Friday, July 29, 2016

The Watchers - Sci Fi Flash Fiction

As time seems short at the moment, I have decided to write a new flash every other week and on the alternatives share one of my previous stories.  I hope you enjoy this Sci Fi Flash from 2014




It was a day filled with the lies of a thousand mouths. Time had done nothing to change the human race. We had watched them over a life time, seeing them progress from one stage to another. Now, as I moved through the crowded streets, their voices spin around me like a whirlwind filling my mind with their untruths.
We had tried to help them, not interfere so much as guide them. We stood unseen by the sides of those in control and whispered into their ears. But our efforts slipped through their fingers and their thoughts like grains of sand falling. It is their flagrant attitude that enables us to justify what we must do if this world is to be saved and ever evolve into something better.
I and others like me must now gather at the appointed time, for our ships will not wait one moment longer. We grieve, for our efforts here have come to nothing and we now know those in charge of this world care not for their planet. Instead, they fight among themselves, always wanting more control, more power. It is clear to us that they will not stop until they have raped this planet of all its beauty. They are like a plague of insects infecting it with their greed and schemes.
What right have we to decide whether they live or die you may ask?  We are the Guardians of the Universe. Our age is timeless. We have walked among many different worlds for eons, but none have distress us as this world’s inhabitants do. 
It is our destiny to watch and to wait. But for this world the time to watch, the time to wait, has come to an end. They’ll not see the silver flashes come from the sky until it’s too late. There will be no pain. We will reduce their lies to ashes so that they may be reborn.
* * *
A silver streak danced across the blue sky, followed by another and another. The people stopped and pointed as more and more gathered to watch the glittering spectacle. Cars screeched to a halt, doors flung open and their occupants joined the throng that filled the streets. Hands were held up to shield their faces against the glare. All were mesmerised by the lights that twisted and twirled their way across the atmosphere. 
When the first hit the earth, an ebony mushroom shaped plume rose from the ground. The crowd gasped and panic spread through them like wild fire as they turned to run. But the plume in a split second became a whirling vortex of vapour to spread out and swallow all in its path. 
From above, in their ships, they watched in silence.

© 2014
Words: 457
Pencil Scribble by Helen

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Budget Circus (Pantoum) Fun Poetry

Pantoums are a challenge and fun to write. The poem is composed of a series of quatrains (4 line verses), where by you take the 2nd and 4th line of each stanza (4 line verse)  and repeat them as the 1st and third of the next stanza. You can make the poem as long as you like. The last stanza differs from the rest in that the 1st and third lines of the last stanza are actually the 2nd and 4th of the previous, while the 2nd and 3rd lines of the last stanza are the 3rd and 1st lines of the 1st quatrain.


The Budget Circus.

Roll up, roll up, but be quick
the Budget Circus comes to town.
They'll delight, with just one trick
A dancing Elephant and a Clown!

The Budget Circus comes to town,
Now hurry children do not wait.
A dancing Elephant and a Clown
Can be seen once through the gate.

Now hurry children do not wait,
an Elephant that twirls and twists.
Can be seen once through the gate
It’s something that must not be missed.

The Elephant that twirls and twists,
the Clown will balance on his head.
It’s something that must not be missed,
Or so the smiling Ringmaster said.

The Clown will balance on his head,
they'll delight with just one trick.
Or so the smiling Ringmaster said,
Roll up, roll up, but be quick.

© Helen A. Howell

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Collector



He watched as her graceful movements took her around the room. She smiled and nodded, stopping to chat here and there as she passed out canapés. Her long silk dress clung to her hips and fell in soft folds at her feet.  He felt his heart quicken. She was a work of art all of her own and knew that he had to add her to his collection, no matter what.
He’d been watching her on and off for several weeks now.  She may  seem out of reach, but he wasn’t going to let that put him off. 
“Hello,” he said as she passed him by. “I don’t think we’ve met. I’m Lennart Hives.” He held a hand out to her and smiled.
She looked around her for somewhere to place her tray down and walked over to him. “Hello.” She grasped his hand and shook it.  “I’m afraid I don’t know everyone that comes to these do’s at the gallery. I’m Arabella Restharrow, but everyone calls me Bella.”
He noticed how her amber hair tumbled down her bare back in gentle waves. How her nipples were just discernible under the silk that caressed her shapely form.
“You work here?” He already knew the answer. He’d been vigilant in his study of her. 
“Yes. I helped curate this show. You’re interested in art then?”
“I’m a collector of sorts and I’m always interested in adding to my collection. Perhaps you’d like to show me a few of your favourites in the show.”
“Of course. I’d be delighted.” 
“Lead the way.” 
He stood close to her as she explained in great detail what moved her about certain pictures. He joined in with his own impressions of the works she showed him. He’d done his homework and could speak with some authority on the tone and the composition of each piece.
 “It’s such a pleasure,” she turned to face him, “to speak with someone who truly enjoys how the brushstrokes are applied and what the artist is trying to convey.”
“Don’t all you customers look further than the picture?”
“No. Not all. Most just treat them as acquisitions to be displayed, trophies, if you like of their wealth.”
“Ah,” he nodded his understanding and for a brief moment captured her eyes with his own. 
“Would you like another drink?” she said.
“Why not.” 
He stepped aside to allow her to lead to way to the bar. As he followed on behind his eyes drifted over the outline of her pert derriere and he imagined himself running his hands over her smooth skin. She turned and handed him a glass of champagne and gestured over to the soft armchairs that were scattered in pairs around the gallery.
They sipped their drinks and chatted amiably together. All the while he felt he was getting a few steps closer to his goal. He knew she was from a rich family, but he thought he’d done a good job of disguising where he hailed from.
“Can I get you another drink before I carry on with my duties here? I’m afraid I’ve been neglecting them a little too long.” She smiled and stood up.
“No, thank you. But can I ask you a question?” He stood and straightened his tie.
“Ask away.” 
“Have you eaten yet? That is besides nibbling those canapés, delicious as they are.”
A frown appeared across her brow. “Actually, no. Why do you ask?”
“I wondered if you would let me take you to supper when this showing is over.”
She pressed her lips together and for a moment she was silent as she considered whether she should or not. I hardly know this man, she thought. Should I trust him? There’s something about him I can’t quite put my finger on. 
That’s very kind of you, but really it’s been a busy night and all I’ll  want to do is go home and kick off my shoes.” 
That’s a shame.” He kept a smile fixed upon his lips but inside he was angry. She was supposed to say yes. Now I’ll have to rethink. “Maybe a rain check in a day or two?”
“I won’t have any days free for a while, but thank you anyway. Enjoy the artwork.” She turned walked towards a group of people and joined in the conversation with them.
Damn her, he thought, clenching his teeth together. As he walked towards the door he took one last long glance at her. “Maybe not to night,” he murmured to himself as he opened the door and stepped into the cool night air. But soon my collection will be complete. 


©2016

Words: 773

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Delving into Dali

This week I'm sharing a poem I wrote a few years ago which was published.  It's still one of my favourites.  I hope you enjoy reading:

Delving into Dali

Dare to delve into Dali,
where liquid clocks slide effortlessly to the floor
and conscious time slips out never-ending,
to mingle with the stuff of dreams, and more.

~

Where the real meets the unreal
in a dance that flows to an erotic beat.
Pianos melt into sexual undertones,
a tune that is heard, but not complete.

~

Dare to linger for a while longer,
as flowers appear where heads should be,
and  everything is not what it seems,
or should be, or could be, maybe.

~

Where images shout,  look at me.
I am different, I am new,
I'm not a dream, but the stuff of dreams,
 to be understood, by just the few.


©2010

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

False Pleasure - Humourous Poetry


False Pleasure.


Oh how I love to brush me teeth,
And make 'em shine so white.
They're lovely and clean by day
And super sparkling at night.


What toothpaste should I use,
To help me in this task?
Should it be plain or minty.
Is the question that I ask.

Now I scrubs them up and down
And in-between the cracks
I'm really thorough you know.
my method never lacks.

I gaze at them with pleasure,
And I know I've got real class.
They really do gleam at me,
From their home in the glass.


©Nov. 2015 

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Shoes - Five Word Story



The dance is over forever.

Illustration is part of a bigger painting by Helen 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Madam Ursula Femme-Hap

I ran out of time again this week so here is a Blast from the Past:

It was dusk when the Carnival arrived in town. A Carnival had never been here before, least not in the twenty-six years I’d been alive.  But then it’s just a small hick town. No one comes here very often. 
I stood on the side street and watched as the train of oddly shaped wagons pulled into the empty green at the far end of Main Street. A fizz of excitement coursed through my veins and I hurried home to tell my mother the news.
She said that her mother mentioned a Carnival that visited here many years ago, when she was a girl.  
“What did she say?” I asked.
She stopped stirring the stew and stood silent, as if she was recollecting her own mother’s voice. “She said that the bright lights were a thing to behold. That the music called to you and the sights to be seen were so amazing that it made your eyes pop out of your head.”
She had piqued my interest. I wanted to know more about this spectacle that had arrived. “What else did she say?”
“She spoke about a giant man with muscles like wine barrels and side stalls that were decked out with prizes. I remember the smile leaving her face as a frown creased her brow. How she pressed her lips together, as though she was scared to speak. She whispered to me, her voice barely audible, about a tent that stood apart from the main show with a sign that read: ‘Madam Úrsula Femme-Hap sees all.’”
“Did she go in?”
“No, she said it frightened her. She said it stood there alone in the darkness, like it was waiting for something or someone.” My mother shivered and rubbed her arms.
“Are you going to come to the Carnival?” I smiled trying to lighten the moment. I knew how she believed in, you know, ghosts, devils and the likes.
“No, I’m too old for that sort of thing.” She carried the stew to the table and dished it out. We ate in silence, but my mind raced with this new attraction that had appeared. 
The next evening the music drifted through the air to reach into every corner of the town. I hurried towards the entrance that was lit by coloured lights, a rainbow glittering in the dark sky. A man in top hat and tails welcomed the crowd as we swarmed through the gates. 
The place was alive with music, lights and jostling people as I walked on taking in the sights. The strong man my grandmother had spoken of was there, inviting the crowd to feel his muscles.  
I walked around drinking in the atmosphere, and then I saw it, the tent with the words: ‘Madam Úrsula Femme-Hap sees all.’ It was nestled in the corner all by itself, as though it wasn’t really part of the Carnival but somehow, still belonged.   
It can’t be the same person. I thought. She would be over a hundred years old. 
 My eyes remained fixed on that sign. But the urge to go inside was too hard to resist. It was like it was meant for me. I brushed aside the tent flap and entered. A wizened weather beaten old woman sat at a table where a single candle burned in its brass holder. She crooked a gnarled finger at me and beckoned me to sit down. I pulled the chair aside and slipped in. My eyes adjusted to the dimness and I could now see her face plainly. She never spoke a word. Her ink like eyes burned as bright as the candle flame and as I looked deeper into them, what I saw made my heart race. She took my hand into hers her skin was cold as death itself. I tugged my own hand free and stood up, knocking my chair to the floor with a thud. For a moment I froze as she continued to hold me with her piercing gaze, before I broke free and staggered out of the tent.
Beads of sweat had formed on my brow and my legs felt as though they would collapse beneath me. I forced myself to walk away, taking one last glance over my shoulder. The tent was no longer there. I swung around and retraced my steps. But there was no sign of it or that it had ever been there. How can this be?  At the entrance I asked the man in the top hat and tails about the tent and the woman. 
He looked at me and smiled. “There’s a tale attached to this Carnival about a woman named Úrsula Femme-Hap, who was part of the company when this group first came together over a hundred years ago. It was said that her predictions led to the death of those who consulted her and so people began to fear her, which eventually led to her own murder. I’ve heard tell that on occasion her tent can be seen on the outskirts of the fair. But I’m sure that’s just peoples’ imagination. How do you know about her?”
I thought about telling him I’d seen the tent, seen the woman, but knew he would think me crazy. So I just said that I’d heard some people mention her and was curious to know more. Then I left the Carnival and its lights behind me.
It’s been one year since that Carnival visited. What I had seen in that old woman’s eyes was my own death. She showed me how I would be murdered. What she didn’t show me was when and where it would happen or by whose hand. There was something dark, cold and spiteful about her, that left me in no doubt that what she showed me would come true. 
 Now, I live my life watching all those I come into contact with. I believe we make our own future and I plan to change mine, by killing the killer first.


©2014 Helen A. Howell

Illustration Watercolour by Helen

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Tears - Poetry




Tears

Should I cry for that which is passed,
Tears, sparkling drops that dampen the soul.
Does it change what I can see?
Oh knife that stabs with pain that lasts.

~

Am I filled with regret for things done,
Tears, that flow and burn their path.
What good’s a breaking heart to me,
For life's moments that can’t be undone.

~

Has peace left me, flown like the white dove,
Tears, so fluid, drain away life's blood.
Is the hurt unreal, yet it feels so true,
It's wrapped around me like a silk glove.

~

Yet out of the darkness, light flows through,
Tears, dull and fade, no more to wound.
 Can I learn from life's mistakes,
My eyes now take a different view.

~


© Helen A. Howell

Illustration is a scribble by Helen

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Shadows - (Pt 5 - The Conclusion) - A Ghost Story.

 Previous Episodes:  PART 1  PART 2  PART 3 PART 4




William set the torch to the fabric of the old woman’s dress and the flames weaved around her body, fiery snakes slithering upwards to caress her now silky smooth skin. Her long flaxen hair, formed a flaming halo around her young face. She tossed her head backwards and emitted a laugh so chilling, it made Lilly’s flesh creep. William was in some kind of a trance, his eyes wide and he too was laughing.

Lilly struggled to pull herself free from the claw like hand that held her tight. A face, features distorted, pushed itself against the plaster.
Help us. You see, you hear. Free us now while she is distracted. Pull us from this prison that the Witch placed us in. We’ve waited for someone like you, someone who can see. Reach in and pull us free.”

“Leave me alone!”  Lilly struggled harder to break the hold on her. “Let go. I must help my husband.” She tried to prise each of the thin fingers away from her wrist, when one broke off into her free hand. Just for a second she looked at the bony digit with rotting flesh before  dropping it to the floor. “My husband, I must help my husband,” she screamed.

“You can’t help him now. She has him. Soon he will join us. Forget him, help us.” 
Another face pushed against the plaster. It’s eyes sunken within its skull.
Lilly pulled away but the hand stayed fast around her wrist and as she pulled she saw a shoulder come through the wall.

“Oh god help me,” she cried as she stopped pulling away from the wall. As she did the shoulder disappeared once more behind the plaster. She moved in closer and the arm also disappeared, just the hand remained fixed secure around her wrist. She looked over towards the Witch and her husband. The Witch was now free of the ropes. She was of fire, red and yellow and was circling around William.  

“Stop. Leave him alone.” Lilly yelled at the top of her voice.
The fire Witch swung around to face Lilly and saw the hand that held on to her. “You meddling girl. You can’t stop this or free them. They deserve their punishment as does he.” She pointed a burning finger at William.

“No! “ Frantically, Lilly turned back to the hand that held her and with all her strength started to break the other fingers off. Free she turned and rushed towards the Witch. 
“I see you,” growled the Witch and with one quick move she flung an arm out towards the girl. From her fingers a fiery whip discharged and wrapped itself around Lilly’s waist. With a deft flick of her wrist, she tossed the girl through the window and into the cold dawn air.
* * *
“Are you all right,” An old man stood over Lilly’s crumpled body and shook her gently by the shoulder. “This ‘aint no place to be spending the night, girl. You’re as cold as death itself.”
Lilly opened her eyes and blinked several times. The sun was shining and she had to squint to see who was speaking. The last thing she remembered was the sound of shattering glass.
“How did I get here?” 
“Well now, I can’t tell you that. I ‘spect you need something warm to drink. Wait while I fetch a flask from my truck.”  He hurried back towards the road.
Lilly glanced over and could see his truck. She shook her head as though to disperse the cobwebs that were shielding her memory.  

He was back within minutes and pouring her a hot cup of coffee.
“There, girl, you get that down you.”  
He held the cup out to her and his pale blue eyes searched her own as if trying to decide if she was really all right. Lilly took the cup and nodded her head in thanks. She sipped the hot black liquid and as it slipped down her throat and into her stomach she could feel it warming her flesh. She cast her eyes around her and as she did the cottage came into sight. But it was not a whole cottage, just the shattered remains of what it once was. 

She dropped the cup and started to walk towards it.
“‘Ere, girl, where you going?” The old man called after her but she didn’t respond, so he  followed and caught up with her outside the cottage. “What do you want to look at this old place for?” He reached out and touched her arm. She looked at him but said nothing.

Lilly studied the remains of the cottage; a door frame stood, a brick hearth where once a fire burned and one single wall with its plaster cracking remained. She stared at the fireplace and then at the wall. “My husband,” she whispered as the memory came flooding back.

“Your husband?” The old man stood at her side.
“Yes.” She rushed towards the wall and slid her hands across its ancient surface. “He’s here, trapped in here.”
“What you talking about girl? It’s just a old wall.” The old man was beginning to think she wasn’t all right after all.
“Last night our car broke down further up the road.”
“Ah, yes I passed a car this morning. I wondered where it’s occupants had gone.”
“We came looking for help. This cottage was lived in. An old woman she let us in but she wasn’t what she seemed, she was a witch. She’s trapped my husband and others in this wall. I have to free him.”
“Don’t be daft, dear. This place, what’s left of it, is said to be a couple of hundred years old. I don’t know why they don’t knock it down and clear it away. Proper eye sore it is.”
“But, it wasn’t last night.” Lilly pressed her lips together and blinked to hold back the tears that were beginning to burn her eyes.
“You must have had a bump on the head, fumbling your way through these woods at night and fell where I found you. If that’s your car up the road, I’ll give you a lift into the nearest town where you can get some help.”  He turned and walked off.

Lilly leaned against the wall and pressed her ear flat against its cold and crumbling plaster. She stilled her beating heart and waited. At first all she could hear was a muffled whispering, voices mingled together but nothing clear. “William,” she murmured. “William, I’m here.”  She held her breath as she waited, ‘Lilly, help me, Lilly.’  

The old man turned back to see her leaning against the wall. “Are you coming, or what?”
Lilly raised a hand in acknowledgement. She pressed her cheek once more into the plaster and whispered. “I’ll be back, William.”

As she walked towards the truck she knew what she must do. No ghost was going to get the better of me, she thought.  This time I’ll match fire with fire…. 

Words: 1,166

©2016 Helen A. Howell