The Making of a Knight #tellastoryday


The boy’s hands had been frozen cold by the snow. He shivered wondering if he had the strength to return home, but he must mother needed the food. He imagined the warmth of a blazing fire. He saw a key that poked out in the snow. So tiny yet he could sense its power. Curious how a wooden box appeared. “There’s a bit of magic I would guess” much later to that he’d attest. As the gold key turned in the box, the key began to grow and glow.

The fire he had hoped for sprung up around the key, but the boy was brave and touched the fire without being burned.

Though many people in the presence of magic ask for something to ease their lot, the boy was content to hold the warm key and box. The box got heavier until the boy reluctantly set it down on the ground, but he continued to hold on tight. As the flame grew more intense, the box, which revealed itself to be pure gold, became clear like glass. The boy expectantly peered inside. The only thing he could see was a plain gold ring. He reached in through the fire, grasped the flame filled ring, and placed it on his finger.

An onlooker would have seen a most magnificent thing on that frozen eve. A key, a box, and a ring transformed a boy to a knight. The glow about him melted the snow. A kaleidoscope of color mingled with the fire,  flowers sprung from the impotent earth, fruit sprouted on nearby trees, and life that had so long ago departed returned to the barren land.

Little did this simple boy know that he was chosen by the key for a mission. The knight would save many downtrodden soul in the cold, unrelenting world and provide golden hope for the besieged. Long after the knight was gone stories would be told, through the land, of the knight who carried warmth for all in his hands and his heart.

Today is National Tell a Story Day.

shiny key 1


Child-like #shortstory #postaday



“It really is a beautiful day,” grandmother said as she snipped the remnants of summer.

“Why?” I whined, “When we are covering up beautiful warm summer and getting ready for cold harsh winter?”

“Hmm,” she grasped my cold fingers. “We need to do something about that.”

I watched her run into (well she walked) the house and in a few minutes she came out with something wrapped in my favorite color – purple.

“Go ahead, open it!”

I snatched at the curly ribbon and pulled. I was not prepared for what I saw. Fluttering out of the purple wrapped package were the most beautiful flying things I had ever seen. They weren’t butterflies, not really, but then again they weren’t lady bugs or dragon flies.

“They only come out when the air gets cold.” Grandmother suddenly looked much younger as she chased the tiny things around.

“What are they?”

“Why fairies of course.”

“Grandma we both know that fairies…”

“Shhhh don’t tell them that or they will be sad.”

“I guess that makes sense.” I giggled as one poked me in my secret tickle spot. “I’ll get you.” I chased the small creature around the garden. I shed my coat cuz it felt too much like spring.


‘What an amazing day that was,’ I thought as I looked  at my photo album and my grandmother’s cheerful face. “What were they really?” I whispered.

“Fairies…” I heard her voice clear as a bell.



The DP Challenge Life is too Short:

Fill in the blank: “Life is too short to _____.” Now, write a post telling us how you’ve come to that conclusion.

…Life is too short to not enjoy each day!!!

and Life is too short to not chase fairies…

The Babushka Blessing #shortstory #Ukraine

We had one hour to do a frantic shop for items we could only get in Ukraine. The list from friends was rather long: Hand carved jewelry, stacking dolls, hand painted spoons …

“Mommy we are going to run out of time. Why don’t we split up?” My precocious thirteen year-old daughter suggested. I scanned the park with booth after booth of items for sale. The park was large and everything looked the same.

“No way!” I said in English knowing that my two girls could be swept away in a foreign land in a moment. My limited Russian would be unheard, my screaming in English heeded less.

“We will never be able to do it all.” My 10-year-old daughter chimed in

“Then we will do what we can, first I have to get grivna out of the ATM.” I heard both the girls sigh as I dragged them quickly to a corner of the square.

“It will only take a moment. ” A moment I knew we did not have.

As I left the ATM machine, an elderly Babushka came into my vision. She was so frail and thin as she carried  a woven satchel of groceries that looked like it weighed more than she. With a weak but genuine smile, she looked right at me then at the girls.

Do you ever feel your hand magnetically reach for your wallet when you see someone poor and weak? I knew my husband (8000 miles away) would have growled at me. It didn’t matter. I felt the compelling need to help this frail woman.

I pulled out grivna and gave her the equivalent to  several weeks worth of food. I said a few words  in my very poorest Russian accent. The smile in her eyes could have lit the pavement. Then this woman put her tissue paper-thin hands on my girl’s heads and said a blessing. I didn’t understand all of what she said but I knew it came straight from the heart. She looked me in the eye with a toothless grin as she placed her hand against my cheek then she was gone! I felt washed with something indescribable.

Now our time was even less than it was before. I looked at my watch,  we had to catch our bus to the airport in thirty minutes. The oddest thing happened- As we went to the different tents to check out what was for sale, it was as if a sea parted before us. Each kiosk had exactly what we were looking for and the price was less than we had planned. One man as we were leaving handed me a beautiful handmade wooden necklace. He gestured for me to wear it.  It reminded me of the beauty and strength of the Ukranian people and of the old woman.  I wondered if he knew the babushka.

I was not looking forward to the trip home. Two days of travel is grueling; add two young girls and an injured mother (I had been injured in Crimea.)  We were alone  from Odessa to Vienna to New York and finally LA. I felt like people kept looking out for us. A man helped carry all of our luggage to the plane ,  we needed to hail a taxi in Vienna and someone shared theirs with us to the hostel. All along the way people were unusually thoughtful to the girls and I.

There had been a man trying to escape justice who had hidden in the luggage compartment on our plane out of Odessa. He was subdued (in Vienna) before he could be violent or set off whatever was in his duffle.

When I got home I looked at the necklace hanging around my neck. ‘Oh Babushka you gave me so much more than I gave you. Your blessing got us safely home. Spasiba Bolshoi.’


I just wanted the reader to know that this short story is  true. I wrote this piece a number of years ago and archived it. Based on the current turmoil in Ukraine, I hope to send some blessings back.

The Ukrainian people are a strong, beautiful and creative people. How can anyone want to strip that from our world?

The Bloodied Thorn #flashfiction #shakespeare #amwriting


I stand on the stage where I had given my life’s blood

I love the stage

the  drama that swirls center stage, in the wings and in the musty corners

my final role was Desdemona

That last night was my finest performance

“That death’s unnatural that kills for loving…”

If memory serves me well, Othello had been out of character that closing night

No ministrations could  calm

When they removed Desdemona’s body, they were unable to revive me

“She severed her own bloom,” he calmly stated

Tonight “my love” I meet you upon life’s stage

I pass on  bloodied thorn …

The photo prompt is shared by Sandra Crook (L’Amphitheatre des Trois Gauls, Lyon, France.) and opens the curtains for another week of Friday Fictioneers directed by Rochelle Wisoff Fields

Just for point of reference in the drama: “When they removed Desdemona’s body they were unable to revive me”  “me” refers to the actress playing the part of Desdemona. Thus Desdemona and the actress died tragically that night at the hand of Othello.

The Message Behind the Dress #flashfiction #newcago

window-dressing-janet-webb (2)It had been a glorious, humm dinger  of a  day in NewCago.

We celebrated  a holiday (the key players long forgotten) of a well-known street battle that had raged years ago.

The gangs remembered  and agreed to keep the streets safe for one day.

The parade-route litter of popcorn bags and soda cups was a welcome relief.

On my walk home I saw it swinging in the lazy breeze of the tenement’s rusty fire escape.

Lily’s  white glad rags were dripping with  blood-red.

It was a signal; it had to be. But who was the message from?

” Lily what does this mean, Baby?”

Another week of Friday Fictioneers is in full swingggg. Our hostess is the inspirational Rochelle and our photo prompt credit goes to  Janet Webb.

This is another 100 word offering being added to a  growing series of stories set in the dark metropolitan city of NewCago. There are many loose strings, unanswered questions about this metropolitan society that is sinking into the mire. Sam seems to be the only one to keep the bad doings at bay but how much longer???

Week 10 in Newcago Serial No Dial Tone

Week 9 in Newcago serial Gathering Bodies

Week 8 in Newcago serial No place to hide

Week 7 in Newcago serial They were Pink

Week 6 In Newcago Serial You poison filled wasps

Week 5 in Newcago Serial The Doom Cycle

Week 4 in Newcago Serial Helpless

Week 3 in Newcago Serial When the Lights Go On

week 2 in Newcago Serial  Can’t Kill The Thirst

Week 1 in Newcago Serial Secret Weapon

Maybe She Will… #magpietales #shortstory

Image – Zelko Nedic

…Stop haunting me with her scent

I turn and it’s you!

Go away!!!

Can’t you understand I must go into hiding?

veiling my heart from this pain

the choking reality of her

Take my shoe and go

She took everything else

Wagging your tale wont do

I have no room for humanity

what saith yoou?

Man’s best…

I am weary of this night

of this heart flailing to take flight

if I must have a friend

it will be you

for you too have lost the best friend you could know

her scent is still on my hand

yes I know






Thanks to Tess Kincaid for a very interesting Magpie Tales photo prompt. If anything can warm a heart,  its a Lab!

Vicissitudes of a Life #atozchallenge #dreamer

I had rapid fire thoughts surge through my head.

  • Princesses never have power in fantasy stories; they always look good and have a  “ga ga” prince
  • focus – poison
  • Get Blue!!!
  • Get Blue!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • I never dream in colour
  • When I wake up I am going to write a bestseller because this dream is too rich
  • mommy

“Look mama.” I heard that nauseatingly sweet voice of that little girl.

“Don’t you have somewhere to go?” I wanted to say a bit too unkindly for a kid in a dream. “Ok little girl look at what? I’ll play along.”

“Yes dear her lips are a very odd blue colour. I hope that doesn’t mean the end is near.” Why does she sound like Mrs. Cleaver?

“At least the mother is a realist.Wait. It’s my end that she is referring to. Get that Prussian Blue – ASAP!!”

The next moment the princess sat up. I mean I sat up. I don’t have any idea what is happening. (Needless to say I have no idea if these are thoughts or I am speaking.)

“Thank you so for your help little girl.” (did I say that?)

“All I did was to wish you to be well.” The little girl smiled a little too sweetly for my liking.

“Yes you did.” A beautiful smile crested the princess’ face like dawn after a storm. It was radiant and commanding. “I must go back now. There is a war to stop and a Viceroy’s son to marry.”

“Is that all?” I thought sarcastically.

“Goodbye” the little girl said secretly holding a handful of blue.

“Ahh” I sighed “that’s the way I like a dream to end. A little girl with blue pills,  a very assertive princess, and the dreamer discovering that she is mentally unbalanced.”

The next moment I, she was walking through an unusual forest. “Toto we are not in Kansas…”

Shake it off normal person “I have need of you as you have need of me. Your knowledge from the other world will keep me alive. In exchange, I will one day return you to your world…”

“That’s one assertive princess” I sighed.

…much later having come to my senses

“I’m glad daddy taught me how to look out for myself. (you may not know it prin…cessss but my daddy was a Navy Seal he could kick butt).” I thought.

Out loud I said “Lead the way princess – Carpe Diem.”

She chuckled “You do realize this is not a dream sequence!”

“Yes – time to prepare for a wedding” (back atcha princess)

“It is time I take charge of my dream” I thought as my mind and body shifted to high alert. “Afterall there are people out there trying to kill “my” princess.”


When princesses in dreams start talking back to you realize you are in for a big change!!!!


This is the forth of a short story series that I think I will condense, edit then re-post  “Dreamer”Jolted Asleep” and ” The Hidden Element”

The beautiful water color that has been the front piece of my “dream” series was painted by the talented Arna Baartz.

Thank you to the A to Z challenge that has given me the chance to pull out archived work and get some feedback on some of my WIP. All of the moderators deserve a month off to dream of next year’s A to Z!!!!

The Hidden Element #atozchallenge #dreamer #shortstory

Though my hands couldn’t help my mind was in full motion.

“Hmm poisons. If only…”
Then it happened my mind scrolled to a symposium I had sat in with a woman who was an expert on poisons. She had an interesting story really. She was a physician who had done an internship in Mozambique. She had purchased jewelry for friends and family. When one of her friends got deathly ill, she realized it had been the jewelry; a beautiful seed that had a residue of the poison inside the shell. It had gotten into a small cut she had on her neck. Something so beautiful could unknowingly kill. So Doc started doing her research on innocuous things that could be poisonous to her patients.

I started thinking about things I had done, things I had eaten. The strangest thing happened. My mind went into a chamber – beautiful with velvet hangings on stone walls. I looked down at my hands; they were covered with rings. My bejeweled hand and wrist alone was worth millions of  dollars. I heard an odd language; I understood what the servant was saying.

“You must rest princess tomorrow you must meet meet with Viceroy’s son. They say he is very handsome.”

I did NOT want to get married but my country was on the edge of a war.

“Yes you are right. Please bring me something to eat in an hour.”

I woke to food laid out but no Awala. “She must be busy preparing my garments for tomorrow.”

I ate slowly. The food had an odd taste. Must be my imagination.
My mind was trying to configure the taste or smell.
“Olepheride” Where did that name come from? It wasn’t part of our element table. But it was an element in the alternate world. A slow deadly poison with no antidote in “that” world. But apparently an antidote here.

“So how did I get here? I mean how did she get here?”

“Stop getting side-tracked. Focus!!!”

I rummaged through all the antidotes I had heard about in the symposium. I had chosen one for a story ; it sounded romantic – Prussian Blue. It was easy to take and you could take a fairly large amount of it. Blue paint pigments were also derived from it.

“Ha” I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. Even if I had a handful of the capsules or paint, there would be no way to injest the stuff. I am afterall a lifeless princess. A kiss will not eradicate this problem.
“No that’s crazy”
“what if???”
“No. Reason think logically.”
“This princess could have powers…”
(I hate it when I start dialoging with myself.)
“…. a princess with powers from another world”
sounds like your average dream sequence
“WHEN _AM __I _GOING _TO _WAKE_ UP???????????”


Please forgive the double book on the letter “P”. Todays 1st post I had auto posted a month ago before I configued this serial short story. In order to give each some room I will post the dreamer story in the late part of Wednesday. Part 1 “Dreamer” and Part 2 “Jolted Asleep” are part of this dream sequence a four part story that may resolve next week with the letter “V”

Happy  A to Z all!!!!!

Many thanks to the very talented artist Arna Baartz for allowing me to use her watercolor as my “Dream girl”

Dreamer #atoz #flashfiction

Ever been in one of those dream loops that you can’t seem to get out of? This dream was a doozey. I mean epic…

I could hear voices all around me but I couldnt open my eyes and scream “this is a dream people go home!!!!”


” Where did she come?” a little girl quietly asked her mommy.

“Shhh little one no one knows; it’s a mystery.”

“They say she’s a princess” a man said reverantly.

“Look at that tiara. Do you think it is real?”

She is from another land a man said who commanded authority. She was to be the queen of her world Raphalia. I must discover what can be done.

There was a hush

I wanted to snicker. “Come on guys this is my imagination speaking.”

A note mysteriously appeared in my hands.

“Princess Alyssa the clock is ticking. You have one year to live after the poison has entered your body. You will remain in a dream state until the cure is administered. Use your powers to seek aid.”

~Your servant until death

“Ok dream it is time to let me awaken” I said unsuccessfully.

This short story is written for the A to Z April writing challenge for the letter “D.” This story will be continued each Wednesday until the end of April.

I recently started following talented artist Arna Baartz. This watercolor “Water Girl” seems to speak of a watery, dreamlike state. You can see more of Arna’s work here. Thank you Arna for the opportunity to show off your work.

On The Edge #centusSaturday #shortstory

A light pierced  the fog

“come to shelter ”

turning  toward darkness

my arms grew weary

groping in a  mist of confusion

“come this way”

“but there is nothing to light the way”

changing direction

my feet stumble on a root

the cliff just inches behind me

slipping toward the edge…

Jenny MatlockI’m sorry I missed the first part of this prompt but I will attempt to hang the reader off the cliff for Jenny Matlock’s Centus Saturday