Escaping to nature

The light filters through the trees in a green hue. The ground is uneven but a clear path is cut through the wildlife.

There’s a rustling to the left and a squirrel pops up out of the shrubs on the side. It darts across the path and scuttles up the tree on the other side. It pauses at the top and peers down at the strange beings walking through the forest: humans.

IMG_2111

The humans are students taking a break from the demands of busy lives. The four students make their way across the forest, commenting on the beautiful flowers and occasional squirrel they find. The boys hold back some low hanging branches for the girls.IMG_2113

“Even the air out here is different, cleaner,” whispers the one girl, grimacing thinking of the crowded city she calls home.

A gentle rushing IMG_2112 of water silences any more conversation.
“I wish we could stay here,” sighs the other girl as they cross the little wooden bridge over the stream.

As if breaking the spell, these words bring the rest of civilisation into view. They emerge from the forest and make their way to the buildings that house all the smart academics.

On the bright side, thought the second girl, at least the main building looks like a castle.IMG_2109

Excerpt from Air Fay

This piece had originally been a writing prompt exercise that I did ages ago. I don’t remember which words were the prompt though. I was so happy with this piece that I made it fit into my book.

As she looked out at the predawn darkness, she mused about her life. The darkness of the night used to frighten her and force her to relive all the sorrows of her past. But not now. No, last night she had been as far from her past as the sun was to the moon. Sunrise no longer meant relief that she had survived through the horrors of the night. It meant that she had faced them and overcome them. As his arms tightened around her, the happiness and effervescence bubbled inside her from the love she felt. He had appeared in her life so suddenly and yet he fit in perfectly. They were each others’ equal match. This was her bliss: staring at the sunrise through the dewdrop-covered twigs of the nest, wrapped in his warm embrace. She knew she could face anything with him at her side.

The rest of my book can be read on Wattpad.

Library Mystery

Thump

Pippa jumped at the sound, looking around. There was no one in sight. Looking around more closely, she edged closer and spotted a book lying on the floor. Frowning, she contemplated it. Falling books were not uncommon in a library. Pippa had worked in the library on and off for many years, starting as a teenager and as she moved on into university. The falling book was not what puzzled her. She was confused by where it fell from.

The book was lying in the middle of the library floor, with the closest shelf several feet away. The book could not have fallen off the shelf and landed there of its own accord. The only way it could have landed that distance away was if someone had thrown or pushed it.

As she got closer to the book, she saw the cover. She didn’t recognised it. Of course, Pippa didn’t know every single book in the library, but there was something about this one that didn’t look familiar.

As Pippa bent down and picked up the book, the hairs on the back of her neck stood on edge and a shiver went down her spine. Perplexed, she gingerly looked at the book. The title was written in elegant, black script. The picture on the front was of shelves receding into the distance, and the edges of the pages were gold. Looking at the spine, Pippa’s eye grew big as coins and she sucked in a breath. The dewey number was 1020.

Pippa gulped and rushed over to the computer. She had to be sure. She quickly opened Google, and typed in ‘dewey decimal system’. The results popped up in seconds and she chose the Wikipedia link. Scrolling down to the actual number categories she scanned the list and as she got to the end at the 900, she yelped.

1020 did not exist, just as she had thought. What is this book? Where did it come from?

Valentine’s Day

It’s been ages but I’m slowly getting back into writing which I’ve missed so much! I will be meeting my writing group again next week, the first of the new year. The theme for this month is, of course, Valentine’s Day.

Over a bridge and across a stream. Past a cave and under a tree. Up high in the sky among the clouds, a girl sat alone in her room on the bed with a glowing light which illuminated her face. The floor next to the bed was covered in broken china pieces. She held tightly on to her cat to stop him from hurting himself, as she balanced a laptop on her lap.
The piece of paper lay on the keyboard as she Googled the meaning of it. Izzie had found the paper moments ago when her cat, Felicis, had knocked an old ornament which her gran had given her off the chest of drawers. She had been furious when it split in two, until she realised that there was a piece of paper inside it.
After a quick search, Izzie discovered that the address on the paper belonged to an old bookshop in town. There was a long number under the address that she didn’t understand.
Izzie put her laptop aside and grabbed her handbag. She headed downstairs in the lift and out onto the street.
As she hit the high street a shock of pink hit her. All the shop windows were adorned with hearts and flowers and all that was cute and fuzzy.
Damn! Izzie cursed silently. It was Valentine’s Day today, she had forgotten all about it. Of course it wasn’t a big deal to her, being single.
Cringing slightly at the sight of all the happy couples, she carried on towards her destination. She had to take a tube to get to the address on the paper. Izzie had put the address into her phone so she could keep track of her whereabouts on the map.
When Izzie finally surfaced twenty minutes later, she had to check her phone again to get her bearings. She set off in the direction her phone told her and kept an eye on all the shop names. There were plenty of old bookshops in this area.
Finally she found the one she wanted. Izzie was relieved to see that the window was not decked out in a Valentine’s theme. She paused and took a deep breath, wondering why on earth her gran had sent her here, and went in.
Inside, the bookshop looked like any other bookshop: the walls were lined with shelves crammed with books, and there were sofas and chairs scattered around with a coffee area in one corner.
Izzie was so distracted by all the books that she didn’t notice the man behind the counter until he cleared his throat.
“Can I help?”
“Um…” she dragged her gaze away from the books. “I found this piece of paper, does it mean anything to you?”
She handed the man the paper and looked at him properly. He was very good looking, with blond hair arranged messily, and clear blue eyes like a summer day. He looked to be near her age, so late-twenties, she guessed.
“Yes, actually I do know what it is.” Izzie blinked and stopped staring at him and focused on what he was saying. “It’s an order for a book. Hang on, I’ll find it.”
He turned away and Izzie took the chance to carry on eyeing him. She started as he turned back to face her.
“Here’s the book. I remember it actually, a little old lady who looked like she could take on the world came in here on a mission. When I got the book in she said I must keep it and hopefully one day soon someone would collect it. That was a year ago…”
“Uh yeah sorry about that. She died about a year ago. She was my grandmother.”
“I’m sorry.”
“Thanks. So what’s the book?” He handed it to her. It was a book of paintings and their locations. There was a card tucked into one of the pages. Opening to that page, she saw her gran’s handwriting. She looked up puzzled.
“She came in when we got it in and asked if she could leave that in there until the person came to collect it. She paid for it so I didn’t mind.”
Izzie nodded and looked at the card. Follow the clues. That was all it said. She looked up and the guy shrugged. Izzie looked at the page and saw a painting she knew well. It was a landscape that hung in the local museum that she knew well.
“I guess I’m going to the museum?” she asked uncertainly.
“Cool.”
Izzie hesitated for a moment then followed her instincts, “Do you want to help me?”
“Sure, I’ll close up and then we can go.”
“Can you do that?”
“Of course, it’s my shop.” Izzie’s jaw actually dropped in surprise.
He chuckled. “I’m Ryan by the way,” he said holding out his hand.
“Izzie,” she responded and got butterflies as she took his hand.
“Let’s follow the clues.”

Prologue rewrite

I’ve been thrown for a bit of a loop with the advice I got about my writing. I got some extra help on the matter which has actually helped make sense of it all. I’ve have tried rewriting it but I’m not sure if I’m on the right track. I rewrote the prologue that I posted here a few months ago. It’s not big changed but small sentence changes. Here’s the new one:

✿ PROLOGUE

Night time is the best chance to search the forest undetected, thought the girl as she sneaked out of the house in the bright light of the full moon. Armed with a torch and an old map in a little book, she crept to the path. Filled with a righteous sense of duty she followed through a plan set down many decades ago.

Several hours later, however, she felt exhausted and disappointed. She spun around on the spot to turn back when she suddenly glimpsed something yellow in the torchlight. Swinging the beam back, she found the yellow rosebush that she had been desperately searching for.

She hurried over to it, and then paused to catch her breath and hide the book safely away.

As the first rays of the brilliantly red sunrise filled the sky, something broke the silence of the forest. A voice chanted, and as it ended, reality shifted. The bounds of human nature shattered, and the girl disappeared into nothingness.

She tumbled between the junction of the worlds, her thoughts a frantic stream of panic.

This is not right!

What has she done to me?!

Her mind went blank as excruciating pain overtook her senses.

Pain. Agony, unlike any other she’d ever experienced, pierced through every inch of her body. It felt like million tiny knives stabbing through her skin. A searing, ripping feeling exploded from the centre of her spine, causing her entire body to shudder. As the convulsions intensified several thoughts blurring through her mind…what’s happening? I need it to stop.

She plunged through turbulent air. The pain gave way to a new pulling sensation, the most severe tugging focused on her back.

She lost all bearings and no longer knew which way was upward. Not that it mattered anyway; she could no longer string a coherent thought together.

A blinding yellow light shot across her vision, and then nothing.

Witching

Ding dong.

Go away kid! Faye thought miserably. No lights means no one’s home… Duh! She tried to concentrate on the TV.

“I guess no one’s home,” a muffled voice echoed her thoughts.

It was Halloween and all the kids were out collecting sweets from strangers. Faye had been invited to a couple parties with friends but she had turned them all down.

It wasn’t that Faye didn’t like Halloween; she enjoyed dressing up in fun costumes. It was just that Halloween came with problems for her. For as long as she could remember, she had been hiding this secret. It only affected her on this one night. It never used to be a problem, this night had only gained popularity here in the last few years.

When she was younger, before her problem started, she had led the way on her street when Halloween started getting popular. It wasn’t long however that it was ruined for her.

She glanced at her phone and the screen flashed 20:04.

Time for a film. She wasn’t one for scary movies, but she felt that the festivities should be felt. She wandered over to her DVD collection and pulled out the first series of her favourite old show: Charmed. Smiling, Faye made her way back to her tv and stuck the first disc in. She lay down on the sofa and watched episode after episode.

Faye checked her phone every now and then. She wasn’t expecting any messages; everyone was out having fun as witches, ghosts, and monsters. She kept checking the time. 21:15, 22:28, 23:46.

Ha! It’s nearly midnight. It’s nearly over for another year! she thought happily.

Missing out

There goes Kate rushing past. Again. She is so focused on her life that she misses everything. She is so intent on getting things done that she misses everything around her. So consumed by making her life run exactly as it should that she skips the pleasures. She doesn’t stop to admire places, or see the people around her, or take in beautiful things. Had she stopped in that place, she may have gotten her dream job. Had she seen the people around her, she may have met her soul mate. And had she stopped to take in that random piece of nature, she may have found the perfect place to live.
Life is what we make of it. But it’s also about the moments that define us. Those small instances that fate tries to intervene to guide us.

Journey part 3

The final instalment in this short story collection.

They were both wary as the other approached. She drew a sword she had picked up along the way. He had no weapon but was still able to defend himself. They were both at the ready to strike any second.

Slowly, as they got nearer, the fog cleared and they faced each other. It took them a few moments to assess the situation, after which they had they seemed to come to a truce and relax a bit. She dropped her sword arm and held it loosely by her side. He released the magic he was holding at the ready.

They introduced themselves and in a few words summed up their reason for being there:

“I’m urgently needed in the village over the mountain.”

“I’m exploring,” she admitted. Her reason sounded so feeble compared to his desperate need to get to his destination.

She tentatively asked, “Shall we pool our resources and make it through the mountain together?”

He looked at her questioningly. He could not figure out if she needed help or thought he needed the help. He supposed it would help if he had a companion. It would ease the burden of travelling alone and split the duties needed in the mountain.

Gruffly he agreed.

Having met someone else, he suddenly felt very self-conscious. She was clearly a normal person. She also didn’t seem to have a care in the world.

He was neither.

He had been banished to this world from another. He had the burden of trying to earn his way back there.

In the meantime, he had decided to use his magic to benefit the people around him. He had wanted to fill his time and help people. He had always been set on helping others, but he had lost the right to do that.

He worked his way from place to place growing his reputation as a miraculous healer. He had never stayed long enough to make any friends. He didn’t want the added burden of making those connections and having to explain what he was.

But now, company was forced upon him and he didn’t know what to do.

He just had to get over the mountain without letting anything slip and they would be able to part ways. Just hang in there, he kept telling himself.

Journey part 2

Here’s part 2:

Although she had run away from home, she wasn’t running from anything. That is, she wasn’t running from a danger of any kind. If she was running from anything it was boredom.

She had been restless for weeks. Nothing she did could keep her occupied for long. She had a constant feeling of being cooped up even when she was outdoors. She felt like she had no freedom, even when she could do anything she wanted to.

She decided she needed an adventure.

So she had gathered a few of her prized possessions and left in the night.

She wasn’t really sure where she was going, all she knew is that she wanted to be on the move.

She had wondered from place to place, taking in all the sights and sounds, having new experiences, and meeting new people.

In one place she stopped, she was getting advice from the locals about where to go next. They told her to avoid one path because it led to a steep and difficult mountain. They pointed out a better route that led around the mountain.

This had the opposite effect on her. She decided to take the difficult path over the mountain. She was up for a challenge.

She was walking along the path that led to the difficult mountain. She was walking at a comfortable pace. She was in no rush to get anywhere. She had no place to be and no obligations. She was genuinely happy. She had wanted freedom and so she had found it.

She didn’t push herself passed her limit but she was able to keep up a steady pace.

When she got to the base of the mountain it was late afternoon. She couldn’t see far up the mountain because clouds had rolled in. It was daunting but thrilling.

She had worked her way up about a quarter of the way when she saw an odd figure.

It was dusk so the light wasn’t very clear. She saw a shape up ahead that looked vaguely human. This got her thinking.

She hadn’t come across anyone since she had left the town. Up until now she had been happy in her solitude.

Seeing this human figure, however, made her realise what she had been missing.

She suddenly felt the loneliness crash around her. This was new to her; she had always preferred to do things by herself.

This journey was proving more revealing than anything she had ever done before.

Journeys part 1

I wrote this a while ago. I had written the first bit meaning it to be a once off, but with some encouragement it turned into more. I considered expanding it into something more but I haven’t done anything more with it. This is the first part. 

Journey’s near end

Standing at the base of the mountain was very daunting. The man standing there was weary from a long journey already. He looked up at the mountain and sighed.

There was a path leading the way up the mountain. But it was filled with trees and rocks. It was a very difficult path to navigate.

The man adjusted his heavy bag that burdened him. He took a deep breath to steel himself, then set off.

The journey so far had been long and fraught with difficulties. But he knew that if he could just make it over this last mountain he would reach his destination.

The destination was the only thing keeping him going. Contrary to popular belief, this journey was not the best part. The destination would be the best part. The journey was merely a means to an end. A means that had to be endured with difficulty. But that would make the relief of the destination all the better.

 

The man on the path was on a long journey. He had come a long way and still had a long way to go. He had been alone the whole time.

The loneliness was terrible.

When he got to the mountain he knew it would be even more difficult than it had been up until now. And as he was alone he had nothing to distract him from the arid landscape.

But he accepted his fate. He had after all chosen this. Well not exactly chosen – as he would have done other things if he could have, but he knew what he was getting into.

He had gone up about a quarter of the way when his luck changed. He had stopped for the night and was now unpacking. He sat for a little while longer enjoying the breeze blowing.

It was then that he heard the footsteps in the distance. A figure was approaching him.