Offering To The Land: June 14 Flash Fiction Challenge

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June 14, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a bouquet. You can explore the meaning of the word or gather a bunch of flowers. Go where the prompt leads.

Respond by June 19, 2018.

Rules are here.

It’s been a while since I participated in the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction challenge, and this week Charli has provided a lovely prompt. What else could I do but jump in there!

She stood looking at the expanse of wild meadow with wonder. It was a rolling carpet of vibrant colour and scent, touched with the kiss of golden sunlight. Truly heaven!

The elders of the tribe had chosen her to carry the offering of garden flowers. A gift to the land as thanks for retreat of the great ice sheets, and continual good harvests.

She waited for a sign from the land that the gift had been accepted. Silence fell, then a sweet wind moved over the meadow. The Guardian came slowly forward and kissed her gently on the forehead.

 

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Remains Of A Life – Remains #writephoto

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Image: Sue Vincent

A thought provoking photo challenge from Sue for the Thursday Photo Prompt.

We have two intriguing images to ponder on and weave our creations from. Here goes!

They named it the Danse Macabre, being an endless parade of the truths pertaining to Life and of Death. 

They alluded to the inevitability of the spectre of Death, but I must throw in my penny’s worth of observations.

Allusion is such a, mild term, for what is the starkness of a figure recumbent upon bier, of  flesh and bone that decay, touched by fleeting Time.

Time is no respecter of position, title and honours. Mighty Azrael, what do we leave as a legacy of our sojourn on this earthly plane?

What creations do we bequeath to a world that appears illusionary, save our own weavings of flesh and blood? Of words that resonate like instruments of beauty, that touch the heart with their barbarous power. These are the remains of a life.

That lead the feet, in an act they named the Danse Macabre. We hear its distant music, weaving its spell through halls of majesty.

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Image: Sue Vincent

Is there much to distract us from the unearthly tune, to see with eyes of clarity? You nod mighty Azrael and smile with the light of a million stars. How it dazzles and strangely reassures.

The awakened ones peer down, tear down the spell of bewitchment, glimpse messages that fall from heavenly realms. Feathers of blue and dark night skies, bringing things of beauty and barbarous power. Bringing words uttered behind Veil upon Veil. 

They named it the Danse Macabre, being an endless parade of the truths pertaining to Life and of Death. 

What creations do we bequeath to a world that appears illusionary, save our own weavings of flesh and blood? Of words that resonate like instruments of beauty, that touch the heart with their barbarous power. These are the remains of a life.

Battling The Tempest

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Lifeboat hero Richard Evans (1905-2001) created by sculptor Sam Holland, Moelfre, Anglesey. Picture by Jan Malique

We like to visit Moelfre on Anglesey to walk its lovely coastal path. There’s a particularly picturesque part starting from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) station there. As some of you know I love the sea and coastal locations. Sometimes this involves popping into various lifeboat stations to peer at the boats and survey the history associated with it.

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Coastal path, Moelfre, Anglesey, Jan Malique

Such visits bring home the dangers faced by seafarers, coastal communities and the people who volunteer with this charity.  The RNLI provide a 24 hour search and rescue operation around the UK and Irish coasts, a task that’s undertaken with dedication and great bravery. Many lives have been saved by those serving on the lifeboats and as lifeguards since its foundation in 1824. So far over 140, 000 lives have been saved, which is heartening and astounding.

One hero of the service was a local man, Richard Evans, who was born in Moelfre and served as a lifeboatman for 50 years. He was awarded two gold medals for gallantry, the highest honour given by the RNLI. A statue was raised in his honour at the front of the station facing the sea, a fitting location for someone whose life was so intimately associated with it. Richard Evans died in 2001. I’ve provided a link to his obituary in the Telegraph newspaper.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1340835/Richard-Evans.html

What tempests have you faced o seafarers, ancient and modern?

What has Poseidon thrown at your vessels of timber and steel?

You face the winds, yearning for news of companions far, 

Hidden within mists of silence and eternity,

Of voices that call for salvation. 

The Guardian stands on alert, eyes searching dim horizons,  

As Time stands frozen.

Stars burn as bright as phosphorous, 

Maps for the seafarer,

And illumination for watery graves.

What tempests have you faced o seafarers, ancient and modern?

This question I ask of you,

And have asked since history began. 

Dark Night Of The Soul – Conflagration #writephoto

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Image: Sue Vincent

My offering for Sue’s Thursday Photo Prompt has taken form due to long meditations on Mary Magdalene. There is no such thing as coincidence, an inner urging had brought me to this point for a reason.  I looked at the photo and thought “write it.”

Time has been spent in endless speculation regarding the level of vitriol thrown at the one they called the Magdalene. What motivated her detractors to shred her reputation and worth? Fear? Their insecurities? The need to diminish the power of the Feminine to an image that’s less threatening is quite telling. “Whore” is a label too easily used to demean don’t you think?

The character in this tale is undergoing an experience called the “Dark Night of the “Soul.” It’s something that’s accompanied humanity for a very long time. This state of being has been generous in its favours and spreads them widely amongst all paths, traditions and faiths, or those of no faith.

The Soul (and Ego) at such times may confront difficult truths and the death of the old way of life. They may struggle deeply at the darkest point before the rays of the Sun emerge over the horizon. These experiences also herald a transformation of importance. Each person’s encounter is different.

Many of us have been overshadowed by it, and will continue to throughout life. These are pivotal moments, confronting us with soul shattering despair and bleakness. Of hope being but a distant vision. Abject inertia and past memories may infuse every cell and tear shed. The one suffering may wonder why they’ve been abandoned, why Love and Compassion have hidden themselves.

Unconditional Love and Compassion. So often missing from this world and human interaction. It needn’t be the case.

I wonder if the Magdalene felt this utter shattering of her being at the point of no return, for it has to be remembered she was one of the disciples. Therefore had access to the inner (esoteric) teachings, gnosis would not have been an unfamiliar concept to her. Dear reader, is this idea distasteful to you? I don’t wish to offend, but remind you that Mystics come from many paths and traditions, and seek the One ultimately, seek completion and wholeness.

Now, what of this suffering Mystic who waits, praying for the Dawn to come and Light to appear? Dear reader, I may write these words but the sentiments are gathered from legions of Seekers who have travelled this road.

The shadows wait patiently as they can see I have no avenue of escape. The hand of time moves slowly, agonizingly slowly, until my Soul is ripped apart. How the blood spatters and enshrouds what’s left of my humanity and dignity. My eyes see but not truly see the road ahead. They have all left, the Cup has been veiled and waits on the Light to return. I am bereft, bereft of purpose and meaning. There is an emptiness that waits at my core, it waits to be filled, but neither food not drink appear.

The stars have been torn from their home and languish in the depths of a slate blue sea. I stare into its waters with unseeing eyes. My throat is parched, it seems a conflagration resides there. What will quench its fire? Who will utter the words of release, is it to be me or you? Who will wipe my brow and offer arms of comfort? I ask the questions but only silence answers, it echoes endlessly. Yet, I know the One waits, hears my prayers of anguish.

O Great Sun who gives us life, warms our blood and gives forth food from the Earth,

Free us from the tomb filled with death and decay in the midst of life.

 Give us words of comfort and lift us up when our bloodied feet can no longer walk,

When our hearts are weighed down with thoughts of despair and alienation,

Unleash the waters of Life to cleanse and purify.

 We seek Love that has abandoned its home, call its name but hear nothing.

We stretch out hand in the darkness, urge the Wayshowers to guide us,

But our eyes cannot see for they are blinded by fear and hopelessness.

 My words fall like stones in a pool, ripple outwards, how far will their message travel?

Will the One hear my pleas and gather up my torn and tattered Soul? I wait for the dawn, watch the hand of time move slowly, agonizingly slowly. My ears hear nothing, my voice utters silence and my eyes are sightless.

 Then, a voice murmurs from the heart of the darkness veiling the Light, it cries “the Dawn approaches!”

A conflagration arises, sets the world alight. Hail the rising of the Sun! Hail the rebirth of my Soul!

So dear reader, hear ends my little tale, one that begun in symbolic death and achieved rebirth at the coming of Dawn’s fire. Our Mystic lives, regenerates in the Light that comes from the East, in more ways than one. Perhaps you can take away any insights her experience has offered, if it helps…

The Cosmic Weavers – Thursday photo prompt: Turrets #writephoto

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Image: Sue Vincent

It took me a while to get my offering together for Sue’s Thursday Prompt. A strange tale of Cosmic wars, of forces of Anti-Life and Life sparring for all eternity, and hidden truths.

The turrets of this Order of Light shine with a luminous glow, sending out a message to the rest of the cluster of planets in this sector. As long as the light is present all know they are safe. Cycles of cosmic battles have rendered numerous systems vulnerable, dead and dying, and billions weary and fearful of further war.

The inhabitants of this place hold knowledge that is sacrosanct and eagerly sought by many but never found. It is spoken of in hushed tones and desired by envious minds. This secretive order works for the most part in silence, for these Cosmic Weavers create the fabric of universes. They also cut the threads of their creations to start Life anew. This place is one of a vast number of way stations stretched across galaxies and unknown regions of space.

The One that is the Many created these sentinels before time existed and creation was enacted. They were to guard against the brooding multitudes that gazed across the Abyss and sought dominion over the living and awakened. Beings of Anti-Life seek Life, in order to dismember and scatter it across the heavens. Chaos is necessary to break down all that is unnecessary and past their life-cycle. When the equilibrium is unequal, Cosmic balance is shattered and the long Night overshadows all. The same applies to the concept of Order.

There is perfection in symmetry, for the art of the Cosmic Weavers is to create blueprints encapsulating harmony of number, geometry, sound and light waves. As for the Cosmic Weavers, they are beyond Light and Dark, Chaos and Order, Good and Evil. Their true essence is unknown and cannot be known. The words of their Order are emblazoned across the portal to the monastery and hints at what could be:

“I have seen the face of the One that is the Many and partaken of their Light. I am the Weaver of Life and its Executioner, I am the Truth hidden within the Lie, I am the Light hidden within Darkness, I am the Hope that flows unending, I am the Parent to the Child, and I AM all that is and will ever BE.”

The turrets are incandescent on this occasion, for the Light of one Order member has returned from a mission deep in the heart of the desert wastes to the south of the monastery.

“I have seen the face of the Sleepers arisen from the Abyss and the sum of their hatred and envy” so speaks the scout.

The gathered intelligence is scrutinised in minute detail, and appropriate action taken by the Council. The news is of a disturbing incursion into the star system next to theirs. The Sleepers in the Abyss had awakened and captured a planet, laying it to waste, all light had been consumed as well as sentient life. The planet now exists as something not of this reality. It whispers of a craving hunger that can never be satisfied. Light and Dark are not in themselves either good or evil, intent in their use is everything.

The ancient evil has arisen, vengeful in nature and cunning in operation. They feel its essence drip into a vast ocean of darkness that is not darkness. Some call it a black hole but that would be an incorrect description of what it constitutes. The Council makes the sign of protection and bars the image from all sight, then the Cosmic Weavers step forward and unravel the fabric of reality piece by piece. The Light of the turrets becomes brighter, expands outwards and engulfs everything in its path. The inhabitants of each planet in their star system and others hide within their homes, the cleansing is approaching and it would be fatal to get caught in its path.

The Light approaches the planet that is the stronghold of the Sleepers, and enfolds it in a net of infinite strength and power. It is done, the threads have been cut and the beings of Anti-Life are withdrawn from existence and memory. For now.

The one who is the scout opens their eyes and surveys the scene in the Mirror of Being. Their work is unfinished as vigilance must be maintained at all times. Some may wonder why this duality exists, Life and Anti-Life existing at opposite poles. Without this tension the multiverses would be barren receptacles, silent and forever clothed in blindness. They clear the visions in the Mirror and gaze into the heavens.

“I have seen the face of the One that is the Many and partaken of their Light. I am the Weaver of Life and its Executioner, I am the Truth hidden within the Lie, I am the Light hidden within Darkness, I am the Hope that flows unending, I am the Parent to the Child, and I AM all that is and will ever BE.”

The words vanish into infinity and the Cosmic Weavers return to their silent work.

 

Thursday photo prompt: Turrets #writephoto — Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo

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Image: Sue Vincent

Another lovely photo prompt from Sue, let’s get writing folks!

Every Thursday at noon GMT, I publish one of my photos as a writing prompt. If you know where the photo was taken, please keep it to yourself until the challenge is closed. I usually share something about the place during the round-up. Throughout the week I will feature as many of the responses here […]

via Thursday photo prompt: Turrets #writephoto — Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo

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Song of Passing – Fallen #writephoto

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Image: Sue Vincent

A short offering from me for Sue’s Thursday Photo Prompt.

It has to be short because the words are running round in my head and need to exit in the right way for maximum impact. Ah, the joys of creative writing!

I sing for you a song of passing, one that speaks eloquently and without reason. For they are opposite poles of existence, of a life lived to the fullest capacity.

We mourn one that has passed from this world, fallen shattered, dashed on earth and stone. They were both divine and yet to become human, one changing to the other. For what is perception but a change of perspective?

The world turns on its axis, shouts in exhilaration, but all is silent now, all is darkened. For the stars have been dimmed, their voices hushed in respect for the passing of one of their kind.

O beautiful and incandescent Light, we grieve deeply, mourn your essence and wisdom! Yet, all is not lost. We gather your stardust flung across the heavens, and sprinkled upon the Earth. Thus is your sacrifice sanctified.

I sing for you a song of passing, one that speaks eloquently and without reason. For they are opposite poles of existence, of a life lived to the fullest capacity.

Masque – Ascent #writephoto

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Image: Sue Vincent

My offering for Sue’s Thursday Photo Prompt, is a strange entity as the story changed as I was writing it. Although its dark and uneasy energies were ever present, in fact as soon as I saw the photo. Please enjoy, or not. Remember to keep the lights on…

The Masque had left a disquieting atmosphere in the mansion, this was the opinion of the guests, the only guests strangely enough. Five individuals had been sent invitations handmade from the finest vellum and inscribed in a beautiful script. This had piqued their interest greatly, for they recognised the crest embossed on the card. It had taken them years to trace the last surviving members of the family and behold, here they were leading them to the lair of the beast.

The drive up to the mansion, which was placed solidly on the landscape, was like a scene out of a gothic drama. Thunder and lightning crashed around them, the sound being magnified by the mountains enclosing the estate in a crescent shape. It took about half an hour to get from the main gates to the house, half an hour of unsettling atmospheric conditions and a sense of foreboding. All invitees had converged upon the gothic pile at the same time, rather amused at its theatricality. There would be no sleep tonight!

Heavy, resin soaked oak doors opened to reveal a youthful man beckoning urgently.

“Sorry for the weather, please come in, Andre will get your bags.”

Everyone ran into the house, their mood changing from light laughter to silence. The interior was the epitome of lush glamour, but with an underlying darkness. They’d gone from the 21st century and entered into a world only found within the pages of historical tomes. An air of indolence and something intangible had infused the fabric of the building. Their hosts were absent from sight and sound, yet a heavy presence hung heavy in the air.

The next day they found themselves without their hosts once again, until nightfall. Then, the air stirred with figures appearing as if my magic. Opulent perfumes teased and whispered promises. The swish of heavy fabrics and footsteps were heard moving through the halls. Laughter drifted up from the main ballroom downstairs, and snaked its way through the hallways. There was a falseness about its joviality. The guests felt its oppressive hand and made their way downstairs. All five were on alert, tonight would prove to be a difficult experience. It’d been a decade since they last faced the unspeakable horror that almost killed a town.

The five guests entered the ballroom to find it filled with lavishly dressed figures, all masked. Their hosts were waiting on a stage the other end of the room.  The guest were escorted to their seats, then, the drama began. Tableaux after tableaux passed as if in a dream. A heavy scent hung in the air, redolent of poppies and cedar wood. Time passed slowly, it appeared to operate in a different way within the building.

Tick tock, tick tock. The sound was loud and maddening. The masque continued to play out, unravelling in intensity and emotion. It was hypnotic and disturbing. Then came the culmination.  Their hosts removed their masks, to reveal faces not seen since primeval times, when fire was a rarity and seen as a blessing from unknown forces to keep monsters at bay. They were fear incarnate and swooped down on the five humans sitting before them. The guests shed their human guises and appeared in their true form, Seraphim, dragons of fire. So did divine fire destroy creatures known in folklore as vampyr, drinkers of blood and life force. Justice had been served. The mansion was razed to the ground and the five made the ascent back to cosmic realms.

 

The Doors – Twittering Tales #82 – 1 May 2018

 

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My restrained offering for Kat Myrman’s Twittering Tales: 

“Choose two doors, but be very sure of your decision.” His voice was soft.

She felt it cut her soul, quick, with no hesitation.

“One leads to immortality, the other to total annihilation, as if you never existed.” He sighed.

Memory and Forgetfulness. What a choice!

Azrael smiled.

(279 characters)

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Offering : Splash #writephoto

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Image: Sue Vincent

My offering for Sue’s Thursday Photo Prompt makes a return to wind lashed northern shores, home of Odin’s seer. What is it with the One Eyed god and his summons? He appeared long ago, a shimmering dream offering the fruits of his suffering and knowledge. The woman who stood before him didn’t fully realise the significance of this act, but knew it had to be accepted.

Such offerings are deeply infused with sacredness and offer a glimpse into realities beyond normal perception. They occur in liminal places, for no other location will do. Such boundaries and thresholds facilitate the opening of the consciousness to divine forces and revelation. On this occasion the Seer stands at a place of offering, she carries the mead of inspiration for the one who stands in the light of fire from the skies:

You call upon me once more One Eyed One,

Wrenching me from a place of solitude and silence.

I peer into the darkness of first beginnings,

Grasp at visions of times yet to come and times long gone,

When all that we hold dear vanish into the fires of undoing.

A new world calls, yet my heart fills with tears at what is inevitable.

For those who walk the path of foretelling feel the weight of their calling,

We obey and proffer a hand of help when all feels lost,

Yet who carries us when we can no longer walk?

Who offers shelter when fire rains down upon our heads?

Who comforts us in times of tribulation?

One Eyed One, for it is you who answers our call,

Peers into places that even we cannot see,

Offers the waters of healing.

My obligation to you is ever eternal,

And my blood bond most potent.

As such, accept this mead as my offering.

What more will you have me do, my well of inspiration?

How may I serve at the turning of the ages?

So we observe the Seer at this most important of acts, offering to the gods, see its power splash into the water. Perhaps one could view this as a propitiatory gift to a deity of tremendous and dangerous power. They must be appeased and loved at the same time. The rain and wind are relentless as she pours the mead into the waters of Mimir’s Well. For without Mimir Odin would not have gained mastery over the runes.