12th January: Fight

Challenge: Dialogue based.

‘Who’s fightin’?’

‘A fight? Where!’

‘No one’s fighting, go back to bed.’

‘There’s a fight?’

‘Now look! You’ve gone and woke the whole house.’

‘Sorry mum, but I heard someone say there was a fight.’

‘It’s nothing, go back to bed.’

‘Wos it Da? Has he ‘ad a fight at work?’

‘Don’t be stupid Carol.’

‘But I wanna know who’s fightin’. If George an’ Arnie get’s to know-‘

‘No one get’s to know. Bed. All of you.’

‘Thanks Carol. You’ve woke us all up and there isn’t even a fight.’

‘I’m tellin’ you, I ‘eard mum on the phone an’ she said there ‘ad been an awful fight.’

‘Probably talking about the news.’

‘Well, she’s not gonna tell us, is she?’

‘Might have told me if Carol hadn’t butted in!’

‘Don’t be stupid. She never tells us nothin’

‘Bed! Don’t make me come up there!’

‘Night Mum!’

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12th January: Fight

11th January: Mischief

Many stories tell of mischief and mayhem, they tell it in all sorts of ways, caused by all manner of creature. Most use fairies or goblins, they call them sprites or fear to give them names at all. Mischief to one species can be torment or suffering to another, such as milk going sour or hearing the patter of tiny feet, seeing something out the corner of your eye that when you turn isn’t there.

When I was younger I used to believe that my toys woke up when I slept, one of the reasons that I loved the film Toy Story. I firmly believed that they fought monsters under my bead. And sometimes, they too would engage in mischief. That age old idea that something has moved from where you left it.

So really, what’s to say that the two aren’t interlinked?

‘Put it down!’ came a harsh whisper from the top of the bed, ‘She’s coming!’

There was a soft thump as the toy was dropped on the floor. The door opened and a young girl skipped into the room. She was calling to a person downstairs.

‘I just need Isabell!’ But Isabell was not on the pillow where she had been carefully placed. instead she was sprawled on the floor. Her lace bonnet several feet from her head, and her skirts all askew. ‘Isabell!’ the girl chided, ‘What are you ding on the floor!’

The doll was carefully picked up, brushed off and her lace bonnet fastened back on, then she was swiftly escorted from the room. That was all the fuss that was made. Perhaps an adult would have wondered how a doll had managed to get out of the covers, and roll of the bed to be so artfully spread about; but to a child it made perfect sense, Isabell had tried to get to her.  Perfectly logical.

If there were mischievous eyes peering from under the bed, well, a lady like Isabell couldn’t have been expected to climb off the bed by herself, could she.

11th January: Mischief

Day 7: Phone Call

She waited all night for a phone call that never came.

All day for a message that never arrived.

Her friends told her, ‘Don’t worry about it. He obviously wasn’t interested, I don’t know why you care, he wasn’t even that nice.’

She would agree and nod her head each time they told her. Maybe he wasn’t the best looking, but neither was she. At dinner he had said, ‘I’d love to get to know you better.’ When he put her into the taxi (like a gentleman) he told her, ‘I’ll call you.’

Stupid, she thought, I’ve just been really stupid.

So she moved on, or rather she forced herself to stop looking at the phone, told her friends she didn’t care anymore. Saturday nights were reserved for friends or movie nights on the couch. This was a good thing, some time to herself.

‘Hello?’

‘Hi! I’m sorry it’s been a while. You really won’t believe the story!’

Just like that she was back tot he day after the date. Then, she was at the day before the second date. Then the say of the engagement. Suddenly, without knowing how, she was lying in bed the day after the wedding.

So he didn’t phone straight away, she thought to herself, at least he bothered to ring at all. She smiled at him and decided it was better the way it happened. Now she had a story to tell.

Day 7: Phone Call

Day 6: Food

The hall was, as ever, bursting with laughter, song and the clatter of cutlery. Many of the children were running wild, adults long since passed the point of caring. Servants moved gracefully between the the chairs and tables, filling goblets and clearing plates. The king surveyed his gentry with pleasure. All of this came at the end of many months of war. Yet they had won, prevailed despite the odds. The tables groaned under the weight of heavy plates of meats and poultry, breads and spreads, puddings and wines.

If you looked closely you could see the strain of war, clothing that was patched and meats that were thin on the bone, bread made of more air than wheat. Even some of the lower class gentry were here, filling empty spots. Still, the king thought it about time that things changed, and after the toils of the war he wanted to do right by his people.

‘My lords and ladies,’ he said, standing to catch their attention, even though his booming voice had already caught it, ‘I welcome you to this most fantastic feast, even those of you no so accustomed to attending such events,’ some of the lower class squirmed uncomfortably, ‘this war we have fought has not been an easy one. Our crops have failed, our houses burnt, and our forces slain. But we are victorious!’

A cheer echoed throughout the hall. Hundred of voices yelling in triumph together. He allowed them their cheer before raising a hand to ask for silence. ‘Thank you for your support, and for everything that you have all donated to the war effort. Now, I must ask you one last thing, let us raise of goblets in a toast, to those who did not make it!’ An echo rose from the crowd, their goblets glinting in the candlelight. There was moments silence.

‘Now I ask you, join me in giving thanks to those of our forces who made it home to us!’ The great grand doors at the bottom of the hall swung open, revealing two lines of soldiers, tired and battle weary, they stood to attention for their king. ‘I have not told you why I summoned you here,’ he said to the soldiers, ‘for all you know I am sending you off to another war. Yet, you have all still come, and to honour that courage, bravery, and most of all loyalty, I give you not only my thanks but my table and my goblet. Tonight my food is yours, and tomorrow all the kingdom shall know your names and the deeds you have done. I will hold a ceremony to honour you all!’

His decree was met with a wild cheer from the gentry in the hall. More than one of the soldiers was wearing a nervous smile as they relaxed. Then they were spread out around the room, one of them even taking the kings throne (at his insistence), while the king himself sat on a stool beside him.More food was brought out, everything from full pigs to succulent beef joins, vegetable dishes, mashed, stewed, boiled. Pitchers of wine and gallons of water. Every resource the king had came to the tables in front of the soldiers. A never ending parade of pies, crumbles, tarts, cheeses, and even a sponge cake.

That night was talked about for months after and the king was never more widely respected or loved. the food had never tasted better nor wine sweeter since.

Day 6: Food

Day 5: Pet

Nicole had gotten Marcy for Christmas. She had was a tiny golden cocker spaniel, with ears too big for her head and a tail that moved a mile a minute. The moment Nicole opened the large cardboard box she had been in love. Marcy was everything you could want in a dog; intelligent, brave and playful. Nicole spent hours training her, trying to teach her to ‘Sit!’, ‘Stay!’ and ‘Play Dead!’

‘Bang!’ Nicole pretended to shoot at Marcy, who dropped to the floor and rolled onto her back, tongue lolling out. The only thing that ruined the illusion was the wagging tail.

Nicole taught her all sorts of tricks, and she wasn’t ashamed to say that Marcy was her best friend. Years later when Nicole had to move away for university she cried. Marcy cried too, her parents told her, every night for several days. Every holiday Nicole would come back and spend all her time making it up to Marcy. Sometimes, even though she wasn’t allowed, her parents would sneak Marcy into her dorm room. Her housemates would spoilt the little golden dog, feeding her biscuits when Nicole wasn’t looking. Marcy loved every second of it.

What she loved even more was when Nicole moved into her own home in second year and Marcy was finally allowed to join her. To Nicole it made all the difference, having her furry friend to help ease the stress of exams. Her classmates even encouraged her to bring Marcy to study sessions or would come around to Nicole’s house for a good long cuddle.

After university Marcy moved with Nicole again, this time to a new job with longer hours. But every night they would go for a long walk and then play or cuddle. Marcy liked this life, just the two of them together. Yet, even this didn’t last for soon she was introduced to Josh. Marcy didn’t like Josh.

To Nicole it seemed like Marcy just didn’t like the new guy in her life. Maybe it was jealousy of her time or that Josh got Marcy’s spot on the couch. Nicole just didn’t know, but when it came down to Josh or Marcy there was no choice to make. Josh left rather quickly.

Marcy liked Michael. She even came to him for snacks or to hide behind him when Nicole was telling her off. Marcy was getting old now, so more and more she was putting her trust into Michael to look after Nicole. She knew she had chosen right when Michael found a golden ring the same shade as Marcy’s fur.

Nicole knew as she watched Marcy huff as she climbed up onto Michael’s knee that Marcy had given her blessing, and that was all Nicole needed.

Day 5: Pet

Day 2: Resolution

She had been working on it for weeks; planning, rewriting, reshaping until finally it was ready. A single piece of paper, plain white, no lines or marks except from the neat black of her pen. it was her secret wish.

With an almost reverent manner, she folded it carefully until it was a small square. then she tucked it into her money box. It was the first thing she had ever put in it. Soon, there would be a collection of notes and noisy coins. But for now, it was just the lonely square of paper.

By this time next year it would be full. this time next year she would be realising her dreams. then there would be no one to stop her, and nothing to get in her way. This was the promise she was making to herself.

That tiny piece of paper held her fondest dream. Every day she added something to the money box. Every day until one day when she didn’t come home at all.

Weeks later her mother found the money box, and she took it to the living room, and added to it every day. She thought nothing about it, had no idea about the little square of paper sitting at the bottom. To her it was nothing more than a precious reminder. Soon the money box was full, and her mother had to open it. Out fell coins, notes and a single square of white paper.

Her fondest dream, never realised.

Day 2: Resolution

Jumbled Words.

A note: I’m writing this just as a train of thought. I had some bad news today. That’s what this is about, it might not make sense, it might make perfect sense. It might be exactly what you’re feeling right now, it might not be. But if you do take the time to read it, I hope it does something for you, even if it just wastes five minutes of your time.

In the end, there were no jumbled words. No tilting world or shifting view of perspective. No tears either, but they would come.

It’s always supposed to happen that bad news hits you like a train. You collapse, you sob, maybe you even punch something. Or maybe you’re stoic, firm shoulder and head held high, the only outward sign; a clenching fist.

In real life, there’s all sorts of actions and reactions. You smile, you cry, you wait until you get home and then your curl in a ball around the cat and stare at the TV for five hours. Movies never get it right because there are so many ways to say something with actions.

Bad news always comes with one thing. Words. A sympathetic voice, a hand on your shoulder, a ‘is there anyone we can call?’

Not this time.

The worst part is when you¬†knew. The doctor is just confirming what your body has already known. That gut feeling when you open the door and the police are there, hat in hand. You answer the phone and you already know what they’re going to say.

There are so many signs in this world, many of them that we don’t even know we’re reading, from other people, from the universe itself.

Bad news is just jumbled words. And sometimes, you’ve already worked out the meaning.

Jumbled Words.