There was a sign propped up against the empty doorframe which read “If you are a dreamer, come in” except the paint had chipped, and instead of dreamer it read dream. ‘So?’ asked his wife. ‘Are you going in or not?’ She stood on tiptoes and tried to peer through one of the windows. Graham thought he saw her shiver, and for a moment started to shrug the jacket from his shoulders. ‘It looks abandoned.’ She stepped away and scowled. ‘You copied out the right address, didn’t you?’ Graham nodded, then felt his heart sink. An old lady stepped into the hall, the edges of her body blurring against the peeling wallpaper. ‘Oh,’ said his wife, now stood behind him. ‘She’s like me!’ She grinned and poked him in the ribs. ‘Poor Graham, can’t even find a living physic to help with your ghosts.’
If you are a dreamer, come in.
Shel Silverstein’s poem, Invitation, Where The Sidewalk Ends
For someone who doesn’t read a lot of horror/ghost stories, and can’t really watch the genre either, I seem to write a fair bit of it. I find I really adore these monthly Prosery prompts as there a great way to stretch the creative writing muscles when my focus has drifted away from flash fiction. It helps that Lillian picked a cracking line of poetry for tonight’s prompt as well.
In some exciting poetry news however, this week I’ve got two poems coming out, in two seperate magazines. The first was published on Sunday in the second issue of The Riverbed Review which is available to read for free on their site. The second is my poem ‘Overgrowth’, which I originally wrote for a Dverse prompt and is being published Wednesday, (with a couple of edits) in the first issue of Hencroft. A lot of journals and magazines do not accept poems that have appeared on blogs or social media previously, so I’m ecstatic to have the chance to publish with a magazine that didn’t mind.
The coffee was cold, and the machine broken. Gabriel checked the plug, tried wiggling it in the socket and swore as the thing zapped him. ‘Smooth brother.’ Raphael stood with his head still bent over the control panel across the room. ‘If you’re done playing around, I need you to check these stability levels.’ He waved at a series of flashing lights. ‘Why call them that?’ Gabriel sucked the burn on his finger and edged towards the controls. ‘There’s nothing stable about this realm. Why bother keeping things ticking over. Why not fix it all, or simply hit the kill switch?’ Raphael’s brow tightened. ‘I prefer keeping in mind, even the possibility, that existence has its own reason for being. We’re here to keep the others from tampering.’ ‘Makes more sense to let them.’ ‘No brother, there is no sense in endings at all.’
I prefer keeping in mind even the possibility that existence has its own reason for being.
Wisława Szymborska, ‘Possibilities‘
Tonight’s line for the prosery prompt was chosen by Merril, and is perhaps one of my favourite, ever, prompts. 144 words doesn’t feel like quite enough for this wonderful line, so I might have to come back to it later on and work this into a longer piece because ideas have been sparked, and it would be a shame to let them fizzle out.
‘What did you just say?’ Selwin asked, leaning his body through the open doorframe. He squinted past the greasy smoke and spotted Jak crouched by the hearth, hands out to the spluttering flames. ‘I went out to the hazel wood, because a fire was in my head,’ Jak muttered, his scalp mottled and pink in the gloom. ‘It wasn’t in your head.’ Selwin crossed the room to open the back door. ‘You messed with a bad spell and set the world alight.’ ‘It needed to be let out.’ ‘It needed you to mind your own business.’ He waved a hand in front of his face, the air clearing slowly. He frowned at the shadows across Jak’s features. ‘New worlds rise from ashes,’ muttered the broken wizard. ‘Not from these.’ Selwin sighed and sagged against the doorframe. ‘Your just lucky enough not to see it.’
Tonight’s DVerse Prosery prompt takes inspiration from the poem ‘The Song of Wandering Aengus’ by Yeats.
‘I went out to the hazel wood, Because a fire was in my head’.
Janet turned from her monitor, squinted into the gloom.
‘Who now?’ she asked. The hands on the wall clock glowed faintly. Half-seven, closing time was long past and James was still bent over the archive’s central table.
‘This,’ he said, and circled his hand over the papers in front of him, ‘this all belonged to someone who existed. Now all that’s left to mark his existence are cargo lists, household receipts, and half a letter to his land agent.’
‘That’s more than some have,’ Janet shrugged.
‘But how can someone be boiled down to so little? We look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of time and know less than was once understood.’
‘We work with what we have.’
‘But it’s not enough!’
‘It must be. We can’t turn back time, only save what remains.’
I’ve spent most of today going through history books, journals, and archive online materials to write a post about the history of witchcraft in Shropshire, so I’m feeling a little nostalgic for my time in archives among old letters and documents. For those of you interested in Early Modern history I’ve included the link here.
I do wonder what it will be like for historians hundreds of years from now. If blogs will help with reconstructing the past, or if the overload of information will cause more chaos that clarity. Perhaps something will happen to destroy all the electronically archived information, and we will return to a world of paper and ink. If we are remembered, will it be accurately?
The official report blamed ‘a torrential downpour’ for Ichabod McGuffin’s horrific suffocation beneath two hundred tonnes of hillside.
However, there were rumours about his mother, and the hairs on Eddie’s arms rose as he pulled up outside old lady McGuffin’s bungalow. He shook the feeling off and fetched the shopping from the backseat.
‘Such a good lad,’ she smiled, opening the door. She watched him set the shopping down.
‘Yes,’ she said again, and handed him her payment. ‘A good lad. Just the sort we want round here.’