Lamentations of an Unacknowledged Poet

it’s like talking with pigeons I muse

as I sit on the front step watching

they strut and they coo and flirt with each other

and pretend that I’m not here at all

 

for what do I struggle in the calm of the night

pulling ideas out of scotch mist and aether

I might as well talk to pigeons all day

I’d be calmer and richer and nicer

 

 

Copyright May 2017

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Self Love

 

It’s like opening the lid of a rubbish bin

you peer inside and hope beyond hope

that you didn’t throw your mind out

{in that absent-minded kind of way

you’ve been living the past few days}

 

and there it is beyond the stench

huddled small and frightened in a ball

so you pick it up and hold it tight

pretend that it’s the greatest mind of all

 

 

Copyright May 2017

Warrior in Sensible shoes

 

Yesterday my Dad pulled some bags and boxes out of the spare room for me to go through. I didn’t get very far after identifying 7 books I could possibly give away if I tried really hard and then finding a folder with stories I had written 20+ years ago. Of course I had to re-read them and yes, nothing else was sorted out and our house is still full of bags and boxes!! What struck me about the stories is how I haven’t changed all that much. I still moan about the same things. My taste still veers towards fantasy. I can’t figure out whether this is good or bad. Who doesn’t change in twenty years???? Then again why should I tamper with perfection???? HaHa! Over the next few weeks I thought I might share with all of you these old stories. Unchanged. Unedited. Warts and all. With really bad grammar!! And made up words!!! 

 

 

Anna let herself in the front door of the tiny cottage she shared with her two sisters. Throwing her bag and coat onto the antique wooden dresser, conveniently placed in the darkened hall, she stretched and sighed wearily. It had been a long and tiresome day.

The sound of high-pitched giggling from the lounge room made her groan and swear softly to herself. Somehow, tonight, she didn’t feel like facing her idiotical sisters. The fact that today she had been interviewed for a job she didn’t want, by a man with a brain the size of a gnat and the personality of a dictator, had soured her outlook on the world and sapped her quota of patience. It would be fabulous if, just for once, the CES could send you for a job you were actually qualified to do, but, that was probably too much to ask.

She shrugged her shoulders and walked in to the lounge room, smiling through gritted teeth, all the while muttering under her breath, “Better get it over with!”                                  “Hi guys, wotcha doin’?” Suddenly silent, identical blank faces stared up at her, and two pairs of equally blank eyes met hers incomprehendingly. She fought the impulse to go over and shake them both, yelling loudly “Don’t you recognise me? It’s Anna, your sister! Remember?” Comprehension finally dawned and her sisters smiled and greeted her absentmindedly, “Hi Anna. You’re late! and then went back to the aged book they were poring over.

Anna stamped into the kitchen swearing vociferously, “Gods, how did you land me with this family? There must have been a mistake somewhere. Maybe I’m a changeling? Or better still”, glancing back into the lounge “Maybe they are!” This thought cheered her immensely and she happily popped a handful of pills, some blue, some red and even one green. “It wouldn’t hurt would it? After all it had been a bad day and she’d like to block it all out before it got any worse. Not that it could get any worse?

Anna moved slowly into the lounge room, glass in hand.

“By the way” said sister ghoul number one, Tish, “Mum’s in your room you’ll have to sleep on the couch!” Bingo! The day just got worse. Anna slumped onto the said couch, despair fading slowly as the pills kicked in, aided and abetted by a goodly dash of Canadian Club Rye. “What’s happened now?”

Day sat up , eager to impart the news. “It’s Dad! He’s got himself a new computer. Mum’s livid! You know that she thinks computers are an abomination. Man’s attempt to control that which is uncontrollable.” Ye gods! how could she not know, the fights had been going on forever. Why her mother, Lily, had married a computer programmer, no one knew. Why she’d received a name like Anna when her sisters were Morticia and Wednesday, no one knew either. Luckily she took after her father, no hocus pocus, no new age, no goddesses. All perfectly sane and ordinary. She slowly sipped her rye, kicked off her shoes and curled up on the couch.

Idly she watched her sisters reading the old witchy type book she’d seen earlier. It’s probably a grimoire, she thought languidly. A grimoire. Her mother had lots of grimoires. Lots and lots and lots. Through the haze of her mind her sisters giggles and words sifted through as they read from the tome. “Spell to castrate a goat……without the mess…how handy!” The giggles trailed off into the fog  “…eradicate toads…all are necessary…..come to life from a painting….” “How nice!” she muttered to herself as she twisted and turned on the couch. “I could think of a few painted people I’d like to get my hands on, just for a little while. ” She sighed and slept with a smile etched across her face.

She awoke with a start. Pitch black! It must be midnight! She searched for the light. Five to one. She laughed at her own superstitious nature. Five to one. Hardly the witching hour. She ran her tongue over her teeth. Furriness and a dry mouth. Better get a drink! It must be the green tablets, the red and the blue never did this. Litres of water later found her sitting back on the couch, wide awake with nothing to do. She couldn’t even get changed out of her crumpled interview clothes. Boring interview clothes.Boring, boring, boring  clothes. But somehow Anna always wore them, even though she never felt comfortable. It was just something she felt she had to do. A barrier between herself and her family.

Sitting there feeling sorry for herself was not going to lead to sleep so, {after checking that everyone else was asleep}, she took out her secret horde of Burpulees tapes. No one knew of this secret vice, {all the tapes were labelled ABC Open University Scheme- none of her family would touch those}. Burpulees, superhero and demi god. {Not to mention superhunk} Burpulees, object of lust to pubescent {and pre pubescent} girls all over the world. Burpulees, the only man on television whose muscles rippled when he walked, who filled a loin cloth to perfection, who saved the world from nasty people and monsters every weekend. Bevan Sorbent {Burpulees} was Anna’s secret object of lust. She quickly put on her favourite episode, the one where “Burp” falls in love with Meana- Warrior Princess, evil warrior turned good {even though she still had her evil edge} Anna liked to pretend that she was Meana, that she was the object of Burp’s lust , that she got to see under the loincloth!

After a few minutes of womanfully trying to get into the episode, she had to concede defeat – nothing could keep her amused. Her eyes gazed aimlessly around the book-lined room. It was decorated more to her sister’s taste. Vampire paintings, bats, devilry of all descriptions and positions. Not very comfortable at this time of night, but then she normally slept in her own Country Road inspired bedroom. Her very own little sanctuary! She sighed. Pink was such a ……she searched for the word but couldn’t get past normal, and a normal colour just didn’t sound right.

Absentmindedly she picked up the grimoire her sisters had left on the coffin coffee table {a convenient place to keep the altar cloths, candelabras and spare sheets}. Spells! Spells! Spells! Spells for everything you could possibly want. Spells to get rid of a lover {Simple, tell him to bugger off!}. Spells to become invisible. that could be handy! She read further. you will need, three candles, dried fiddlefern {what the hell is fiddlefern!}, heather…..The list was endless. Recite three times, “Queen Mab, fith-fath, fath-fith. What a load of crap! She threw the book back onto the coffin. It conveniently opened to a well worn page. Spell to bring to life a person in a painting. Anna carefully picked the tome up again, it would be great if you could bring to life someone in a painting. A gargantuan Titian male perhaps! She read on. Again she was to be frustrated – the spell required Virginia snake root. It must be an American book! She checked the publishers. American, of course, but only about eighty years old, relatively new as grimoires go. Most are from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

The addendum should have alerted her to the fact that it was relatively new, a different spell, one designed for the new era. How to adapt the spell to bring someone to life from a photograph. Looking even closer still she could see where someone had made their own addition, an even more recent one. How to bring someone to life from your video of choice. She quickly glanced at the screen where Bevan Sorbent was looking particularly scrumptious, slightly dishevelled in a neat and tidy Hollywood way. “Oh Yes! I could definitely do with a bit of that!” She read on eagerly. Incantations had definitely become streamlined in the last few decades. The spell only consisted of four lines to be recited whilst spinning three times widdershins. Years of familial witchery meant that she knew what widdershins actually was. This could be so easy. Bevan Sorbent could be in her lounge room, in her hot little hands, any time she wanted him. Bliss!

She sat there staring at the spell page in deep thought.  “I’ll do it!” she suddenly blurted out, “What’ve I got to lose?” Her mind made up, she reversed the video to the particularly scrumptious scene and pressed pause. The spell didn’t say anything about the effect on moving pictures, but she was taking no chances- Bevan and only Bevan.  Spinning widdershins caused a little problem, it was night after all so no sun in sight, but she approximated it well, spinning and reciting at the same time……

Man {woman} of my dreams

don’t put up a fight

come out of the video

come into my sight

………. landing in a dizzy heap on the floor, knocking the remote, which immediately flicked off pause. For a moment the room was deadly silent. Anna not daring to breathe, not daring to move, not daring to even look at the screen. Nothing happened. She looked up anxiously,nothing was still happening! In fact the screen was blank, the whole cast seem to have disappeared. She let out her breath in a loud whoosh. She should have known that nothing would happen with magic. All she’d done was spin around and knock the stop button. It was as simple as that. Luckily no-one had seen her make a fool of herself.

She laughed a little self consciously and got up to fiddle with the video and the tele. She froze with her hand out as a dot had appeared in the middle of the screen. A mesmerising dot that loomed larger and larger until it filled the screen completely. It did not stop when it reached the edges but continued on and out of the television, forming a luminous portal that stretched from floor to ceiling. Anna reached behind her, blindly trying to identify a chair, which she then sat on without taking her eyes from the portal. There was a figure coming through. Could it be! Surely it must be! Yes! It is – Bevan Sorbent, alias Burpulees

Anna could hardly believe her eyes. She’d done it. She’d actually done it! Bevan was standing here in her lounge room, looking every inch a hunky demigod. Before she could address him with words to the effect of “Welcome to my humble abode!” he’d turned away from studying the walls to shout back through the portal, “It seems to be a part of Hades.” “It doesn’t look like any part I’ve seen. It’s gotta be a trick!” The strident voice bellowed out of the portal, followed by it’s owner, a strapping woman in leathers and gaiters. Anna gasped as she sat in her chair gripping the armrests for dear life. Floosy Flawless, alias Meana – Warrior Princess. Something had gone drastically wrong her rival in passion should not have arrived too. It wasn’t fair!

Both Floosy and Bevan turned sharply at Anna’s gasp, swords in hand. They stared at Anna and Anna stared back at them. The air was pregnant with fear and confusion. Mainly confusion. This air of confusion was interrupted by yet more confusion, as a dozen chain-mailed thugs burst through the portal, obviously itching for a fight, with swords at the ready. At precisely the same moment a sleepy voice inquired at the lounge room door, “What’s happening Anna? What’s going on? Are you having a party or something?”               “Anna having a party! Get real Wednesday, she hasn’t even got any friends!” Morticia’s scornful voice cut through the tension enclosed in the room. She moved out from behind the doorway, her mouth raised in a partial sneer, until she caught sight of the pulsating portal. ” What is…..”. She never completed her sentence, as the lead thug buried his sword in her skull, rendering her body in half, creating the illusion to Anna that she suddenly had three sisters instead of two. For a few moments the body held together as though loth to leave it’s lifelong partner, before slowly toppling forwards, encircling the lead thug who was desperately trying to ease his sword out of Morticia’s gore ensplattered intestines.  The occupants of the room watched in horror as he cursed and swore, tugged and pulled, with a seeming cyclops staring over each shoulder, raising bloody fragments of bone and hunks of skin and flesh over himself, the couch and the plushpile carpet – white, of course! Ruined perhaps forever. No Vax could ever remove that quantity of blood and guts from any carpet without leaving a permanent stain.

Finally he retrieved his sword, pushed the body impatiently aside and turned to face the room. His eyes widened in disbelief and subsequently filled up with the blood that was streaming down his face, down his chain-mail and dropping with a repetitive plop, easily audible in the shellshocked silence of the room, to collect in his leather boots. He wiped his gloved hands across his face and shook his head, spraying red droplets from one end of the room to the other.  “Where the hell are we?” Silence was broken for the second time since the unfortunate spell. Everyone began talking at once.

“I don’t know….”

:…walking down the….”

“….entered Hades….”

“…mummy….mummy…..mummy…..”

Wednesday’s wailing reached fever pitch, as Anna finally woke out of her stupor to bellow “Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!” at the top of her voice, while stamping her feet ineffectually {ineffectually because it’s hard to hear stockinged feet stamping on plush pile}. “What are you all doing in my loungeroom! I never asked for all of you, just one of you. You! {she pointed at Burpulees} You’re the one I wanted. No-one else. Now get out all of you! Not You! {she pointed at Burpulees again} You can stay. No-one moved! Then Burpulees. Meana and the lead thug and the other eleven thugs, all looked at each other and laughed.

Now Anna disliked being laughed at at the best of times, but today was worse. It had been a particularly trying day. What with patronising interviewers and losing her bedroom to a recalcitrant mother, having a spell work when all logic said it shouldn’t and recently watching her sister being decapitated by a sword wielding maniac from a child’s video. Altogether Anna was not in a good mood.

She stamped her foot again angrily, this time stubbing her toe on the leg of a chair. She cursed and hopped and searched for her shoes amongst the debris. Finding them, eventually, under a portion of Morticia, surprisingly not too covered in blood, but still a bit bloody.  “Well that’s just great, isn’t it! Just bloody great! They’re probably ruined now. Totally ruined! Do you know how much they cost me? $125  Italian shoes! Italian leather shoes! You can’t buy them everyday”  Whilst addressing the whole room on the merits of Italian shoes, she’d gone into the kitchen and come out with a shoe cleaning kit, and now proceeded to clean off the besplatterment. When finished she popped them on her feet and stood up to address the lead thug. “Lucky for you they’re not ruined, otherwise mate, you’d be in big trouble!”  She then stomped into the kitchen to put the kit away, leaving the heroes to look at each other in bewilderment. Women did not act like this in their world. Women did not dress like this in their world either. Neither flowing feminine nor fearless fighter, more a prickly warrior in sensible shoes, and sensible clothing.

She came back into the room more slowly than she’d left it. Realisation dawning slowly. Morticia was dead. The house was full of sword wielding warriors. Wednesday was a wailing lump of jelly in the doorway, and the room was a mess. What was she going to do??

The decision as to what to do was taken out of her hands as more and more people, animals, monsters, creatures of all description came out of the portal. They piled into the room in single file in a seemingly endless stream of extras from every episode ever filmed. Dragons, centaurs, minotaurs, serpents, monsters of all description. Dragons, demigods, demons, townsfolk in homespun clothing, clutching bows and arrows, pitchforks and other implements. Soon the room was stretched to the limit, overflowing into other parts of the house and eventually out the front door and out into the world. Anna could do nothing to stop it. Warriors were fighting beasts. Monsters were escaping out into the suburbs, where the inhabitants battled for their lives.

Burpulees burped, only to find that he couldn’t summon his famous demigod powers in this non video land. He had to rely on his fighting finesse rather than extra special powers. so soon found himself seriously wounded. Meana never left his side, bravely fighting his battles, blithely sticking her sword into first one attacker then another, not bothering to wipe her sword between kills as her mother had taught her {but this was an emergency after all}, merely tossing the bodies to the side when finished. Finally her own personal body count became so high that no-one else could reach either her or Burp, and she could safely nurse her hero, her battling buddy, behind a wall of death. The battle went on as still more creatures stumbled through the portal.

Throughout the carnage Anna had been unharmed, having ducked under the side table. No-one had seen her, no-one had tried to kill her, she’d merely been splattered with blood, now and then, as a stray arm or head had rolled on past, leaving a steaming trail behind it. From her position of safety she just felt guilty. This was all her fault. If she hadn’t succumbed to video lust, none of these people or monsters or gods would have died. They usually existed in video world. A land where no-one really died. Everyone lived to either be the hero or an extra in another episode, or by simply replaying one episode, were reincarnated, over and over again. It was only in this world that they died for real. She glanced around the reddened, body filled room and fought down the gagging feeling in the back of her throat. She’d have to stop them. she’d have to find her mum!

She left the refuge of under the table and slowly made her way through the room, ducking and weaving around the battling creatures, sidestepping the rapidly decaying corpses, already rancid in their putrefaction, and eventually making it through the doorway, down the hall and into her own bedroom. She hadn’t allowed herself the luxury of time to think about what state she’d find her mother in, but nothing could have prepared her for the reality.

The room was virtually untouched. The pink floral curtains still hung in exactly the correct manner, tied back elegantly with discrete pink bows. Nothing had been moved or knocked off the gold enscrolled, white painted dresser and the mirror had not been shattered to provide them all with seven years of bad luck. Lily, lying on her back in the middle of the curtain matching bedspread, provided the only discordant note in the whole room. She shouldn’t have been there , especially with the wooden stake skewered through her heart and her head neatly severed, lying so serenely on the pink satin pillowcase. Anna was horrified. Who had done this? Who had known that her mother was a vampire? Anna herself hadn’t really known, she’d only suspected. The goth look had gone out years ago, but still her mother persisted with the white pancake make-up, thickly applied, and the all encompassing voluminous black gothic clothes. Black absorbs light, so no sunlight could get through and nothing but a chisel could ever make it through that make-up. The modern vampire, emancipated from all the restricting “not in the sunlight ” rules that had so ruined the unlives of vampires for centuries. Anna was proud of her mother for not letting her disability restrict her unlifestyle. Still, as she glanced at the stake and the detached head, the end gets to us all eventually.

Anna sat on the edge of her bed, fighting back her tears as the cacophony of noise, the wall to wall sound of battle, reverberated around her. “Mum why did you leave me?” she sobbed, “I need you now. I don’t know what to do!” She put her head in her hands and sobbed even louder. “It’s all my fault! I shouldn’t have meddled. I should’ve just gone back to sleep and never, ever watched that programme. I should’ve slept” Slept! She sat up and bounced on the bed so sharply her mother’s head bobbed wildly on the pillow, threatening to fall at any moment. “Slept! It’s your fault. If you hadn’t been in my bed, I wouldn’t have been sleeping in the lounge in the first place. I would’ve been away from all temptation ” She glared angrily down at her mother’s body. “If only you hadn’t had a fight with Dad”. Dad! She could ring her dad. The momentary euphoria faded fast . What could her dad do about anything witchcrafty, he was a computer dweeb. She glanced at her mother on the bed. On the other hand he must have known that mum was a vampire , it’s not exactly something that you can hide from your partner. She’d ring her dad!

Her very own private pink phone was on the side table, on the head’s side of the bed. So Anna carefully moved her  mother’s head, apologising briefly as she did so. Maybe someone would know how to put her mother together again. She rang the number, letting it ring for what seemed forever. Her father was notorious for ignoring anything that smacked of reality while he was lost in the labyrinth of the internet. Eventually he picked up the phone, answering in a perfunctory tone, “This’d better be an emergency or you’re in trouble whoever you are.”

“Daddy!”

“Wednesday!”

“No!”

“Morticia!”

“No, Daddy!”

“It can’t be Anna!”

“It is Anna! I mean me. Why can’t it be me!”

“Anna you’ve never called me Daddy in your whole life. Not even as a baby. Your first words weren’t Da Da but dad. Just plain dad. ”

“Dad! Shut up! You’ve got to help me!”

“Now that’s my little girl!”

Anna started to cry again, “Dad I’ve done something really stupid. I brought Burpulees and Meana out of the video. and Tish is dead, and Day’s a wailing loony, and Mum’s staked here on the bed, and the carpet’s ruined, and the dragon’s burnt the couch, and there are bodies and limbs and bloody bits and pieces everywhere , and the neighbours are fighting the warriors and there’s more of them coming out all the time , and daddy……I don’t know what to do!” Anna silently tried to stifle her sobs. “Please daddy, you’ve gotta know what to do!”

“Now don’t worry Anna. We’ve got to look at this logically. Tell me exactly what you did.”

Anna took a deep breath before replying, shuffling on the bed a little to make herself more comfortable. “Well, Tish and Day had this grimoire that had a spell in it for bringing people out of videos, so I thought I’d try it. I chose Burpulees.”

“That moron! I’ll ever understand what women see in mindless beefcakes. What’s wrong with a man with brains!”

“Dad!”

“Sorry Anna, continue.”

“Anyway, all I did was recite the spell and this portal appeared and Burpulees arrived and so did everyone else.”

Anna’s dad pondered this at the end of the line.  “You must have done something else. It’s a straightforward spell, after all. Foolproof!”

“How do you know?”

He answered evasively, “You can’t live with a vampire for twenty three years, without picking up something.”

Not a very satisfactory answer, but Anna could take it up with him at a later date.That is, if she survived this ordeal. They both sat in silent thought. Her dad finally breaking the silence. “You didn’t recite it wrong? No, you couldn’t have done that, else no-one would have appeared at all. Maybe you didn’t spin properly. Anna which way did you spin?”

Anna had started to take it for granted that her father knew more about witchcraft than he’d ever let on, so she tartly replied “Widdershins. I know which way widdershins goes dad.”

“Of course you do. You’re just like your mother for knowing everything.” She was beginning to have her doubts about that too. Just when had her mother become a vampire. Since vampires couldn’t have children the point was moot.

Suddenly she remembered over balancing. “Dad I did fall over after the spinning.”

“Well that shouldn’t effect it. Now what could’ve happened!”

Anna hesitantly answered “I knocked the remote off the coffin.”

“You did what!”

“I knocked the remote onto the floor.”

“Gods give me strength! Why didn’t you say so earlier. It’s probably set on play. That’s why they all keep coming through the portal. Anna, listen to me, you’ve got to go back into the room, find the remote and press stop. It’s as simple as that.You do that as fast as you can and I’ll be over there faster than that. Once you press stop they’ll all stop. No-one will come through the portal and those who are out will freeze. ”

“Dad…..I don’t really want to go back out there.”

“Anna, I don’t want you to go either, but you’ll have to. People are dying.”

“I know, but I’m scared!”

“Good! That’ll make you take more care. Go now! I’ll be around soon. Bye.” He put down the phone without waiting for a reply.

Anna replaced the phone slowly, anything to waste time. She looked at her mother’s head gazing at her from the middle of the pillow. “It’s all your fault!” She left the bed, and in a determined manner, marched towards the door, glancing back once. “Yes, it’s all your fault!”

Getting back into the room was as harrowing as leaving had been. Even in the short period she’d been in her bedroom the death toll had risen immensely. Those coming through the portal were having trouble leaving the room, most were trying to avoid being slaughtered as soon as they entered by an axe wielding cyclops. How he’d fit through the portal no-one would ever know. As it was his head had broken through the roof and only the lower part of his anatomy was actually in the lounge room. Unfortunately his right arm was inside and free and clutching the axe. Arm and axe swept the room in a low arc – the death pendulum catching those unaware!

Anna was aware and crawled along the floor desperately searching for the remote control. Her biggest dread was that it had already been smashed and this nightmare would continue, ad infinitum. It was no-where in sight. She started madly moving body parts and even some whole bodies; humans, monsters, it didn’t matter, only the remote control mattered. Finally Anna saw something plastic and black tucked under the tail of a dead centaur. It was the remote! She carefully picked it up, checked to see if it was okay and pointed directly at the portal thinking, “Did he say pause or stop!  For a long, long moment her mind drew a blank and she froze, remote pointed in anticipation, until the sight of yet another warrior attempting to leave the portal broke the ice. She frantically pressed stop and the whole world seemed to stop dead, just like that!

Anna stood with remote in hand, staring at the newly stiffened warrior, caught in action, half in the room, half out of view within the vortex of the portal. A curious effect, only perceiving a fraction of a man.

The sudden silence carried it’s own fears. She hadn’t realised how quickly she’d adapted to the almost comforting, constant noise. Gradually she controlled her anxiety enough to realise that, in fact, everything had stopped. There was no more danger {for now}. and she could breathe easier.

As she started to relax she became aware that the silence was not all pervasive. Whimpering noises coming from a corner, proved to be, under investigation, her sister, Wednesday, caught under the weight of many dead things, but still alive, wailing softly to herself. She rocked back and forth as best as she could in the circumstances, whimpering “mummy…mummy…mummy…” Anna frantically removed the bodies, impatiently pushing aside those she’d recently feared, only to reveal a greater horror underneath. Almost the whole of Wednesday’s head had been crushed, most probably by the blade of the axe left sticking out of the weeping wound. Her body had been crushed to a jelly-like pulp, now an amorphous blob vainly hanging onto the head by a few stray tendons and uncrushed bones. It was a miracle that she was still alive to even mutter “mummy” . through that bloody hole in what had been her face. Surely no body could suffer so and still be alive.

“Day. Day. It’s your sister Anna. How are you?” She kicked herself as soon as she said it. Just how well could she be, when her body resembled the remains of a werewolf’s feast! Wednesday’s one remaining eye focussed on Anna with as much of a look of scorn as she could muster, before the light finally went out, and Anna became an only child. It was only her and her dad now.

Her dad came rushing into the room, puffing and wheezing from the unaccustomed exercise, he was a sedentary man usually.

“Oh Dad,” she said, throwing her arms around his neck and holding him tight. “They’re all dead and I’m your only daughter now!”  Clumsily he patted her on the back “There there. Never mind. You always have been my only daughter , so nothing’s really changed.” Anna let her arms drop from around his neck and stepped back a little to gaze up at him, mouth agape. “Whaddya mean, only daughter? ”

“Simply what I said. You are, and always have been, my only daughter. ”

“But what about Tish and Day?”

“Photograph people.”

“Photograph people!”

“Yes photo people like your video carnage….I mean people.”

“Tish and Day were from photos. Did mum know? Of course she would’ve known, she would’ve done the spell. Why? Why did you get them out of photos? Oh gods, I’m not from a photo too, am I? Oh dad, please tell me I’m not a photo person. Please.” She gripped his arm and imploringly looked into his eyes, begging him to tell her the truth.

“Don’t be silly Anna, of course you’re not a photo person, or even a video person. Do you really believe that you could have brought all of these characters out of your television set if you’d been one of them yourself. None of them have any powers at all in this world. They can hurt us but can only kill each other or others from movies, TV shows, pictures and photographs. As for your mother, she didn’t have any powers either. It was me. I’m the magician! Haven’t you worked that out yet?”

Anna stood there even more flabbergasted than before. It was all too much for one body to cope with. The whole day and night were beginning to feel like many lifetimes rolled into one. Anna’s dad smiled ruefully down at her. “Come on, let’s find a place to sit and I’ll explain it all.” She allowed him to take her hand and lead her over to a surprisingly clear piece of carpet, and there amongst the blood and gore and dismembered body parts he began the story of her life. A story she should have been told many years before.

“I’m a magician. I’ve lived for many centuries , which means that I’ve always outlived everyone I’ve loved. Back before you were born I happened to see a photograph of the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen in the twentieth century. Her name was Lily. I saw her photograph in a movie magazine. She was a character in a TV series The Munsters, and they’d just completed their first full length movie. I couldn’t go on living without her , so brought her out of the photograph, asked her to live with me, and eventually to become my wife. We were very happy, despite the fact that I’d brought her out of a black and white photograph. She remained black and white, and all shades of grey inbetween. It was a sad trial to her. I didn’t make the same mistake when I brought forth Wednesday and Morticia. You see, your mother and I had been trying to have a child for a while, without success. We had begun to think that mixed breeding didn’t work. Your mum liked the look of little Wednesday Addams, from a rival series, and really didn’t want to bring out Eddie from her own show. So, I managed to sneak onto the set of The Addams Family, took some hurried shots of Wednesday, and came home with my precious coloured photos.

Unfortunately, most of the shots were double exposed and I inadvertently used one of those when reciting the spell and we ended up with two little girls, identical Wednesdays, one of whom became Morticia {her character mother’s name}. You know what often happens when families adopt children. Soon after the twins had settled in, Lily became pregnant with you and here we are. You are my daughter, with all of my powers, even if you have always denied it” The last was said defiantly and it was true. Anna had always known that she was different and had strived to be as straight as society could possibly dictate her to be. She’d always tried so hard to be normal! Somehow she’d only ended up by being perceived as a crackpot.

Anna still had one question which needed answering, “Dad, how did mum become a vampire?”Anna had never seen her father blush, but blush he did. “That was my fault. I wanted to experiment. I believed that a character from one place could not only be brought into this world , but successfully placed into another without any detrimental effects. I talked your mum into being a guinea pig. I sent her into different video shows and during a Hammer Horror revival, she returned from an old Christopher Lee movie, a changed woman. It caused a great rift between us. I’ve regretted it ever since. ”

“Oh good! That explains it all then”, Anna hopped up off the floor, turned to help her dad, and then pointed to the various creatures around the room. “We’d better get rid of this lot then!”

Totally unsurprised by his daughter’s streak of practicality her dad reached for the remote control still clutched in her hand and simply pressed rewind. Belatedly he remembered that rewind was also fast rewind, and quickly knocked Anna to the floor , covering her body with his. He was just in time as a endless stream of bodies, warriors, monsters and demons, gods and demigods, some whole, some in parts, some living, some dead, filed backwards into the portal, disappearing into the void beyond. Even the cyclops seemed to fold in on himself as he doubled up, eased into the portal, testing the strength of it’s boundaries, and was sucked in as if by a vacuum cleaner, with an audible pop. The line finally ended with the departure of the original visitors, Meana and Burpulees , the former supporting the latter in a manner Anna personally thought , not entirely flattering for a demigod. Her hero was a wimp at heart.

Anna and her father stood amongst the debris of the newly dilapidated room, whooping for joy. They’d done it! Expelled all these people back to videoland. There was only one thing left to do and Anna had to do it. The portal had to disappear and it could only do so by the reversal of the initial spell.

Her father dictated the spell, a spell he knew by heart, both backwards and forwards, while Anna spun around anti-widdershins. She’d made sure that he had control of the remote. She didn’t want a repeat of last time.

sight by into come

video the of out come

fight a up put don’t

dreams my of {woman} man

Unfortunately , Anna was a bit too vigorous with her spinning again toppling over, this time knocking her father through the portal into the abyss beyond, his hand madly waving the remote as he disappeared. The portal started to shimmer and shrink, leaving no time for Anna to ponder her decision. She needed no time anyway. She was her father’s daughter, an embryonic magician. No-one else could teach her how to manipulate her powers and she had no other real family. As the portal shrunk to half it’s size, Anna dived through, head first, leaving an impression of the soles of her sensible shoes wavering on the television screen.

 

 

Congratulations if you made it this far. Tell me what you think??? HaHa! Perhaps not. As I typed this up I started to see myself as a female Ed Wood: all the right intentions but….. 

I confess I still like this story and the obvious joy I had in writing it. 

 

 

 

Copyright March 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hallowe’en

It was Hallowe’en and all the beasties and ghosties and ghoulies were out and about scaring the children. All except one quiet little ghost who didn’t quite approve of Hallowe’en. Yes they were all having fun but was that appropriate at this time of the year, he thought watching the fake ghosts and vampires and clowns running past. There was nothing funny about the Gates of Hell being open, even if only for a few hours.

He sat on the wall brooding until a white dove settled down beside him. Now this is more like it he said to himself, an emissary from Heaven. The dove opened its mouth. The ghost prepared himself for the Pearly Gates. The dove morphed into a crow and pecked his eyes out before flying off laughing.

The little ghost sighed, picked up his eyes and put them back in. He really hated Hallowe’en.

 

 

Copyright October 2016