The waltz

Creative writing for the afternoon. Working some ideas out for a YA book.

 

“Would you care to dance?”

Alice turned on the new comer with a sharp retort ready. She was sweating from swirling Jenny around in elegant circles, and was in no mood for a second go.

The words dried up in her mouth when she saw who asked. Sir Walter in his gleaming silver armor and kind smile was back. His blond hair had gone slightly gray since the last time she saw him and his face gaunt.

“Of course!” Alice took his hand with a large smile and they stood across from each other in the middle of the gleaming beige floor. She was ever so grateful that her black hair was gathered in a tight bun at the back of her head, it was so hot inside the hall. Bowing with the other ladies, she and Sir Walter came together in the middle. He took her waist and her hand.

“I see you squire for Sir Gilifred now.” He gestured with his chin at her small chest plate inscribed with the hawk. They moved in a slow circle with the rest and holding hands up started to walk forwards.

“I do! And do you have a new lord?” Alice asked, remembering the doves on the lady’s carriage from her youth and the one the Orsnack soldiers were obediently following just months ago.

“I still serve the Buemonte household. I gave my oath.” Sir Walter parted from her and they walked down the line of dancers to meet at the back. Alice’s heart raced, her palms sweaty, and it had nothing to do with the dance. Sir Walter, the only man to ever treat her as the knight she was meant to be, served her nemesis.

“I’m sorry, you still serve her ladyship?” Alice inquired praying his response was a cousin, a nephew, someone other then Lady Clarissa.  It would put them at odds and she could not bear it. She was not in love with Sir Walter. She hardly knew him but she did love him. She saw him for the kind man that he was. He stopped the boys from ganging up on her and  infused her with the confidence to be who she was. For him to have ties to a monster like Lady Clarissa was horrifying.

He gave her a rueful smile. “I do. I gave her an oath a long time ago and I shall not leave her side.”

Alice let him whirl her in a circle and she caught sight of the putrid hag chatting to friends on the sideline of the dance. Lady Clarissa saw her dancing with her knight and her plump lips adopted a sneer.

The dance ended but Alice gripped his hand to stop him from leaving. He had to know the viper to which he swore his oath of fealty too. “Sir Walter you must know Lady Clarissa-”

Sir Walter gazed at her.

“-that Lady Clarissa-”

Alice gulped. Could she really break his heart and his allusions to his lady? Was she so cruel?

“Is behind the attacks on the kingdom. I know Alice.” Sir Walter’s bright perfect smile faltered before it vanished from his face. “I’m so sorry.”

Alice’s eyes went wide, the world titled, and she almost toppled backwards.

“Alice are you all right?” Jenny in her blue velvet dress, with white lilies in her hair, was at her side in a flash. Holding her up by her arm and glancing between the two.

“You have to break from her.” Alice gripped his bicep.

Sir Walter shook his head back and forth. “That would make me an oath breaker. I made my vows. I will keep them.”

“You can’t!” Alice’s voice cut over the music and several people whirled around to see who was making such a racket.

“Alice please, people are staring,” Jenny whispered putting a comforting arm around her waist. She shrugged her off.

“Who cares!” Alice cried as Sir Walter sighed before bowing at the waist.

“Thank you for the dance Sir Rose. I hope we never meet again.” He walked off and left her there, tears prickling the corner of her eyes. Distressed she put a hand to her forehead and took several deep breaths. Sir Walter knew, he knew about Lady Clarissa and yet she still had his oath of service. She was on a colliding course with old hag and one day soon she would crash right into Sir Walter. She might have to kill him.

Jenny put a hand on her shoulder. “Alice what-”

“Helena, we need to find Helena. Sir Walter knows. We need her.” Alice stammered unable to form coherent thoughts. Jenny gathered up her dress.

“Of course. I thought I saw Sir Gilifred with Prince Kendrick on the dance floor only moments before. We will find them.” Jenny said, Alice watched as her green eyes slid to the side to glare venom. Alice turned around to see what brought such a look to her kind and gentle friend. Her stomach knotted unpleasantly as Sir Walter kissed Clarissa’s hand and gazed at her with a smile.

The Rose Knight

A little afternoon creative writing

When Alice was a little girl, she took a stick out of the forest and held it aloft.

“What are you doing?” Michael, with his large buck teeth on display, sneered. He was standing with his own stick, ready to defend the realm from evil. All the boys at the edge of the forest held their own weapons. They were the Knights of The Wellspring Woods. With a little imagination they could be noble sirs in their cotton play clothes covered in dirt and wielding weapons of legend that was in reality less then epic.

“I’m going to be a knight.” Alice responded with a large smile. Of course she was going to a be a knight.

“But if we’re all knights who will we save?” Ben asked looking around at the group of boys. They nodded their yellow and brown crowns wisely in agreement.

“Who says someone has to be saved?” Alice challenged, her straight back hunching. “We can defend our realm from invaders, a horrific famine or a worse yet- political assassination of the throne!”

She was on a roll now. Playtime was about to get fun again.

“But that’s stupid.” Michael groaned.

“You’re stupid for not thinking of it first!” Alice defended herself. “You can’t really think because I’m a girl I’m just going to sit on a rock in the middle of the lake-”

She gestured to the small pool of water to her left and the rock that sat in the middle of it.

“-and wait for someone to rescue me? That’s a waste of my sword arm.” She argued passionately against their small little minds.

“Why can’t you be like Jenny?” Kris whined crossing his arms over his chest. Alice could tell by the way he sighed and dangled his ‘staff’ in his hand that he wasn’t really into playtime. He hardly ever got together with their group anymore. He was getting older and his father was piling on chores for him to do.

“Because Jenny likes being a princess. It’s the only time she’ll ever get to be one.” Alice pointed out her voice dripping with cruelty. Of course they liked Jenny better. Jenny who braided her long brown hair in twin braids and wore blue dyed dresses with a white apron that was always pristine. In contrast Alice’s brown hem was dotted with mud, her apron was stained from carrying meat from the butcher shop all the way home pressed tight to her body and her hair was a tangled black rat’s nest.

“Stop being mean! Jenny is a proper girl.” Michael crossed his arms.

She put her hands on her hips. “You would know being a better girl than she is. Maybe you should be the princess.”

Michael’s nose flared as his eyes went wide. “Take it back.”

Alice smirked and battered her eyelashes. “Never. Princess Michael Mudfoot.”

And he swung at her, she ducked and slammed her sword into his right side. He toppled gripping his stomach as if she had gutted him. His friends swarmed them and Kris yanked the stick out of her hand. They picked Michael up and helped him brush off before he lunged at her. They toppled to the ground kicking and punching.

“I’m going to need a bath every day for the next week from touching you!” Michael shouted, red faced. He landed a blow on her arm. She rolled them until she was on top of him and smacked him upside his head.

“I’m going to need the apothecary for a year from punching you! But you know, it’s worth it Princess Mudfoot!” Alice punctuated the point by shocking him in the eye with her fist before hands wrapped around her wrists and yanked her off.

“She’s going to kill him!”

“Get her under control!”

“Gentlemen!” A new voice called out interrupting their fight. A knight in gleaming silver metal armor trotted down the road. His shield was decorated with the griffin and the lion of the king. Immediately Alice spotted the crown over both the decals. He was royal knight. “It is not proper to assault a lady.”

Alice’s spirit sunk to her shoes before she pushed her captors off her. “I’m no lady sir! I am a knight.”

The boys sniggered at her back and she ignored them. The knight dismounted, his armor clanging together from the effort. He walked up to her, red cloak trailing behind him. With a quick glance between the grinning boys and her own face twisted in a defiant expression he put a heavy hand on her shoulder. “Sir, forgive me. I did not recognize you out of armor. Do you require assistance with these forest bandits?”

Alice could conquer worlds if he asked her too. She straightened her back and picked up her stick. “I would be very grateful for your help with guarding my flank. These fiends don’t uphold the notion of chivalry.”

The knight nodded his head and drew out his short sword from his scabbard. “Indeed sir. Most ruffians do not. Prepare yourself gentlemen. For the royal guards of the realm will make quick work of you.”

Alice let out a scream and charged after them. They fled screaming down the road and disappeared around the bend. She came to a stop and turned around to find him smiling at her. His expression was kind.

“Thank you sir.” She bowed at the waist.

A carriage rolled up, doves carved lovingly in gold along the doors and windows. A lady with a purple veil upon her head peeked out. Her lips were stained red and her eyes were brown. Her expression was fond when she glanced at the knight and repulsed when she spotted who he was talking too.

“Sir Walter, what ever is the matter? Why have you halted our journey?” She asked.

Alice became aware of her muddy dress and ratty hair. She smoothed down her skirt and performed a poor curtsy. “It was me lady. I needed….to be rescued.”

She hung her head.

“No such thing.” Sir Walter argued gently. “My fellow knight was in need of assistance. I was merely lending a hand.”

The lady pursed her lips as she regarded Alice with a look so cold it chilled the air around her. “Well, now that you’ve finished with your game we must continue. The castle is only a few hours away and I would like to return home before we are forced to remain at an inn.”

Sir Walter bowed. “As my lady commands.”

The woman retreated back into her carriage and it pulled away.

“Sometimes being a knight isn’t all glorious battle and honor. Sometimes it’s making sure your charge is well rested on a feathered mattress.” Sir Walter teased as he mounted up and held his sword a loft.

“I would salute you but I do not know your name sir.” Sir Walter confessed.

“I am-” Alice looked around for inspiration, “-Sir Rose.”

Sir Walter nodded his head and swung his sword out. “I salute you Sir Rose.”

Alice returned the gesture with her stick. “And I you Sir Walter. Safe travels.”

He trotted off after the carriage on his white coarser and she watched long after he was gone. When she got home that night her mother sent her to bed without supper for beating Michael. She didn’t care, she was a knight and she took slights to her honor seriously.

Fall

 

A little afternoon writing. Working this idea out.

 

Martha decided Fall was her favorite season. She loved the crisp chill in the air, the heavy blanket on her bed and the pretty gold and red leaves slowly turning on the trees. Summer was over, the blistering sun had set and the beach was now empty. As much as she loved Fall she hated leaving the Ivy Estate.

The stone castle sat primly on the beach shore waiting for the tide to come and keeping a weary eye out as it crept closer. The house wore a shawl of Ivy on her shoulders, properly trimmed of course. Her bathrooms had been updated, her front door replaced with a nice red door. She was the jewel of her neighborhood and Mathra swore she knew it too.

The staff had packed the last of her bags and she would be returning to the city soon. Her peace and quiet shattered by loud car horns, several guests Harold was hosting for Thanksgiving and the never ending intrusions of work. Ivy had kept her comfortable and now she had to say good bye for another year.

Heart heavy she placed a gentle hand on the new red door. “I’ll see you in the spring.”

Sometimes she swore Ivy would miss her back.

Start of A New Project

*Not a short story*

Strange I know, for once I’m not diving into a five min short story. Instead I’m updating on my current project.

The Rotting Throne is still trying to find an agent but I’m starting a new project as I try to publish this one. My editor gave me incredible insight to my writing process, pointed out how I could strengthen my writing. She was worth the money.

Now I want to put that to good use. Focus on my strengths, take her constructive criticisms and make something better from them.

Rotting Throne might not find an agent or a publisher but maybe the next one will. Anyway I might post a few snips here and there of this random Sci-Fi story. Keep you posted. 🙂

Coffee

“So when was the last time you had coffee?”

Now that was a weird question. Ellen paused from bringing the rim of her coffee cup to her thin lips. The introduction date was always a perilous journey full of awkward pit falls and hesitant conversation. Why she was still trying to make the great connection was beyond her.

“Yesterday,” Ellen took a sip.

“You know there are studies that indicate the increase of heart failure directly linked to the consumption of caffeine.”

Ellen knew immediately that this wasn’t going to work. She had spent her last relationship listening to how she should do this and not that. Never mind coffee saw her through the worst moments in her life. The warm comfort on the rainy day she put her dog down and bawled her eyes out as if she was five years old. The vague hazel nut flavor on her graduation day from college, alone, and everyone else had places to go with family.

Coffee was the constant and dependable.

Ellen finished the last drop and grabbed her purse.

“Thanks for meeting up, I have an appointment to meet. Talk to you later.”

Tonight she’d have a second cup, decaf of course, to get over this disappointment. Some day she’d have a nice cup with decent guy in bed. She wouldn’t even think about this day or remember how loneliness was her best friend.

The nook

*creative writing for the afternoon*

This was Norah’s favorite time of the day, everyone was in bed, the tv was off and the house was quiet. All the toys were put away in the white cubbies, the dishes done, and Joe was on his computer. In the late night she could shed the weary frantic pace of the day time and curl up in the nook where it was comfortable.

The nook had started as a joke, when her and Joe decided to get rid of the extra bathroom upstairs for a more spacious one in the basement. Everyone had wondered what on earth they would do with all the space. Joe had declared he would build Norah a book nook. Tuck it under the bay window facing the water and line the shelves with all her personal favorites.

Construction was on and off for the next year and half. With Katie’s hockey schedule and David’s guitar lessons there was only so much time in the day that Joe could squeeze in to make the nook. Norah never pushed for it, there were some battles in a marriage that just weren’t worth it. Although it was a long wait it was well worth it by the time he was done.

Norah had waited a full day to try it out. Without someone needing her time or attention. She held her patience, they said it was a virtue, before taking the precious minutes to whittle away the time.

Flicking the pot lights above the window on she let the soft glow fall over her new favorite space in the bedroom. The window was large, peering over edge of the ravine like a nosy neighbour. What she loved most about it was the soft green plush round cushion. No less than twenty matching pillows of various length and size covered the space at all times. A quilt her mother-in-law made was tossed to the side, her favorite book was on the small sill waiting for her attention. Framing the window was six shelves, filled with the likes of Jane Austen, Emily Bronte, Jules Verne, and Charles Dickens. This was her clam oasis and sanctuary. Nothing could compare. Not even her favorite weather, a good day or a fantastic sunset.

Reclining back into the cushion she let herself be swept away.

Valentines

*Creative writing for the afternoon*

“Stop being a grump.” Jennifer was not amused.

“Oh come on, you have to admit that Hallmark needed to fill the space between New Years and Easter with something. So they came up with this.” Steve gestured to the brightly colored decorations currently bombarding him from all directions. Hearts, cupids, and alarmingly big red lips were floating in the air.

This had been a stupid idea but when Jennifer had asked for company he couldn’t say no. She was the grandmother he had wanted thirty years ago. She baked him cookies for God’s sake. It wasn’t unheard of to step out of the elevator and smell the sweet aroma of baking hanging in the air. They both were addicted to terrible reality tv and if he needed to work late he always set some time aside to pop in the next day (for a cookie) and a run down of what he missed.

It still blew his mind her kids couldn’t waste the ten minutes to call her or stop by for a vacation. She said they were busy, he frowned, every one is busy and that was no excuse. They obviously didn’t deserve her.

“How about that one by the bar?” Jennifer leaned in excited as she gestured with a withered hand towards the row of people at the bar.

“I’m out with the best girl in town. Why would I care who’s here?” Steve replied with a tight smile. He had yet to tell her women are not his thing. He enjoyed her company far too much to bring that little detail to light. Not that his tiny little secret would ever be exposed. He was too busy.

“You’re sweet but I want grandkids before I die.” Jennifer returned as she primly put her napkin down on her lap as the waiter placed their dishes in front of them.

“Christ, they even have heart-shaped mashed potatoes.” Steven rolled his brown eyes and sighed heavily at the mashed white fluffy cloud of hearts next to his steak.

“At least they spared the vegetables.” Jennifer teased with a bright smile.

“There is a God.”

“You should be out with a date. A pretty girl with good child-bearing hips.” Jennifer nodded her head at her assessment.

“I’m here with you, there’s no where else I’d rather be.” Steven said pushing a floating heart as far from head as he could get it. He debated grabbing the balloon, its red weight, and tossing it out the window but property damage would put a damper on the evening.

“It’s Valentine’s Day, a day for lovers. When my Henry was alive we always went big on February 14th.” Jennifer sighed leaning back into her chair. Her usual happy nature dimmed by the mention of the husband she lost. Steve hoped one day he got to feel that when he was her age.

“I am with someone I love. It might not be romantic but it’s still love. So it counts.” Steven pointed out. “How about for today you make this old grump happy and be my valentine?”

Jennifer laughed shaking her head back and forth before she reached out to grasp his hand. “I would be honored.”

Steve promised to take Jennifer out every Valentines from here on out.