The photo is mine

Eli had always found his family’s toadstool quite adequate. Arched door at the base. Circular stairway, opening into the great room. A cook stove, a table, a couple of sleeping palettes.

That is until he fell in love with Miaska.

Miaska came from drier ground. Her people lived in hollow trees. Their furnishings were not limited to what would make it up the stairs. They had separate rooms for cooking and individual shuttered sleeping hutches. Why Miaska’s hutch even had a knothole window!

How could he, a simple wizards apprentice ever compete with that?

No matter how many times Miaska assured him she would be happy living under a broad leaf if it meant they could be together, Eli just couldn’t shake the feeling that he would be doing her a great disservice by taking her as his wife, only to subject her to living out her days in a damp, windowless toadstool with not even a small room to call her own.

Eli lay awake for nights on end wrestling with his own thoughts, trying to decide whether or not to propose to Miaska. He became distracted in his work. One afternoon when he mistakenly used a newt’s eye when the spell clearly called for a gnat’s eye and nearly caught the Master’s wand on fire, the Great Master sat him down.

“My Son,” the Great Master always addressed him as Son when he was preparing to enlighten him. “It is not necessary for me to employ any great feat of magic to ascertain the root of your distraction. For I was once young myself. Yes. Young and very much in love.”

Eli’s eyes widened as the intensity of his interest increased. He had never heard the Master speak of his own youth, let alone admit to any frailty of emotion such as love.

Sensing that he had garnered the interest of his young apprentice, the old man settled his walking stick between his knees, grasped the crowning crystal with both his age gnarled hands and rocked gently as if deep in the clutches of a beloved memory before continuing.

“Yes. Love. Her name was Adeline.” The Master paused reflectively and Eli saw the shimmer of a twinkle come to life in the old mans eyes. “Oh, she was beautiful. Tresses of gold. Eyes like the summer sky. Skin.. Well, suffice it to say she was a rare beauty. She came from the north. From the Winterlands with her father, whom I might add was a viable wizard in his own right, but I digress.”

“They came in search of Hollyhock. Quite common in these parts, but virtually unattainable in the frozen north from whence they came. In those days, Hollyhock was widely used by practitioners of necromancy. Although her father was not a particularly skilled necromancer, he had been called upon by an ancient tribe of Natives, humans that is, who’s own medicine man failed miserably when it came to conjuring the dead, and they found themselves in more or less an immediate need to seek direction from their ancestors as their young people were abandoning the old ways in vast numbers, which was wreaking havoc during the summer hunting season as there were no longer enough strong young braves to bring down the number of bison required to feed the ever growing population of their tribe. It seems they had taken to procreating in great numbers in order to make up for the number of able bodied men that saw fit to..”

“Master! Please!” Eli boisterously interrupted, his voice wavering with both fear and frustration. “Adeline! I must know what ever became of your great love for the beautiful Adeline!”

Bolts of lightening quickly erased any twinkle that may have ever shimmered in the Grand Master’s eyes as he leveraged his bent frame against his walking stick, and pulled himself into an erect position.

“Hollyhock. Poppycock. The woman was a tramp. Threw me over for some sorcerer from Schenectady.”


The Castle Ignormarte

Just as we were resigning ourselves to the fact that we would not lay eyes on our destination before nightfall, The Castle Ignormarte swelled up from the sea, back lit by what was left of the days light.

Our guide, Igor, dampened our enthusiasm almost immediately. “Despite the grandeur of her architecture, Ignormarte doesn’t offer the finest in modern sleeping accommodations. A good nights sleep here in the relative comforts of the ship will serve us better than any make shift sleeping arraignments we could throw together inside her walls in the dark of night with only a few flashlights between us.”

His advise, although sound, met up with much rebuttal. The most adamant of which was supplied by Lawrence Ferguson, Esquire. An attorney at law from New York City who’s long winded argument in favor of going ashore tonight served as all the enticement I needed to sneak away to my quarters in search of silence.

The gentle lapping of the waters against the side of the vessel must have lulled me to sleep almost as soon as my head hit the pillow because before I knew it, I could hear the familiar din of tin pots and plates, from the galley, alerting me to breakfast being prepared.

I dressed quickly, filled with anticipation for what the day held out before me, and by-passed the dimly lit galley in favor of stepping out onto the ships deck to have a first look at The Castle Ignormarte, even before I had my coffee.

With the sun not yet peaking over the horizon, and the ship enveloped in a thick English fog, Ignormarte was no where to be seen. Somewhat deflated, I retreated to the galley in hopes that I was not the only one awake at this hour so we could get breakfast underway, and start out soon on the final watery leg of our journey to The Castle Ignormarte, despite the fog.

As if to further thwart my desire to get the day underway, I found myself alone in the ships galley, save the cooks cat meandering betwixt and between the empty pots that sat cold upon the top of the cook stove, the din of a tin lid slapped by the swish of her tail being what I had had heard earlier and mistakenly thought was breakfast being prepared.

“What time is it?” I queried aloud, causing the cooks cat to look at me expectantly as if for an answer, while I surveyed the galley for a clock. Finding none, I went back to my quarters, and switching on the light was promptly met by my own unwound travel clock, stopped dead at 11:57.

Overwhelmed by the climbing number of obstacles I seemed to have been faced with already this morning, if it was indeed morning at all, I decided to slip back under the covers until I was sure of anything at all.

I must have drifted off to sleep again, as I was awakened by a deep throaty purr and the distinctly familiar feeling of a cat kneading the blanket with which I covered myself.

Fleetingly wondering if I had left the door open or if the cooks cat had followed me into my sleeping quarters unseen, I opened my eyes only to find myself at home, on the chase in my own room- a copy of ‘The Castle Ignormarte’ written by none other than Lawrence Ferguson, Esquire, laid open to a photo of the fabled Castle Ignormarte, back lit by what was left of the days light.

This was written for Sue Vincent’s #writephoto Thursday photo prompt using the nonsensical word ‘Ignormarte’ as supplied by Michael on Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver series.

The Girl

Photo Courtesy of Dale Rogerson

The girl’s a live wire
from woven hair to mani’d
tips- she’s electric.

The girl’s on fire
magazine covers smokin’
Youtube links burn bright

The girl’s hot copy
glam pix or sordid romance
media laps it up

The girl is burnin’
flaming tongues set her ablaze
‘spec’ fuels the fire

The girl’s a train wreck.
Her every move on trial.
Bruised and battered, once
shooting star- snuffed out. John Q
Public? Drunk on her demise.

This chain of Haikus ending in a Tanka was written for Tanka Tuesday #synonyms only for the words: Pretty and Ugly. My choices are italicized.

The photo that served as my inspiration for this piece was provided by Friday Fictioneers.

Maggie gets it right

Photo courtesy of Temsco Helicopter Tours Juneau, AK

Her cane!

The thought that I had not seen Mabel’s cane in the bathroom when Maggie and I had discovered her lifeless body perched upon the commode struck me like a lightening bolt. Mabel never went anywhere without her cane. I had to get another look at the bathroom before the scene was overrun by forensics.

“Gee!” I called out reflectively, as if to break my own silence.

Only my retired sled dog, Maggie, and I knew I had commanded her to run to the right. She followed my command without hesitation and sprinted off making a right at the hall, headed toward the bathroom.

“Maggie!” I exclaimed authoritatively, doing my best to feign surprised dog owner, as I jumped to my feet and took off after my ‘errant’ dog. I met up with Maggie just outside the bathroom door, took hold of her collar, and rebuked her noisily for her ‘bad behavior’ as I surveyed the scene- meticulously taking it all in. I had been right. The cane was not there.

“Miss Garret?” Detective Mathers broke the silence from directly behind me, giving both Maggie and I a start, as neither of us had heard him enter the hall. I, because I was intent on memorizing every last detail of the crime scene, and Maggie because she was still trying to figure out why I had corrected her so boisterously for following a direct command.

“I’m sorry. It’s been a long night. For both of us.” I stammered feigning a momentary fluster as I guided Maggie with a firm hand on her collar, back into the living room, plopped myself down on Mabel’s overstuffed divan, and let out a huge bewildering sigh.

“Sit tight. Let me see if I can’t rustle you up a glass of water.” The detective offered obligingly as he made his way toward the kitchen, giving me the moment I needed to collect my thoughts.

I leaned in and whispered “Good girl!” into Maggie’s ear as I pieced together the evidence, or lack thereof, I had gleaned from my last look at the scene.

Mabel’s cane was no where to be seen, therefore she had not entered the bathroom of her own volition. Thus, the wearer of the ruggedly soled work boots that I had seen imprinted in the hall carpet, was most likely a man, as Mabel would have had to have been carried into the bathroom and placed in her final resting place atop the pink porcelain commode.

Her having been carried into the bathroom would also explain the fact that none of Mabel’s clothing, not even her under garments lay discarded about the bathroom as they normally would if someone was preparing to take a bath.

Somehow Mabel never struck me as the kind of person that would wander around fully nude, even if it was only from the bedroom to the bathroom.

I was just shaking off the disturbing visual that thought had evoked when Detective Mathers reappeared from the kitchen carrying not only a rose colored tumbler of water for me, but a pink ceramic bowl of water for Maggie as well.

This is a continuing saga, and can be read in it’s entirety by following the Maggie’s Story category link.


Lilith wasn’t exactly rolling in it, but she wasn’t hurting for it either. Gone were the days she had spent hungry and alone, in one furnished room after another, while her mother was perched on a bar stool somewhere, ‘interviewing’ yet another perspective ‘uncle’.

Much of her youth she had felt like a child even a mother couldn’t love. By the time she reached adolescents, those feelings of inadequacy had fermented into rage. She was angry at her mother for having all but abandoned her, and even angrier at the never ending parade of ‘uncles’ that waltzed in and out of her life, taking what there was of her mothers love with them.

In her teens she learned to funnel that rage. To use the one weakness she found all of those ‘uncles’ had in common to strike back, to make them pay for the part she perceived they had played in robbing her of her her mothers love.

Today she lived in a luxurious penthouse apartment, bought and paid for with the monies of men very similar to all the ‘uncles’ she had seen come and go in her childhood. Men who would never know the contempt that drove her into their arms, as they couldn’t see past the few fleeting moments they spent in her bed.

By day, Lilith was grateful her early life had been an uphill path, as it made her success all that much sweeter. But each night, even the sweet smell of her own success was not enough to keep the memory of her own inadequacies from creeping into the empty bed beside her.

Written for Crimson’s Creative Challenge Photo Prompt with a special nod to Misky’s Twiglet #133, ‘rolling in it’ for providing me with the opening line.