The World in White… #Festive Fiction

Image by Alain Audet from Pixabay

Snow crunched beneath my feet as I walked towards the church. A string of icicles hung from the Lychgate.

A world in white, silent, the snow lay untouched by others. I looked back at my footprints, melting pools of snow lay behind me.

Unlit houses dark against the white, no sign of life. I felt alone, abandoned in a strange place. I have no memory of passing this way before.

The church door stood ajar, inside I felt warmer, welcomed. The early morning light threw a kaleidoscope of colour across the pews. The tiled floor danced, shimmered with light. With the door being open, I didn’t think anyone would mind if I wandered around.

Three steps beneath the church lay the most beautiful room, lit by the light coming from the tall arched windows. I counted twelve pillars, covered in carvings of cherubs, grapes and strange winged creatures I had no name for.

My mind told me I should be afraid, but I felt at home. As I moved through the space, touching each pillar as I passed, a feeling of having touched them before filled my thoughts. Memories that cannot be mine.

I was there with six others, bare feet and long white dresses. What we were doing there was not revealed to me. I did not run from this place, for we were happy. That much was clear from the smiles and the sound of laughter.

These strange blue pillars seemed to hold some kind of attraction that kept us playing here long after we should have been home asleep in our beds.

I couldn’t wait to get back to the B&B to ask about the church. Fresh snow had fallen, stealing my footprints. As I walked through the Lychgate, I felt a shiver grip my body. I heard a voice in my head and knew it belonged to my grandmother Sarah. “Don’t look back…”

I knew the tone, she meant for me to obey so I did as she bid. Reaching the B&B, I asked about the church.

“You’re frozen, come sit by the fire…” The landlady led me to an armchair, and I sat.

“You have been outside for hours…” She put a hot cup of tea in my hands and told me there was no church here. “It burnt down more than 100 years ago. We almost sent out a search party to look for you.”

I looked at the clock on the mantle, I had been gone for four hours. I remembered leaving at ten o clock that morning. I told her she must be wrong; I was inside the church.

She patted my hand like an aged aunt and told me again how it burned down, taking six young lives, young girls about to take their first communion.

 I could not speak to her. Ignoring my grandmother’s warning, I went straight back to retrace my steps, but I could not find the church. I did find the remains of a graveyard and seven headstones. Tears froze on my face as I read each name. My own stood out like neon, Sarah Wilkes, aged ten…

©AnitaDawes2021

Dead of Winter ~ Journey 10 ~ Pergesca ~ Review

Dead of Winter: Journey 10, Pergesca” resumes outside the Lost Library, where Hallgeir was faced with a decision that could impact the entire world.
.
Lucetius is gravely wounded when he attempts to deliver a message. Emlyn, Zasha, and Osabide are again separated from all their friends. The Three must continue their journey without assistance or protection from the other travellers. They must reach the faraway city of Pergesca. That is also the seat of power of the ancient Society of Deae Matres. Will the companions eventually be reunited?
.
A vicious enemy returns, displaying unexpected strength.
.
An important character dies in this novelette. The death of a character is a rare thing in stories written by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene.

Our Review

This enthralling story is gathering pace, and although things do seem promising, I doubt there can be a totally happy conclusion as there are too many opposing forces at work here.

Emlyn, in her innocence, cannot hope to compete with all the forces of evil that surround her.

Or can she?

The mysterious force that guides her is her only help. Thankfully, her companions have stopped treating her as a child, dismissing her adventures and intuitions, as they have begun to realise that a strong and powerful presence is guiding her.

Watching the fall of Haldis, someone I never completely trusted (I was with Emlyn with this one) I was impressed with the way the author handled this extraordinarily complex situation.

Throughout the episodes already visited and enjoyed, I have been enthralled, entertained and patient, waiting for the story to reveal its secrets, but as we near the end, the tension is becoming unbearable.

I need to know who or what is guiding Emlyn…

A Sisters Gift…

Anita wrote this wonderful poem for my book, Out of Time…

Out of Time

Kate’s life, her mind, is out of time
A savage wind took all 
but the brush from her hand.
Her thoughts crash like a wild storm
She no longer has the will to speak
One last blow to strike
A fake wedding planned by Detective Snow
To trap the beast that waits without.
Will Jack be snared or run again?
The snowman, as Kate calls him,
Will he stay with her until the end...

►© Anita Dawes 2018

Book Description

Kate Devereau wakes up in hospital in this exciting sequel to NINE LIVES,

unable to speak or move after the brutal attack by her ex-husband.

Her brain has shut down, refusing to acknowledge the misery of her dark, disturbing past.

A past that conceals a web of painful secrets.

Can she gradually piece her shattered life back together,

Or will she discover that her nightmare is far from over?

#FFFC ~ #Poetry

Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #125

The photo is from Jarmoluk at Pixabay.com

Can you wrap your body
In another man’s shadow?
Walk in his footsteps,
Eventually taking over his life.
Can you walk through London,
New York, Tokyo, Moscow?
Wondering what to do
with the fourteen minutes to the hour
that they have in common.
What can you find out about yourself
In such short a time?
Does the completed hour
Connect them in some unknown way?
London would be ten o clock
New York five o clock
Tokyo seven o clock
Moscow one o clock
On the surface, it would appear not.
Still, I wonder about the fourteen minutes
between each city…

© Anita Dawes 2021

Out of Time: excerpt #MysteryThriller

In this exciting sequel to NINE LIVES,

Kate Devereau wakes up in hospital unable to speak or move after the brutal attack by her ex-husband.

Her brain has shut down, refusing to acknowledge the misery of her dark and disturbing past.

A past that conceals a web of painful secrets.

Michael Barratt, Kate’s old flame, brought her to the hospital insisting that her ex-husband had tried to kill her

And from the state of him, had tried to kill him too.

With the help of DI David Snow, Kate will gradually piece her shattered life back together,

only to discover her nightmare is far from over.

Her first instinct is to run, but Snow convinces her to stay to help him put an end to the nightmare.

A nightmare that will get a lot worse before it gets better…

An excerpt from Out of Time

When he discovered Michael Barratt’s location, Snow didn’t have to ask what happened as the constable’s face said it all. A lovely shade of green was indicating the man was having trouble hanging on to his breakfast.

The churchyard resembled a scene from a horror movie with blood everywhere. The victim had been attacked from behind. A single knife wound to the neck, causing him to bleed out in a matter of seconds. What had possessed the man to leave the safety of the church? You had to wonder at his mental state, for he didn’t appear to have had a death wish.

Snow looked down at the man lying on the grass, an attractive man, despite the scar tissue and missing hair. He felt a little sorry for him, not for dying, but for spending too many years searching for Kate Devereau, only to fall flat at her unforgiving feet. He thought again about the other woman in his life and the child. Michael Barratt sure liked to complicate his life, but to what end? Still, the fight was over for him now.

The area behind the church had been checked as soon as the body was found, but there was no trace of Jack Holland. Snow wasn’t fooled, he had to be around there somewhere, as he wouldn’t rest until he had Kate Devereau in his clutches.

She almost knocked him down as he opened the door to the church. ‘Where is he?’ she said, trying to sidestep around him. He put his hands on her shoulders. ‘You cannot go out there, Kate. I will not allow it. You will have to say your goodbyes later.’

Her face contorted with either rage or upset, he couldn’t tell which. ‘He is dead, Kate. He went outside against our instructions and paid the ultimate price. At least it would have been quick …’

She started to walk backwards away from him, a stunned look on her face as the truth sank in. Snow caught the attention of a WPC and indicated Kate shouldn’t be left alone. He watched them walk away and wondered what would happen next. He tried to reach Jim Harris on his phone but there was no answer. He left a constable to guard the door and went to find him.

Snow marched around outside the church, looking for Jim Harris. He refused to consider losing anyone else. He was so angry, if he could get his hands on Jack Holland, they wouldn’t need to lock him up.

He found his sergeant checking the cars outside in the street. ‘You need to answer your phone, Jim before I have heart failure …’

‘Sorry, Boss, it must be on silent. Saw a man hanging around out here, so thought I’d check.’

‘Since when do you leave the scene of a crime, Jim, whatever the reason?’

A scream from inside the church drew their attention, and they hurried inside, expecting the worst. Kate and Sam were sitting on the floor in front of the altar, and Kate was the one who had screamed. Sam looked up as they approached and pointed towards the altar. ‘Present from Jack Holland …’

Snow had to look hard to recognise what had been left on the velvet altar cloth, and his heart sank when he realised what it was. Kate’s flowers were lying there, soaked with blood. The most obvious message from a killer, intended to strike fear into the soul of his next victim, and from the look on Kate Devereau’s face, it had worked…

MLMM ~ Wordle #245

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie

The lace caress in the hollow of her neck

I felt the shimmer of

something bad rush down my spine

The blue of her eyes, intense, hypnotic

My heart muscle became limp

I feared a spell had been put upon me

Never have I felt so helpless

Standing in the queue at Tesco’s

Dropping my shopping

as she passed it through the barcode

My hands meander blindly over my items

I couldn’t stow them away quick enough

With a final flourish I left the store

A cold feeling followed me to my car

I knew this would not be the last time I would see her

At the same time, my mind was telling me

Next week, shop in Morrisons

Something wasn’t right about that young lady…

© Anita Dawes 2021

Review: Dead of Winter Journey Five #EpicFantasy @teagangeneviene

Dead of Winter: Journey 5, Llyn Pistyll Falls Kindle Edition

The titular dead of Winter begin this Journey in a collection of vignettes. The Veil separating the world of the living and the Realm of the Dead has indeed become thin. As feared the dead begin to enter the Realm of the Living. Small outbreaks of chaos are scattered across the world as spirits try to resume their old lives.

Also in those shorts, two characters are introduced who will come back into the story in future Journeys — Gregorios, and Mairead who recalls the circumstance that brought Zasha and Tajín together. The spirits also visit some characters from past Journeys.

Emlyn and company encounter the King of Hell, and this time, Arawn is not in a dream-like netherworld.

Biography

Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene lives in a “high desert” town in the Southwest of the USA.

Teagan had always devoured fantasy novels of every type. Then one day there was no new book readily at hand for reading — so she decided to write one. And she hasn’t stopped writing since.

Her work is colored by her experiences from living in the southern states and the desert southwest. Teagan most often writes in the fantasy genre, but she also writes cozy mysteries. Whether it’s a 1920s mystery, a steampunk adventure, or urban fantasy, her stories have a strong element of whimsy.

Founder of the Three Things method of storytelling, her blog “Teagan’s Books” contains serial stories written according to “things” from viewers. http://www.teagansbooks.com

Major influences include Agatha Christie, Terry Brooks, David Eddings, Robert Jordan, and Charlaine Harris.

See book trailer videos here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoM-z7_iH5t2_7aNpy3vG-Q?disable_polymer=true

Our Review for Journey Five

In this journey, we discover Lyn Pistyll, a beautiful waterfall, and in Emlyn’s dreams, Arawn, the king of the dead lives there.

Legend has it that when the Great Wall was healed, this waterfall was created, sealing the dead away from the living.

Dead of Winter is a story with ghosts, but not your average ghost story.

The veil that was meant to keep the realms apart has been ripped apart by the untimely and brutal arrival of Arawn and the spirits can now more between the worlds, where, of course, Emlyn can see them.

But these ghosts are not here to cause trouble, they just want to pick up where they were before they died.

Dead of Winter gets better with every journey, but some serious co-operation by all concerned will be needed to sort this mess out!

#FlashFiction Challenge for Carrot Ranch Literary Community

March 11, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about deep wishes. Where is the deep — in the sky, the ground, or outer space? What kind of wishes reside there for whom and why?

Sitting in the middle of the field, mysterious in the moonlight, was a wishing well.
It wasn’t there yesterday; of that I am sure.
I mean, why would anyone build a well so far from a house?
Far from looking quaint and old worldly, it looked much too menacing for my liking.
I found myself drawn to it, but was my life really so bad, I needed to make a wish?
There were a few things I could wish for,
a proper home, a better husband, a baby…
If I only had to choose one, which would it be?

© Jaye Marie 2021

#MLMM ~ Wordle #228 ~ #Poetry

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie

Let the records show I am indissoluble.
I would survive a sudden dipping in lime.
Some people come up smelling of roses.
I am one of them.
I am anodyne, I would not like to offend anyone.
Better I were pulled through a gathering backwards.
Where I pull my hair, trying to wake.
Ahead, I see a three-sided symbol
with a yellow dot in the centre
I feel my body sway with the low sound of drums.
A strange triple style beat
The echo rings back to my sleeping mind
Where I stare at my profile in the mirror
Wondering where the other of me has gone…

© Anita Dawes 2021