Saturday, November 30, 2013

Where the heart is

They always say that home is where the heart is. And I think that might be true, although I would say that by that reasonin I most definately have more than one home: perth, where I live because that's where the majority of my family and friends are; Tazzie, because that's where I hail from and a part of my family still lives; and, London because it's where I always long to be - it's my Mecca, effectively.

I have a big heart, with a lot of love, and so I am at home in more than one place.

I used to hate Perth. Not because I hated my family and friends, but I couldn't bear the city and I spent far too much time there for my liking without much choice and enjoyment of it. I'm a wanderer and adventurer so I suppose you could say the sedentism really bothered me. It wasn't until I got older and I spent increasingly more and more time abroad that I managed to accumulate a little more sympathy for the city I live in. Now, it's not so bad as it used to be. I actually enjoy the time I spend there because it's usually shorter than I expect and I get to spend time with my wonderfully friends and family.

Tazzie, I've always loved. I'm from Hobart, it's where my parents met and had me, and I'm very proud of that. All of you with Tazzie jokes can honestly just go and stick them where the sun doesn't shine. But as a result I love to come back and spend time just relaxing with my family. 

Actually, I've run away to Tazzie before. It's like a safe haven and when I come it's like being with the best people and I genuinely just belong without a single doubt. I feel like a part of the family, and this time it was so much harder to leave that I even had to fight back tears. 

I wasn't running away this time, I was just relaxing and visiting, but it was just everything I wanted. I suppose you could say it's the only place I travel to and just want to potter around, read and have some tea; my love for tea was even born in Tazzie. It's like having another brother and sister and parents everytime and I hate leaving that. I love my perth family, but I love my Tazzie family too. And I hate to leave them, truly.

But if I never did leave them then I'd never be able to return to the Metropolis that is so firmly embedded into every fibre of my being. I wouldn't be compelled to cross oceans and timelines just to see her skyline and feel her history under my feet. I wouldn't be able to go home. London, more than reason and more than money, is my home in every sense but one.

So, yes, home is where the heart is and I miss my homes at the best of times. But I have itchy feet all the time and I probably won't be able to stop travelling for a while yet - or save my money for much other than said adventures. 

Despite what my mother thinks, I do t think buying a house or property is the most important thing at my age when there's still so much of the world to see.

Sam xox

Friday, November 29, 2013

It feels like Christmas

The way that I'm feeling this year I'll probably chance to post about Christmas quite a bit - I'm very much inclined to write a Christmas short story again, although I wonder if I'll think of someone entirely new to write about. As much as I love Eleanor and Daphne, it may be nice to write about something totally different. 

Though Isadora Arcanae, young sister to the horrible Red Queen, may be someone worth pursing for a holiday tale. Perhaps I'll even be persuaded to do a small collection - Dickens style. 

Which in turn reminds me that tomorrow is Christmas Carol day, and every time I think about it Muppet's Christmas Carol songs roll through my mind. Yep, it's definately feeling like Christmas.

It's all I can do really to try and regulate my excitement and good cheer, not every body starts on the 25th of December like me and an ongoing argument with my cousin has ensured with his adamancy to the contrary. But it's all in fun since tomorrow is the 1st and Christmas Tree day, and all systems are go.

Jingle bells!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The settlement


If there's one thing in life that I will never condone and never understand, take part in, or be happy about, it's settling. 

Settling in a relationship is such a sad thing I don't even know where to start; and for that matter I'm sad to see people I know who have done so. Settling is basically staying with someone long term who maybe isn't that great for you just because you're tired of looking, too comfortable, or afraid of being alone. Coming from a romantic, rose-coloured view of the world you can probably see why my internal alarm just flips out at that idea; no one should have anything but the best, in my opinion, and settling is the very definition of the opposite.

I'm not a cow, I do understand how hard it can be alone and to be tired of looking. I've been single my whole life - trust me, I know. But maybe in all arrogance that just makes me strong - I'm alone all the time; i travel alone a lot, I go on adventures by myself sometimes, and generally I'm just pretty independent. It doesn't make me lonely, it just means I've adapted to people not always being around to hold my hand while I go do the things I want to do. But I do understand that not everyone is as ok with going solo like I am. It doesn't mean I necessarily think it's great or that I sympathise (I empathise), but I do understand.

That being said seeing people settling is so sad, especially when it's because they think that it's their only chance and no one else would come along. Big no, on that one. 

I don't know how to make it any better for those people when they think that way, I can't. All I know is that being Independent is good, and it doesn't equal being alone for good or even loneliness. Some people could benefit from it a little. But I just don't want to be with someone just because. My mind doesn't work that way and if no one ever comes along that is wonderful and feels the same, then hey I don't need it. 

I guess all I'm trying to say is that everyone deserves to be happy, and not in a half-assed way. I love my friends and I want them all to have the best in life, but I just don't think that some of their relationships are quite that. I'm an optimist, a perfectionist and romantic and I don't believe in settling. That's just my opinion - you don't have to listen to me - but I'll never change.

I only wish the world for you. 

Sam xox

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Christmas is coming!

And the goose is getting fat...

I would call myself a right goose after the fool I've been this year, but I take offence to being called 'fat'. Rounded perhaps, or curvaceous. A little more to love due to my penchant for chocolate and treats. Like lamingtons, I do rather love them. 

But yesterday was finally November 25th and as a month to Christmas in my books that means that all systems go; there's no thanksgiving in Australia that halts it til the first of December, so crack out the tree, the candy canes and carols and lets get this merry show on the road! 

I'll be home for Christmas this year and I suppose I'm secretly happy about that; there will be time for travelling next year again and heck knows I'm never going to be able to sit still for too long, but this year I'm sort of ok with staying home and enjoying the lead up to my favourite holiday with my family. 

And just thinking of all the traditions I've got are exciting a like putting the Christmas tree up with carols in the background; watching the Grinch and the Muppets Christmas Carol and Jingle All the Way which are my favourite Christmas movies of all time! Baking gingerbread houses and Christmas cookies. Like having our annual Christmas dinner with my two best friends, celebrating Christmas with my other best friends and making egg nogg and candy cane shooters. Driving around the suburbs and seeing the Christmas lights, watching carols by candlelight and scoffing pudding. There is just so much about Christmas that I love and I'm so happy that it's back again because nothing makes me feel all warm and content inside then Christmas - even if it's hotter than hell in perth when I wish it would be cold. Although the way the seasons are changing it may well be cold in Australia for Christmas someday.

So happy Christmas, everyone, crack out the tradition and I hope everyone gets to do everything they love and that all your wishes come true.

Time to kick-start Christmas! 

Sam xox 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

NaNo 2013 to a close

I set out to give myself a harder goal this year and I'm happy to say that I whipped myself into pretty good shape; I managed to finish my 50,000 words of NaNoWriMo in 22 days instead of the usual 30. 

It's been a manic month so far and I've pushed over 100km of survey in the field (trekking through the bush), completed over 50k words for the writing competition, read 6 books (so far with a week still left) and that's before we even get Into social territory. It's been a fun but manic month of seeing everyone I know, getting over an old infatuation and meeting some new friends who mean something special to me. 

So I rewarded myself with a mini holiday To spend time with my family in my second home (London is third) in Tazzie. And so here I am now with a week to just relax and enjoy the fact that I don't have to do much. Also it's much much cooler here and a little rainy which is a welcome reprieve from the hotter than hell temperatures of Perth and the pilbara! 

It's the perfect temperature to enjoy my homeland and do a little light reading before Christmas explodes onto the world. 

Hitting back to NaNo, the true achievement of the whole thing was being flush behind from Tuesday when I spent all of Wednesday waiting around ( in a massive waste of my time, by the way, although I did get to go shopping with my wonderful Rick), and pumping out a crazy 9,000 words in 2 days. I don't know how I did it - although it was surprisingly easy - and I finished with an hour to shower, get dressed (towel novelling win!) and hitch a ride to the arport. It was crazy and I love every second of it; In all arrogance I haven't been this proud of myself since I finished honours without blowing my brains out. 

But even despite the amount of sugar free (I like the taste better) energy drinks and coffee I've downed this month and the lack of sleep that had me narcoleptic on the plane, the long nights after a taxing day in the field at my computer, and the fact that the story is not actually finished I still think I need to up the challenge next year. I'll see how it goes, but maybe I can make it 15-20 days instead of 22 next NaNo. I'll think about it more. 

50k later and Somewhere Down the Rabbit Hole is still far from finished, but that doesn't mean it won't be eventually. The story has expanded so much and become much bigger than I ever intended it to that there's no way I could let it go unfinished. I have many more scenes to write and back stories to build, a revolution to plan and a selection of characters to assassinate, there's no telling what else I'll stumble across. 

I didn't bring my computer along on my trip or I'd post a teaser of one of the fun scenes written over the 9k mania, and I will when I'm home again, but for now I'll leave you with a kiss.

A bright-red lipstick kiss like the one I gave Tinkerbell. 

Note to everyone: do not give me a bottle of butterscotch and a tube of ruby red lipstick. It will get messy. 

Sam xox

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Glee Misfortune

One of the things that make me stand out as a person is the need I feel to burst into song at pretty much any moment in time. When I’m happy – I’ll sing. When I’m sad – I’ll sing a sad song. Give or take, show tune or popular song, made up or memorised, I pretty much like to pretend that life is a musical without all the stress of forgetting the words or stage fright.

Then Glee came along and it was like a meeting of a number of my favourite thing: romance, drama, comedy, hot guys, crazy cheerleaders and above it all – life as a musical. Ryan Murphy must have had the same desire to sing about life that I did in high school, but probably without quite so many Disney song lyrics and fantasised Greek muses telling him to admit being in love. For two years I snapped up each episode of the darling television music fest and eagerly awaited more – pondering if Finn and Rachel were going to ever end up together, wishing I could stab Quinn and wanting to hug Kurt more than anyone else in my entire life. I laughed, I cried, I sang – it became like a friend just ready and waiting to take me away from my life for an hour or so every week to a world where none forgot the words and everyone knew the dance routine through telepathic communication.

Glee wallpaper

Then last year happened and hope started to fade.

Let’s face it Glee – Season three was more or less where things should have started to wrap up. But they didn’t.

The attempt to reboot the franchise after the graduation of a number of the main characters from McKinley High by introducing newer, younger characters such as the painfully naive Marley, Puck’s playboy little brother Jake and the transgender (but all round worthy) Unique was a good try. It even worked in refreshing the show for a couple of episodes, but then sort of failed to get any better after that. Instead it sort of started to work in the opposite way by returning to the same high school drama but without the characters that I love. Fortunately throughout last season there was the saving grace of following Kurt, Rachel and Santana to New York to see how their dreams of making it big on Broadway work out for them. With a few bumps in the road, some of them bizarre and irritating like Dean Geyer’s gigolo, but mostly pretty smooth sailing right to centre stage and success. Yeah, like the real world.

I was never under any false misapprehension about the reality of Glee and what it represented, but sometime last year it started to really just stop hitting the mark. I think it was around the time that every song started being top 40 and basically everything else that happened in Season Three. And Season Four is so much worse that I actively want to commit harakiri rather than keep watching it anymore and torturing myself with the stupid crap that’s happening to a bunch of characters that I don’t like (I’m looking at you, Tina).  

And oh my god did they seriously compare ‘twerking’ to Elvis’ pelvic thrust as a groundbreaking dance move of the generation. Now I know that you just want me to hate you, Glee. You’ve betrayed me and the memory of the King of Rock with that statement.

But I suppose the reason why this bothers me so much about the show going to hell is because of how much I loved it in the first place, how it embodied something that I absolutely loved, and then killed it slowly and painfully. I continue to watch long after it started to hurt my soul because every week I have this kernel of hope that it’s going to get better. But joke’s on me because I don’t see that happening when the wonderful Cory Monteith A.K.A Finn passed away earlier in the year and it was his easy going talent and nice guy attitude that made it so worth watching a lot of the time. Obviously his sudden death was horrible for everyone who knew him (especially Lea Michele his on and off screen love), but the sad truth is a Glee world without Finn is hardly worth watching at all. Not even Kurt’s huggable charm is even enough for me anymore.

After all these years, all these hours and all this emotion, I desperately want to quit Glee. There’s no joy in it anymore, and maybe I’ve just out grown the After School Special themed issues that dominate the majority of the episodes’ storylines, but whatever the reason it’s enough. And even though I still hold out hope every week there’s still about two whole seasons of cringe worthy episodes just waiting to be endured. I just can’t anymore and it pains me to say so.

It’s time for us to say goodbye, Glee. I think we need to break up. It’s not me, it’s you and I think it’s just best if we see other shows. We had a good run together but now it’s over and I’m sorry.

I may not have the comfort of being able to watch miniature musicals every week anymore but the trauma of losing Glee isn’t going to hurt my own sing-song lifestyle. I’m still going to belt out the words to music in the car and I’m still going to keep on with singing to myself when I think no one can hear me, that’s just  my personality. But if there’s one lesson I did learn from this it’s when things are going sour sometimes it’s just less painful to let it go rather than keep on for too long and regret it later.

It’s a good metaphor for a lot of things in life when you think about it (Note to Sam: take your own advice). 

Sam xox

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Rumours

The thing about rumours is nine times out of ten they're not actually true and they can be harder to shake than fleas. 

Whether I like it or not I've been both subject to and the subject of numerous rumours in the past year that really don't sit well with me. Admittedly of all the stories I did hear about me one was actually true but that didn't make it better. For one thing it made being in the same room, car or part of the state with the object of my affection incredibly uncomfortable for months, and that was before it even turned into a bigger issue.

For all the months of stress and discomfort it did cause me, the worst part of it is turning out to be shaking the rumour. I'm over it now, the affection has been finally and effectively shot dead on arrival...but no one seems to want to believe me.

How do I start spreading the rumour that I'm not into this guy anymore - and rather most of the time lean towards the opposite? How do I get out of the tangled web of workplace relationships that I've inadvertantly and annoyingly fallen in to? 

I don't want my name to be connected to that unfortunate series of events anymore and there's more than one person I definately want to be aware of that. Some people I want to know for my own piece of mind, others I genuinely want to believe me because their opinion matters greatly. It makes me wonder if fightin fire with fire is a good plan and I should start spreading my own rumours about me. My honesty seems to screw me over, so maybe the answer is to start lying.

But as my mother would say people will believe what they want to believe and there's not always something you can do to change it. In fact her most used Oscar Wilde quote runs a little along the same lines when he said "the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about". No offence to the great writer and my own mother, but this is a whole level of frustration I don't even know where to begin describing.

And that's before you even cross into the lair of rumours about me fancying just about everyone. But I think I've already discussd that more than once and how I feel about that unflattering perception that people seem to have of me.

All I want is for the rumours to go away. For that guy to pull his head up and realise I'm not into him so he can stop treating me like a freak, and to maybe slip back under the radar without everyone pitying my lack of a romantic life and theorising. 

Blergh, first world problems, am I right? 

Sam xox

Friday, November 15, 2013

Teaser Time: Friends at the Museum

I actually wrote this last week and meant to post it before, but I suppose somewhere along the way I got more than a little distracted.

It's sort of a long story.

Anyway, here is a fun scene I wrote when feeling inspired. It's set before Eleanor goes to the Underlands or even meets Rory, and I wanted to incorporate more themes and information about the kind of woman she was before this all started to happen.

And if you're familiar with my Daphne Savoy series than you may notice some fun crossovers. Who said mythology and fairytales couldn't both be real in the same world?

Friends at the Museum

In which Eleanor has a hard day and makes a new friend. 

Eleanor’s day at work had not gone as planned.
She slumped on one of the benches in the staff room with an exhausted harrumph and let her handbag drop to the floor beside her feet.
There was something about the pocket watch that was distracting her enough that she was fumbling her words today and that was not something she particularly relished doing in front of a group of tourists. Especially when she had so many history buffs, like her, trying to trip her up with their knowledge.
“Rough day?”
Eleanor hadn’t paid enough attention to who was in the staff room when she’d first come in and was a little shocked to notice the bubbly redheaded Australian standing with a large paper cup in hand marked by the Starbuck’s label. The woman smiled down at her sympathy.
“I guess so – I’m just feeling a little jumbled. Maybe I should have stayed home today.”
The woman laughed a little and offered her a cookie out of the paper bag Eleanor hadn’t noticed was in her other hand.
The sugar was what she needed and she took a chocolate chip, thanked her new friend, and chewed it with relish.
“This is so what I needed, thank you so much,” Eleanor swallowed a bite of the heavenly biscuit before offering her hand to the other woman. “I’m not sure if we’ve ever officially met before, even though we work at the same place. So, hey, I’m Eleanor Price.”
The redhead took her hand and shook it heartily and with a smile. “Daphne Savoy – I work in Egyptology under Professor Frank Kensington.”
“Oh, I have heard of you,” Eleanor burst out in surprise. “You’re the one who got pulled through the ringer with that canopic jar business, right? I heard you were even shot at, right here in the museum! Shame about what happened to Sutton Hoo though.”
The epic shoot ‘em up showdown on the museum premises a couple of years ago hadn’t gone by without notice. The destruction alone had caused Professor Kensington’s a heck of a lot of problems in the after-math. Unfortunately Kensington had been confined to light duties for a number of months following the incident whilst he recovered from what was only ever released to the curious as a ‘serious injury’, but of course that never stopped the rumour mill from going haywire and suggesting all kinds of causes from meningococcal and whooping cough to a cobra bite or attack of an ancient mummy’s curse. What could you do, the guy was a world class Egyptologist and even Eleanor, who was sceptical about things like curses, had to admit that in that line of work it wasn’t as unlikely as people like to think.
Daphne, working closely under Kensington, would probably have known what really happened though and it took a great amount of effort on Eleanor’s part to tamp down her curiosity enough not to go right on up and ask her. Cursed are the curious, after all.
“Yeah it was a bit of a rough week for the whole team,” Daphne agreed with a grimace, probably at the memory of the situation. “Eric and Frank had all sorts of trouble just waiting for them when we got back from Cairo.”
Eleanor looked over as Daphne mentioned the illustrious American, and noticed the goofy smile that spread across her freckled features. Whilst Daphne Savoy was someone Eleanor had heard of but never really met, Eric Stanhope was someone she’d definitely noticed. Not only was he an incredible brain within the museum and managed to become both a liaison between the Metropolitan in New York and the British Museum, and research partner to Professor Kensington, but the guy was also a total babe. He was tall, dark, handsome and looked like Adonis when he smiled. The women of the British Museum had been fawning over him for the better part of the past five years; Eleanor would know she used to be one of them before his recent engagement had taken it off the table for everyone else.
But Daphne’s smile made Eleanor smile, and just like that her crappy day improved tenfold.
Eleanor believed in love even though she’d never been in the midst of it. Seeing how happy it made people like Daphne and her bride-to-be best friend, Jaz, never failed to render a little hope in her heart that maybe someday it was going to be her turn, too.
Daphne stayed beside Eleanor in the staff room for a while longer; neither of them were particularly busy that afternoon and they found each other’s company particularly endearing; Eleanor asked Daphne about life in the Egyptology department and Eleanor was asked to talk about the ins and outs of being a tour guide which sometimes required both a high level of patience and knowledge about a range of the museum’s exhibits.
By the time six o’clock came around, Eleanor realised that she and Daphne had been talking for over half an hour and both of them had places to be; Daphne mentioned she’d had dinner planned with her handsome fiancĂ© and Eleanor herself had a coffee date with Jaz. So they exchanged numbers happily, strolled together out the main entrance, and parted ways leaving Eleanor satisfied to have made a new friend.
One that wasn’t a giant talking rabbit or any other unnatural or bizarre threat to her sanity.
Eleanor had a few minutes before she needed to go and took a moment to wrap her scarf a little better around her neck and adjusting the cap over her hair. The sun had set now and an oppressive darkness had started to creep into the Museum courtyard much more so than it usually did.
The pocket watch in Eleanor’s coat tingled a little and the hair on the back of her neck tingled a little in warning. Turning she glanced behind her in time to see someone disappearing out of sight around one of the large white pillars out the front of the Museum entrance. It was a sudden uncomfortable feeling and Eleanor did not feel right, opting to head over to the coffee shop earlier than she’d planned.

She gave the pocket watch a squeeze for comfort. 

Sam xox

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Teaser Time: Stories

Just because I've been shamefully lax with keeping on top of blogging does not mean that I'm being totally slack. For one thing I think we're probably over 60km of walking survey, I've written over 15,000 words for NaNo (check the word count - pushing 30k tonight!), and finished 4 books. Yeah I'm not even kidding, I'm still surprised that I've gotten any sleep at all over the past week I've been in the field. But alas I have!

Just not as much as I probably should get hence all the coffee, sugarfree V and having the lovely Tinkerbell drive me around in the morning. Good guy!

But there's only a few days of fieldwork left (sadly, also for the year) and still about 20 or so km to go, and then another 20,000 words of NaNo. I can finish it by the 22nd, right?

Hell yeah I can. I'm hardcore!

Story Time

In which Rory tells Eleanor the truth she didn't want to know about fairytales. 

Their walking and arguments had finally led them to a small cottage amidst the trees where they could spend the night. Rory went ahead and made sure that the cost was clear again, and when he found no real signs of life within he ushered Eleanor inside.
                Striking up a fire in the hearth to warm them, Rory was still weary of Eleanor’s wrath as she paced around the small common room of the cottage and touched absolutely everything.
                But it was the oddest things that struck her fancy. For one thing, everything was laid out in threes; three armchairs, three spoons, three bowls. Eleanor had a feeling that if she looked upstairs she would find three beds of varying sizes just like everything else.
                A niggling suspicious came to her and she wondered if she already knew where there were. But surely that defied logic, didn’t it?
                Of course what about any of this so far actually conformed to little things like logic, physics and possibility?
                “Rory,” she said, picking up the littlest bowl from where it had been placed neatly on the dining table with its corresponding spoon. “Did you ever hear of the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears?”
                He blinked and angled his head, unsure how exactly to respond.
                So she continued. “It’s a story that practically everyone in my world knows; it pretty much just tells of three bears that lived in a cottage in the woods and would make porridge for breakfast every day. They had three of everything; beds, bowls, chairs, and all of them were just the right size for each of the bears. One day a little girl with blonde hair called Goldilocks came to the cottage while the three bears were out ate all of their porridge, claiming first that one was too hot, one too cold and the last just right. Then she went to their beds claiming that the first was too hard, the second too soft, and the last one just right before falling fast asleep. Before long the three bears came home and discovered Goldilocks asleep in their bed and frightened her so much that she ran out of the cottage and far away.” Eleanor placed the bowl back down onto the table and sighed. “I guess this place just reminded me of that story.
                Rory came over and touched the bowl himself, almost regretfully. “The story of the Bears is not the way that you described although some parts were true.” He cast her a look with a grimace.
                She looked up at him wide-eyed. “The three Bears were real?”
                “In a manner of speaking – you’re already aware by now surely that there are a race of beings known as Animals, different to the ones you know in your world, who are larger, wiser and communicate in our languages as all other beings in the Underlands do.” Eleanor nodded, thinking of Phineas Alabaster, the Rabbit in the waistcoat responsible for her run in with this White Prince. “Well the three bears that once lived here, probably within this very cottage, were Animals. And it was because of the horrible thing that happened to them that there are no more Bears in the Underlands anymore, they all escaped to your world, where they cannot speak to humans.”
                “But why? Why leave a world where you can communicate to one where you can’t?” Eleanor moved slowly over to the mantel above the heart, running her hands over the embroidered ‘Home Sweet Home’ crochet that sat there. “What awful thing happened to them to make them want to leave so badly?”
                “You see, Eleanor,” Rory explained, leaning against the table. “You already know; it was the Golden Lock child, her vicious murder that drove Bears away from the Underlands forever.”
                “What? When you say Golden Lock child, are you talking about Goldilocks? You can’t really be suggesting that some innocent little girl murdered three bears on her own.”
                “The first thing you need to understand about the Golden Lock people is that they’re never innocent. They are demons, killers, legends among the citizens of the Underlands and creatures that you hope to never meet. The little girl, although I find it difficult to think of her as such, was the spawn of a demonic race and came upon the Bears who lived in a cottage just like this one. They took her in, fed her – porridge I believe, and suppose that that’s where that facet of your story comes from – read her stories of the Underlands, and put her to bed. You see, the Golden Lock people are rare, so rare in fact that they became the kind of legend that the world doesn’t really believe in anymore – like your King Arthur or Atlantis. The Bears didn’t know, they couldn’t have, not when all they saw was a little girl with golden hair so hungry and sad.”
                Eleanor inclined her head a little. She had a bad feeling about where this little episode of story time was going. “What happened?”
                “She killed them; all three of them. Tore them limb from limb, the flesh from their bones, and painted the walls red with their blood. The constables from the White Throne sent to investigate the area discovered the remains and refused to believe that this little girl could have committed such a horrendous crime. They escaped with their lives, although one of their number was not so lucky. To this day, very few people or beings have seen the Golden Lock people or the little girl again, but the trauma that the slaughter caused the Animals resulted in a large scale exodus to the World of Storytellers, which is another term that we have for your world. Many of the smaller Animals left, the more helpless ones, and every last Bear retreated vowing never to let something of this calibre happen to them again choosing to live speechless instead.”
                When Rory finished speaking he turned away from the bowl that he’d still held in his hand and looked over at the fire where Eleanor was warming her hands. She looked stricken, her expression ill.
                “I don’t even know where to begin,” she said, brushing the hair back from her face nervously. “You told me such a horrid story that I’m devastated for the poor Bears that were driven away from their homes, and the ones that were killed so brutally; but you’re turned a childhood story that used to always end happily in my mind into a nightmare. I can’t help but wonder how dark everything else actually is! What other stories stem from such negative and brutal beginnings? Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, the Little Mermaid, The Snow Queen?”
                Rory thought it was a rhetorical question, sort of hoped it was, and was disappointed when she gazed at him expectantly.
                He turned away. “I reckon I could probably find something for us to eat, you know, if you promise not to judge my basic cooking skills – didn’t cook much living in the palace as...” He’d almost forgotten that that was yet another touchy subject at the moment.
                “Rory.”
                “Er, but never mind, I’ll just find something else!”
                “Rory.”
                “There might not be too much here though.”
                “Rory! Shut up about the food for a moment and look at me.”
                Reluctantly, he did. She looked sort of wild. Her long dark hair was completely loose now and hung in waves over her shoulders, and her peach dress was streaked with dirt from her time in the Red Throne’s dungeon. If it wasn’t for the look of crushing disappointment and consternation on her face he would have found the whole thing rather adorable, a word he had heard in her world that he found rather fitting.
                “Please just answer my question; I feel like I really need to, and deserve to, know.”
                And he supposed she did. He had dragged her here after all and drilled into her that his world was where fairytales effectively came from; he couldn’t lie to her now when she asked for the truth about them.
                He sighed in resignation and momentarily abandoned his search for food in the kitchen’s cupboards. “Alright,” he began. “But maybe you should sit down.” She went over to the comfiest of the armchairs and patted the one beside it for him to sit on and he followed her lead.
                When he’d sat down beside her and she’d taken a nervous moment to rearrange the way her dress flowed over the seat of the chair, Rory cleared his throat. “Ok, well where do I begin? Once upon a time? I’ve already told you that all the fairytales and many of the folk stories of that you know in your world come from a form of truth that happened here in the Underlands. Charles Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll, the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson, JM Barrie – all of these famous writers that you know so well all took influence from the experiences that they had on meeting inhabitants of the Underlands or the adventures that they had here themselves.”
                “Yes, I sort of gathered with the Alice in Wonderland thing – that was pretty much a given.”
                “Yeah, real lucky for us that we’re out of copyright, right?” He joked weakly in an attempt to lighten the mood again.
                Eleanor didn’t laugh, didn’t even smile, although she did wonder how he was so casual with modern lingo and law when he was the Prince of a distant land. Well, world. She resolved to ask him later after she’d dragged enough information about the reality of fairytales from him.
                “Ok, well I won’t just sit here and tell you the truth of every fairytale out there because that would take forever and I really was serious about procuring something for us to eat. So how about I start with this: the Underlands are much older than your world, in the sense that what you know as ‘civilisation’ has existed for centuries longer here than it has in the World of Storytellers.
                “You know that I am the Prince now, my great-grandmother was the White Queen in Lewis Carroll’s story and many of the characters you know are real but not as you know them. There are national archives in the White Throne that chronicle most of our histories and how they have become stories in your world. I’ll take you there – you can peruse through the archives all you want.”
                “I do want to. This has changed a lot of things for me – I can hardly even understand it.” She twisted her hands in her lap. “When I was little I always wished that fairytales were real – wished I was a princess and everything. But now I don’t know anymore, I almost wish I could go back to the way I was before you found me and shattered the Disney illusions that I had of stories like this. It’s a terrifying thought, you know, when everything you thought you knew isn’t the truth.”
                Little does she know, Rory thought.
                “And I know you said you wouldn’t just tell me everything now, but tell me one more. What really happened to Cinderella? She is the face of Disney, you know, the ultimate princess. She grew up poor and abused, never gave up on her dreams and one day she met the man she’d been waiting her whole life for. It’s romantic, a fairy story, and when I think about it I worry that it must be one of the most dark of all written stories, particularly when you look at how awful the original Brothers Grimm story actually was.”
                Rory gave a nod and waited a moment, collecting his thoughts. “You’re right in thinking that the true story of Cinderella was dark; it was. It was traumatic for all who lived through it, not unlike the incident of the three Bears and the Golden Lock child. Cinda Notte was a young woman of the noble classes of the Red Throne and was forced to work her fingers to the bone much like in the story, she was a good woman and eventually she married another noble from the City of Hearts, close to the Queen. And he loved her; he stopped her from working and provided her with everything she desired including the grandest selection of shoes that the Throne had ever seen. But the Queen grew jealous, losing her most favoured courtier infuriated her and so she took her revenge: her noble courtier was accused of treason and found guilty, the punishment beheading. Cinda Notte was heartbroken and inconsolable, her husband murdered by the jealous heart of her Queen, and she would not leave her house for days. Then one night the manor that Cinda Notte lived in caught fire; the villages were too late to save it and within a few hours all that belonged to Cinda had burnt to the ground as ashes and cinders. Cinda Notte was burnt along with it, her body becoming like her name.”
                Eleanor grimaced. “That’s really awful.”
                “I know, but I’m not finished. After her death, Cinda Notte became known as the Lady of the Cinders, her soul returned as a spirit of fire that legend tells will come to you through fire if you call her. She protects lovers and helps those to connect when parted, but no one really knows how true it is.”
                “Who started the fire?” Eleanor asked after a moment.
                “No one really knows to this day; some say that it was the jealous Queen, others her selfish step sisters that were the inspiration for the Brothers Grimm story. It all happened so long ago that facts have been lost to time and no one really knows the whole truth anymore, it has become a source of superstition among young couples to always be able to reach one another though I’ve never heard of her being truly contacted before.”
                “What a beautiful, sad story,” Eleanor whispered, and Rory was touched to note that she had tears in her eyes when she said so.
                It was the betrayal of so good a person, the destruction of love, and the tragedy of her death at so young an age that really got to her. It might not have been the fairy tale that she’d grown up believing in about glass slippers, pumpkins and fairy god mothers, but it was still a haunting tale of love and loss that cut right to Eleanor’s heart.
                They sat in silent contemplation for a little while by the fire, each lost in thought; Eleanor rehashing all the fairytales she knew and wondering what other devastating truth of the story she was going to come across in this strange place, and Rory about Eleanor.
                In the few minutes that he thought about her he didn’t come to any real conclusions that didn’t make me uncomfortable, and before long he excused himself to search for some form of sustenance for the both of them.
                Left to her own devices momentarily, Eleanor pivoted her armchair a little closer to the fire and peered into the flames there. She thought about the phenomenon of scrying, using the fire to see things or people, asking questions that could be answered by the flame.
                I wonder if the Lady of the Cinders is who they call, she thought, when they stare into the flames. In this world and mine, I wonder if she answers.
                She gazed into the fire for some time after that, almost sure that she could see the features of a young, beautiful woman within them.
                She couldn’t really tell that it was happening until it did, and Eleanor soon found herself well within a trance. The crackling of the fire died away and she could no longer hear Rory rustling about on the other side of the cottage, all she could hear was a soft whisper of her name.

                “Eleanor...”

Sam xox

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Smile

I'm meant to be writing now, I suppose. And I would say I'm not really feeling it but that's not true - I'm not quite out of it. I have a good scene to write in my head and I'm slowly picking it up, but I suppose I'm just feeling that same sort of churning emotion as the day before last.

It's not particularly rational and I guess it was never meant to be, but one of the things bothering me lately is the massive ironies, differences and opposition in my self esteem, image, personality and appearance. For one thing the way that men and other women seem to see me right now (obviously I'm not talking absolutely everyone and I'm nowhere near that confident or arrogant).

I may have mentioned before that I seem to have a rotten sort of luck with me - it's true, I do. But that's not restricted to just the ones that I fancy even though I could write a book about all the drama and pain that causes me. No, rather what is bothering me now is the massive misinterpretation and wrong impressions that I seem to give. All people should know that when someone is nice to you, smiles at you or jokes around doesn't equate to that person necessarily fancying you or wanting to shag you. I know that this happens to more people than not and it can even be kind of embarrassing when the situation is revealed - it's the same with reading too much into situations with partners or crushes. Heck knows I'm guilty of doing all that!

But my problem, the one that is sort of concerning to me, is that this seems to happen a lot. I'm no royal beauty, Angelina Jolie or Mila Kunis but I wouldn't say I was the world's ugliest young woman either, and whilst most of the time I like me my esteem isn't the best. So believe me when I say I don't put much stock in my charm, and I figure nothing will ever kill me to be nice to people. So I am: I try to be friends with everyone, I joke, I tease, and I've been told more than once that I flirt with everyone. I don't really know when I do it, but that's what I've been told from some pretty reliable sources.

Men: I'm not trying to crack on to you all of the time. I probably don't know if I'm flirting with you, and if I'm smiling I'm probably just trying to be nice. You don't have to worry that I'm going to be too intense or fantasise about marrying you or having your kids because I'm not. Just be nice back and don't treat me like you're worried I'm going to be untoward.

Ladies: I'm seriously not trying to steal your boyfriends. Like, ever.

It feels ridiculous to write it - and rather I now feel like I've just made myself look like the most arrogant, full-of-herself biatch who thinks every one is either jealous of her or wants her - no way do I think that's true! But I suppose the reason that I am writing about it is because it bothers me. Seriously try to think about it - I can't get a guy to go out with me when I do actually fancy him and a friend's girlfriend hates me because I get on with her boyfriend? You've got to be kidding me.

It makes me feel awful about myself! And when I say so it's not from one time, or two, or even three - this is a recurring problem for me and I just worry that I'm stuck in this cycle that I can't escape from.

Maybe I need to change my behaviour - but I'll tell you straight up that I'm not sure how. Do I stop talking to male friends as soon as they get a girlfriend? Do I stop smiling at people I meet? Do I stop being nice to people? If all these facets of my behaviour are what's causing rumours to spread about me, people treating me meanly or like I've got some nefarious plot afoot, then maybe I need to change.

For the life of me, I'll never understand. Do people just think I'm easy, or desperate, or sad for being single, or slutty, or whatever?

I'm none of those things. I'm just me, just Sam. I'm the girl next door who just wants to be happy, write, be friendly to everyone and not get treated like a hussy or a freak.

As my mother would say, you can't please everyone. But you can forget it if you think I'm going to stop smiling.

Sam xox

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Teaser Time: One will make me small, One will make me tall

It's been a while since I've poster a teaser and I have no excuse except to say that I've been writing like a hurricane and working on top of that. I walked 16km today in 40 degree heat and so far I've done about 1,200 words - give a girl a break!

Alas I do it to myself because I'm some sort of stress-writing masochist. I know, mental right? 

But my churning of words isn't just to kill myself, although staving off the nap today that my body was kind of screaming for was super painful, and even though I upped my game to finish NaNo on the 22nd instead of the 30th. Heightening the challenge in writing 50,000 words is all part of the exercise and I was sorry to say that 50,000 words in 30 days is just not difficult enough for me anymore. I read on the NaNo blog the other day that one girl wrote her 50k in 10 days one day; even I, who am tripping over myself to write like the wind, think that that is crazy. Who the heck doesn't have enough to do that they pump out 50k in 10 days? 
Although I suppose you could even argue that I'm a little jealous because my record is about 25 days. But I'll break that record this year for sure!

So without further insane ramblings of one sleep deprived, here is a fun scene I wrote just now. Don't forget that everything is unedited and raw, so constructive criticism only! 

In which Eleanor drinks a potion in order to grow smaller. 

“I suppose you could say we’ve gone down the rabbit hole.”
Eleanor’s head snapped over to see that Rory had said it with a grin and found herself grinning back.
“Yeah, I suppose we are.”
They’d finally reached the end and came to a slow halt, landing on their feet with barely a jarring drop. Eleanor wasted no time in surveying the area and wasn’t disappointed. Whilst the sophistication and polish of the hallway had melted away, where they were standing now looked much more like the entrance into somewhere magical.
“This is why I call them the Underlands,” Rory explained as they reacclimatised themselves with their new location underground. “We are in a parallel world where the rules are different and we are not entirely governed by the same forces that you are, but our world exists beneath yours. Like a forgotten city beneath the sand, or a kingdom at the bottom of the sea; our world is underneath yours. The truth underneath so many stories; the Underlands.”
With a nod, Eleanor continued to take in the dimensions and decor of the small room they’d ended up in. It was almost vaguely familiar and it was what Rory had told her earlier, about fairytales and their hidden truths that made it so.
There was no real theme to the decor, with hap-hazardly placed throw pillows across the space, an over-stuffed armchair in the corner and oriental rugs lining the floors. A glass table stood in the centre of the room with a collection of glass bottles in different shapes, sizes and colours.
Of all of these, one small, slim bottle of the duskiest pink had the words ‘Drink Me’ painted in bright, swirling letters on the side.
Eleanor zoned in on this straight away and raised an arm up to point at it, jumping up and down a little in sudden over-zealous excitement. “Oh. Oh! Potions! Magic potions!  Just like Lewis Carroll said – he really was here! We’re in the real Rabbit Hole – I can’t believe it!”
“There are a number of ways into the Underlands,” Rory said, a chuckle at her sudden over-excitement. “The Rabbit Hole is only one of them and probably the only one that is remotely like the way it was described in the literature. I hear that back in the day Lewis Carroll was probably about as excited as you are right now – except maybe a little more curious and inquisitive as well.”
But Eleanor had stopped listening and hobbled over to the glass table covered in potions.
“One will make me small, one will make me tall,” She sung, wasting no time in picking the first one up and twisting in her hands before moving on to the next.
A bit of an internal alarm went off in Rory’s head. “Eleanor – what are you doing?”
She ignored him and continued to check out the bottles in better detail.
Rory frowned and paced over to where she was standing by the table. “Eleanor, be careful with those bottles – you shouldn’t mess about with magic of any kind if you don’t know how to use it.”
But the little demon inside her made her do it and before Rory could snatch the bottle from her she’d brought the pink vial to her lips and downed the syrupy, caramel-coloured contents.
Rory stared at her in horror for a moment then swore. “What the hell did you do that for? Have you lost your mind?”
Eleanor cocked her head and raised a brow, replacing the lid back onto the top of the now-empty bottle.
“To get through that door,” she pointed at a tiny door beside the armchair, partially obscured by a small curtain. It was maybe the size of a mouse-hole.
“So you just drank a random potion you found on a table marked with ‘Drink Me’ to fit through a tiny door? Good lord you’re definitely in the right place,” he grimaced. “You’re just lucky it doesn’t appear to have been poison that you just drank.”
“I’m not even sure that it was anything – it just tasted like butterscotch.”
But as she was speaking Rory was horrified to see her start to shrink.
“It’s such a shame you know – I was sort of looking forward to it all and I was starting to really want to check this Underlands place out.”
Rory just watched her in open-mouthed distress as she continued to rattle on, unaware that she was miniaturising more and more by the second. Phineas is going to kill me.
“Eleanor – stop! Don’t you see what’s happening to you?”
She paused and looked down, mouth falling open when she realised that she was now less than half the size she was supposed to be and still shrinking!
“Holy hell, it actually worked!” She turned her hands over and over to see them change.
“Urgh, I almost liked it better when you didn’t believe me about the Underlands.” He ran a hand through his hair and counted backwards from ten. “Did it occur to you that there is another way into where we need to go? One that doesn’t involve turning yourself into a bite-sized morsel for the Cheshire cats?”
“You mean they’re –
“Stop!”
Eleanor’s voice had started to sound squeakier as she’d shrunk and it cut off now when Rory called her to a halt. He waited a beat before bending down, scooping her up and into his hands. Her tiny fists beat against his hands as he held onto her, protesting vigorously his rough handling.
“Put me down! I want to go through the door!”
“No, it’s not the way we want to – ow!” Rory dropped her in surprise as she suck her little teeth into the flesh of his hand and vaulted away, sprinting for the door.
He couldn’t understand what had made Eleanor go so crazy, but as she made it to the door he realised he had no choice but to follow in her wake.
Cursing he swiped one of the bottles from the glass table and threw back the contents, refusing to enjoy the sweetness of the butterscotch flavour that it held.
As soon as he was small enough, Rory made a beeline for the door and threw it open.

Sam xox

Friday, November 8, 2013

Churning

I'm churning about in a lot of ways this morning - and it is morning even if it's an obscene hour to be awake! 

I'm churning out re words for NaNo like a steam train; I'm averaging about 1,900 words a day which is a lot but not as much as I want since I've brought my deadline back to the 22nd instead of the 30th just so I can leave my computer behind when I trek home to Tazzie at the end of the month.

It's a hard life.

Honestly it's exhausting when I throw fieldwork into the mix too and we start racking up the kms marching through the bush every day. Depending on how that goes will determine on whether I get to the gym or not this trip - I may not have the energy 2,000 words and 12km later! But when I think about it for the sake of my sanity and my poor abused body, if push comes to shove the gym is going to be sacrificed. Somehow an average of 10-12km everyday plus the gym and then a 2,000 word session on top of that may start to be a bit too much, even for me. And whilst I admit the thought of being all but forced to give up the gym for a swing fills me with a slight glee (I want to lose weight and get fit but it doesn't mean I relish brow-beating my body everyday) it's for the greater good when my job and life's work are called into question. 

Shame I'll not have to pump iron.

But the physical nature of this month isn't the only thing churning me up, but some thoughts are as well, I suppose. There's nothing necessarily all that wrong right now, rather on the contrary I feel pretty much content and at peace these days, but I still have a bevy of bizarre dreams that make me question myself sometimes. 

One such was last night, but it's neither the time nor place to get into that. 

Time to go to work, Heigh-Ho!

Sam xox 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Teaser Time: The Brothers in the Woods

Here's a little scene I wrote late last night while watching some scary television. It's a particularly important aspect of the story, but let's see if I was clear enough in what is happening.

I will reiterate though that NaNo stuff is all unedited and I do welcome ideas and constructive criticism - so long as it is actually constructive.

The Brothers in the Woods

Will and his brother had had far more drink than they supposed they should have imbibed. The differences between day and night had blurred and the grey alleys had become green forest. They weren’t sure anymore what was up and what was down.
They continued to walk for what seemed like hours before a small cottage finally came into view.
Will’s brother hauled them both to a stop, a warning on his lips that died away when the sweet smell of baked gingerbread drifted across to them on the wind.
Will’s stomach began to rumble and the anticipation of the sweets enticed him closer, ignoring the sudden anxiety that had gripped his brother.
“Will, I do not like this,” he said, and tried to take his hand. “We have wandered far from the town and into the woods where all manner of dangers exist. I do not trust what my eyes see and my nose smells; there is no comfort to be had in that cottage, I am sure of it.”
“You are only afraid, my brother,” Will told him and continued on towards the cottage, releasing himself from the bony grasp of his brother’s hand.
“I do not like this, Will!” He repeated, cursing and huffing after him as they reached the cottage.
Will knocked on the door, his mouth beginning to water now from the smell; it was so strong that it was almost as if the house was made of it, the smell so consumed them both that even Will’s brother was soon hard pressed to resist.
“Who is it?”
Will stated their names and waited a moment before the door opened a crack. A small wizened old woman stood stiffly on the other side of the entrance. She was dressed all in black and had such long tangled grey hair that she appeared as almost other than human so exaggerated were her features.
“We are sorry to come across you in this manner, madam,” Will continued to explain, indicating that they were lost and hungry in these unfamiliar woods.
“I can see indeed you poor fellows,” the old woman gasped and threw the door open to admit them. “Come inside and warm yourselves by my fire. I have baked fresh sweets and truly it is all far too much for just one old woman such as I and my maiden.”
The maiden mentioned rose as the brothers entered the small cottage. She had short straw-coloured hair mussed with grime and wore tattered clothing that had seen one too many repairs. She wore no jewellery or flair but for two identical bangles on each wrist that appeared to weigh her arms down uncomfortable (note: these are spelled bangles that prevent Gretzanel from being able to escape the Candy witch). At the sight of Will and his brother she appeared dismayed and almost angry.
“You should not have come!” She railed, her arms waving around in frustration at the sight of them. “You will be sorry for your rash choices now!”
Will’s brother, a champion of the meek, was affronted and further anxious than he ever was before. He tapped Will furiously in angst to render his unease as best he could.
The old woman sprang towards the maiden and tugged her by the hair, forcing her harshly to the back of the cottage and behind a curtain out of sight. “You hush, Gretzanel, or I will punish your disobedience for the last time!”
A scuffle sounded before the old woman returned and all behind the curtain was quiet. “Do forgive the maiden, Gretzanel,” she told them with a wry smile. “I fear she suffers from demons and she rails until I calm her.” And satisfied that she had curbed their questions with her very brief explanation, the old woman crossed to the hearth and retrieved what looked, to Will, as the most heavily biscuits he had ever seen. “Gingerbread, sirs?”
And with that first taste the brothers were entrapped.
For days neither Will nor his brother had slept, and each evening before she extinguished the candles the old witch would measure Will’s waistline to ensure he was fattening. Will’s brother, much too bony for her taste, had become her slave with the same cursed bangles pained to his wrists that the unfortunate Gretzanel had worn on their first evening in the Gingerbread house, as the brothers would later remember it.
Gretzanel had not been saved, as one would have hoped, and rather she was banished further to a small cage in the corner of the cottage barely larger than she. Her insubordination, her attempts to warn the brothers from the cottage, had angered the witch enough to punish her greatly. The slave’s work that was usually carried out by Gretzanel had been forced upon Will’s brother whilst the maiden slowly starved within her cage.
But this last evening Will’s brother conducted a cunning plan; he would defeat this grizzly old woman, save the maiden and take his brother home.

All it took in the end was the hearth that the witch used to cook her wretched sweets in.


Sam xox

Friday, November 1, 2013

Kick off the Literate Season

Well folks, it's finally here!


NaNoWriMo 2013 has finally crept up on me and I'm pumping out the words with zest already. I will admit though that I'm feeling a tad under prepared despite all the preliminary writing I pulled a couple of months ago. I just need to wrap myself back up in the story though and shuffle through the voice memos I've had sitting waiting for transcribing for a few weeks now. 

Procrastination, as with all things, is still a prominent trick of the trade no matter how much I might love to write. I'm actually procrastinating right now as I amp myself up with the Rabbit Hole playlist I made to get me in the mood for the story. 

NaNo is never all that easy, even if I love it. There are a lot of late nights ahead of me this month and I'll have very little time to read all that much, and it's going to weigh me down a little from time to time. I'm going to turn into a scatterbrain with too much happening and what seems like way too little time to do it in. I'm even going to have some awful moments of writer's block, that dark enemy, that can only be overcome by a break and something totally unrelated but always with my DVR on-hand or a pen nearby. 

Let the games begin! You can follow me on the NaNo site here: 


But I'll be blogging all about it anyway. Best wishes to everyone else embarking on the NaNo rollercoaster with me this year and I'll see you all 50,000 words richer on the other side!

For now, here's a little teaser from what I've kicked off the season with:

The Trial of the Tart Thief.


The courtroom was swathed with people all vying for a better view of the man that they called the Tart Thief.
He wore grey trousers, a coat, waistcoat and a bright red cravat that many had sworn could only have come from the other Throne. He was dressed so smartly that many in attendance would have been hard pressed to think of him as a thief at all and would have thought him much more a scholarly man than the Georgie Porgie he had been caught to be.
The Queen had been livid. Tarts made from the finest and ripest gooseberries had been specially prepared within the royal kitchens earlier that morning at the request of her short king but had never quite made it to her table much less her lips.
The accused, a Mr Dodgson he cried, had swooped in much like a blackbird and stolen the tarts from the sill of the kitchen’s largest window and made off with them before they’d even cooled.
The angry Queen offered only one solution: “Off with his head!”
“Now, now, my dear,” soothed the little King. “That is not the answer to everything; shouldn’t we ask the defendant why he stole the tarts?”
“I was hungry!” The accused cried, the chains around his wrists rattling as he used his hands to explain. “I’ve been wandering through this heart maze for days since I was invited for tea!”
“And that gives you the right to steal my tarts?! Cards, off with his head!”
“My dear, shouldn’t we ask witnesses? How is a trial like a trial when we don’t adhere to justice?” The King shrunk back when his wife turned, red faced to scowl at him.
“Bring in Madigan Hatsmith and Morrissey O’Hare,” She shrieked into his face. “He who invited this knave to tea.”
An advocate of the law as always, our queen.
The witnesses were shown in and to the stand, passing the whiskering and twittering of the jury as they went.
Hatsmith and O’Hare were as wild eyed as the rest of us, too much tea to the brain one would have said. Each a little mad, neither meant to stay in the Red Kingdom as long as they had.
“Your majesty!” Madigan Hatsmith called to the queen with a flourish, his top hat an odd shade of green that offended the eyes. “Why have you put our friend on the stand to lie to you? If you don’t want the hungry to eat your delicious tarts then don’t make your mazes so big! You do have far too many!”
“Mazes?”
“No, tarts!” Chirped O’Hare with a befuddled grin.
The Tart Thief could only gasp in dismay at the faulty witnesses they had called.
“What!” Stormed the Queen. “So many tarts?! Off with their heads!”
The Cards were assembled and sent in the direction of the scholar on the stand, pursing him as he began to shake. He rather liked his head on his shoulders as it was.
The courtroom erupted into chaos with shouts, jeers and catcalls (those from I) coming from every which way until a small chirping drew the entire room and everyone in it to a silent halt.
“I say, Milady Queen!”
The voice had come from one so small, but so commanding that even his size and the squeak of his words carried his intention right up to the ruler’s table.
The Queen stood up and leant over the banister of the table, looking down to find the source of the voice that had dared to interrupt what she’d been sure was going to be another good beheading. “Who is it? What are you?”
From amidst the rabble a tiny boy emerged and twitched his furred ears.
“Gregory Dormouth, Majesty.” He introduced himself, and both Hatsmith and O’Hare let out a whoop of pleasure. “I can tell you the truth of it and you’ll be sure to let the man go!”
The Queen capitulated with a grumble and waved a regal hand. “Then do so, Mouse, if you must deny me sport today. But hurry on with it!”
The boy bowed and launched immediately into his tale, eyes lighting up like twinkle stars at the memory; “You see I was dozing on a tea cup, Majesty, as Hatsmith and O’Hare were celebrating a rather important date...”

Sam xox