Cold! – Prt1

I had just finished work.  It was late, and I was feeling shattered to say the least.  It was around 7:30 pm and I had a good fifteen to twenty-minute walk to the nearest train station in order to get my train home.

Work had been a very forgettable day for me, it was just a sequence of familiar events and very predictable behaviours. Winter had certainly arrived, no mistake.  For it was bitterly cold today.  ‘Give me sunshine any day of the week I say.’ Long dark nights, grey wet days really were not my idea of relaxing.  I love fresh snow though, there’s nothing like it. That crisp white that dazzles your eyes when you first see it and the silence or stillness you experience, like God had laid the most perfect white blanket down over natures sound outside. I absolutely love it…….until the next day.  You know, the day after? When everyone’s foot prints merge into  solid, smooth compacted flatten tracks, and roads disguise sheets of shear ice made from the tyre trails of cars frozen in time over night into a dirty muddy glacial death trap!


I had worn my thickest coat, and a long thick woolly scarf that I had purposely wrapped a number of times around my neck, to make sure no cold would reach my neck.  It covered my face up to my nose.  My laptop bag hung from my shoulder and I held the strap securely with my left hand as I focused on making my way home, walking briskly.  The wind blew harshly, and when it did, it felt like the temperature dropped even further around my head.  It was so icy, too cold for snow.

I made my way along the busy pavement.  While the traffic rushed along the road besides me. Cars, buses, taxis even cyclists.  People rushing one way or another, as they made their way home or to their unknown destinations.

In summer this area was so different.  It would be alive with social activity – the drinking places would be filled with people sitting or standing outside, chatting animatedly, laughing and drinking with their friends and work colleagues from the surrounding businesses. But now, everyone just wanted to get home.

There was a small park ahead of me that had a pathway which lead to the tube station. I was too cold to walk the twenty minutes or so to get my train, so I decided to hop on the underground instead in order to reach the train station. It wouldn’t be quicker, but it certainly would be warmer. As I came closer I could see one or two homeless people sitting on the ground, one had a coffee cup between his hands. It was hot and the heat was something to hold onto in this weather. The other was selling a homeless magazine to the passers-by.  But everyone was in to much of  rush from what I could see. However, one person grab my attention even more.  It was a woman, and as I got nearer I could tell she was not a young woman.  She looked around 65 years old with thin grey hair down to her shoulders.  No one was stopping or even paying any of the homeless any attention. She was the only women and all she was doing was just sitting on the edge of the path on the ground with her head bound and shaking. No one stopped, no one said a word, It was like no one saw her, she didn’t exist. People were rushing past with hot Costa Coffees in their hands or like me carrying their laptop cases and heavy bags. But no one lost a beat in their pace or lessened a stride in their step, as they focused a head in their own world.  She wore the most inadequate coat. It was more a coat for an Autumn evening than a bitterly cold winters day like today. Why was she there?

“Are you ok?” I said as I hovered over her.Dumb question I know but I couldn’t think how else to engage with her. She had no gloves and I could clearly see how much she was shaking as I stood near her. She was absolutely pale.

“She looked up at me and said “I’m ok, I’ll be fine.” No you bloody well, wont I thought to myself, who you kidding?

“How long have you been sitting there?”

“A while, a while” she said softly. her voice sounded a bit husky.

“Its freezing and your shivering, are you staying at a shelter?” I asked, she should not be there I thought to myself.

Then I could see the beginning of tears as she explained she had absolutely no money. Not even money for a hot drink. She was in a hostel but left because she didn’t feel safe, it wasn’t the best of hostels.

This was no place for anyone, let alone a women to be on her own either.

“Is there nowhere else you could go?”

“yes, but its much further away and I cannot get their,” Her distress  even became  more evident as she spoke more and more.

“Have you eaten?” “No, not since yesterday,” she replied

“ok.”  I said “come with me?”

Her face was startled, I could tell she was totally bemused by my statement.  “lets go and get a hot drink and something to eat?”

“No, no, no I don’t want to trouble you?” “Its fine I said, it was my idea,”

She relented with her protests and attempted to get up, I could see she was frail but the cold had also gotten to her, so I gave her my hand to hold onto as she got up. “you’re so kind, thank you, thank you.  She continued.

I knew the area pretty well and knew there were a number of eating places in the train station including a cafeteria, so I headed in that direction.  The windows were totally opaque with condensation, so I pushed the door as I entered. It felt so inviting and warm as we entered and I could see it was very busy. Can I help you madam? “Gosh I thought to myself you’re keen!” “Yes a table for two please” I said as I smiled” back in return. “ok follow me” he said as he swiftly turned on his heels and made directly to the far corner of the cafe to a small table that was already laid out for two people.  We both sat down and I quickly removed my scarf and placed it on onto my laptop which I had placed on the floor besides me, next to the wall.  I even undid my coat.  ” How are you I said?” “I’m ok” she was still visibly shaking but she was no longer outside. “Whats your name?”  She smiled and said “Margaret, but everyone just calls me Maggy” ” Maggy I said. “Suits you” “what about you, whats your name, me? I answered surprised. “Jacqui”

I picked up the menu and started to read through its content. “Oh I need a Latte for starters!” “How about you?” “Black coffee no sugar” Maggy replied. “what do you want to eat?” She continued to study the menu.

As I considered what to eat I decided to keep the conversation going.  ‘Did I detect a bit of an accent Maggy?’ I could swear it was a Liverpool accent but I wasn’t a hundred percent sure so thought I would ask instead of assuming. ‘Ah yes, she said. ‘ I left there many years ago I haven’t been there since my early twenties.’ ‘Really, but your accent is still really strong.’ For the first time I saw the gentlest and smallest smile on her face. It revealed and small dimple to her cheeks. Why did you leave? Work mostly. She replied.

“Can I take your order now please?’ Its was the very keen waiter again.

‘Do you know what you want Maggy?’ I could see her struggling to decide

‘How about the beer battered cod and Chips?’ What will you have she asked?

‘I’m having that myself.’ ‘Ok, if your sure.’ ‘Yes I am.’ ‘Can I have cod and chips twice please?’

and can you do mushy peas with both, please? He then took the menu boards away from us as he left to place our orders.







Daily Prompt – Take A Chance On Me

If there is one place I like a bit of spontaneity and unpredictability, its on my holiday. To much planning and format is not for me as that is what normal life is like for me back home and holiday is about breaking routine!

This holiday was with myself and two of my best girlie’s.  We had been close friends for years and we were almost inseparable.  It was the first time to Agadir for two of us and we were totally in love with Morocco.  It was spring time, and we were fortunate, as the weather was really warm and our hotel was something else. We had an executive apartment,  with a spiral staircase up to our bed room.  It was what could only be described as, stunning and our welcome pack was beautiful.

The beach was at the back of the hotel and we had less than a five-minute walk before we would find ourselves by the sea. It was another stunning view and we were happily taking photos  of us, the beach and the unfamiliar scenery around us.  This would us, our home for the next five days and it was total bliss.  We strolled further onto the sand after first taking off our sandals, aiming for the water and then just stood at the edge of the wet sand allowing the sea to roll gently over our feet. It has to be one of my must do’s when I am near the sea. There’s nothing like walking to that point where the waves start to gently crash over your feet and around your ankles.  Nothing like that distinct chill of the cold water taking away the heat of the sun that just seconds before cover your feet as you walked along the hot sand.

We were women of a mature age, but here with none of the everyday responsibilities of family and work. We were girl’s having fun without a care in the world and absolutely no clock to watch.  Whilst on the beach we were approached by a young male, who clearly was working, the question was what was he selling? He asked all the normal niceties as he introduced himself and enquired who we were and how long we were on holiday for? We answered to appoint, just enough to keep it all fun and friendly but with the minimum information.  It soon became clear he provided tours and trips and asked if were interested. I knew one thing I wanted to do was quad biking, so I asked how much it was and what was involved.  I was sold as soon as he explained and before we knew it, we agreed to meet him at a particular time in front of the hotel later on that day.

None of us had ever been quad biking before, so we were all excited by our impulsive decision which was a bargain of a price compared to what we had seen in the hotel brochures.

The time came and we were ready and waiting outside the hotel.  Sure enough after about five minutes or so he turned up and we got into his car and we were off.   It wasn’t until we were in his car and driving along for what seemed like ages it dawned on us mature, normally sensible females what we had done. No one knew where we had gone.  We left no information with the hotel, I don’t even think we brought our phones. We drove through what i could only describe as ‘real country.’  We were now seeing the real Morocco, and all the fancy buildings of the town with the modern hotels were nowhere to be seen.  Only simple houses scattered between funny shaped trees, sheep , and lots of land.  Eventually, we started to slow down as we approach some houses and we could see quad bikes standing side by side in a corner, waiting for their next escapade.  It was at that point I must admit my mind started to settle and the worry of ‘Where are we?’ and ‘Where is he taking us?’ subsided.

As we parked he jumped out and we were surrounded by all these young children who seemed to come from nowhere.  We didn’t have much with us in our small bags, just drink and sweets but that made them happy.  He directed us to the bikes and gave us helmets and we jumped on the bikes. I rode one and my friend sat behind me as she wasn’t confident to ride at first.  My other friend rode the other bike.

Our instructions were very simple. How to start it , stop it, and how to accelerate.  Oh, and we were warned about dogs that sometimes chase after bikers, but we would be fine just keep riding.  That was it really and we were off.  Our journey  was to take through the country farm land of Morocco with its hills , dips and red dirt.

It was the most fantastic thing i had ever done at that point in time in my life.  The speed, the feel of racing flat-out on the bikes in the freedom of the country was so amazing as we biked against each other.  All together, we were gone for about two hours.  We were on such a buzz and I can’t express the fun and exhilaration.  My friend even swamped with me at some point and ended up riding the quad bike her self.  We laughed, and screamed, shouted  and just squealed with excitement as we raced along.

To this day. its one of our best memories and one of those things we are so glad we did, but recognise it’s not something we would recommend for obvious reasons as clearly we had taken a big risk as well.…a-chance-on-me/

Short Story: Cuban Heels – Prt 2

Part Two

Creative Commons –

‘Good morning Ms Monero, you come for breakfast?’

It was Anh, my favourite waitress. She was always so politely and had a genuine warmth for people because she loved people and hospitality came naturally to her.  She had her hair in a tight, immaculate bun and she always wore just the right amount of make-up for her face. Her skin was flawless, with beautifully defined cheek bones, and a smile that was adorable.

‘I have a table for you by the window today, Ms Monero, and we have a new buffet style for everyone with more to choose from.’

‘Would you like tea or coffee?’

‘Coffee Anh, that would be wonderful.’ I replied.

As she disappeared with my order I decided to go and see what so different about breakfast today. I didn’t want a huge breakfast, but I definitely wanted something hot at least to eat.  Anh, was not wrong.  There certainly was a lot more to choose from, besides the usual continental breakfast.  There were Chinese dishes and Asian dishes as well to choose from. I decided to wait whilst the chef cooked me a fresh omelette with ham.  He was cute for a chef.  He couldn’t have been more than about twenty-two years old and he had been working for The Solaris Hotel for about seven months. He knew exactly how I liked my eggs, as I always had them the same way, so he just got on with it, without saying much. To that I added some mushrooms, baked beans and a tomato salsa with jalapeno peppers.  I thought that would be enough and so walked back to my table and placed my plate in the spot I had chosen to sit in.  I then turned back to pick up a bowl in order to get some freshly  sliced tropical fruit and a glass of freshly squeezed green apple juice.

When I returned to my table, my coffee was waiting, and I sat down and started to eat. As I looked at my breakfast, I thought hmm ‘who was I kidding?’ ‘this was no small breakfast!’ I smiled at myself, because I just loved my food and puddings and cakes were just the best.  Heaven on a plate as far as I was concerned. Diets and small portions were punishment and never for me.

I could see through the thin white muslin curtain beside me, that it was another stunning day.  The sky was a baby blue and there wasn’t a cloud in sight.  The food tasted lovely, as it always did here, and the tables were full with people eagerly eating their breakfast before heading out.

I, was in no rush, as I didn’t start singing until noon.

I took a sip of my coffee.  ‘Hmm, strong,’ just how I liked it.

My night had not been great. In fact, I only had around four hours sleep after another one of my nightmare nights.  What it was all about, I never fully remembered. All I know , is that I wake up with my heart racing, my body covered in sweat and an immense sense of dread and total helplessness. I’ve had these nightmares on and off since I was seventeen years old.  The day I barely survived,  and the day I lost my dad and younger brother.  I have no clear memory of what actually happened but doctors told me it was a way of the brain protecting itself from immense trauma.

I spent five months in hospital and through physio regained my strength to walk again. At first I would have the nightmares pretty regularly and I took tranquilisers in order to get some sleep but I took myself off of them after seven months because I didn’t want to be dependent on them. Over the years I tried many alternative herbal medicines and therapies instead to calm myself and to help me go to sleep, and slowly I regained my nights and my sleep back.

But last year I was in a minor accident with a friend of mine.  Someone ran into the back of her car and shunted us pretty hard into the car in front of us while we were at a stop light. We both ended up with whip-lash, which we both recovered from, eventually.  I couldn’t work for around three months, but fortunately my friends insurance covered us and we were paid compensation. Some how, however, this triggered the frequency of my nightmares again, and I have them a least five or six times each month.  Its rough coping with them but I have a pretty focused mindset.  It’s what enabled me to regain my walking so quickly following the accident. The doctors said it would take at least twelve months and I would be weak in my right leg.  But I was adamant that would not be the case. So whatever they set as a target I always pushed myself to exceed it.  I always set my own expectations because that was all that mattered to me.  I lost my biggest fan that day in the crash, so I had to make sure that my dad’s dream for me did not die too. I was determined to make it as a singer songwriter and bad nights were not going to get in the way of that.

‘Is everything ok for you Ms Monero?’ It was Anh back at my table.

‘Its lovely, and how are you Anh?’  ‘I’m fine.’ She responded with her usual smile.

‘Anh,’ ‘your make-up is always so perfect, do you do it yourself?’

She giggled ‘Oh thank you Ms Monero,’ ‘Yes I do it myself.’ ‘You like?’

‘Hmm, very much.’ ‘You trained in make-up?’

‘Oh no, I just watched and learned while I was back home in Vietnam, but I am trained in massage therapy.’

‘Really!’ I was totally surprised by her revelation.

‘So how come you work as a waitress?’

‘Its much easier to get a job as a waitress’ she responded. ‘But one day I hope to be a masseuse.’ She beamed.

‘You must do my make-up one day and give me a massage Anh.’

I could see that she was surprised by my statement. ‘Don’t worry, I know you can’t do this because of your job but outside of working hours should be fine.’ ‘Please, think about it? ‘I would pay you for your time.’

She smiled nervously, and softly said ‘yes’ as she cleared my empty plate and left.

If there was anything I was good at, it was recognising talent, and if Anh was a good as my instinct was telling me she was, I would be an idiot to ignore her. Massaging is one of the things I have in order to de-stress me and it helps to improve my sleep with the hope of reducing my nightmares. Anh would be a great asset as I need to build a good team of people around me.

My phone vibrated noisily on the table, It was Nicole my agent.  ‘Hey, how are you?’ I answered. She was her usual efficient self.

‘Evalise, I’m fine.’ ‘But I don’t have time to talk much.’  ‘I have an opportunity opened up in England for you to sing, possibly write a few songs as well for a new up and coming artist, it’s a nice earner, you interested?

‘How long is it for?

‘Maybe four months but with the song writing it could be longer if other artists become interested.

‘But the thing is you would have to finish at the Solaris by the end of the month.’

‘What? ‘You crazy!’ ‘Just hold on!’

I hastily got up from my table to walked through the nearest glass doors to the outside patio for some privacy.

‘That’s to short a notice, they can’t find another artist that quickly and I am contracted until the end of August which is two months away, you know that?’ ‘Whats wrong with you?’

‘Yeh but I’m sure I can cut that down!’

‘Really!’ ‘But that’s not how I work Nicole, so you need to sort something else out in England!’

‘Yeh alright, I will see what I can do but your interested?

‘Yes!’ ‘But not for the end of the month.’

‘Ok, I’ll get back to you.’  ‘Ciao!

‘Yeh cioa!’ She was gone.

Nicole, she is such a wild card.  Always pushing my buttons, because for her it was always about the next big break and nothing got in her way for the next big opportunity. It’s why I agreed to her being my manager, because she was a risk taker and very sharp.  But I couldn’t allow her to have it her way all the time, not at the expense of my own integrity. My word or promise means a lot to me and I was not loosing who I was for no one. I wanted my dream, but not at the expense of myself.  That was one of the things my father instilled in me, because he totally understood the music industry and how destructive it can be.

‘Money is great but it doesn’t make you who you are.’ He would say.

I stood in the heat for a while just to soak in the warmth of the sun and the location. Life was good right now. I think I will spend some time on the beach this afternoon, once I finished my first singing session.  I turned and walked back to the door I came through.  I looked to see if I could see Anh, but she was busy talking to some guests at a far table, so I headed out of the restaurant.  It was about 10:40, giving me enough time to go back to my room and rehearse a few tracks.  I loved singing, I always get so lost in it.

Short Story: Cuban Heels

Part One

Creative Commons –

It was now my first whole day on my holiday and I was in the holiday mood. Totally relaxed, knowing my days were totally mine, to do with as I chose over the next month.

The hotel itself was beautiful. I was very happy with my choice, given, I had done the minimum amount of research.  It was simple location, cost and a vague recollection I had, of a conversation I had with a past client.  Thinking,  “hmmm one day I must go myself.”

It had a grand entrance, which was spacious with a beautifully marbled floor throughout its reception area and corridors. There were two ornately designed staircases, one on the left, the other on the right, that swanned upwards to the upper floor. The ceiling was a high dome, with swarovski crystal chandeliers hanging strategically from it, in order to give the best lighting in the evening to all who entered or were fortunate to be its guest.

My room was stunning. With a view to die for.  It had a small balcony that faced the sea, that reflected the most amazing shades of blue, that at times seemed a cobalt blue, and another time almost teal, trimmed by the finest white sand along its beaches. If the sunrise was anything to go by, I think seeing the sunset from this vantage point is a must, at least for one evening.

The air conditioning meant the hotel was always cool. Which was most appreciated, for outside it was already 28 degrees and it was only a little after 9 am.

I decided to explore the hotel for a bit and find out what trips and excursions there were to choose from. Not that I was in any rush, but I just like to plan.  I walked along one of its many corridors, which had been immaculately decorated with stunning mirrors, colourful flowers and the odd vase, statue, or abstract oil painting perfectly placed.  Offering great locations for souvenir photos to be taken capturing the memories of its visitors.

After speaking to the hotel concierge,  I picked up a few brochures and made my way to one of their comfy seating areas in order to have a coffee and think through my plans for the week. My sister had said earlier she would meet me there at some point.

Ally, was my only sibling, five years my junior. We got on well together now we were adults.  But she was a pain in the ass when I was around eleven and she was an inquisitive six-year-old. There was nothing sacred then. She touched everything and moved everything. But now we were a lot older and wiser, and those days are remembered with laughter to the point of tears now.  We now have no problems sharing a room together and have learnt to respect each others space and preferences.

We are both pretty fussy, and we laugh about things we know we could never do. Like backpacking or going camping. We simply liked our luxuries too much, and for us the whole point and purpose for a holiday was about being pampered and the events that you just couldn’t do on a daily basis at home. Backpacking and camping simply didn’t cut it.

As I walked along the corridor or hallway, I became aware of the sound of the sharp heels on marble. I knew it wasn’t me because I had donned a pair of my favourite black Ted Baker flip-flops, which I totally loved.   As I followed the sound, my eyes beheld the back of a very tall and jealously slim female who had joined the hallway slightly ahead of me. Her steps were strong, and precise. Like a models or dancers. Her stiletto black heels must have been at least  six inches and I could see she knew how to walk in them. Placing her heel down first and each step firmly crossed as it was placed one in front of the other, and she simply oozed femininity and confidence. She sported an untamed afro, that bounced softly above her shoulders and she wore a light floaty dark blue dress with a slim silver chained belt around her tiny waist. I would say she was a size ten at most. The dress swayed teasingly with every step around her thighs, due to the gentle role of her hips as she walked. There was an understood protocol for how women dressed in this hotel and her rebellious style said “I am women here me roar!” Ha, I so admired her for that.

I would later get to know this fem fatal quite well eventually. Her name was Evalise Monero? And she was a singer from Cuba. This was her first big venture and she was here for around six months. Her wonderful afro and molato skin added to her uniqueness, as there were very few people of colour here.

Everyone knew her or recognised her for this reason. Heads always turned when she entered a room or as she moved through the reception area.  She loved the interaction of people  and she knew how to play with the interests of men. She laughed , and smiled. She would lean in during conversations, always in control.

She sang in both English and Spanish. There was a warm huskiness to her voice, making her easy to listen to. Evalise sang a wide range of music.  From the contemporary soulful ballads to traditional and less recognised Cuban songs with a bit of jazz thrown into the mix. All beautifully accompanied on the piano which she played very well.

She turned gently to the right, as she continued to walk making her way to the restaurant area. I continued as planned and found a sumptuous chair to sink in myself, in order to order my coffee and read through the brochures I had just picked-up.

Daily Prompt: The Spice Of Success

If “failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor” (Truman Capote), how spicy do you like your success stories?

The spice of success for me would be chilli and the failure to eat certain types I happily accept!

I like my food to have lots of flavour and certain dishes do need a greater degree of pepper, beyond your ordinary black or white pepper.

However, there are certain levels and types of spice which I am afraid simply do not agree with my constitution.  To much chilli and my internals rebel and I in turn suffer the price of my daring or stupidity, depending on how you wish to see it.

Certain chili peppers that are notorious for their heat, I simply would not even attempt to try today, having learnt my lesson with their lesser relatives over the years.

Wasabi and horseradish are also not for me.  I remember the first time I tasted wasabi. the sensation hit me in my nasal area, with an intensity I can only  liken to  smelling salts (if you have ever smelt them?), it was weird and I hated it!

Likewise, it is the same with success. Success can be measured and attained in many ways but most would perceive success to be a combination of wealth and achievement. But not all success would agree with me.

Some people will attain success at any cost, regardless of who gets hurt in the process. That is not me. I never ever had a ruthless streak.

Success can also be at the expense of health. Just as there was a consequence for me, if I choose to ignore my bodies reaction to certain spices, so it can be with Success.  Success in line with who you are and your integrity is important.

I really appreciate it when there is balance in the spicing.  I can taste the flavour of the food itself that I am eating as well as appreciate the taste and flavours of the spices used to season it.  I love the kick of the right amount of chilli that gives heat but still allows you to taste what you are eating. So much better than than an overwhelming fire that leaves your eyes watering and the desperate need for water. My hottest experience, left me coughing and words failed me completely.

So success, not all success or spicing is for me:-)

Writing Challenge: Object – The Walking Stick

As I waited to speak to Alison the receptionist, a simple wooden walking stick caught my eye as it stood in the corner of the hotel reception room propped against the white wall behind the desk. How long it had been there was anyone’s guess as I could see a thin coat of powdery grey dust sitting undisturbed along the top of its handle.

‘There must be many walking sticks standing or lying idly all over the place,’ I thought. Antique ones, decorative ones,  of all styles and descriptions. They’re mostly seen as antiques now or just for the elderly,  but once upon a time, all noblemen would have had one. It was a sign of status and position, a far cry from today.

However, this walking stick was simply carved and I could see it was a beautiful walnut colour. It had a hooked top and it looked more like a cut down version of a shepherd’s staff. At the bottom however, was what can only be described as an ugly rubber cover, which was worn from regular use and some what I’ll fitting. It spoilt its look and design, but a necessary adage I suppose for its elderly owner at the time.

How old was it? Who knew? To me, I think no more than fifty years but I fear my judgement is driven more by the modern stopper than the rest of the stick. So what do I know, it may well be a lot older.

I remember my grandmother had one just like it. She used it during the times she was at her most frail, otherwise she would walked unaided.  I remember her first using it after she had her stroke. It had been a sweltering summers day in London and the night was oppressively hot. There was no air.  Even with the windows opened, nothing happened. The heat and the humidity felt like and insufferable coat, that you could not remove.  She was 75 at the time. Following the stroke (and there were many elderly victims that summer) her recovery was quite impressive, considering her speech had been lost and she was affected down her whole right side. Initially she had a walking frame, but as she grew stronger through physiotherapy she progressed to the hospital issued metal sticks. You know, the ones you get if you had broken your leg or injured your foot? The weeks  and months went by and she continued to regain her strength and mobility. She then started to use her own wooden stick.

As I looked at the walking stick, it seemed out-of-place in this home, I wondered whose it was? Did it have an owner like my grandmother? Someone who would have loving taken care of it and used it in their life time? Where had it been? What conversations had it stood in the mist of?  Had it been forgotten, or even lost?

This walking stick was about function. Nothing ornate or expensive about it. Its reason and  purpose now lost. It really made no sense as to why it was where it was? But someone had placed it there rather than throwing it away or placing it in the attic. So maybe, it has some sentimental value. Maybe no longer used, but still a need for it to be seen.

This weeks writing challenge, something I will be participating in regularly in order to develop my writing skills.

Short Story: Jamaica Drifting

Jamaica Drifting - Cover Art 2014

It was another humid day. The sky was blue, the sun sat high in the noon-day sky, and the heat felt divine on my skin.

I could hear Harry Belafonte singing in my head.

Oh island in the sun…….

Which was enough, of what was really quite an old song to be going around my head considering I’m not even thirty yet. But somehow, it summed up how I was feeling perfectly,  as I drifted along the most amazing river. The raft was one I  had hired in order to do the touristy thing for a couple of hours, along what was a very well-known and historical river. The raft itself was about thirty-six feet long and three feet wide.  It was made up of huge bamboo canes fixed together in a very rustic fashion, which was now considered a bit of an art, requiring skills which had been used for many years during the slave trade. Originally it was a way of transporting cargo using the river, but over more recent years its use changed to more pleasurable reasons.

Situated about third of the way in , was a double seated chair, also crafted out of bamboo and positioned centrally with cushions on it.  This is where I sat or should I say reclined, legs stretched out before me, totally at ease. It felt so good. There’s a tranquility and peace that flows with a calm flowing river, that is simply beautiful.  I was so glad to be here, Lord knows! I sighed within myself.

My life wasn’t exactly going great right now. Work had been totally stressful for longer than I care to remember, and my boss was the coldest, hard-nosed, heartless women I knew. I was the PA to a woman who could pour out charm and warmth as easily as she could switch on a word with the sharpness of spinning on a dim, only to take the legs from beneath you with a few choiced words.  In that skill, she never missed a beat. She was enviously smart, with the highest pace I had seen in a person when it came to work. She had no time for fools, shirkers or people who were unequally driven in her eyes. She had an agenda all of her own and no one was coming between her and her goal of becoming the first female Partner of Staiton, Reece & Staiton a long-standing and notable firm of lawyers.

I was well paid and for good reason, as I had been the only PA who could match her pace.  I decided I would not be sacked from my job like my predecessors. So I upped my game.  But it had a cost, it demanded my life, literally.  I had no me time outside of SRS.  I  began to dislike  my job around two years ago. I think that was when I started to question myself as to why I was doing what I was doing?  My dislike grew into hate to the point where I resigned and walked just over a week ago, not knowing what I would do next, but sure of this one thing.  I was not spending another moment of my life being dictated to by someone I had grown to have no respect for.

A week later I booked my flight to Jamaica in order to get away.  It wasn’t only me physically drifting on the river but my whole life had been drifting for the past few years. I had let things go and gotten complacent.  Instead of taking real risks, I decide to hang on in’ for one lame excuse after the other, in the hope that things would improve because the company was growing and going places, fast and I wanted to be part of it somehow.  Not as a PA but as a lawyer myself. I knew I could be good at it – it’s what made me so good at my job.  When it came to research and finding angles and that all important nugget of information that had the power to win or lose an argument, that was my niche.  Psycho knew it. She knew I was more than just a PA but she made sure she feed me just enough promises, and dripped fed me enough carrot to feed my ambitions and keep me hanging on in hope, but by no means did she promote me or allow anyone else to. She played me for ages, and I let her.

But now, I had hit a major point in my life and I needed to make the right decision (whatever that was) regarding what I did next with my life after ‘Jamaica Drifting?’ was over, and I would have to return home.

I could hear the sound of different birds spontaneously bursting into song as we floated along. There were dense green trees and foliage on either banks of the river.  This was years, centuries of hardly touched foliage. Some of the trees reached out and stretched with aged old branches across the river. In parts where the river narrowed, they almost touched.  My guide steered the raft skilfully along the river using nothing but an immensely long bamboo cane. Which he would firmly plant in the river using his body weight to then manipulate and shift the raft away from the banks.  He stood around five feet eleven inches tall. He had a lean physique, similar to that of a welterweight boxer, with absolutely no fat to be seen anywhere on him. His locks were secured into a pony-tail, by being bound using a few of his own locks and they hung neatly. cascading down, just past his shoulders into the middle of his back.  He wore knee-length khaki shorts, no belt, causing it to sit low on his  hips whilst his boxer waist-band sat slightly higher by about a waist band width above it. I was sweating by now because the humidity was no joke. He however, hardly had a sheen on him.

I looked at the river, which seemed to be a patchwork of green and clear blue water depending on the depth of the water, and the moss that covered the rocks nearer the edges of the banks. I could feel the power of the under current beneath the raft and at one point I decided to get of the seat to sit on the bamboo floor just so that I could put my hand in the river and feel the current against my hand.  The water was refreshingly cold and the sound was beautiful as the water lapped against the bamboo, swirled around the big boulders and lapped against the edges of the bank, as we continued to float downwards.

I dropped my shades back over my eyes to lessen the effects of the sun on my eyes and the reflection bouncing off of the river.  I could hear the high-pitched distinct buzz of mosquitoes now and then near me, I just hoped the mosquito repellent worked, otherwise I would look like a swollen pin cushion by this evening. But then I thought, no I shouldn’t because I had made sure that I had taken my antihistamines this morning just in case, so this should keep any swelling down to a minimum. Mum was also an avid lover of all things herbal and all things Aloe Vera, so I have drinking that in small doses as lovingly dispensed by mum since my arrival.

Here Lady…yu cool?  It was my guide he had the deepest Jamaican accent.

“Totally” I replied with the biggest smile.  Because for the first time, in the longest time, I genuinely was.

The Encounter

Waxing Crescent Moon – Creative Commons – Google Images

It was 1:30 a.m.  It had been a really long day and finally I had reached that point where I was now making myself comfortable, in my warm and oh, so cosy, bed for the night.

My body was tired, and in total appreciation of the warm sheets I now snuggled under, duvet and all. But my mind was still busy. Racing, considering this, pondering that.  For I was playing and toying with the idea of writing my first story.  What should it be? Maybe Fiction, as I love all things imaginary and sci-fi or something based on my own story? Ideas raced and whirled in my mind. As quickly as they appeared and were considered, explored and imagined, was as quickly they were rejected tossed aside and forgotten.

What about angels I thought? They do fascinate me?  What do you imagine one would look like? Would they look like you or would they be more biblical having four different faces? Would they look human like me and be normal in height or would they stand tall, around eleven or twelve feet in height? How would their wings be? Would they be as you see depicted in movies or would that be in proportion to the angels body size when closed but once open magnified into amazing proportions? My thoughts just whirled and collided, on and on.

At some point my thoughts moved from consciousness to unconscious,  and I had slipped into sleep.

I have no idea how long it had been, but I knew I was now standing on some high building. I say standing, but the thing was, I sense I was standing but at the same time I knew I did not have legs and feet to physically move and support as I was use to. It was night. There was a wind blowing soothingly, but I wasn’t cold. I could see other tall  buildings, some as dark silhouettes, in the distance and around me and bright white lights were speckled here and there. The sky was unusually black, like a sky with the moon fully covered. But the lights amongst the buildings were intensely white and bright enough for you to see one place to the other.

I was flying.  Any where I chose. It was the strangest thing. I had no flapping wings, that was far too much effort and somewhat inefficient.  I just thought it and I did it. I moved in sync with my thoughts. I felt my self in flight rather than saw myself in flight. Where ever I wanted to be, I was.  It was the most liquid, fluid and agile movement I had ever felt, and I know I was fast.

But then I sensed something moving towards me. It was moving at a pace, and with such a force, before I knew it, I was caught up in its arms. I was now moving at a speed I could no longer fathom.  I was not frightened, because for some reason I knew this was an angel.  It was Michael. Do not ask me how I knew this? Just as I thought flight and I did, so it was that I knew this was Michael. As sure as eggs were eggs. No words were shared between us.

Whatever realm of a world this was, it did not function on the five senses I knew. Movement were thoughts and feelings all rolled into one.  As thought moved in nano seconds in my head so I traveled with a level of awareness and understanding, no sophisticated instrument could split.

My back was in the direction we were travelling in and I could sense we were approaching something that was like a barrier ahead of us. We forced upwards gaining height whilst not loosing speed. The climb seemed immense as well as intense. The direction in which we moved cut the atmosphere like a sound wave and as accurately as a laser beam. We then shifted, moving over and across something. It felt like I was climbing a sheer cliff face and then dropping, as if over a rainbow.  It was at this point the force became less intense.

I was awake. My heart was racing, my mind felt like I had been inhaling pure oxygen. My thoughts were clear and sharp. The room was dark and pin point quiet. I gathered my thoughts. I knew I was dreaming but at the same time my heart was still racing.

What… was that, I thought? Was I somewhere, I should not have been?