Three Things Challenge, 02 June 2018 – The Family Secret – A Fantasy tale.

This is a Three Things Challenge as set by the haunted wordsmith, see link below:

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2018/06/02/three-things-challenge-02-june-2018/

Here are the three words for 02 June 2018: family, fireflies, fantasy 

Her grandmother told her the family secret in that terrible winter when she had almost died of pneumonia. 

She remembered so clearly, the musty smell of that dank dark room. Her grandmother lying in her bed, sunken into the covers like her own eyes had sunken into her small face. That dear face that had always been full of smiles and laughter was then reduced to a ghostly shadow of its normal self. 

The light of the lamps gave a soft glow as she sat on the edge of the bed and clasped her grandmothers frail and bony hand. 

“Elana, is that you? Darling, come closer” her grandmother’s voice was like a whisper.

She leaned in closer to her beloved Nanna. 

“Yes, I’m here Nanna,”

“I’ve got to tell you something, before it is too late. Our family secret, I must pass it on. Are you listening, dear heart?”

“Yes, Nanna, I’m listening, but you’re going to be fine. Nothing’s going to happen to you.”

“You can’t hide from the truth child. I know I am dying, the infection is on my lungs. Before I go, I must tell you our secret. We are descended from the fairy folk, the Fay ones. My great-great-grandmother was a fairy and she left her people to marry a human, my great-great-grandfather. Fairy’s are immortal but can die from disease or illness. She died in childbirth bringing my great-grandmother into the world. Her magic is in our blood but it passes only in the female line and usually skips a generation. We do not have the magic of a full fairy, only a small amount that we can use only once. I used mine to save your mother from dying of scarlet fever when she was a little girl. You must save your power for when you need something very important and you must pass on the secret to your own granddaughter one day. Promise me?”

“Yes Nanna, I promise you. I promise you will get better too. For if I have magic, I wish to make you better, now.”

I began to glow, brighter than the lamp, brighter than the fire in the hearth and brighter than the very sun. Then small points of light, like a million fireflies flew up from my upheld arms and descended upon the frail figure of my grandmother. 

My dearest grandmother recovered from that illness and has enjoyed many more springs and summers with us. I may have used my power, but I do not regret it and one day I will pass the family secret on, but for now, I enjoy spending as much time with my Grandmother as possible, so that when she finally goes, I will have lots of happy memories to remember her by. 

The End

Picture from Pexels

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 02/June/2018

50 Word Thursday #3 – Aunties Tales

Debbie Whittam has set a challenge to write a poem or story in 50 words, or multiples of 50 up to a maximum of 250 words, inspired by a picture. Here is the picture.

31-05-18

“You had to take your shoes off when you went in and you weren’t allowed to jump on the furniture or tease the cat.”

From Robert Rankin’s Snuff Fiction

Here is my attempt:

Visiting my Great Aunt Ivy was always an adventure.

She was a strict Victorian old lady and you had to take your shoes off when you went in and you weren’t allowed to jump on the furniture or tease the cat.

The cat used to sit on the windowsill, looking even more ancient that my great-aunt.

The house was Victorian, with an addition to the back that had a bathroom and kitchen with running water. The place was littered with doilies and knickknacks like an antique shop.

She was strict but she told the best stories I’d ever heard.

See Debbie’s post here if you want to take part in this fun challenge:

https://debbiewhittam.wordpress.com/2018/05/31/50-word-thursday-3/

 

50 Word Thursday – The Tradition.

Debbie Whittam has set a challenge to write a poem or story in 50 words, or multiples of 50 up to a maximum of 250 words, inspired by a picture. Here is the picture.

24-05-18

https://debbiewhittam.wordpress.com/

 

This is my attempt:

The first thing that he did when they moved into the house was plant the tree.

It was just a small conifer sapling, but it meant so much more.

It was grown from seed from the enormous conifer that grew on his dad’s farm. His grandfather had planted that tree back when his own father had been born.

As he planted the tree in the dry dusty soil, his wife sat on the porch and watched him. She was heavily pregnant with their child and due any day now.

The Family Tradition was maintained; new house, new baby, new tree.

 

See Debbie’s post here if you want to take part in this fun challenge:

https://debbiewhittam.wordpress.com/2018/05/24/50-word-thursday-2/#like-7455

 

The Wind Sheds No Tears – Part Five

This is a part of a longer story that I have been writing over the last few weeks. 

See here for the last part of the story, which also contains links to all the others, if you want to read more:

https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com/2018/04/19/the-wind-sheds-no-tears-part-four/

Part Five

The next day Pablo woke early. The sun was just coming up over the horizon, its light slowly ebbing into the dark night sky, hiding all its stars and turning it blue and getting brighter and brighter towards the east.

He put a small pack together, a change of clothes and a few simple belongings, he didn’t own much. He also put on the silver St Christopher charm necklace that his mother had given him. He didn’t usually wear it as the memories of his mother filled him with that longing for her touch that would never come. It was a charm to protect travellers and he was going with his Uncle Carlos to the City of Valencia. Likely, he would need its protection now.

Continue reading The Wind Sheds No Tears – Part Five

The Wind Sheds No Tears – Part Four

This is part of a longer story I am currently writing and have been posting in sections of around 800 words (this part is a bit longer).

For those of you who have been following the story, I hope you like this latest addition.

If you would like to read it from the beginning I have posted links to the other sections below:

Part One:

https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com/2018/03/29/the-wind-sheds-no-tears-part-one/

Part Two:

https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com/2018/04/05/the-wind-sheds-no-tears-part-two/

Part Three:

https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com/2018/04/12/the-wind-sheds-no-tears-part-three/

Part Four

He could hear his Aunt Anna-Maria, his Father and his Uncle Carlos talking downstairs.

His Uncle Carlos was saying.

“Look he isn’t a boy any longer, he’s fifteen and he needs to learn a trade. I could take him back to Valencia with me. I need someone I can trust to help me, someone who knows the ways of the sea.”

“Go with you, what do you actually do in the big city eh Carlos? You’ve never really told us have you? I bet it isn’t an honest living.” His Father shouted.

Uncle Carlos returned fire.

“Oh and where has an honest living got you then? Still living in this shack, in the same town? Why do you stay here? It won’t bring her back you know?”

He then heard the door bang as his Father stormed out. He saw him through the window walking up the hill towards his fish shop. He doubted his father’s customers would be getting a friendly service this afternoon.

He heard his Aunt speaking below.

“You should not have said that to him Carlos. You know he has never gotten over losing Christina. Now he has lost his father too, the two people he really loved. You shouldn’t throw it in his face. He is a good man”.

“Is he, Anna-Maria? He has never shown much goodness to me, or his son?”

“Keep your voice down Carlos. You and he always fought like cat and dog growing up. What have you ever done to earn his affection? As for that poor little lad, he has done nothing wrong, but in his Fathers eyes…” His Aunt stopped speaking. She was crying softly.

“I’m sorry Anna, forgive me. I didn’t mean to make you cry. Not you, the last one in the family that talks to me.”

“No, it is about Pablo that I cry. He was only little when he got a fever. It was before Dr. Lopez moved here. You had to pay for the Doctor then and we had no money. Christina nursed Pablo through his illness, only then she got it herself and died. That is why Roberto is like this. He blames the boy and now he sees the boy as taking away his Father too.”

“But Pablo didn’t take the boat out, Father did, you know how reckless he could be sometimes.”

“Yes but Pablo was on board. Roberto now thinks he is bad luck. I hope I can change his mind, because Little Pablo has suffered enough, they both need each other.”

The shock of what he had heard was like a punch in the face. He gathered all his strength. A lump formed in his throat, composed of all the hurt he had kept inside all this time and he swallowed it, like swallowing a melon whole. Now he knew why his father had always been so distant.

He thought to himself “So he was bad luck was he? I have had enough of this. It is time I did something and made something of myself.”

Slowly he went downstairs.

Aunt Anna-Maria was sitting at the kitchen table. Her dark brown eyes still had tears in them. Uncle Carlos stood behind her with his hand on her shoulder. They looked up when they realised he was standing there. His Uncle Carlos looked much like his father and Uncle Miguel but he wore his dark hair slicked back with some kind of oil and also had a thin moustache. His eyes held things back. Most people he knew, you could see their thoughts clearly in their eyes but Uncle Carlos had learned to hide his thoughts. He supposed that was necessary in the big city. He knew the city had more sharks in it that the whole of the ocean. Not the kind that swam, but sharks none the less.

“I want to go with you, Uncle. I don’t want to stay here anymore. You are right; I am fifteen and need to learn a trade. When you leave, I will go with you.”

“Fine, my boy, I am leaving in the morning, come and meet me at the tavern after breakfast.”

Aunt Anna-Maria spoke, her voice cracking from the emotions she was trying to deal with. After all, it was her Father too who had died in the storm.

“Pablo, no wait! I can change your Father’s mind, he doesn’t really want you to go; he needs you. I need you. We need each other.”

“I love you dearly, you have been like a mother to me but I can’t stay here any longer with a Father who doesn’t care for me. I need to be my own man now. I will go with Uncle Carlos in the morning.”

Pablo went back to his room and found some paper, pen and ink to write a letter. He wrote:

“Dearest Margarita,

I am writing this to tell you I am leaving to go to Valencia with my Uncle. I am going to learn his trade and become rich.

My heart is heavy to leave here, not because I will miss my father, I know he will shed no tears for me, but because I am leaving you.

If you feel the same for me, do not be sad. Know that one day I will return for you.

Yours Ever

Pablo.”

He took the long walk up to the big white casa and delivered the letter to the large housekeeper. He didn’t want to see Margarita; it would have made leaving too hard.

The housekeeper took the letter and put it in the pocket of her apron. She then folded her strong arms under her large bosom and watched him walk away with a strange look in her eyes.

End of Part Four.

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 19/April/2018

 

The Wind Sheds No Tears – Part Three

I have been writing a story and posting it in sections of around 800 words. Please see here 

https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com/2018/03/29/the-wind-sheds-no-tears-part-one/

for part one

and here for part two

https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com/2018/04/05/the-wind-sheds-no-tears-part-two/

This is part three. I hope you enjoy it. 

 

Chapter three – Departing

Later that morning they all walked down to the church. The sun shone down on the town bathing it is its glorious rays and lighting up the white washed buildings with their blue and yellow painted doors and window frames. He thought, ‘strange how often life juxtaposes such beauty with so much sorrow’.

The Church of Santa Maria looked particularly lovely, the stone glistening, practically glowing in the late morning sunshine. The bell in the tower was ringing out and he could see quite a procession of people heading into the church. It seemed almost everyone was going to Belo’s funeral.

They crossed the little bridge over the river into the main town and joined the end of the procession. As they entered the church he could see his family seated at the front, next to the body of his grandfather in his woven basket coffin, like baby Moses in his basket of rushes. Dr. Lopez and Margarita sat at the back of the church and he sat with them, he didn’t want to push through the crowd to reach his family. He felt more comfortable at the back somehow. He watched his father stand up and read a eulogy about fishermen and the sea. His Uncle Miguel was there standing behind him, and next to him was Uncle Carlos. Uncle Carlos was the black sheep of the family and had left home after grandmother died, because he hadn’t seen eye to eye with grandfather. He had only seen him twice before. It was quite a surprise to see him here. He lived a long way away in the big city.

The priest stood up to speak. He felt the tears come again. The pain of his loss was still so raw but he hated crying with so many people around him. A little hand gripped his and he looked down at margarita’s hand holding his, giving him comfort.

After the ceremony people began milling about. He could hear Old Diego saying over and over again to anyone who would listen “Well I told him, you know? I told him not to take his boat out. I told him the storm was coming.” He knew Diego meant no harm, but the braying ass’s words were like a knife to the chest. The tears were choking in his throat.

His family came to gather him in, like the lost sheep. His Father, and his Aunt Anna-Maria, who kept house and had looked after him after his mother had died of a fever. So long ago that he could barely remember her. Uncle Miguel looked less than his usual hearty self, expected under the circumstances.

He felt a firm hand grip his shoulder in a gesture of friendly support. It was Doctor Lopez.

“Well, Senor Ortiz, I deliver your son to you safe and secure. Farewell Pablo and good luck.”

His father spoke, in sombre tones. “Thank you, Doctor, for looking after my son and bringing him back to us. I don’t know how we can repay your kindness.”

“Well, he’s a fine boy; I was pleased to have been of service.”

Dr. Lopez and Margarita left the Church. She flashed him a look with those dark eyes that said it was only goodbye for now.

His father looked down at him with sad brown eyes. His eyes were always sad and brown, for as long as he remembered, but somehow they had become even more so. Sombrely he said.

“Well come along Pablo. We’ve got to bury my Father and then I think it’s time for us to have a little talk.”

Having paid their respects in the church the townsfolk all departed back to their normal lives to leave the family in their grief.

The family proceeded to the graveyard to inter their dearly departed father and grandfather.

The grave was next to his grandmothers. In passing he noticed the name on it. Conchita Maria Alvarez Ortiz. So Belo had named his boat for her. Of course it made sense but he never knew his Grandmothers name, she was always Abuelita to him. He had never visited the grave. He was like most young people, only concerned with the living. He had been quite young still when she had died, seven years ago.

The priest continued his ritual as they slowly lowered the cheap coffin into the ground. They all threw a handful of red earth, still damp from the storm, into the hole and then they slowly went home.

When he got back to their small house he went up the wooden ladder into his small room at the back. He just wanted to be alone for a while with his tears.

End of part three….

Copyright Kristian Fogarty 12/April/2018

 

There’s no place like home – A short story

Jack had been born on the farm, just seventeen summers ago. His family had been poor but happy on their farm. Until his seventh birthday everything had been pretty perfect.

Like a lot of people at that time the whole extended family had lived together. Not just his father and mother and his brothers and sisters but also his Grandmother and his Uncle Jack, who he’d been named for, and his wife and two sons. 

It was a fine balance between having more hands to carry out the work on the farm, but also more mouths to feed. Old Granny Mabel didn’t work in the fields but she used to wash and mend clothes and he always remembered her sitting in the parlour spinning wool or knitting with the wool she had spun. He still remembered those itchy pullovers she used to give him at Christmas. They were warm though. 

His Mother and sisters would clean and cook and also come harvest time they would all help gather the crops in. 

They had a flock of sheep and a herd of cows. Uncle Jack and his family used to look after the cows while his Dad and his brothers would look after the sheep. He remembered well feeding the lambs in spring.

He also remembered his Aunt Catherine sitting on the stool next to the kitchen door churning the milk into butter. Everyone had their jobs to do and although it was hard work. They had felt safe and secure. 

That was until the war had come. They had never experienced anything like that before. They had been at the mercy of the weather, like all who lived off the land. Some years had been plentiful with mild winters and good wet springs that watered the crops. Other years had been harsh and the winter storms seemed never-ending, they had struggled to produce enough to eat. The war was like a winter storm that didn’t end. In months the raging war had deprived them of everything. First the fighting men had taken their livestock and then the fighting itself had churned up their fields and destroyed their crops. 

Granny Mabel had died in the middle of the war. She had been eating less and less to make sure the children had enough to eat and no one had been paying attention to how little she had been eating. She had been old, it was true, but it wasn’t old age that had finally claimed her but the hunger pains. We buried her behind the house near her favourite apple tree. The one she and Gramps had got married under all those years ago, when they had started the farm together. 

Then the war was over. That was when the strangers came and turned them off their farm. Uncle Jack and two of his sons had already died fighting in the war and so had one of his brothers. His father hadn’t believed in fighting. When they came with their strange weapons his family had no choice but to leave, with nothing more than they could carry on their backs. Not that the war had left them with much at all. 

They had travelled west for weeks before they had finally found a place that would take them in. The war had affected everything and everywhere so many places wouldn’t or couldn’t take in any more people. Finally, they had come to a small town that needed a hard-working family who had farming skills.

Gradually they began to rebuild their lives, but forever scarred by the events of that war. Then, against all belief and understanding there had come another war. This time his father had changed his mind. He now believed that whilst war was never good, sometimes you had to fight.

The strangers that had come and taken their land had begun to get sick. Many of them were dying of a mysterious illness. The religious men said that it was divine wrath. Others said it was because they had used special weapons that had carried diseases and this had poisoned the land they were now living on.

The strangers had finally been swept back to the east and the war was over. Hopefully for ever, but now no one trusted this to be true. Once you have tasted war, it forever clings to your tongue.

Now here he stood on the path to the farm that he’d once called home.

The wooden fence posts still stood to mark the edge of their land, although not much of the fence itself remained. It had been ten years, after all.

He walked slowly up the path that had wound its way to the house. The house was gone. Not a stone of it remained. Part of the cow shed was still there, to give some bearing on where the house should have been.

Then he caught a glimpse of something wooden lying in the long grass.

He walked over and the sight of it took him back again. Tears, that he thought he would never shed again, not after all he had gone through, came streaming down his face and brought him to his knees in grief for the past.

It was the old butter churn.

 

The End

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 04/April/2018

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/churn/

via Daily Prompt: Churn

My Uncle Pat – A portrait poem

I remember back when I was small

and foolish, though I’m still not tall

and just as daft, I remember him,

my Uncle Pat, seemed tall and thin.

As clear as day, he stands looming.

His voice was kind and clear, not booming.

The Kitchen, plain and brown and square

and neat and clean, as I stood there.

“Would you like something to drink and eat?”

My Uncle asks, I shuffle my feet.

Nervously I said “Yes please, I would,

Some of this fizzy orange would be good.”

And then I said, and I still regret it,

“You have to shake the drink to wake it.”

He took me at my word and shook

the bottle, up and down, I cried “Wait Look!”

The cap came off and fizzed, Oh Lor!

all over the nice clean kitchen floor.

And then behind me I heard a sound,

Through the open serving hatch, I found

My Mother and my Aunty too

laughing heartily at this much ado.

I still look back with thoughts quite grim,

My Uncle thought I’d played a joke on him.

 

Copyright Kristian Fogarty 23/March/2018