Count

One Two

Buckle the Shoe

Three Four

See the Dark Door

Five Six

All the Dead Sticks

Seven Eight

The Path is Straight

Nine Ten

Lock the Den

Counting, counting, it’s harder than it looks.  What do you lose to suit the books?  One word, two words, three words, eight?  What do you add to make it straight?

Isn’t – is not, won’t – will not.  Twist and turn the clause and phrase.  You wrote it, you write it, it will behave.

But really what is a word or two, is it something you have to do?  Well, to be honest… Yes.

Hearken to me

It was always a challenge to control the mist.  It really did have a mind of its own.  Well, not really a true mind of its own it was mist after all, but it wasn’t predictable.  And that’s what made it hard to control.  Not as hard as water – that was for the really talented ones.  The gifted ones.  Sasha wasn’t a gifted one.

But controlling the mist, that was pretty good.  And Sasha was pretty good at the theory of it, full marks and everything.  But actually doing it?  That was harder, it took a lot of concentration.  Steady, fine concentration, a moment’s slip and it would evaporate.  But that wasn’t Sasha’s problem, Sasha’s problem was that it also took a lot of time to call the mist.  Needing ten minutes to call up some mist from a lake, in the morning, wasn’t going to help give Warriors cover.  The Warriors always needed cover.  Sasha often wondered why – it was like a herald to their coming but the Warriors wanted it, it was tradition.

Sasha’s use to the Warriors depended to the speed in which the mist developed and cloaked the ground.  If it took too long, there would be no use for it.  It had to be fast, it had to unnerve, it had to bring fear, it had to…  Tradition, tradition, tradition kept rolling around in Sasha’s head.  A slow creeping mist was useless.  Beautiful to watch but utterly useless.

Sasha drew a deep breath and focused.  Maybe today…?

Theme

Greg stared at the photographs. They were not what he had been expecting. Quite the opposite in fact. They were a series of cats in various positions with money thrown on or around them. He took a closer look at the one currently in hand. It was of a black cat lying on a rather comfortable looking bed. Large notes scattered around.  Though the cat did look like it was about to attack the money.  The bed was a step in the right direction. And maybe the money but the cats? Greg chewed on his lip as he worked his way through the series of photographs. Cute little cats to be sure but still cats.

He looked up at his photographer, his features becoming mildly amused.

“Well,” he started, and then shuffled through a few photographs as he tried to remember the man’s name. “David, these…”

“I tried to interpret what you said as best I could,” said David eagerly. “My teacher said I had a unique way of viewing themes.”

“Yes,” said Greg slowly, again shuffling through the photographs.

“And the advert in the paper said photographer for unique magazine,” continued David.

“Yes, it did,” agreed Greg. But he had had something else in mind when he used the word ‘unique’.

“Did you speak to Sam like I said?” asked Greg finally putting aside the photographs.

“Oh, yes,” said David leaning forward in his chair. “He was very helpful, he gave me many tips about lighting and shadows. He suggested the cats.”

“Did he…” Greg was quite sure Sam hadn’t said the word ‘cats’.  He was quite sure Sam had used something cruder.

“Yeah,” grinned David. “Otherwise I would have been quite lost with a theme of ‘money shot’.”

Flutter By

Flutter By

It never ceased to amaze David how fragile life was.  It was like holding a butterfly in your hands.  Too much strength and it would be crushed, gone forever but even with the most delicate hold it was fade quickly, gone forever.  As if it had never been.  With little impact on the world around it.  A bit like being in love, he felt.

The life of the living…

Fragile as the wings of a butterfly…

David frowned at the words.  A poor choice indeed.   How was he ever going to put this thoughts and feelings into poetry that would dazzle and delight if that was the best he could come up with.  He drew careful lines through the words and started again.

The life of the butterfly…

He paused again.  Butter – fat from milk.  Fly – sits on the butter.  That’s what he thought of after thinking about the word ‘butterfly’ for the past few hours.  Why did Sarah have to like them anyway?  What else did she like?  Dogs.  But dogs were hardly romantic.  But puppies.  Puppies were a bit romantic, he had see them on cards, along with kittens.  He raised a brow in though, puppies – I wuf you.  A nightmare.  David tossed the pen down with annoyance.  Surely words of love should not be so hard, he was in love after all.  Shouldn’t they just sprout from his pen as he guided it across the paper?  It would appear not.

He held the expensive sheet of paper with its awful words up to the light.  He could see the texture of the hand crafted paper, could almost imagine them to be veins in the wings of a butterfly.  He smiled to himself at his silliness, returned the page to his desk and began to write.

Dear Sarah   

 Above you will see my attempts at putting my love for you into poetry.  They are a poor reflection of what I truly feel and so I shall write out in plain script that will leave no doubt in your heart as to my feelings – I love you, my beloved.  

To be Free

Kate’s face darkened at the sight of the mist.  Her eyes narrowed in hate and her fists clenched at her sides.  It was always mocking her.  Lingering on the road, coming and going as it pleased – it wasn’t bound to anything.  And worst of all, it concealed the fork in the road and hid the destination of the few travellers that passed by.  Those that were free to come and go.

Kate stood glaring at the mist, feeling the injustice of her situation gnaw at her heart causing weeping wounds that hadn’t time to heal before the chafing started again.  Just like the chain around her ankle.

The clinking of the chain as she unconsciously shifted her stance brought her back to the task at hand.  Picking up the bucket she headed off to the hen house to collect eggs.  As she drew close to the hen house she paused and glanced back at the mist and its taunting presence.  One day she would free and move as she pleased.  To come and go like the mist.

Success

“Well,” snapped Professor Hojo, “does it talk yet?”

His assistant cringed.

“No,” he said. “We are still having problems with its tongue. And lips.”

Hojo spun round with a lecturing expression.

“There is little point,” he started, “in creating a talking dogman that can’t talk.”

His assistant nodded.

“Get back to work,” dismissed the professor.

His assistant turned back to look at the dogman pressing its face against the glass. Putting the head of a dog on the body of a man had been fairly easy. And people and queued to see it, eagerly pressing up against the glass for a glimpse of the man with a dog’s head. Keenly watching it walk around, sniffing the ground or eating its breakfast.

Hojo got bored with that once all the information had been collected. Then the number of visitors dropped. So the next plan was hatched – The Great Talking Dogman. And that’s where it seemed to stay, a plan. The first problem had been the dog’s brain, it didn’t have the necessary parts. So dog head attached, dog brain removed and human brain inserted. There were a few initial errors but the procedure had been successful.

It was then that they discovered how speech was actually produced. Hojo had been terribly excited by the discovery and spend hours documenting it with childlike glee. But, again, once there was nothing more to discover, it was back to getting it to talk. With a sign the assistant leaned forward and said,

“Hello.”

The Engine

“My genius literally knows no bounds.”

Louis looked up from the paper he was reading.

“Yes,” he said irritably, “what is it now?”

William stood before his desk looking very please with himself.

“I have fixed it – Engine XI works,” he announced.

“Really?” asked Louis.  “You know they have been working on that Engine for years.”

“Oh, yes, I am quite aware of that,” said William.

“And you’ve been four months and you think you’ve managed to get the Engine to work?”

“It’s five months actually,” corrected William.  “But yes, I have made it work.  I am just that good.”

“Let me see,” said Louis holding out his hand.

William pulled from this waistcoat with some flourish a stack of papers.

“My genius,” he said and handed it over.

Louis paged through the document, pausing here and there to take a closer look at the diagrams.

“This is quite… something,” said Louis.

“I know,” beamed William.

“You have tested it?” asked Louis.

“Yes, and you will note on the last page that the test was observed by the Head,” said William leaning forward pointing.

“The Head of Botany,” said Louis paging forward.

“He is a faculty member,” sniffed William.

“We are engineers, we make things we do not grow things,” said Louis.  But he had to admit, the young man was right and he knew it.

William struck a pose giving Louis his profile, hands on his hips.

“Praise me,” he said.

“Well done,” said Louis.

“Thank you very much,” said William with a bow.

“Engine XI,” said Louis as William was about to leave.  “You know numbers start from one and move up?”

William’s eyes narrowed suspiciously.

“Engine XI,” smiled Louis, “is one of three engines we’ve managed to get working.  I’m sure you can spread your genius to the others.”

The Eternal Blue

The ever clear blue water sparkles in the sunlit sky, a thousand diamonds that can never be possessed but will always be admired from afar.  Hearts have soared when they have seen the ocean and heard the shrill cry of gulls on the salty breeze.  Endlessly enchanting those that have lost their way on the hard, dry land with all those tall trees.

Every day and every night the waves fall to the shore, never ceasing…  The endless call.  Even when down among the soft sand and smooth stone, there is the urge to go out and be alone.  Round the time of the purple hour when the moon is out and the sun is fire the whispers reach those patient ears.  Never ending need to be at peace within the deep memories of the wakeful mind.  A time for rest so long past together with the aching of the broken heart.  Longing for some restful sleep to dream the dreamless dreams.

Beyond the waves of blue and white, beyond the colourless dreams.  Leave the scorching days of toil and turmoil and the aching to be free.  Unbelievably beautiful and so peaceful, all will be forgotten.  Ever after and again, eternally sleeping in the dreams.