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Saturday, 2 May 2015

The snow fairies

The snow fairies
Hi dear friends and followers, I am so glad you are here today. I have something special for you, a poem I have composed from a story told to me long ago by my mom. Take five minutes and enjoy, thank you.   

Have you ever seen the snow fairies?

I have, and this is how it happened.


One morning I awoke and ran to the window.
The first snow of the winter had started to fall,
big fluffy flakes that reminded me of feathers,
like those they use to stuff pillows with.
My mom came and stood at my side, and said,
"Those are the fairy flakes, can you see them?
Watch as they dance and twirl in the air
like tiny ballerinas, they spin and they whirl."
"Now if you watch closely you will see them flutter,
flutter their tiny wings to stay aloft; 
on ethereal wings, they hang in the air!"
"You see, honey, I have seen them before;
a long time ago I loved to watch them
through the afternoon and into the night; 
Snow-fairies falling, from the heavens above, 
whirling fantastic on the bright crispy morning air, 
twirling about each other like lovers on a ballroom floor.
They danced more fiercely on a mightier force at night, 
like the angry gods in the heaven
revolting and rioting against one another
and whose voices be the raucous wind!
Then the snow fairies flew in fear for protection,
on the calm earth, seeking protection and peace."
At dawn I again ran to the window and saw, 
that the snow faires were there no more.
Replacing them was a solid, white sheet,

of snow that covered all the land;
all molded into one continuous, white sheet were they.
Tears began to run down my cheek,
when suddenly I saw, at the first touch of the sunlight,
a glitter, soon everywhere the white sheet of snow!
It glittered and sparkled, like tiny diamonds in the sunlight!
A light breeze arose, and behold!

The blue sky above filled with tiny, sparkling diamonds!
The sun shone brightly on them half the day.
They sparkled and danced on the winter wind.
I was elated and my heart beat faster as I ran to mom.
I shouted excitedly, "The snow fairies are still alive!"
Dashing to the window, she saw what I was seeing.
She smiled and said, "Yes my precious they are alive,
reborn from the old to return to their homes."

With joy and passion we danced.
My mom took covers down from the closet.
Warm and comfy by the window we sat.
A down filled pillow for my little girl's head, 
to lie upon while resting in my mother's arms
as we dreamed of the snow fairies.
Looking up at my mom I asked, 
"Will the snow fairies ever come back again?"
"If you believe you will see them again someday." 
was my mom's soft reply.

Well that is the way it was told to me by my mom. 
I wish to dedicate this poem in her memory.


Composed by Cynthia ©




Thank you very much again, dear friends, for visiting my blog. Please share your thoughts with us, if you will. have a great day. 



ڰۣIn Loving Light from the Fairy Ladyڰۣ

Sophia of the Sea


Sophia of the Sea

Thank you dear friends and follower, for visiting my blog. take five and read this wonderful little story I have submitted for you to enjoy. Thank you.
By Charlotte Brooks

When I was a child we would spend most of our holidays in a little cottage by the sea.


West Wales felt like a second home for me and my older brother. There was something magical about the air down there. The sound of the water lapping quietly against the sea shore could be heard from my bedroom window. Every night I would lie awake and listen to that calm and tranquil sound. It would send me off to sleep like a child's lullaby.

We would spend most of our days playing on the sandy beaches that seemed to stretch for miles. I would look out to sea and long for its enchantment to capture me. I hoped I would see a mermaid or perhaps a water horse galloping along on the White surf. My brother would tell me my imagination was too fancy.

One particular day we were playing in some rock pools when I happened to stumble across something shimmering in the ripples. As I got nearer it seemed to sparkle even more. As I reached for it with my pale hands and grasped it tightly its light shone brighter and brighter. As I lifted it out if the cold water I could see it was a pearl. Maybe it was part of a mermaid's necklace? I looked at it for what seemed ages. Completely fascinated by its twinkling and sparkling features.


"Issy what are you doing?" Cried my brother. "Come and see these crabs!"

I gently placed the pearl into the pocket of my jacket for safe keeping.

We played on the beach until the sun went down. When we got back to the cottage I remembered the pearl and I took it out of my pocket. At that moment, my mum walked in. She asked me what I had found. When I told her she smiled.

"Issy come and sit with me for a moment" came her soft and gentle words.

"I think you have been extremely fortunate to have found a mother of pearl from a mermaid's necklace".

"Really?" I exclaimed. I could not believe my luck.

"Legend has it that whenever the moon is full and bright in the night sky, the mermaids of the sea come up to the surface and have a party with all of the sea creatures. They ride beautiful white horses on the surf. They will also help to guide sailors to safety if they are in trouble and so will very occasionally come to the waters edge. It is at times like these they like to leave small gifts for little children like you to find."

"Oh, mum have you ever seen a mermaid?" I asked eagerly.

"I did once. A very long time ago when I was your age. I found a pearl, just like you, and the very next evening I met her" came her reply.

"What did she look like?" I asked intrepidly.

"Well, I can't say too much sweetheart because it's a secret. I promised I would never tell a soul. But I can tell you this my darling. She was radiant and beautiful. But I have a feeling you may get to meet one of your own soon". She winked at me and smiled.

I didn't get much sleep that night. I was so excited. I lay awake wondering if I would ever meet my very own mermaid. What would I say to her? What would we do?

The next day we visited Emerald Quay, a beautiful little place mum and dad often took us to. It was quiet and secluded and the water was crystal clear. You could see right to the bottom, where the fishes swam peacefully. The sun was shining high up in the sky and there wasn't a cloud in sight. My brother was fishing to see what small creatures he could find, whilst I played on the small shingle beach. I imagined myself dancing in the sea with the mermaids, singing and laughing, without a care in the world. I pretended I was Queen Amelia of the sea, looking after all of the sea creature folk.

We went home tired and hungry. We scoffed fish and chips and ice cream cones. It was magical.

Later that night whilst I was sleeping something woke me. A very quiet sound on the wind called to me. A very faint whisper.

"Issy, Issy"

I could just make out someone was calling me.


I turned back my bed covers and crept across the creaky floorboards to the window, for it sounded as if the whispering was coming from outside. I strained my eyes underneath the gleaming moonlight. I looked out to sea where there was a rock and I could just make out the shape of a figure sat on the rock. They appeared to be motioning to me. I paused for a minute. Were my eyes deceiving me? Was I dreaming? As I looked again I could still see the figure waving to me.

I made my way downstairs, slowly and steadily. I could hear my dad and brother snoring heavily. I remember thinking how cold the floor was beneath my feet. I reached for some socks and my shoes and draped my coat around my shoulders. I quietly opened the front door and I looked outside. The cottage was right on the beach so soon I could feel the sand squidging beneath my feet. The sound of the sea was lapping against the seashore and the stars were twinkling in the moonlit sky.

As I neared the seashore I could see the figure bobbing up and down in the sea.

"Issy, come here, come here!" Came the voice excitedly.

"Who are you?" I bravely asked.

" My name is Sophia. I am a mermaid!"

A mermaid? Really? I couldn't believe my eyes. Sure enough, there was her beautiful shiny tail, glistening in the brilliant moonlight.


“Did you find my gift I left for you?” She asked.

The mother of pearl I found at the beach had been left for me especially.

“Would you like to come to our special midsummer moonlight party? The queen is expecting you” Sophia asked me intrepidly.

“Oh yes please!” I exclaimed.

With that, her beautiful white horse rose from the waves, its mane flowing in the wind. I took Sophia's hand as she helped me climb onto Beauty, her trusty steed.
 

We disappeared beneath the emerald coloured waves. The colours underneath the sea shone brilliantly under the rays streaming through from the moon high in the sky.

We skimmed through the water with such ease, and I could see in the distance a majestic crystal castle twinkling. As we drew closer I was in awe of its size and power. Beauty pulled up right outside the castle gates. Sophia helped me dismount and led me through the vast castle doors. The sound of music and laughter travelled down the long corridors.


“Come with me Issy”. Sophia led me into a little room. It was adorned with beautiful ball gowns and sparkling tiaras. She reached for a brilliant turquoise gown with flowers adorning it, and a silver tiara with jewels to go with it. Some turquoise spotty shoes finished off my outfit.

“There, now you are ready. There are some people I would like you to meet”.

Sophia led me into the ballroom, and it was there that I met Queen Amelia, mermaid and protector of the sea. Her hair was a deep red and her curls tumbled down around her face.

“Issy, it is so very nice to meet you. Sophia tells me you have become friends and that you found her gift. How are you finding our world under the sea?” She asked.

“It is beautiful. I wish I could stay here forever!” I replied.

“I have something for you my love”. She reached for a small box and inside was a beautiful pearl necklace.

“I hear from Sophia what a caring and loving person you are. Your kindness and goodness does not go un noticed. This necklace is a gift to remind you how special you are”. She reached over and placed it around my neck. I could not stop looking at its beauty.


We danced the night away. We sang, we laughed, we had such fun playing together. But as the moon gradually started to fade and the sun started to rise I knew it was time for me to go home. My family would be missing me. I climbed onto Beautys back and he carried me back to the seashore with Sophia swimming along side. I turned to my new found friend.

“Will I ever be able to visit you again?” I asked sadly.

“We mermaids only come to the surface of the sea at special times of the year, such as midsummer, or hallowe'en when the seasons change. The rest of the year we are busy caring for all of the sea folk. And we move around, so we may not be here in this particular place again for a while” came Sophia's reply.

I felt very sad now, knowing that I may not get to see the friend that I had just made again.

Sophia smiled.

“But remember Issy. The mother of pearl I gave you. It's magical. If ever you are feeling sad or blue, take it in your hand, hold it tight and say these words:

“Mother of pearl, warm and bright

Guard me as I sleep at night

For if I'm sad or feeling blue

I know you will be there looking out for me too”

“By saying these words I will always respond to you, no matter where I am. I will give you a sign I am listening and thinking of you. You are so kind and loving, Issy. Never forget that”.

And with that, she and her trusty steed had departed. All that was left was myself and the soft ripples of the sea lapping at the seashore. I ran back to our cottage and climbed back into bed before anyone had noticed I was gone.

When I awoke I thought to myself it must have all been a dream. I checked my pocket in my coat and there was the mother of pearl, glimmering softly. To my amazement when I looked in the mirror I was still wearing the necklace that Queen Amelia gave to me. I would treasure it always.

As the years passed we frequently returned to West Wales, but I never did get to meet my mermaid friend again. I would often look out to sea, hoping and wishing I would see her, dancing on the waves. But there were times when I needed a friend to talk to and tell all my worries to. It was during these times I would hold the mother of pearl tight and say those precious words that Sophia taught me to say:

“Mother of pearl, warm and bright

Guard me as I sleep at night

For if I'm sad or feeling blue

I know you will be there looking out for me too”

The mother of pearl would shine brighter than ever before and I would hear Sophia's soft voice whisper to me:

“Issy always remember how kind and good you are”.

It was then that I knew she would always be watching over me.


Thank you very much again, dear friends, for visiting my blog. Please share your thoughts with us, if you will. have a great day.


ڰۣIn Loving Light from the Fairy Ladyڰۣ

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

FROM WHAT SIDE DO WE ECHO

FROM WHAT SIDE DO WE ECHO

Hi dear friend, welcome to my blog, I am pleased to see you here. Take five minutes and relax while you read the 2nd part to this story, thank you    
By Iain Cambridge

PART TWO

Twenty-three years had past since that strange time in my life, and since then I had faired a little worse because of it. Solace for me was sought at the bottom of a bottle, and as a result I lost my job having tried the patience of a good man too far.
With no income to speak of I fell to the same fate that befell the previous owner of my home and had it sold from beneath me. I began to imagine that this place was cursed and counted myself as just another victim of its evil.
I wandered the streets for many a year, alone and invisible to society.

Ignoring all, and ignored by all.

Fate is a fickle mistress however and salvation came to me in the most unlikely of packages. Whilst sleeping under a railway bridge just three miles from the Gare du Nord I noticed a small child playing on the railway tracks.


She was nothing but a street urchin, a parentless ragamuffin.

Her long blonde hair was matted and greasy from years of neglect, and her face was smeared with the grime of the city. Her clothes did not deserve the title, as they were mere rags, arranged merely to cover her modesty. She seemed healthy enough having grown a trade of begging and theft, as was necessary to stay alive.

I watched her playing for a while as she walked the rail tracks, involving herself in some sort of balancing game. The poise and grace she adopted in order to stay on the rail-line was a small marvel to watch and provided me with a little afternoon's entertainment, and a distraction from the half empty bottle that never seemed to leave my lips.

‘You seem sad Monsieur’ she said.

I was so involved in her play that I did not register that she was addressing me.
‘I am sorry little miss, were you talking to me?’

‘Oui Monsieur’ she replied. ‘I come here most days to play and I have noticed that you have stayed longer than most. Is it your sadness that keeps you here?'

I smiled at her forthrightness, and at her broken French. It indicated to me that this was not her first language, but a gutter speak derived from a life amongst the human flotsam and jetsam of Europe that had washed up in the streets of Paris.
‘You are correct little miss, but for a brief while you have made me a little happier’

She stopped her play and hopped off of the rail track.

‘I am glad’ she said and proceeded to sit next to me.

I looked down at her for a while and wondered what had invoked her interest in me until a thought suddenly struck me.
‘Are you hungry?’ I said, and with that I fished around in my bag for some bread and cheese. She looked up at me with bright blue eyes.

‘No thank you’

She looked down, and at the source of my comfort contained in that half drunk bottle.

‘Are you thirsty?’ she inquired. I followed her gaze and then looked back at her.

‘Sometimes a little too thirsty’ I said and placed the bottle into my pocket.

‘Then maybe it is time to be hungry now?’

Her words were as an ice shard plunged deep into my soul. Had I become so worthless that I could incur pity from a child? The shame of the image I presented to the world was thrust back at me through the eyes of this innocent young girl. Her comments were not meant to be malicious, but their truth spoke to a part of me that I thought long dead, along with the spectre of Miss Destiny Reigns.

I removed the bottle from my coat and examined its contents.
Another derelict shell of a man, such as I had become, shuffled past at that moment and I thought for a while before offering it to him.
‘For you, sir.’

He looked at me with suspicion.

‘Your need is greater than mine, my brother’ I said to him.

He took the bottle tentatively, and with a slight nod of his head carried on his way, and toward whatever hell had put him on this path.

I in turn took the first steps away from mine.


The young lady went by the name of Monique, and from that day seemed never to leave my side. It was as though she had taken pity on this lost soul and had adopted me, as one would do with a stray puppy. We would stroll together along the banks of the Seine talking of life and of the events that led to our current situation.

Hers was not as selfish a reason as mine, for unlike myself, who had given up on my sanity and had allowed my weak mind to fold in on itself; Monique had been given no such choices in her short life. With parents of limited means, and of limited health, Monique soon found herself out on the streets begging for food in order to feed a hungry family, until one day there was a family no more. With both her Mother and Father taken by illness she left her home and sought out an existence with the underclass and the forgotten.
Years passed and so did my responsibility to this ever-growing young lady.

Due to my reputation in Paris, being that of a madman and a drunkard, Monique and I both made our way across the channel to England, in the hope that I would gain employment under a new name. We assumed the guise of father and daughter and whilst I worked my days in the shipyards, she attended school, funded by what money I could earn during nightshifts taken in the local bars around town.

She had become my atonement for a wasted life and a salvation for my own lost soul.


As she grew into womanhood I began to notice that she had started to gain the attention of several young men. This troubled me greatly, as it would any protective father, and as a way of steering her away from temptation, (and from the admiring glances of varying gentlemen), I moved us to a small village close to the sea - just outside the main city. It was a small dwelling and suited us both. Monique loved to tend to the gardens and stroll along the beachfront, and I, once again, had started to involve myself with my books in the hope that further learning would lead to better employment and a secure future for my adopted daughter.

All was well, and we were happy.

‘Who is Harmony?’

Her question came out of the blue one morning as we were enjoying breakfast.

Such was my surprise at hearing a name that I had not heard for some thirty odd years that I nearly choked on the piece of toast I had already started to swallow.

Having coughed myself to a halt, I wiped the tears of excursion from my eyes and said,

‘Where on Earth did you hear that name?’

She smiled as she sipped her tea – something that had defined her as quite the English rose of late.

‘When you fall asleep after the nightshift, you tend to talk in your sleep’

‘I do?’

‘Indeed, and the name ‘Harmony’ comes to your lips on the occasions when you are very tired. Was she very special to you?’

I stood up and started to clear my plate from the table. I looked at her pale face, with those big blue eyes that seemed to look into your soul.

‘Not as special as you m'amie’

She returned my smile and tilted her head in such a way as to suggest that, for her, this was not an answer. I sat down again and refreshed my coffee cup.

‘I do not know who she was’ I said sadly. ‘But what I do know, is that she only lives within my fantasies’
I proceeded to tell her the whole story, from my first encounter with Miss Harmony Reigns within the gardens of my new home, to the witnessing of her murder, and onwards to madness and depravity.

After I had spun my sorry tale, Monique stood and walked to my side of the table. She knelt down in front of me and put her arms around my neck. She hugged me for such a long time that I felt hot tears of joy run down my cheeks as the weight of all those years fell away. Never in all our time together had she shown such affection, but this simple action secured forever the bond between father and daughter.

Monique came to me a few weeks later with a request to join the school drama club. As she was at the age now of eighteen I was in no real position to refuse, and nor would I have done so, but her request showed me that she valued my opinion and felt the need still to run decisions past me. She had opted to stay on college for further education as she had missed a good six years of schooling, before we had started our new lives together, and so felt the need to catch up. The drama classes were her way of becoming a little more social and to express herself in a way that would be restricted by living with an old man such as myself, for now at the age of fifty-eight I was starting to think more and more of my retirement.

My body was older than my age, as I had abused it terribly over the years, and I was starting to feel the complaints it had started to make in protest to my unforgiving lifestyle. As an aid to dull the aches and pains of the day, I had started to take of a little port at the end of the night in order to ensure a good nights sleep.

But this folly was to ignite old habits, and before too long I had retreated back to my old ways of drunkenness, and on occasion I had seen fit to defend myself against varying protests from those around me.

Unfortunately sometimes this defence would be physical in nature.


At this time Monique had been offered a part in the school play, and had even gone as far to as to be given a singing role. She would come home of an afternoon in order to sing to me before I had to go to work.

Her voice was that of an angel and would bring me to shed tears of joy and of pride.

She explained to me that the part that she had been given was that of a young woman who had been spurned by her lover, and the song she was to sing reflected her loss and sorrow at his actions.

‘There is not a man foolish enough to let you go, and not a woman in the world that could compete against your beauty,’ I said one afternoon.

She smiled at me, and for the first time I saw that she was coy at my remarks.

‘Oh Papa’, she said, ‘you are biased’

‘That does make it untrue’ I said.

She hugged me and kissed me on the cheek.

‘Go to work, foolish old man’

At that I left for the evening, but not before explaining that I would not be returning until the next afternoon as I would finish late tonight and would start the early shift tomorrow. I would sleep at the dockyard bunkhouse as it was easier than coming home at that late hour.

‘I will have a surprise for you then’ she said.

‘Do tell’

She seemed so excited at holding in the secret that I thought she would burst.

‘We will be doing a full dress rehearsal tomorrow, and so I will be in character when you return’

I kissed her on top of her head and said my goodbyes.

‘I will look forward to it’ I said as I left for the night.

Things change – but not always for the better.

My night had been long, with the temptation of the demon drink ever present, and with the following day being harder still I felt the need to stop on the way home in order to dull the pain that had worn away at me all through those long hours.

On my return, I was a little worse for wear, and the liquor inside of me bubbled like a witch's cauldron, with the same promise of a darkness to come.

As I entered the small parlour I looked out into the garden to see if I could locate Monique. The sound of voices wafted in on the warm spring breeze and I assumed that maybe she had asked someone back to the house, in order to rehearse her lines, and the discovery of the script on the kitchen table seemed to confirm my thoughts.

I picked up the manuscript and flicked idly through it until I came across her character, at which point – my heart froze.

On seeing the name ‘Harmony Reigns’ the anger inside me rose and I bellowed at her to come into the house.
She ran to me with panic in her eyes at what could have caused such outrage.

‘What is this?’ I shouted as I waved the script at her, but words caught in my throat as I suddenly saw what she had done to her appearance. In a bid to make herself look more like the woman in the play, Monique had dyed her hair a bright red.


Old memories flooded back like a poison within my veins.

‘Why would you do this?’ I said.

She looked at me with questioning in her eyes.

‘Why would you betray my memories with this cheap imitation?’

‘It was meant to honour your memories’ she said, ‘when I told my teacher about what had happened to you..’

‘You did what?’ I interrupted ‘Do you know how long I had to wear the stigma of madness because of that time? You of all people know what I had to go through to get us to this place – why would you jeopardise our lives here?’

At this she riled against me.

‘It was our journey, and we both had hardships to endure. I have jeopardised nothing. You, on the other hand, seek to drag us back once more by revisiting your old ways – you stink of port and rum. This is our betrayal, not my homage to a lost love’

At this, I am ashamed to say, I lost what little control I had and struck her across the face with the back of my hand.

 From some inner room in my mind I watched in horror as she spun with the force of the blow and dropped to the ground. I ran from the room and locked myself in my bedroom in an attempt to hide from my shame.

What had I become that I would seek to destroy the one beautiful thing in my world?

What monsters lay within me?


When she raised her head I then saw a very large bruise that covered most of her left eye.

I passed out into a fitful sleep only to wake again in the small hours. I was lying on the floor and a man with a well-trimmed beard was leaning over me. Monique sat in the wicker chair next to the doorway, leaning forward with her face buried in her hands. I was relieved that she was well.

I asked the man, a doctor I presumed, what had happened to me, last I remembered I was lying in bed. 'You have suffered a mild heart attack and will need some hospital time for observation', the doctor responded.

It was the beginning of the summer season when I stepped out of the front entrance door of the hospital, there  Monique waited for me, her bruised eye healed. A cab pulled up and we climbed into the back seat for the ride home. 

Monique looked at me eagerly shared her plans for her new career in the theatre. I smiled as I thought that never will there be harm to come to this child who by every right is my daughter. I will end my life before I ever pick up a drink again.


I settled into the newly refurbished cottage that Monique acquired during his leave which ended up more like a three months stay in the hospital.

During the summer, we had reacquainted ourselves and Monique helped me do some research around the area 

I settled into the cottage that Monique had redecorated during my absence which went from a few days' observation to a three-month stay in the hospital.

During the summer, we had become reacquainted and Monique helped me do some research in the neighborhood.

I sought any records for what may have existed on the other side of the fence at 369 Rue Gascoigne in suburban Paris. Nothing came up in recent times, but I was able to get my hands of some old records. They mentioned a property there that had been destroyed by the Germans in retaliation for underground activity. It was occupied by one Clifford Reigns and a girl by the name Harmony...

Thank you very much again, dear friends, for visiting my blog. Please share your thoughts with us, if you will. have a great day.

ڰۣIn Loving Light from the Fairy Ladyڰۣ

Monday, 27 April 2015

FROM WHAT SIDE DO WE ECHO

Hi, dear friends and followers. Welcome to my blog I am pleased to see you here. Today I have a two part fiction story for you, take five relax and enjoy the story 

FROM WHAT SIDE DO WE ECHO
By Iain Cambridge

PART ONE

It was a warm spring day in 1948 that I first made the acquaintance of the young lady known to me only as Miss Harmony Reigns after having moved into the small two-bedroom house in one of the more affluent suburbs of Paris. 


I had recently acquired the residence at a bargain price due to the misfortune of another poor soul, for it had been part of a bankruptcy sale. On entry to my new home, it was plain to see that some major decoration was needed as its previous owner had clearly fallen on hard times long before his home was taken from him. This was of no matter to me as I relished the chance to stamp my own personality on to this new abode, and so took to reshaping the rooms to my own design as soon as possible, and with great gusto.

The work was arduous and took more hours out of my day than I freely had to give, and the lack of sleep, due to an enthusiasm to complete my new home, was sometimes reflected in my performance at work. Fortunately, my superior was a genial man who understood the urgency of youth and allowed me, at such times, to regain the focus needed for my tasks, and to complete the work at my own pace.

During my renovations I would sometimes break for a light lunch, and would take to the little garden out back in order to enjoy the birdsong and silence that only this side of the noisy metropolis enjoys.

It was on such occasion that I first encountered Harmony Reigns.

As I sat, enveloped in the sounds of spring, there came on the wind the sound of a woman singing. Her voice seemed to mix in with the world around us as if it had always been a part of the call of nature – heralding in the summer.

There was an old wooden fence at the end of the garden that separated my property from the one opposite, and it was from behind this that the singing originated.

Years of unkempt weeds had grown over the barrier between houses and had set themselves in such a way as to dislodge a part of the fence.

It was from here that I attained my first view of the owner of such a beautiful voice.

Sitting on the ground, under an oak tree that grew mighty and strong was a sight that would stop the beating heart of most young men. Long red hair fell over a pixie-like face and flowed down her back like liquid fire and served as to frame her features that were pale in their complexion. Her eyes shone green and seemed to light up whenever she smiled. Unfortunately, this was not something she did a lot – for reasons that would become clear later in our relationship.

So as not to seem rude, I called over to her in order to initiate an introduction. ‘Bonjour Madam’ I said. On this, she looked up and around, seemingly confused as to where my voice was coming from. Over here Madam - The other side of the fence.'

Having located the broken panel she got up and walked over towards me and, bending at the knees, she peered through the hole.

‘Oh! Hello, she said. 'I wasn’t aware that anyone lived over there any more.'

I smiled and replied. ‘I have just taken possession not two weeks since – pardon, but is Madam English?’ Her smile remained.

‘Oh dear, is my French that bad’

‘Not at all – but your accent gives you away’

She laughed and said, ‘May I know your name, Monsieur?’

I blushed at my apparent rude behaviour at not introducing myself. 'Excuse me Madam; I am Phillip Rencall – at your service’.

‘Harmony Reigns’ came her reply ‘pleased to meet you’

‘And I you’

The fashions in Paris of late had dictated that young women should be of a slight build and enjoy a demure personality that borders of the aloof. But Miss Harmony Reigns was not such a woman that would conform to another’s views and wishes.

She was confident in her manner and solid within her build and was a refreshing stray from the norm. We spent an enjoyable hour or so talking of many things of interest to both her and I.

Sometimes we would find something mutual and dwell on the subject for a while and at other times we would spend a short time discussing a subject that was of interest only to one.
For example - Miss Reigns, it appeared aspired to be an actress and a dancer and longed to perform in London. I commented that she should also add singing to her repertoire, as I was quite enraptured by her earlier song. I told her of my work in the library, which by comparison to her lofty dreams of fame appeared quite dull. But the way she seemed genuinely interested in my work made me feel a little taller and less unimportant. That afternoon was as special a day as I have experience in a long time – if ever, and I would have happily spent my last day on Earth in this way.

The sound of a man's voice shattered the air and ripped the placid calm that had encompassed the day. It was a brutish sound, filled with anger and violence. At his call, Harmony’s face drained of the little colour it held and she jumped almost in fear.

‘I am sorry’ she said weakly ‘I have to go’ And with that she stood and almost ran to answer his call.

I could not feel but cheated of my pleasurable time with this most engaging woman, but I figured that this man had clearly laid claim to her affections long before I arrived and I was therefore in no position to complain. This rationale did not stop the feelings of jealousy though.

The next day, and the three that followed were filled with images of her face. Her voice echoed in my thoughts and dreams and I feared that my affection for Miss Reigns had crossed the line of decency and would not be seen as appropriate. I scolded myself for having such a child-like crush on this woman, of whom I had met only once. I washed the thoughts of her from my mind and buried myself in my work, and lost the memories of her within my home making.

Until one week later.

On taking a break from my renovations, I found myself back by the broken fence once more. I dared to sneak a look in case by some chance I would see her sitting under the oak tree. To my utter delight – there she sat.

‘You have been gone quite a while, Monsieur’ she said without looking up.

‘It does seem a long time Madame Reigns, but after your hasty retreat on our first encounter I felt it would be only good manners to leave you to your business.’

Her head remained bowed as she spoke once more. ‘Did you not enjoy our afternoon?’

I knelt down a little further, in order to gain a better view of the woman that had caused so many sleepless nights. A woman that had called into question as to what I would deem ‘decent behaviour’ from a gentleman’

‘Indeed I did, Madame.’

She laughed gently to herself.

‘I think we know each other well enough for you to address me as Harmony’

I smiled at her unseen face. ‘Then Harmony it is.’

At this, she turned to me and smiled. As her hair fell away, the smile that I had reciprocated with left my lips, for, on the left side of her face was such an abrasion that could only have been caused by an aggressor. My exclamation caused her to raise her hand to her wound and turn her face from me once more.

‘Miss Reigns – Harmony, what on earth happened?’ She lowered her hand and turned slowly to me once again.

‘Sometimes I speak too loudly and too candidly.’

‘And this is his answer?’ I exclaimed, more in anger than I meant to. But to be fair in the situation, it did demand a reaction that would show disgust for any man that would raise his hand to a woman. I composed myself a little so that I might continue. ‘I am sorry Harmony, but violence is never the answer’

She smiled at me and tilted her head a little as if addressing a child. ‘I am of the opinion that it depends on what the question was.’

I was a little shocked at her statement.

‘You surely do not condone his actions?’ I said.

‘I do not – but then I do not condone mine either.’

The pause in the conversation was such that it drew compassion from Harmony as to my struggle against what was clearly out of my control.

‘Do not worry, my friend, I have handled a lot worse and I have grown to live with his moods. He is not always like this, it’s just that sometimes the demon drink takes him over and I am not quick enough to recognise the signs’

‘Signs?’ I inquired.

‘Signs that I should start to curb my loose tongue.’

It angered me so much. Not only had this cur of a man had spent his anger on a woman of such devotion, but also that her devotion had now caused her to defend his actions. She had obviously sensed my discomfort and chose that moment to change the subject.

‘And what of you, Monsieur?’

I looked at her face in question. Even with the swelling and the angry purple bruising, she still held my heart captive with her beauty. ‘How have you filled your time during our hiatus?’

I smiled at her joke.

‘The making of a new home – work. Nothing that would hold the interest of anyone but I.’
Harmony looked at me for a few short seconds, a small measure of time that seemed to last a lifetime under her gaze.

‘Tell me, Phillip – is there someone in your life that you would share your affections with?’

I took my time to answer the question, a pause that evoked a small gasp of exclamation from Harmony’s lips. ‘Do I presume too much as to ask such a personal question Monsieur?’

I smiled. ‘Not at all, Madam - there is someone of whom I care deeply for, but alas she is betrothed to another’.

‘Is she beautiful?’

‘She is the spring and summer dressed as one. She is joy and happiness, sadness and woe.
My mind's eye sees nothing but her, and my heart beats only within her presence.’

Harmony Reign held my gaze for what seemed an eternity.

‘Does she know of these feelings?’

‘Alas, she is unaware of the effect she has on my soul’

We left each other shortly after, as it was getting late and I could see that she was getting increasingly distracted by the oncoming hour that marked ‘his’ return. But there was many a time after when we would meet by the broken fence and talk of things and of people. She would expand on her dreams of fame and I would sit and listen, totally enraptured by her presence and bathing in her beauty. On occasion, the sleeve of her dress would ride up and I would catch a glimpse of the bruising caused by the grip of a man's hand. When she adjusted her position, in an attempt at a more comfortable seating, her skirt would fall away from her knees. I would turn my head away naturally at these times as to save her modesty, but not before catching a glimpse of more bruising to her upper thigh. I said nothing as this subject seemed to be taboo between us, but it still tore at my heart.

The day came when I had completed the project that had kept me busy between work and my secret liaisons with Miss Harmony Reigns. My small house had become a home.

As the night drew in on that day I made my way to my bed with the full intention of inviting her to lunch the next day, and the offer of a tour of my new home. I wanted her to see what I had achieved, for I craved her approval and sought deeply her praise.

As I lay awake, making plans for our lunch date, I heard the most terrible scream. I sat bolt upright and the blood in my veins froze in fear of what I instinctively knew to be. Another scream caused me to throw back the bed covers.

I ran down the stairs, through the kitchen and out of the back door that led to the garden. I could see a light streaming through the broken gap in the fence, and so made my way toward it.

Through the hole, I could see the lights from her house – a light that illuminated both her and the object of my jealousy. As I watched I saw her run from him, calling to him to ‘stop’ and to ‘calm down’. He in turn was yelling at her and calling her names that would have drawn me to defend such vile comments.

But instead I sat and watched the dark play unfold itself in front of me.

When she reached the oak tree she stopped running and turned towards him with her hands outstretched, pleading for him to stop and think. But this was to fall on deaf ears as he continued his ranting, and his relentless pursuit.

When he reached her he pushed away her hands and clamped his own rough hand around her throat. I nearly called out in anguish, but my cry caught when I heard her strangled cry of...‘Papa –, please!’

Papa! This man that I thought as her husband - was her father! This realization caused a feeling of elation within me, for my love was attainable and not locked within a violent marriage. Her loyalty was that of a daughter and not of a wife. With this revelation came the resolve to stop this madness that had come between us, and put an end to this misunderstanding that had stopped my opening my heart.

At that point, my soul found its voice and I called to her, hoping that this would cause a distraction long enough for me to scale the fence and interject myself between my love and her assailant. On hearing me, both Miss Reigns and her father turned toward me. Harmony looked directly at the hole in the fence, whilst he turned this way and that, trying to locate the owner of the demands for him to stop.

I used this time to find something to stand on as an aid to climb the fence. I looked around frantically until I saw the small stepladder that I had used to reach the higher points whilst hanging the wallpaper. I ran to retrieve it and returned to the broken part of the fence. Having erected the ladder I climbed so that I could see over and into the garden of Miss Harmony Reigns.

What I saw though mystified me – for I saw nothing. No house, no garden – nothing. All that was to be seen was miles of open fields with not another house in sight.

Unsure of how to process this I jumped from the ladder and looked back through the hole. There was the scene that I had encountered earlier, only this time it had the pleading face of Harmony looking directly at me. Her hair hung limp and damp with perspiration and her eyes, that once shone so bright with laughter and happiness, now grew dull with fear and pain.

I leapt to the ladder once more in the hope that what I had seen before was nothing but my imagination. The scene was the same and yet the screams of Harmony Reigns still echoed within my skull.

I dropped to the other side of the fence and ran aimlessly around in circles, trying to locate what could be so clearly seen from the other side. I spread my arms wide in the vain hope that I would touch what had become invisible, whilst all the time her cries for help became more strangled as they were forced through an abused airway.

Then abruptly – there was silence.

I jumped at the fence and dropped to into my own garden once more.

As I looked back I could see that my love lay still and lifeless beneath the oak tree, in much the same position that I had first encountered her.

This time there was no singing, no laughter.

I turned and sat with my back to the fence, my heart as broken as the fence that allowed this impossible view. I wept for a loss I would never have – for a woman who had never been.

My reports to the authorities were met with ridicule, and my story of a murder, (taking place as it did at a location that did not exist, and with the victim being that of a mere phantom), was treated as madness on my part.

The question spun around in my mind – was I mad? Had I joined the ranks of the insane?

For as I am talking to you now, I would have sworn that she was no trick of the light, no mysterious entity.

She was real.

END OF PART ONE


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ڰۣIn Loving Light from the Fairy Ladyڰۣ

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