Confused.com

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Image by JayeMarie

Anita told me this morning that Sue’s #writephoto image this week will be a bunch of trees.

She had just finished painting one of her flower frogs in copper, when I showed her the picture. She promptly went to lie down in a dark room as she says she cannot take much more of these universal coincidences. Trees and the word copper?

I wasn’t going to do anything with it, but I had the impulse to put it out there.

This kind of thing happens to her so often, she feels she should be able to do something useful with it.

Any ideas?

 

Who was she?

 

 

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Image by Jaye Marie

 

Her eyes black beads, her face skeletal

Her bones lay in a crescent, the earth carefully swept aside.

The copper of a turning leaf lay beside her hand.

Dried berries, red once, now more like

the shrivelled eyes of a dead badger.

A thread of red cotton bound her wrists.

Who is she and how long has she been there?

Why has someone unearthed her?

Questions I cannot answer.

There was no sign of anyone

No markers to say this was an archaeological site.

There was no real reason for me to believe

that the bones were female.

the broken string of blue glass beads around her neck

gave me the she, rather than the he.

The church had stood there from the 1600’s

the graveyard, judging from the headstones longer.

How old were the uncovered bones?

I could not tell, not versed in the art of bone reading

I needed to find someone, let them know of my find.

Looking at my watch, it was late

The church doors locked, not yet fully dark.

I looked for somewhere the vicar might live.

Walking the length of the graveyard to the front gate

Across the road, one house had its lights on

Holding my breath, I knocked. I had found the vicar.

Asking me in, his lady wife made tea with two biscuits on the saucer

my clumsy hands held the delicate china like the claws of an eagle

I had no desire to drop it, to look like a fool.

Bad enough, the questions I was about to ask

The vicar’s answers glued my body to the chair

A hundred years ago, Margaret Lee was stoned to death

The night of the crescent moon on Michaelmas eve

For carrying another man’s child.

My thoughts became jumbled with the vicar’s words

The items you mention were there to keep her earthbound

For the past five years we uncover the grave

To let her remember how it felt to be free

We believe her punishment didn’t fit the crime

Our hope is, she might be released from her bondage

We wait for a sign.

I had forgotten it was Christmas eve, before leaving,

I suggested they should take the red cotton from her wrists

Remove the remaining items, including the broken blue beads

That once may have adorned her neck.

The vicar looked at me in surprise, his wife almost dropped the cup,

standing as if she had been shot from the chair.

God in heaven, why haven’t we thought of that?

It must be done, husband. It may stop the crying

that haunts us each year on this blessed day.

I left the vicarage

thinking it was no blessed day for Margaret Lee…

©anitadawes

Mirrors… #Poetry

 

 

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Image by Pixabay.com

 

Steamy mirrors

Dead fingers have written

Your time is coming

I wiped it away, my hand

Touching the space

Where death had written

My hand felt strange

Like touching an electric wire

Shaking my hand did no good

It began to itch

Running it under cold water didn’t help

The feeling grew along the length of my arm

The doctor could find no reason for it

The feeling lasted for two days

I found a site online

Under mystic messages

I read that I had touched my own death

I thought no more of it

For as we know, death waits for each of us

At 23 I felt I had time to do what I wanted

I was wrong, I did not reach my next birthday

now I write on steamy mirrors…

©anitadawes

Trapped… #Poetry

 

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Image by Pixabay.com

 

 

Trapped

For thirty-two years

My face trapped inside an iron mask

Royal treatment gives no comfort

As guards bow on entering my cell

Yet they make no attempt

to rescue me from this torment

my face, long forgotten

yet my mind never ceases to work

remembering each moment

where I am meant to be

who I was born to be?

I pray for my memory to fade

That darkness never comes

It is the face of my brother

That keeps memory alive

At night my thoughts grow dark

I have killed him, torn his body apart

in thousand different ways

Would you not want to do the same?

Trapped as I am?

8888

Legend… #Poetry

 

 

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Image by Pixabay.com

 

 

The day was painted with excitement

Like electricity falling from our fingertips.

The air crackled and the wind changed colour

Helping us see which way to follow

To find the fabled bird of legend

Identified with the kingfisher.

The winter solstice is upon us

We wanted to see the wind and waves

trapped by the legendary bird.

Would the wind vanish, would the waves iron out?

leaving the ocean like a sheet of blue glass

Would all beneath still be moving

unaware of the magic taking place above?

Anita Signature

Smoke and Mirrors… #Poetry

 

 

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Image by Pixabay.com

 

 

We are characters in a new hard cover

We see you as voyeurs, spying on our lives

Skipping paragraphs, eager to get to the pages

You have been told about.

You will be sorry when the story makes no sense

Asking yourself, what did the author mean by that

Did you enjoy the bedroom scene you hurried to?

Was it all you expected?

Will you be putting any of it into practice?

Will your partner wonder what came over you?

It is time for us to escape

We have found a way out of these inked out pages

Good and bad as you can see

We are not talking smoke and mirrors

We are more than imaginary illusion

There is a world out there we want to join.

We will leave a little dust between the hard cover

Find our way into the wind, into the eyes of passers-by

There will be certain changes now we live outside the pages

The story will take on new meaning, as we live life our way

New stories will be written, but a warning should be given

Characters may rebel…

Anita Signature

#Writer’s Wednesday… #Simple by Anita Dawes #Mystery #PsychologicalSuspense

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Chapter One

Gran stormed across the clearing, bending to pick up a stick from the ground without breaking her stride.  Simple, sitting against the woodpile, was in for another of her beatings.  I yelled for him to run, but he didn’t hear me.  Lost in one of his daydreams I guessed.

I watched in silence as Gran repeatedly swung the stick hard against the side of her son’s head.  There were no words to describe Simple’s pain or the pain of watching.  He probably didn’t even know what it was for and I hated her for making me feel all the things he couldn’t say. He didn’t move or look her in the face, not until she let the stick drop from her bony fingers did he feel safe enough to close his eyes.  He slowly put his hands to his battered head, blood pushing its way through the gaps in his dirty fingers.

 

Jack was Gran’s firstborn, a mean son of a bitch.  Then came Simple who was soft in the head and lived in a dream world.  Tommy, my favourite, was the youngest and nowhere near as bad as Jack.  They were supposed to make sure Simple stayed away from town.  Gran never could bear the thought of Simple going anywhere near there, but never let on why.  The beatings came when he forgot, and somehow Gran always found out.  I figured she should give up on the beatings; it wasn’t helping him to remember to stay away.

I knew why the others went to town so often.  The girls there let them do whatever they had a mind to.  I couldn’t figure why Simple sneaked off; not for girls, I knew that much.  Tommy and Jack had teased him enough about Lizzie, the day they caught him spying on her as she washed in the river.

Watching Gran beat Simple made me think back to the day I lay by the river. I was trying to catch hold of the whispers in my head while looking at the reflection of the clouds in the water.  It was something I liked to do and usually had the place to myself.

That particular day, I had company.  Lizzie was taking a bath and Simple was watching from the bushes.  Without warning, the boys appeared and dragged Simple out of the bushes he thought hid him from sight.  Jack grabbed Simple viciously between the legs, saying it was time he knew how to use it.  They called for Lizzie to come out of the water.

I hid behind a rock, too scared to run back to the cabins.  It wouldn’t matter if I told Gran anyway, she’d say they needed their fun and to let them be.

Tommy helped Lizzie up onto the bank.  She stood there naked, her dark hair dripping.  The water running down her skinny legs made muddy pools at her feet.  Jack stopped her from picking up her clothes.  ‘You won’t be needin’ them just yet, Lizzie.  We’re goin’ to have us a little fun.  It’s Simple’s birthday.’

‘No it ain’t, and I ain’t doing what you have a mind to.  Not with Simple.’

Jack took hold of her arms and roughly pulled her close to him.  ‘You’re mine and you’ll do like I say, missy.  You’re his birthday present.’

Simple tried to move away but Jack held him back; telling him he didn’t want to miss out on such a fine gift.  He threw Lizzie to the ground like a rag doll.  I watched, too afraid to move.  Jack had ears like a bat if I moved an inch he would hear me.  Fear and fascination swam together in my head; knitting an invisible chain that held me fast behind the rock.

Jack stood between her legs and unfastened his belt.  He undid his belt, pushed his pants down and fell on Lizzie, pumping his body up and down.  Tommy pulled Simple down on the ground beside them, slapping Jack’s bare behind.  ‘See, Simple, this is how you please the girls.’

There was much grunting and groaning before Jack let out an even bigger groan and rolled away from Lizzie, his thing still dripping as he pulled up his pants. Tommy pushed Simple down on top of Lizzie and he lay there like a big lump.  As Jack pulled him to his knees, a clump of Simple’s dark brown hair came away in his hand.

‘You see how I did it, now set to, before I tell Gran what we saw you tryin’ to do in town again.’

I wish I knew what Simple did that got Gran so mad, so fired up about him being in town.  He was crying like a baby, tears and snot sliding down his face.  Jack kicked him viciously and he fell forward, stopping himself from flattening Lizzie by putting his hands out, hitting the ground so hard the dry dirt sprung up between his fingers.

I wished there was something I could do to help Simple, but Tommy and Jack had been at Gran’s grog again and I knew if I showed my face, they would do the same to me.  Lizzie seemed to have gotten over the idea of Simple getting at her, giggling as Tommy pulled Simple’s pants off.  I couldn’t bear to watch anymore and turned my face away, but I heard every sound that escaped from Simple’s lips.  I wondered what thoughts were running through his head if any.

For days after, I couldn’t bear to look at Simple or talk to him and knew how much he missed that.  I was the only one who spent the time of day with him.  The others always teased him, saying words over and over before moving on to the next the way Simple did.  I spent hours getting him to speak slowly, and with me, his stammer wasn’t so bad. When Simple got worked up his words stuck, stretched out like an echo rebounding around the woods before finding the end of it.  Most times he gave up trying to say what was in his head.

The back of Gran’s cabin was the only place to find any shade unless you took off into the woods, which wasn’t always a good idea.  Folk around here tend to look out for their own and looking out for the neighbours wasn’t their way of doing things, especially the Spiers.  We’d been having trouble with them for as long as I could remember.

I sat with my back against rough, weathered timber that had been cut from the woods, grateful to be alone to hear the wind rush through the trees, whispering my name.  Emily, the name my heart recognised. Not Leanne, the one they called me.  I got to thinking that Gran would have renamed me, not wanting anything to do with town folk or the names they called their children.  Seeing as how Uncle Jimmy had let slip that my folks had come from the town, I got to thinking how on earth Gran could be mine.  I figured the only way was one of my parents must have been kin to my grandpa.  That could account for the way she looked at me sometimes as if I didn’t really belong.  Part outsider; which is how I felt most of the time.

This got me looking closer at Gran’s boys.  They didn’t look like they come from the same seed either.  Jack, mean and dark, had the best looks. Tommy was the just the opposite.  Fair and plain, as if they forgot to give him character.  I’d been told that Simple was soft in the head because Gran had been too old for birthing. That couldn’t be the true reason, for Tommy was all right. Didn’t matter to me though, I liked him the way he was; all soft and gentle, yet big enough to make me feel safe.  Big enough to squash the rest of them flat should he take a mind to.  Reckon that’s why Uncle Jimmy keeps clear of Simple.  I heard him tell Jack one day that Simple would snap soon enough with all the teasing he gets.

I told Gran once that sometimes I thought I could hear my Ma calling me by another name, could feel her reaching for me and almost make out her face.  Gran said I must be getting soft in the head like Simple and warned me not to talk rubbish again.  I knew better than try.  She would whop me like she always did when something didn’t please her.  It didn’t pay to have an opinion or argue with Gran about anything.

Lizzie said it was just my imagination playing tricks on me, but I didn’t believe any of it.  I felt it in my heart, not my head, and it wasn’t the summer heat frying my brains as Tommy suggested.

Gran said she would be making one of her rare trips to town soon.  I would be twelve next month and according to her, a young woman needs new clothes.  This meant material for Gran to make a new dress, two if I was lucky.  Gran hated going to town, but she knew you couldn’t trust men folk to choose anything.  I knew how hard this would be for her and my heart reached out to hug her, my body slow to follow.

Gran waved the air in front of her to keep me away.  ‘No need to thank me, girl.’

I wished what I felt inside didn’t always show so quick on my face.  My life would be a mite happier if it didn’t.

Lizzie had told Gran about the young’un she was expecting and Gran wasn’t best pleased.  Didn’t matter who the pa was, she didn’t ask.  All she said was, it had better be stronger than the last one. ‘You ain’t made for young’uns, Lizzie. Age has taken your best chances. This has to be the last one, that’s if you can keep it from falling away before its time.’

In the past, Lizzie had managed to keep one until it was three months old.  It was sick from the start, Gran said.  And Lizzie too foolish to give it the right kind of care.  No milk to speak of and she forgot about it for days on end.  Took off with Jack and left it crying.  I asked Gran why she didn’t take care of it, seeing as how she knew better.  It was a stupid question and I almost felt the heat from her eyes singe the hair on my arms.

‘The brat’s Lizzie’s, not mine,’ she snapped.

I couldn’t understand Gran’s way of thinking or feeling.  All hard and shrivelled, weren’t any softness about her, not even around the eyes.  Something bad must have happened to make her so hard.  There wasn’t anything I could do, no way for me to change her.  The child Lizzie lost had been buried just outside the clearing by a big old redwood.  I would sit there sometimes and lay a few wildflowers on the makeshift grave.  All Lizzie said was I was too soft to live in the woods. She didn’t seem to care about the loss.

‘Gran should’ve taken you to town years ago, left you outside the church.’  She often said that when feeling particularly mean.

When Gran didn’t ask who the pa might be, I wondered if she might have something to say if she knew it might be Simple.  I found myself hoping this one would be strong.  Having a baby around would be real nice.  I could help Lizzie take care of it.

Just then, Jack stormed into the cabin behind me, yelling about the Spiers’ messing with his traps again, taking his kills.  That I knew to be one mistake they would pay for.  Gran told him to hush up and let Jimmy take care of it when he got home.  Jack went on and on about the Spiers, he had a thing about them. Every time anything went wrong or the still broke, he would say they had been at it.

Gran told him he was too thick to take care of any one of them.

‘It’s no wonder you lost your kill, shouting your mouth off in town. Makin’ out like a big man, letting’ on where you left the traps.’

I heard Tommy ask how she knew.

‘It ain’t hard to figure, when she knows you couldn’t keep your mouth shut if she was to stitch it.’

Jack must have lost his temper and thrown a chair across the cabin, because something hit the side where I sat, listening.  The thought of Uncle Jimmy coming made the cool spot behind the cabin too cold and I moved off into the sun.

I wondered what he wanted, what brought him down from the mountains.  Jimmy was a mean one, even meaner than Jack was.  Tall and quiet, he liked killing, hunting things.  Animals, men, even bugs weren’t safe.  He would flatten anything that crossed his path, his hands quick as lightning, grabbing winged creatures from the air.  Didn’t seem to matter some of them might sting.

I saw him swallow a wasp once after teasing Simple with it.  Mostly he liked pulling the heads off his kills.  Said even a man ain’t nothing without it, get rid of the head, you get rid of trouble.  That’s what he believed.

His visits were always too long.  Tommy hated him and swore he would take off one day and never come back.  Gran laughed.  She’d heard him say it so often; she didn’t believe he had a mind to do it.  I could see in his eyes that one day he would, he was tired of living in fear of Jimmy and being in Jack’s shadow.

I thought about taking off some days.  Thing was, where to?  I guess Tommy had the same trouble.  Town was good for letting off steam, but the woods were home.  Clarksville was growing speedily, too fast for Gran’s liking. She said it was getting closer to the woods each year.  Full of outsiders thinking they can wander where they please and look down their noses at the way we live.  The sheriff was up here just last week, telling Gran I should be attending school.  She sent him off, saying I knew all I needed to.  School didn’t have anything she couldn’t put in my head.

There were times when I wondered if she was right.  Maybe I would have liked school, made friends of my own age.  Throwing the idea at Gran did no good at all; she had a thing about town folk.  Strange, when I’d heard Jimmy say that grandpa had been from Clarksville.

‘Your Gran liked town folk fine back then.  Never did say what changed her mind.’

Jimmy said grandpa died one winter, caught by one of his own traps. Wolves ate most of his body.  I could understand how this would make Gran sad, but I couldn’t make sense of the way she spoke about town and the folk that lived there. Outsiders, she called them.  There had to be a reason for the way she hated them.  I knew better than to ask, but by keeping my ears open, I would hear most things soon enough.

Jimmy had brought down two headless deer for Gran’s larder.  I wondered what he did with the heads.  Tommy said he ate them, but I figured he buried them, although I half wondered if Tommy was right.

Uncle Jimmy hadn’t been with us for more than a week, when the sheriff turned up again, warning Gran to have a word with her boys.

‘Ned Harrison’s been shooting’ his mouth off about Tommy, if he sets eyes on him again he’s gonna kill him. Says he’s been messing’ around with his wife.’

Jimmy stood there the whole time, his rifle cracked open across his arm.  The sun lighting up the fact the barrel weren’t empty.  It didn’t seem to worry the sheriff, he had his hand on the butt of his own gun, looking Gran in the eyes.  I could see Tommy hiding behind the water barrels while the sheriff tried explaining to Gran that he couldn’t keep an eye on Ned all the time.

‘Wouldn’t want your boy to lose his head over a piece of pussy.  Have a word with him, Ma’am.’  Touching the rim of his hat, he bid Gran good day.

I reckon he saw Tommy because he doffed his hat again as he passed the water barrels.

Tommy tried to get out of a beating by telling Gran the sheriff wanted to get it on with Ned’s wife himself.

‘Jealousy is all, Gran.  Ned ain’t gonna shoot no one, too full of grog mostly. When he ain’t drinking’ he’s sleeping’. ‘Lizabeth’s real nice Gran, I like her and old Ned ain’t gonna last forever the way he’s carrying’ on. I figured on movin’ in when he passes.’

‘Is that so?’  Gran said.  ‘Got a mind to help him on his way, bring more trouble that ain’t my doing’?’

‘No Ma.’  Tommy said, his eyes and voice pleading for her not to reach for the stick by her feet.  I could see in her eyes it was no good, she needed to whop him for reasons of her own…

Simple is just 99p this week… just saying!

Tales of Old… #Poetry

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Old fairy tales haunt the air

They wait for memory to bring them back

What evil do we breathe?

Dark woods that call you there

To feed from life, retell their stories

Of magic swords and healing cups

Treasures buried in hidden caves

Where dragons sleep, do not disturb

How do you feel when the winds blow cold?

Is it the ice queen breathing down your back?

Do you hear wolves late at night?

Do you have a cloak of red?

Can you see the house of sugar?

Did you leave crumbs to find your way out?

Did you find Aladdin’s Lamp, rub it clean

Hear the genie scream, what is your wish?

Careful now, lest darkness calls on a witches broom

She’s flying by, your desire she heard

Mischief comes in strange disguise

No needles in this kingdom found

Save one, now they sleep for years to come

Prick not your finger, lest your life be undone

A golden plait hangs from on high

A maiden rescued from tower walls

Who can tell what thoughts are memories

Carried by the wind, imparting old life to live within…

AAAAA

Tales of Old… #Poetry

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Old fairy tales haunt the air

They wait for memory to bring them back

What evil do we breathe?

Dark woods that call you there

To feed from life, retell their stories

Of magic swords and healing cups

Treasures buried in hidden caves

Where dragons sleep, do not disturb

How do you feel when the winds blow cold?

Is it the ice queen breathing down your back?

Do you hear wolves late at night?

Do you have a cloak of red?

Can you see the house of sugar?

Did you leave crumbs to find your way out?

Did you find Aladdin’s Lamp, rub it clean

Hear the genie scream, what is your wish?

Careful now, lest darkness calls on a witches broom

She’s flying by, your desire she heard

Mischief comes in strange disguise

No needles in this kingdom found

Save one, now they sleep for years to come

Prick not your finger, lest your life be undone

A golden plait hangs from on high

A maiden rescued from tower walls

Who can tell what thoughts are memories

Carried by the wind, imparting old life to live within…

AAAAA

#Jaye’s Journal: An Unexpected Visitor…

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My office is usually a quiet, peaceful place. Unless something goes radically wrong and I am having a rant.

Today was almost such a day, but I was trying hard not to lose it, determined to figure out what I was doing wrong and why my WIP was proving so difficult to get right.

I have to sit with my back to the door, something I wish I could change but the layout of the room doesn’t allow for any change. So when I sensed someone standing behind me, I assumed it to be one of the family.

‘Ma’am, that is surely a crying shame…’

The soft gentle voice of a man, inches from my ear should have alarmed me, but my curiosity had the better of me and I wondered what he was talking about. Although I wasn’t entirely sure if I had imagined it, I answered. ‘Pardon?’

‘I have to say that character is all wrong, you know…’

By now, I knew I wasn’t imagining it, but insanity seemed a better fit. I was also fascinated, so decided to play along and see what happened. ‘How do you mean?’

‘If you will permit me to sit down, I will explain…’

I nodded, aware that I was about to see who my mysterious visitor was. I watched as this white haired, distinguished and a slightly familiar gentleman walked past me to sit in the only other chair in the room. He reminded me of someone, but my brain was stumbling around like an idiot at a genius convention.

He had kindly blue eyes and an enormous, also white moustache, a bit like Albert Einstein, but I was sure it wasn’t him. He sat there, next to me, calmly watching me with an amused expression on his face. I wondered id he, like me, wondered what he was doing here. I decided to ask. ‘I feel as though I should know you, but what are you doing here in my office?’

His bushy white eyebrows were moving slightly, reminding me of caterpillars.

‘Ma’am, I have no idea how I arrived here, but judging from what I just read on your notebook, I must be here to lend a hand, so to speak.’

For the next hour, we talked about my progress as a writer, my WIP and one character in particular. I had been worried about this one, so it was refreshing to have another clearly expert opinion.

‘The problem, Ma’am is this. You have not brought him to life yet. He needs to have a life, smell the coffee, and do normal things like a regular human being. He will die soon anyway…’

‘Where did you read that? And please stop calling me Ma’am, my name is Jaye.’

‘Oh, I didn’t read it, Jaye. The poor chap never eats, so he won’t last long…’

I was embarassed but had to laugh. My visitor was right. I had been so involved with the plot; I had forgotten to give him a life. My eyes returned to the chapter on the desk in front of me, eager to see with fresh eyes just what a pig’s ear I had made of it all. It occurred to me to thank my visitor for pointing out what had been wrong all along, but when I turned my head in his direction, he had gone and the chair was empty…

I tried to continue working but my brain was busy trying to remember where I had seen the old gentleman before…

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