Misty Morning

Today we walked the early path 
The cloud was thick and low
A greyish mist sat in the grass
And muffled water’s flow
As we strolled I tuned my ear
To noisy drinking sounds
Where the dog lapped water clear
That bubbled from the ground
And when the murk rose from the beck
A drizzle took its place
That silvered the mane about dog’s neck
And gently bathed my face

©jj 2019

Moonbeam Farquhar Metheringham IV reviews ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’ by Robert A. Heinlein

You can listen to this on YouTube.

It is not often one is granted insight into the mind of one’s parent through the medium of literature. But so it was that I came to understand Mumsie’s tendencies to overindulge in aspects of culture most regard as less desirable – sex and booze.

It was last summer and I had gone into her ‘retiring room’ to see if she had, yet again, absconded with my iPad as I had a hankering to take it and compose bucolic pastoral poetry whilst sitting in the garden. I needed something to provide the quintessential inspirational imagery so lacking in our squalid backyard, whilst I committed the consequential flow of rhyming commentary, contemporaneously to paper with pen.

Instead, I wound up reclining in the garden reading with interest a volume I had found poking out from under her favourite chair. It even reminded me of Mummy in appearance being much handled, rather fat and dog-eared. Surprisingly it had a Biblical quotation for its title, not something I would normally associate with my mater. There were also many self-revelatory notes in my mother’s long-lost youthful hand, highlighting passages or underlining phrases.

I later learned it is also a science-fiction classic.

The Review

There is much written nowadays about supernatural beings like vampires and angels and this book falls neatly in that category.

In this book, the angel called Michael Smith comes to earth from Mars. He is fabulously wealthy and naturally has magical powers. He lives in a commune where everyone runs around naked and has sex with everyone else and they eat dead people. He is eventually killed and comes back as a ghost to explain that he is going to take over the world with a new super-race, by evolving his followers. In the end, it turns out he was really an archangel.

I found the story by turns cloying, disgusting, strangely sensual, often all three together and always puzzling.

Three stars for the intriguing footnotes and marginal commentary from my maternal parent.

Moonbeam Farquhar Metheringham IV

You can find more of IVy’s profound thoughts in How To Start Writing A Book courtesy of E.M. Swift-Hook and Jane Jago.

Jane Jago’s Drabbles – Three Hundred and Eighty-Two

The waiter brought me soup. And a folded note. I picked up my spoon and ignored the paper. The boy grinned. I motioned him away.

He went. And I picked up the paper.

There were three words scrawled in a familiar hand. In spite of myself, I laughed.

I walked into my house and followed the line of discarded clothes to my big white bed. He sprawled there, on the duvet, dark, hairy and dangerous.

“Should’ve made you leave the stupid key.”

And that was all I had breath for. 

I guess divorce is on the back burner. For now…

©jane jago

Coffee Break Read – Aaspa and the Vampire

Excerpt from Aaspa’s Eyes by Jane Jago. You can listen to this on YouTube.

‘Enough’ the hulking Gregorius howled. ‘I have seen enough.’
The Sharing stopped and I became aware of the vampire before me trying to bring his will to bear on my mind. I kept my voice level and even.
‘Do you accept that I did not kill your brother?’
‘I do’ he said. I could feel the lie but said nothing.
The voice from the platform spoke again. ‘We find this female innocent of any wrongdoing. She did not kill your brother. Although she would have been within her rights so to do.’
The vampire howled again.
I pitched my voice with care. ‘He doesn’t believe. And he never will. I will never know a moment of peace while he is convinced I killed his twin.’
‘Perchance not’ the voice was measured. ‘What will you, Huntress?’
‘I will fight him.’
‘Fight him?’
‘Yes Great One. Fight him. To the death.’
‘Is this truly your will?’
‘It is.’
The vampire was delighted, and I could feel him beginning to gloat. Be over confident, I thought, therein lies your downfall my friend.
‘And does your Mate permit that you meet this vampire in single combat?’ Lucifer was polite.
Aascko spoke from behind my left shoulder. ‘It is not for me to permit or forbid. My Mate is free and equal. All I will say is that she has my love and support.’
‘Very well’ Gabriel’s discordant tones reverberated in my head. ‘It is agreed. You will begin on my count. Ready yourselves.’
Even as he spoke, the vampire brought the full weight of his mind to bear on me and leapt forward with his fangs exposed. I stood still for a second, as if pinned by his glamour. Then I made my move jumping towards the foul creature and butting his perfect nose with the bony ridge under my crest. Done properly, and believe me this was done extremely properly, such a move drives the bone in the nose right up into the opponent’s brain. As Gregorius fell like a huge rotten tree I reached into my weapon belt for a yew wood stake. I drove the stake into his heart and he crumbled into dust. There came a wind from behind me and the pile of dust was blown out of the vaulted space into eternity.
The disembodied voice from the platform spoke with deep contempt. ‘The vampire deserved to die. Probably more slowly than he did. He attacked foully, and was killed in fairness. Who is his Master?’
‘Raziel’ Lucifer bowed.
‘Summon him then.’
There came a sound like clashing cymbals and rattling drums, and a Dark Archangel walked carefully into the place. He bowed to the throne.
‘Almighty. What would you of me?’
‘Two vampires. One killed hell-hounds and almost killed a Helper. Then one Gregorius accused this female of killing his child. She agreed to fight him and he attacked before time. However the Huntress triumphed. I will have your word that this is where it ends.’
The Archangel bowed. ‘May I speak to the Huntress?’
‘You may. Politely.’

Jane Jago


Coffee Break Read – This Moment

A powerful flash fiction from Ian Bristow. You can listen to this on YouTube.

A stiff ocean breeze swept past me, carrying with it the delighted chirps of those couples who had already been reunited. Their affection drove my gaze back to the sky, where I was desperate to find any sign of my beloved.

After several hours, the sprawling form of a female with her wings at full stretch glided towards the rocky shoreline. Could this be? Had my dearest, survived the hardships of a year at sea to return to the place we had professed our love so long ago?

She landed, and I started toward her. But I had only taken a few steps forward before I realized the patterns on her wings were not those of my love. I watched as she strode up the shore, her lover meeting her halfway in a foot-pattering show of affection.

The sky grew darker as several more hours drifted past with the prevailing coastal wind. The others were now nestling in for the night, tucking their heads into one another’s breasts.

Still I looked to the sky, but as the light faded, so did my chance of being reunited with my beloved. Survival out at sea was a challenge not every Albatross managed to overcome. I knew that to be true. Each year that I left this island, I knew it might be the last time I would ever see the love of my life. But each year, she had returned to me.

Until now.

Devastated, I tucked my head into my wing and tried to put the images of her returning out of my head. But the memories were powerful and my longing for her touch was insatiable. It was almost as if I could hear her calling to me–chirping her love in the tones unique to her alone. Her voice was beautiful. And the memory of it was so real I had to look, feeling like a hopeful fool for doing so.

She had already traversed half of the cragged shoreline by the time I looked up. I flapped my wings to move to her more quickly than my feet could carry me. All the fear and anxiety melted away as we clacked our beaks together in greeting. Against all of nature’s odds, she had come back to me.

Knowing in my heart I was the luckiest being alive, I led her back to the place I had prepared for us. She moved close and rubbed her head against my neck and breast, settling in to rest after her long flight.

It was for this moment that we lived. For this moment that we answered nature’s call to survive.

This moment.  

Ian Bristow is an author, artist and musician. You can follow him on Twitter

Jane Jago’s Drabbles – Three Hundred and Eighty-One

Right on cue Nipper dropped it. In front of the store detective. As the bottle smashed at his feet we ran, dodging and kicking display stands over in our wake. Our escape route remained undiscovered, and we all got into the duct before the heavy feet charged around the corner, waving their night sticks and yelling threats. We waited for them to pass before scuttling away to our nest. Nipper looked at me with big worried eyes.

“Why isn’t it working?”

“Yours was just the dummy bottle. Karim planted the real stuff. Now all we have to do is wait.”

©jane jago

Coffee Break Read – A Night Camp

From Transgressor Trilogy:The Fated Sky a Fortune’s Fools book by E.M. Swift-Hook. You can listen to this on YouTube.

The path he chose was only crossable in the middle of the short summer season and even though it was nearly three moons since the last rush of spring flood, the steep pass was still a treacherous mixture of loose stones and turbulent streams. At its highest point there was still snow and ice underfoot and even leading the ponies, there was danger in every step on the slippery rock. But this was the land of his youth and Durban knew it well. He had grown up in the wild vastness of the Garia mountains and had sometimes managed to escape from the pressures of his intense and unusual upbringing by vanishing alone for days at a time into the natural wilderness around his childhood home.
He contemplated making a detour to the remains of that strange place, now demolished, where he had endured an upbringing unique on Temsevar, learning of things no other child on the planet was taught. But his work was urgent and he could not afford the delay. Besides his last encounter with the imperious guardian and mentor of his youth, by the temple of the gods in Alfor had left him with little appetite for another.
The choice was taken from him. He woke to find her ancient body warming itself beside his night fire. A skeleton pressed with flesh. The woman he knew only as Alize.
“Do not trouble yourself,” she said, as he got up quickly to build the fire, the voice was a wisp of frost. “This body is almost done.”
“And then?” he asked. He had to know.
And then you will have to bring me what I need.
The words formed in his mind even as the over-bright eyes gripped his gaze.
“I will if I can,” he said.
You can and you will. This has to be. More than you can begin to imagine rests on what you have to do.
“My imagination is very good, you could try me sometime.”
There was a sensation of contempt.
You had your chance to ask me and you refused it.
“I was a child,” Durban protested. “That is beyond unfair.”
You were a child then, yes, but you have not changed. I came to remind you of what you must do. That is all.
It dawned on Durban, belatedly, that there was no way the woman he had spoken to in Alfor could be sitting here in the mountains with him. He opened his mouth to say as much, but closed it again immediately. The space where Alize had been sitting wavered as if it were a reflection in a still pool and someone had dropped a small pebble in the middle. Then he was sitting alone by the fire.

E.M. Swift-Hook

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