Table manners

Bored little girl at dining table

Photo source

Look into my eyes. What do you see?

Boredom? Frustration?

Damned right.

Sorry, I know I shouldn’t cuss.

Why haven’t these old folks finished eating? At home when I’m finished eating I can ask to be excused from the table and then I can go outside, but this is some fancy dinner table or something so I have to wait.

How much longer? Somebody said there’ll be dessert at least and maybe some chocolates after.

Can’t I just leave and come back for the dessert?

No. I have to stay and wait.

It’s manners.

I hate manners, they’re boring.

The old folks are boring, just a load of old fuddy duddys chewing their food real slow like cows, and mooing and braying just the same.

Well, they’ll get what’s coming to them, and I don’t mean dessert.

I’ve got something that’ll rock their world.

Where’d I put that itching powder?

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Making inroads

“We’re going to need new names.”

“Why? Will there be somebody who knows us here?”

“No, but if somebody discovers where we’re from, why we’re here or what we can do then they’ll keep looking till they find us no matter what. It’s best that we blend in so that they don’t notice us or ask any awkward questions.”

The two siblings had walked along the beach until they found an estuary, and were now following the river inland.

“Our names are normal though, they aren’t strange. Why can’t we just use our own names?”

“Details Jemima, we need to be particular about the details. We get the little things right, the big things will follow. Have you any idea when we’ll see that airship? Or reach a town?”

Jemima looked up and squinted at the horizon, pursed her lips, then shook her head and returned her gaze to the grass underfoot.

“We’ll find it. There’s always some measure of civilisation next to rivers after all, so we’re bound to come across a barge or something, or maybe a road. It won’t be long.”

“A road.”

“Hmm?”

“There’s a road ahead, a long road.”

“That’s the spirit! What else do you see?”

“Bright colours, carriages, horses…music, people weaving fire in the air…”

“Weaving fire? Maybe it’s a circus.” Jeremiah looked at his sister and frowned. “No fortune telling though. I know you can’t, that what you see is vague, but don’t let on about what you can do. There might be people who would take a special interest if they knew. They might not have the best of intentions. You know what I mean?”

Jemima didn’t look up, but nodded. “Yes. I’ll be careful.”

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Torment

Copyright – Douglas M. MacIlroy

In a corner, beneath a pile of stained, torn couch cushions, something moved. A leg appeared, clad in striped tights, then another, clad in blue jeans. Some cushions fell away, revealing the mutilated bodies of his children, melded together into a single misshapen form.

“Daddy! Did you bring my cookie?”

Anger and frustration welled up inside him. He clenched his fists, swallowed hard to clear the lump in his throat. “You bastard, let my children go.”

“Now now David, we talked about this. You’ll play my game for a little bit longer, then I’ll tell you how things will be.”

***

Full version

The house loomed in front of him, white-washed wooden walls lifeless as the pale skin of a corpse.

His stomach tightened to a knot as he inserted the key in the front door, turned it then pushed the door gently open with nary a creak.

No children laughing, no wife calling their names. Just shadows everywhere where there had once been life…

…and a presence that made his eyes widen and the hairs on the back of his neck stand up.

It was here, there could be no doubt of this.

“Daddy…”

His daughter’s voice, calling from the parlour. Then it used his son’s voice as well, in unison.

“Daddy…”

With leaden feet he trod towards the parlour door, desperately trying to think of a way out. As he stepped through the portal a sickly sweet stench filled his nostrils and mouth, making him gag as his eyes watered.

He put on the ancient bronze diver’s helmet, as per the creature’s prior instructions.

The drapes had been drawn. Squinting through the gloom and his tears he saw furniture overturned and broken. The walks were smeared with something (blood? Shit?), the floor covered with garbage.

He heard his daughter laugh, that sweet baby laugh she’d had, before…

…before that thing had wormed its way into his life, and taken his children hostage.

In a corner, beneath a pile of stained, torn couch cushions, something moved. He approached, slowly. A leg appeared, clad in striped tights, then another, clad in blue jeans. Some of the cushions fell away, revealing the mutilated bodies of his children, melded together into a single misshapen form. His son’s head grinned and drooled, while the daughter’s head spoke.

“Daddy! Did you bring my cookie?”

Anger and frustration welled up inside him. He clenched his fists, swallowed hard to clear the lump in his throat. “You bastard, let my children go.”

“Now now David, we talked about this didn’t we? You’ll play my game for a little bit longer, then I’ll tell you how things will be.”

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Spores

Bunting in Spanish town

Copyright – D Lovering

Nobody noticed as, tendrils extrorse, the feathery cephalopod floated down in the darkness of the night and rested upon the telephone cables strewn seemingly haphazardly between the buildings in the sleepy Spanish town.

Nor did they notice when the centre of its body exploded into a cloud of spores which drifted in the breeze and onto rooftops, or into open windows.

At dawn the townsfolk stirred themselves, drowsier than usual, and went about their business.

The festival would begin today, there was still much to be done.

Time was short now.

Soon, the Mother’s eggs would hatch within the chosen.

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Quote – Success

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived; this is to have succeeded.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralph_Waldo_Emerson

 

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The Fire Festival

Fire breathers at Singapore Night Safari

Fire breathers at Singapore Night Safari. CC photo by Paul Williams.

The Baron smiled, sipped sweet rice wine.

The month-long Fire Festival was in full swing; the vast city was filled with incandescence like the life-blood of a dragon spreading its mighty wings across the land.

Walls, turrets and ledges adorned with torches and colourful paper lanterns cast light and shadow flickering and writhing upon minstrels singing and prancing, filling the air with pounding drums, the sounds of flutes and a variety of stringed instruments.

Dancers, willowy forms scantily clad in bright, flowing silks leapt and pirouetted through the air. As they did so, they sprayed oil from their mouths in elaborate patterns which they set alight with flaming batons, drawing gasps of awe from the crowds lining the streets.

In two weeks, the Guild of the Dragon would fill the imperial palace with camaraderie, fire dancers, fire shapers, musicians and other performers.

Money would flow into Guild coffers.

Yes, thought the Baron, this could be the most profitable year yet.

 

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Daily Prompt: Land of Confusion

Today, the people at Daily Prompt ask us “Which subject in school did you find impossible to master? Did math give you hives? Did English make you scream?

For me, that would be maths.

 

Pretending to have "A Beautiful Mind"

Pretending to have “A Beautiful Mind” (Photo credit: quinn.anya)

See that scrawl of mathematical symbols in the picture above?  That’s how I picture mathematics, that’s what it means to me.  It’s another language, completely incomprehensible and very very difficult for me to understand.

I know that for some people it’s must a matter of memorising a list of formulas, because each formula has a purpose and and each of them can be put into categories according to purpose or type.

I know that it’s easy for some people to memorise the list of formulas because to these people each of the formulas is just a series of simple and logical steps which they follow methodically to get from point A to point B as they travel in their minds along a line of calculations.

I also know that I won’t allow myself to do the same, because I can’t just accept things and memorise them.

I need to know why things are the way they are, and I need to know why I should give a damn.

Nobody ever explained to me why we performed these calculations, why we were using these alien symbols, why we did things the way we did (or how to play around with numbers in order to reach the same answer in different ways and then check the results by performing yet more calculations) or how I should apply it outside of the classroom.

The thing is, I regret that now, because I’ve seen so many documentaries and movies which show just how fascinating the numbers can be when you’re using them to understand how and why things are the way they are, or how and why things happen.

Like music for example.  Mathematics can explain why we like jazz music, why the chaos of jazz intriguing as our minds search for order amongst the seemingly random plethora of sounds.

Or how about nature?  Mathematics can explain so many things, explain how it’s all connected…

Perhaps one of these days I’ll be motivated enough to give maths another try.

Till later then…

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