Sunday, April 21, 2013

Dark Fairy Queen Writerly Bridal Shower: A Dedication To Anna

Wedding Toast:

My dearest Anna,

You are the difference between ordinary and extraordinary; just that little, but magical 'extra.'
I hope your married life is all you wish for and more. 

Falling To The Ground
Afsaneh Khetrapal

eBook: Yes

“Anna…”he prompted. “Will you do me the honour?”
Anna rose in her bed before his face looming into clarity. His face…only it wasn't.
She didn't recognize this man.
He certainly wasn't Julian.
She tried to push herself to a sit but let out a wince as her arm collapsed beneath her weight.
The man propped a pillow between it and the hard back of the bed, cushioning the inexplicable ringing of pain.
“No more than a bruise,” he informed. “Consequence of the dramatic fall, I'm told.”
“During a proposal of marriage,” he said, as if it was so matter-of-fact.
“Well, clearly no one thought to catch me,” she murmured unthinking, before a question came to the forefront, “who exactly are you, sir?”
 “Apologies; Dr Peckham . . .  Michael, if you like,” and as he said so, he removed a weighty bundle from her forehead and took it to the basin. “ I've never witnessed such an amusing refusal, Miss Walters.”
Anna attempted recollection but saw nothing past Julian’s face as he’d stood, announcing his intentions with an expectant hand held out for her. The absence of the afterwards was worrying her. “How brutal was I?”

He was back now and sitting on the edge of the bed, folding what she now saw had been a cloth of some sort. He replaced it on her forehead with a deftness that was curiously calming and she sighed, inaudibly content, as the coolness of the cotton swept into her where the warmth of his fingertips did not. “I’m afraid you answered in your sleep.”

Stunned, her mouth hung inelegantly open. “I refused him in my sleep?!”
He chuckled at that but then his slated blue eyes were commiserative and kind as he looked at her, his hand sacredly still on her. Dreadful expectation filled her before he continued.
“Not to worry,” he said. “He will find someone else to share his French spoon collection with.”
Anna groaned, wishing to disappear amidst the heap of bedding. “Oh Lord, tell me I did not say-!"
“You certainly did,” came his honest reply.
Anna’s bruise had healed. 
Julian’s pride had not.
It appeared to her that it was not the response itself that had wounded him but rather the method of delivery. She could not fault him for that; even though she had had no intention of accepting him, he had deserved more. Soon, she hoped they could extend their coexistence in society towards civility.

If for nothing else, she would have liked to amble down Oxford Street as freely as she used to. Now as she did so, she heard and saw and felt the knarled branches of the scandal suffocate her movements.

She left the main street into the quiet turn of a lane and came to a halt; a man hid his lustrous head of hair with a hat as he stepped out of one of the houses. A smile touched her face; instant and admiring. Internally, she almost cursed her good health for providing her no reason to seek his company.

The admission, asinine as it was, made her fearful. She swiveled on her heel and returned from where she had come, unknowingly allowing her pace to slow after a mere minute.

Admonishing her panicked hastiness, she decided she should greet him with all the composure that was expected. Naturally, she had not foreseen that he had been so near that she should tread on him in her attempt and almost lose her footing.

“Miss Walters?” as he drew her up to a stand. “Is this a common occurrence for you?”
“I beg your pardon?”
“Embracing the ground,” he replied.
“You are partly to blame,” she said pointedly.
“Oh, how so?” he asked, eyes shining with amusement.
“You … startled me.”
Her belated reply came out dumbly, for he was watching her with an expression that made her doubt her fluency in English.
And then he grinned.
And the air between them changed.
Their breaths coalesced.
He gathered her close and when he spoke, his voice was low and so daring she thought it must have surprised them both. “And if I sought to court you?”
She leaned in, gladness making her bold. “I cannot guarantee I would remain standing.”
“I can,” he promised.
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Sunday, January 6, 2013

An Almost Midnight Masquerade

Dear readers,
How could anyone resist the likes of the beautiful goddess that is Meg McNulty?
The answer is 'they simply can't'
(Do keep in mind that the 'goddess' mentioned in my entry is not her. She's much too angelic for that post.) Meg here, is hosting the Twelfth Night Masquerade Flash Fiction Contest and I was so ecstatic about the theme that I had to enter.
To take a look at the pinterest board where the inspiration lies simply click here.

I hope you enjoy my entry. It came after much confusion and frustration (but I've been told that's part of the process) and in the end I did what I always do. That is, to mix together some magic, some love, and add in a happy ending.  

An Almost-Midnight Masquerade

The goddess watched this realm through the pale sphere above.
Hung in the sky; her looking glass.
After being plucked into her servitude over a decade ago, she had only today seen the truth behind her planned survival; to serve as the goddess' 'cleanser'.
There was no thought of hiding and she would have been foolish to try, for she was owned and freedom would only be hers if she succeeded tonight.
If she did not...
She saw the goddess' confident smile and it unsettled every hope in her body.
But how could she steal a soul?
How could she steal his?
"Then prove to me that there is another way," she had challenged, "if you wish to be unburdened."
And now it was her own at stake.
He'd sworn never to hold another masquerade again but here he was forcing his way through the glitter and feathers, in desperate search of an ally to swap his mask with.  
Oh, the things he did for his mother and...
Well, here was something different.
Someone different.
She looked as uncomfortable as he felt. 
As breathless too, this contoured waterfall in a gown; beautiful, but a little out of place.
Muted like a robed element.
A familiar voice met his distracted stance. "I say, Dom, do you - "
"Busy," he said, forcing his glass into his brother's hand and already on his way.
No, it couldn't be ice.
"I don't believe we've met."
She shook her head.
"Or spoken?"
Again. Slower.
When he spoke to her, his eyes did not leave hers and had the goddess not held her voice captive, the same threat was in his gaze.
"Do you plan on allowing me to rectify this?" he pursued.
I wish it.
Minutes remained.
...this was not to happen.
The goddess laughed in her ear.
There was nothing to lose and faintly, she rested her palm on his chest as if he could console her. 
She'd not felt the beat of a heart for so long and his was loud, fast, and so robust it might have withstood anything.
"Do you know, I think this may be the first time a woman has actually aimed for my heart."
She laughed at that and said, despite the swelling sadness that would await her, "I'm afraid my aim is rather shoddy."
Goddess, have you returned my voice?
He sat his hand atop hers, encasing it in only himself and, for a moment, lending her a warmth she was surprised she even felt.
He considered that momentarily. "No, I don't think it is."
She was going to say he knew nothing about her but he suddenly sounded alarmed.
"Are you crying?"
He ran a thumb down her cheek, mopping up the trickle.
"Oh no, I was mistaken. It would appear your mask just isn't very practical," he smirked.
Positive that she was delirious, her hand went to stroke an icy shard of her stalactitian cover but it gave way, yielding in her palms and meeting the ground in droplets.
"How-?" she gasped.
Goddess was gone.
Only she was here.
Her laughter was hysterical as she looked up at his wonderfully confused face.
"It would appear our unmasking has come early," he smiled.

500 words

Saturday, January 5, 2013

12 Days Blog Hop: Rebirth

Dear readers,

It's day 4 and can I just say, readers, that I have done no planning for this blog hop. I don't actually know what is going to happen to/between my characters yet. Won't it be fun for us both to find out together? Get a little bit confused together?
Ah, well I suppose we'll see.
It could just turn out to be a mess.

The prompt is:

"I apologise for my ...untimely arrival, Mr Wilding."
He probably should have been paying attention to her, after all, she did look genuinely sorry, but her thin arms were pressed so deeply into the sides of her dress one would have thought she was trying to compress just for the sake of hiding.
“I assume” - he sounded distracted, his gaze still attached to her arms - “you’ve already been questioned by my very vigilant housekeeper?
“I have, yes Mr Wilding.”
“Do you object to an additional question from a potential employer?”
“Not at all, Mr Wilding” emerged with an almost-smile.
Oh, he really didn’t like that. It was tight and aberrant and the only time he’d seen the sort was when his mother was lying to him. Always for his own good, but still, lying always set him at unease.
“Why are you here?”
Because he knew if he asked anything otherwise, she would lie. Lie through her pearly white teeth.
“For employment, if you would allow it, Mr Wilding.”
Not that he had been expecting anything different.
She looked braced, ready to accept rejection as if she was used to the notion and he couldn’t quite bring himself to drill her vague statement for any truth.
Instead, he stood. It hadn’t been a sudden move but she was still taken aback by it.
More so when he neared her, saw the mess that her brown hair was and the prominence of those shaky blue eyes.
He was decided.
“You begin tomorrow. Mrs Parks will find something befitting your skills.”
“Thank you, Mr Wilding,” she said belatedly, her breath reborn and escaping in a relieved little gust.

278 words


Thursday, January 3, 2013

12 Days Blog Hop: Music

Dear readers,

It's day 3 and I hope you bear with me as I try to keep up with a lot of things. I hope this is up to scratch. Lately, few things seem to be.
The prompt is:

The mumble of voices stopped.
And then there was nothing until a door knock.
“Come in,” he said and the housekeeper took a frail step into view.
“Is there a problem, Mrs Parks?” he asked, because all of her short, round frame was a little more bemused than he would have thought was ordinary.
“There is a girl, Mr Wilding.”
“Isn’t there always?” came from him in dramatic truth.
She was unphased by his humour though. “She insists on being employed here.  I explained to her that she was late for...”
“Bring her in.”
As if she could have misheard him from so close.
He nodded and turned more fully to face her. “I’m curious... What kind of creature would insist on working here?”
Without voicing her obvious confusion, Mrs Parks ushered the girl in. When she had left, the creaking, closing door seemed to have shut out more than the view of the unlit corridor.  
The girl concerned was ramrod straight. She was trying her utmost best to look unaffected but there were only two tallow candles to light up the outsized space, it was almost two in the morning, and only the two of them were in this study.
Highly unconventional a setting to meet under, one would have agreed.
Then she spoke.
And it was like... music?
Damndest thing, that.
He’d never been much of a lover either (well, not of music).

236 words


The code for your blog:

12 Days Blog Hop: Love

Dear readers,

It's day 2 for me and I still have a couple more entries I should really get to today. I'm compromising quality here, readers. Sorry!
The prompt is:

 “You’ll love it in no time.”
His mother had said that in the letter, in the same one where she had told him this was all his.
Oh, but if she was here now she might have doubted it the way he did.
The estate had been a knotted bundle since his uncle’s passing weeks ago but there he saw the estate had been neglected long before his decline. If he was to leave the curtains, it was barely more than an ornate cavern with its deep red curtains and Persian carpets, all the interiors oddly out of touch with their beauty.
He looked through the leather-bound volumes in the study, collecting duct on the pad of his thumb as he did so.
It was just nothing like the cottage he’d passed his modest childhood in before being plucked away for his education. It was not a matter to complain over though; he was wiser now, with friends and connections now, and he had the means to support his struggling parents.
Maybe they would like it here more than him, he idly thought.
He stopped and picked up the list of new employees the housekeeper had left on the study desk.

201 words


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

12 Days Blog Hop: Snow

Dear readers,

I've been away for a while, sorry!


I'm late

I'm so very late to the party. 

Forgive me?

I didn't want to miss Stacy Bennett-Hoyt's (@rowanwolf66) 12 Days of Christmas blog hop.
If you know her, you'll understand this.

So, 12 Days, 12 Stories, each 200-300 words.  

The contest theme is gifts today's prompt is:


The midnight driveway was a ribbon of moonlight, the snow was without a dip or scratch, and the closest sign of life he could spot was the gargoyle perched on the slant above the door.
With its teeth bared and wings outstretched, the mere sight of it induced more of a shudder in him than the sudden onslaught of icy wind did.
Or maybe it was more the recollection of it from the winters he had spent here. His parents rarely had the means to send him for him from school so he had spent the occasional holiday here with his removed uncle, minding he never stared at the statue for too long at once lest it were to decide it didn't like the look of him.
Only now he could not deny that he was no longer twelve, he was not visiting from school, and his uncle no longer remained. The only constant amidst this bundle of realities was the stance of the manor, eerie as ever.
Not convenient, that.
Far from it. And being dubbed as the new owner of it was just the same when he wasn’t ready to be the master of any domain.
He left the warmth of his carriage and trudged up to the door.
With his tan breeches already made dark and damp, he shivered and retrieved the heavy key from his pocket.
Lord, what was going to be inside?

237 words


Saturday, October 13, 2012

What Of A Stumble?

Dear readers,
I've come out of my studying hole to enter a competition. I promise that I'm not avoiding any (major) assignments to do this, I'm usually far too responsible for that.
I've never been so close to a deadline before! Needless to say, I've never missed one either.
This is my entry to the lovely Anna's 'Behind The Curtain' competition.
Details can be found HERE.

The photo from the 'Behind The Curtain' board that inspired me - 

Source -

 I hope you enjoy, and as always, thank you for reading for my little slices of writing.

My Entry

People filled the rows for the feathers and flowers and glitter of it all. Too many of them wanted aesthetics on a stage or the public to catch their presence, but she was about the sport and the skill. It was the only part that couldn’t be masked and no one had the dedication she did to make it shine more than the parade of costumes.
Behind her every pirouette was a boundary she’d pushed, that had once spanned her every action for too long. And she was still going, still motivated to break from a torrid past.
Nothing less than unending perseverance had brought her here.
She was no natural. She’d never captivate or turn a head on the street with her fluid steps. That was for the studio, for the pinpoint of a moment when the lights would shine and the instruments would trill a start, waiting for her to give it life.
Audience or not, it was a dream every time.
And that was as poetic as she’d ever be.
He’d snapped a box open, the new instructor, and the most fragile tune spun the room, light as a petal on the wind.
He’d pointed to the revolving figures on the miniature platform. “Imagine it. That you’re her.”
“A figurine.” Because, famous or not, she hadn’t been impressed by his methods.
“That you’re dancing with him. Not the music,” he continued. And then, “that you’re losing him. That you’re in danger of losing yourself.”
She’d crossed her arms, nothing but dubious. “Myself?”
She might have deserved it, but there’d been no agitation on his face. He’d simply said, with an air that exceeded just scholarly explanation, “Love will do a great many things to a person.”
Like stumble.
Weeks later, he’d made her stumble.
He’d made her question.


Her breathing was shallow as she flipped his box open. The dancers resumed, set on the same corner where they had been during every practice.
She couldn’t stop the prick of tears at her eyes when the music began.
 But it was easier than it’d ever been, this routine, when everything else was hard and brittle.
Because losing him was no longer unimaginable and she only wished it could be a little forgettable.
She’d known there’d been no other way; she'd never tiptoe along love and let herself weaken.
She’d come too far to let herself stumble.

400 words