. It looks like a nice clean job, swelling has already vanished. You will be fine.” He dismiss’ me and turns away.
I am staring at the dragon and feel the blood drain from my face. ” It’s back.” I whisper ignoring the giggling of the other occupants. I leave as quietly as I can.
However two minutes later, cutting through the park, I glance down. No tattoo. This is madness. I head for a park bench.
“I must be crazy.”
“You are not but I wouldn’t class you as being un-crazy either.” The voice is pleasant, elderly but pleasant. I look around and see nothing. Not even a cat lazing in the bushes or a bird tweeting in a tree.
Now I know I am losing my sanity.
I feel a tweak of heat on my arm and I glance down. The dragon stares up at me. He is approximately three inches tall and is breathing fire at an amazing rate.
“Please don’t do that.”
“Why? I’ve lain amongst the pages of that blasted book for ever and now that I’m free, why not?’
I shrug my shoulders and consider my answer. To give him his due I can understand his need to escape. “But it’s my arm and I would rather not be burnt.”
He smiles at me . “I’m George, by the way.” As he speaks the fair hairs on my arm are singed.

Grimacing with pain, I lean over and pluck a leafy twig from the nearest shrub. “Try this.”
He does and is happy with the result which is a black shriveled up mess in my hand. How do I know he is happy? Because he begins to dance, tap dance by the amount of pain he is inflicting on me, all the way up and down my arm and finally moves along the seat I am sitting on.
A shadow looms above me and I look up. The park keeper is standing glaring at me. “Why would you do that?”
“What?” I am really puzzled.
“Set a twig on fire.” He has yanked off his cap and is mopping his brow. His bald head is a shining example of cleanliness.
“I didn’t..” I begin.
“It was me.” George explains as he jumps onto the arm of the bench. To re inforce his point he lets out a bellow of fire that catches the end of the park keepers hanky that protrudes from his hip pocket. It goes up in smoke. He looks at me and at George. He faints, landing on the ground with a nice thud.
Standing up, I step over him saying, “looks as though life has lost its boring factor. How would you like to meet my ex husband?”
George smiles and I leave the park with him sitting on my shoulder.

Story originally posted on CC as part of a weekly challenge. – Maria.

 

 

Be Careful what you wish for –

Be careful what you wish for, Isabella’s fairy godmother whispered in Isalbella’s ear.

Isabella ignored her because that is what isabella does best –  ignores people.

“Someday,” her best friend Betty said, “someday you will find out what it is like to be ignored.”

Tonight Isabella was having fun, it was the annual harvest festival ball, a fundraiser for a local children’s charity. Most people attending had borrowed or rented their costumes, giving as much as they could towards the charity but not Isabella. She had spent a weeks wage on her designer dress. She delighted in letting those around her know of this fact. Everyone admired her dress, as she expected. Then she noticed the tone the comments of admiration were being delivered in ,like a fond parent would say to a spoilt child, in order to avoid the nasty experience of a tantrum.

You are imagining it, Isabella decided. Concentrate on the ball and looking amazing, like always. So she did, she didn’t help the elderly lady find a chair, she simply pushed past and demanded that the host of the ball dance with her.  He did so with reluctance and plenty of people noticed but not Isabella.

She failed to help Betty when she felt faint due to lack of food and over excitement.Betty had given up her free time to help get the decorations in place. Isabella had been busy getting her hair and make up done.

“Just sit there Betty, you will be fine.”  Isabella commanded.

So Betty sat and promptly slid off the chair cracking her arm off a table in the process.

All of these events were witnessed by Isabella’s fairy godmother Grainne who was usually a patient, loving and forgiving fairy godmother but tonight her patience was wearing thin. She paid a visit to her boss. When she left the office an hour later she was grinning like a child.

When Grainne returned to Isabella’s side she was not surprised to see that everyone, except Isabella ,was feeling sorry and sympathetic towards Betty who was gone to hospital to have her arm x rayed. The conversation was about dreams and wishes. Isabella declared she would wish for time to stay still, because she loved evenings like this, where everyone was in good form and nothing bad was said and everything was simply fabulous and really perfect.

As soon as she uttered the words the world about her shimmered and glowed. People moved about her but failed to hear her speak. She asked for a fresh drink from a passing barman but he merely continued on walking.  This won’t do, Isabella decided.  She tried to move and discovered she couldn’t. She appeared to be stuck.

This is not funny, she thought and tried with all her might to shout, kick or squirm.

All about her the party continued on, the band was replaced by a dj and people danced around her. One or two commented on the very life like statue that sparkled and glowed but no one saw the tormented eyes that shone out at them. No one except Grainne. She wondered when she would be ordered to release Isabella from the spell but hoped it wouldn’t be for a long time because for Grainne that would be simply “fabulous and perfect”.

I know you know

Maria’s Stuff: Flash Fiction

Emma said, “They called him Kevin. ”

As he watched her she appeared to be struggling to speak. A trickle of water leaked from the corner of her eyes. Her small white hand covered her mouth.

He looked at her aghast. He was hopeless at coping with tears. He would rather face a great white shark than have to put his arms around his best friend and comfort her.

The air in the kitchen shimmered.The man before Emma imagined the warm air as an entity. It rushed in through the open back door shook hands with the frigid temperature in the room to kick off the cold wall before racing outside. Along the way he saw it scoop up her distress and carry it away.

If he was asked to describe his feelings he would have said they were as brown as the worn boots on his feet. He struggled to grasp the correct word to comfort. For Emma was more to him than a friend. She was a life line to reality. Without her he would gladly slip into the realm of his fantasies, his characters he wrote about, the stories others believed he struggled to create were an escape route from the nastiness of this world. A world he feared and wanted no part of, without her.
A nudge from Emma made him look at her. Her blonde hair glistened in the pale sunlight, her body shook with tremors. Then he looked at her eyes and smiled. “Go on let me in on the joke. Who did they call Kevin?”
His large hand gently removed her smaller hand from her mouth and the laughter poured from her like water bubbling in a pot, in fits and bits. He sat and waited. He was used to waiting.

When she recovered she said, “The children called the new pet pig Kevin. Because they love the stories you tell them. What do you think of that, my Kevin?”
He pretended to be disgusted then winked at her and said, “Fitting.”
Their laughter bounced and floated through the house. As it moved it warmed every centimeter of the old stone building.

Maria’s Stuff: The fight against evil.

John walked into the lecture room and every one in the audience focused on him. He often wondered if people were disappointed when they saw him. They expected a knight in shining armor what they got was a nondescript man.

John was neither tall , nor an impressive man. He knew he would be skimmed over in a crowd. But here, he was regarded with awe. He held power. Here his past victories reigned. He had experience in the world of tracking down evil. His greatest wish was to pass his knowledge on to others in an effort to rid the world of as much insanity as possible. Each day began with this lone thought rattling around in his brain: Imagine a world where everything is as it should be. How wonderful and amazing would it be to have evil fade into insignificance and be forgotten?

Eilis sat among the audience. She had one thing in common with John. She was as ordinary as ordinary can get. She wore nothing startlingly out-of-place. Dressed in scruffy jeans, checked shirt and long hair framing her ordinary face. She was careful to don a normal expression, one of an audience of two hundred all wearing the same benign look, striving to understand the words being delivered at a precise rate.

John took a deep breath and before he began his lecture he scanned the group before him. It was always this way, deliver your lecture to an unappreciative looking group of students and then hope that one of your points would stick with even one of them. He was hoping for a miracle. Still, as he continued on delivering his lecture he wondered which one it would be and what they would get from it.

What he failed to realise was the miracle would take his world in a direction he had never thought it capable of.

Snow Dogs Part 1 & 2

The leader

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part 1

‘I could do with a change of scenery’ Luna decided.

For the last two hours they moved at a nice steady pace but she was tired. Too much racing in my life, was her verdict as she trudged along. April was a month she loved, snow plentiful but the sun was warming up, adding a glossy glamorous touch.

‘I could do with lunch’ the idea landed in her head hours before lunch was due and it wouldn’t budge, ‘it’s probably bloody chicken stew again.’ That certainty didn’t stall her longing for lunch, it made it harder for her to concentrate on the path ahead of her.

Snow swirled gently about her face. Luna never thought of stopping. Stopping was a sign of weakness and that would never do. Today’s team leader was two years older. His gruff manner hid a gentle heart. He was the most experienced of the team.

Like a soft veil snow speckled her face and body. Luna lowered her head, hunched her shoulders and plodded on. ‘Hopefully this will get worse, we may have to stop.’ She smiled. Then lunch would be early. A rest would be appreciated.

On they went. Snow was kicked up as they sped along searching for a place to shelter. At last they heard the cry, ‘Stop, here will do.’

It wasn’t too soon for Luna as with head bowed and tongue protruding she stood panting, waiting for the mushers to come and release her and the rest of the team from the sled.

Part 2

It was near the end of the second day of sled racing. Luna was upset she wasn’t lead dog again. But today’s lead dog was a sheep in disguise in her mind.

‘If that eejit slams on the brakes once more I’ll ram into him.’  Luna cast a wary glance back at their Australian Musher. Rob’s face was hidden but from the set of his broad shoulders she knew he was not pleased. Yesterday they were leading, today they were struggling to keep third place.

‘And it’s because you put butt face in front of me. I should be leading.’ Hunching her narrow frame she leaned into the wind pulling on with the rest of the pack as her mind mulled over the problem of how to get that useless lump to pick up his pace.

When they stopped for the night, they were right beside the leading race team. Luna couldn’t believe her luck. Her blue eyes sparkled in the firelight as she talked loudly to Ollie beside her. He opened one eye and closed it again wondering why she was talking rubbish about Bandit’s fear of a mascot.

‘Bandit is scared of everything,’ Ollie thought as he fell asleep.

Luna prayed the team of dogs listening to her were as stupid as they looked.

It was a cold crisp morning as they set off at four o’clock. The first place dog team left minutes before Rob’s team. The prize money was big but the prestige for the winning team would be huge. There was a cold glint in Luna’s eye as Bandit pranced by her whispering, ‘guess I must be doing something right to have stolen the lead dog from you!’

Lunar turned her head and with a brisk shake of her coat snow flew in his direction.

They set off at a gentle pace. It was apparent Rob was putting in more effort than Bandit. ‘If I had my way, you wouldn’t be on this team,’ he roared in frustration wondering what had led him away from golden beaches and luscious babes to this frosty wilderness. Bandit was the owner’s pride and joy. Everyone else believed the dog to be useless.

Luna’s eyes were fixed on the path before them. The snow was soft. The first place team tracks were right in the middle where it was softest. Bandit had some sense and was on the higher hard packed snow.  ‘Good, ‘ she thought, ‘they won’t be able to make much progress. We will gain some ground here.’

Rob was shouting encouragement and abuse at Bandit in an effort to get him to move faster.

Rounding the next bend they spotted the back of the first teams sled. With a howl of rage Bandit woke up. The other dogs had trouble keeping up with him. Snow was shooting from the side of the sled as Rob applied the brakes every now and then in an effort to keep the sled on the track. ‘Are you a lunatic or what? Why now?’

They were closing in on the winning team by the second. She and the others in the team could see the reason why. They would have been howling with laughter but they were too busy huffing and puffing as they attempted to keep up the pace.

 

It was a surprise to the lead team when Rob’s team came charging by them on the downhill run into the finishing line.  There was only two individuals who were fully aware of the reason for the chase, one was Luna and the other was Spats, the fat ginger cat who was the other teams mascot who for some peculiar reason had sat at the back of the sled instead of under the covers at the front.

Ollie congratulated Luna when he was able to breathe again. “You are one smart dog. I thought you said, Bandit was afraid of cats.”

“I did and lucky for us those dumb dogs believed every word I said.”

 

 

 

Flash Fiction: Aya’s flight.

Aya clung to the rock.  Her thoughts were bleak. Is this it? The end?  She was tired of running.

Her vision was spectacular. A trait she cursed now as she watched the red spectre creeping relentlessly towards her. It was hungry devouring everything in its path.

Worse she could smell the acrid smell of death. So strong it hit the back of her throat making her gag.

Aya supposed this must be how her victims had felt before she ended their lives. But, she argued, my act had been one of self-defense not one born of hunger and greed.

Her eyelids fluttered, she wobbled a little as she clung to the rock. I mustn’t sleep yet, she whispered though there was no one to hear.  Aya was thirsty, hungry and exhausted.

She looked to the sky. The dark clouds mirrored the color of the charred earth but no rain had fallen.

She offered a prayer to the Gods for a quick end.

A tear escaped.

Then she heard it. A flutter. Ears straining she wondered if she was imagining it. A wishful thought converting a whispering wind to an animal’s movements.

Shoulders slumped as she decided to stay and prepare for death.

Aya flinched when she felt the slightest tingling touch along her back. Turning she saw a bright blue and green flicker darting along her back. The kingfisher moved like a flash of lightning as it danced in the air above her.

She opened her mind and heart to it demanding, “What do you want of me? Death?”

“No. Life. Follow me you are close to a spring which leads to a river many miles from here. ” The kingfisher darted away.

Aya watched him leave. Tiredness dictated she check this out before she moved. Swiveling about she took a deep breath. Her lips quivered as a tentative smile formed. She decided green river reeds never smelt this good.

Summoning the last of her energy, Aya loosened her grip on the rock. Then spreading her wings, the last dragon took flight into the dark sky with a heart burdened with hope.

 

dragon