Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Paula's Prompt: Seven Tricks Freebie Story

On November 28, 2018, P.T. Wyant posted at a Wednesday Words prompt involving a mouse, decorations, and an old woman.

This Seven Tricks freebie story was the result. This takes place afterwards...

The old woman lit each candle in a circle around the table. The gesture seemed reverential, religious, but it was just a gesture. Another decoration, a way of dressing up her melancholy thoughts in a way that comforted her. 

“May I join you?”

The tiny voice might have sounded like a series of squeaks to another, but the old woman wasn’t just anybody. 

“Madam Mousenip.” She nodded her head at the tiny figure standing on her hind legs, sniffing at the air. “Come to gloat over your handiwork? Or perhaps I should say your paw work?”

She gestured to her own wrinkled face, marked with age and sorrow.

“Oh, come now, Prissipat. My spells never worked. It was your own self loathing which led you to believe my bite turned your face ugly.” The Mouse Queen waved her bald tail in a fetching manner. “I always thought your face was lovely, before and after I laid a tooth into you.”

“Lovely?” The old woman ran a hand down her face. “Everyone believed your bite cursed. I was forced to leave my home because everyone was afraid of me. I haven’t dared to look into a mirror since that day.”

“Maybe you should have. You never looked any different to me.” Madam Mousenip’s whisker’s drooped. “I never had the power my prince had.”

“What are you squeaking about?” The old woman glared at the deceptively helpless creature. “What have you done this time?”

“Nothing. Well, it was a nothing serious enough to drive my prince away.” The queen’s whiskers dropped further. “Have some pity, Prissipat.” Her tail went limp as well. “Your descendants have hunted my people ever since I bit you. I’ve been exiled, doomed to skulk in the walls of your castle, while a granddaughter with your name and twice as unpleasant with too many cats is destined the rule after her father.”

“Good.” In truth, Prissipat did feel pity. A tiny bit. Perhaps it was lonelieness or curiosity. Her nephew, the king never visited. She hadn’t even realized he’d named his daughter after her. “What’s this about driving your prince away?”

“Ah, well, I found what I thought was the perfect successor. Only he fell in love and ran away with the object of his desire.” The queen sighed. “Now I’ve got to choose another prince among a bunch of greedy gingerbread gobblers.”

“Such is the weight of the crown. Those destined to wear it are seldom worthy of it.” Prissipat glanced down at the flickering flame of one of the candles. “We can hope they will change into someone whose head will fit the golden round.”

“We can hope.” Madam Mousenip sighed. ‘’Tis a time of hope, yet all I feel is tired. Tired and lonely.”

“Take a moment to warm yourself by the flame of my candles.” Prissipat surprised herself with her own words ‘’Tis a new year. Let go of your regrets. Think of what you wish to do next.” She smiled a little. “Life is too short for such things. Especially for a mouse.”

“You’re right.” The Mouse Queen crept up to the candle and reached out her paws to the tiny flame. “I do hope Mousenip will be happy, even though the warren is a lonelier place without him.” 

“That’s a good attitude to have this new year.” Prissipat nodded her head. “Hold onto it with both paws.”

Madam Mousenip nodded, the flame reflected on the liquid beadiness of her eyes. 

It almost looked like she was crying. It might have been a trick of light. Many said that a mouse couldn’t cry. 

Prissipat wasn’t sure about that. Still she pretended not to notice. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Paula's Prompts: Memories in a Pot

On December 5, 2018, P.T. Wyant posted at a Wednesday Words prompt involving a pot of soup, a holiday, and a battle.

This poem was the result...

Warmth and the faint scent of home
Drift from the pot
All the more appetizing after the chilling cold
Shivering on the line before battle

The taste brings back memories of hearth and home
Softness left behind during days of peace
I can almost picture the wreath and holly
Decorations our parents put up to celebrate the holiday

Memories are conjured up by that pot
Simmering within the stew
I’d come running inside to its savory scene
A celebration of life
Of families gathered around the table

I remember when I used to celebrate death
In all innocence, probing your weaknesses with a stick
We grinned at each other in cheery bloodlust
Delighting in our wooden substitutes for swords

How we tested each other
Childish foes, challenging weakness
A violent game to diffuse the giggles within us
The end of the battle was always laughter

Do you still laugh now?
I catch a glimpse of you
A cold-eyed war goddess in a miliary uniform
Scanning your enemy with your binoculars
Are you looking for me?
Or have you already spotted me
As I’ve spotted you?

Do you remember how we used to smile slyly at each other
A pair of annoying girls with knowing smirks
You whispered that only you’d get to kill me
I offered a breathless promise to kill you first

Did we ever think it would come to this?
You leading one army
I, lost in the ranks on the opposite side
Did you mean it when you promised me to death?
Or was it a way of pledging something more dear?

I never laugh when I pull the trigger
Taking aim at the enemy
Killing your soliders, one by one
Watching the life fade from their eyes
They’re the same as me
They’ve promised to die for you
Where’s the savage, childish glee?
We once had, when it was only play? 

The chill of the front is seeping into my bones
Numbing me, turning me into something less than human
Yet sometimes when when we heat a pot of soup
The scent tickles my nostrils, stirring my memory
Bringing back memories of home

Do you smell me as I smell you?
Whiffs of home, captured in a pot
Stirring up recollections of happier times
Or have you risen far above such simple thoughts?
Trapped within an officer’s uniform
A cause which killed the girl I used to love
Leaving an enemy standing in her place. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Paula's Prompts: Stefan's Warning

On November 7, 2018, P.T. Wyant posted at a Wednesday Word prompt:There is too much light in the world.

That line became the jumping off point for this Tale of the Navel: The Shadow Forest, a warning from Stefan Ashelocke, Duessa's First Marriage Feast and once her mentor. He sometimes whispers to Damian, acting a mentor to him as well.

There is too much light in the world.

Perhaps it was my mother who said this. I cannot remember. 

Over the years, I’ve come to agree with this statement more and more. 

The light burns. It exposes our weaknesses, our vulnerabilities to judgmental eyes. It destroys us with its judgment. 

By summoning the light, a mage attracts its attention. Creatures of light cannot let their summoners be. They crave worship, prostration, admissions that none are worthy of them. 

If a mage isn’t awed by their brilliance, willing to devote themselves to the light, the light will reject them. It will send its clerics and other agents to hunt the mage down. 

I wasn’t about the visualize the light, to call it to me, oh, no. I concentrated on the shadows instead. I looked for a patch of darkness in the forest. I imagine it spreading, allowing it to grow. 

The shadow spread across the leafy floor, reaching its dark fingers towards me. 

I was warned of the peril in this. One of my oldest friends feared the shadows I spread would consume me. 

I cannot dispute this. Especially when they did. 

Better to be consumed by a dark hunger than the burning rejection of the light, breathed upon us by its dragon, the icy spike of its brilliance driven into our breasts by the unicorn, unable to abide our impurity. I’ve seen the Followers of the Light turn on its own practioners, accusing them of being witches, heretics, a thousand angry names which mean one thing. 

You dared to play with the light. You aren’t worthy of its touch. No one is worthy of the light, for it shines deep into the flaws of every person, exposing them, revealing their ugliness. It’s only a matter of light before it summons a champion to strike down the unworthy vessel, removing it from the ranks. 

All the while, the light lies with its warmth, its kisses, its illumination.

Damian, my child, don’t let yourself be deceived by its glow. Whenever you summon the light, shape it with your hands, you give it an opportunity to burn and betray you. 

It shall do both to you before the end. It cannot help itself. It’s in his nature. 

I just hope you heed this warning, my child, before it’s too late. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Paula's Prompt: The Man in Red

On November 21, 2018, P.T. Wyant posted at a Wednesday Words prompt involving a grandfather, smoke rings, and a puzzle.

This poem was the result...

She wished he was her grandfather
Blowing smoke rings from his pipe
Such an unhealthy habit
Showing the innocence of a previous age
He’s an enigma wrapped up a furry red suit
Hiding his intentions under a floppy crimson hat
Puzzling out everyone else’s intentions in his slow way
She intends to figure him out
There’s more behind that mask of vulnerability
Wisdom in his wrinkled lines and smiling face
Yet it’s hard not to simply smile at his jovial mask
Letting out one final, hearty chuckle
Before he disappears into the winter night
Not to return for yet another year
She’s not sure where he goes to
Whether he’ll truly be with elves and reindeer
Living in his winter wonderland
While for her, the seasons change
Yet she keeps the echo of his laughter in her heart
A symbol of the family she dreamed of having
Along with all the other illusions she no longer believes in
Yet cannot bring herself to cast away. 

Monday, December 31, 2018

Secondary Characters Speak Out: Quartz and Ashleigh

Quartz: Another year and I’m feeling younger all the time. (grumbles) Don’t know what I’m talking about? Check out all these young looking things telling me how much older than are than me at

Speaking of people who don’t look their age, I’ve got Ashleigh here. The other mum to Leiwell and the twin besides that cranky Map. 

Ashleigh: Also known as Ashleigh Beyond the Door, at your service. Have a care how you speak of my Map. It’s not everyone who could stick around a single cottage in a single world, raising some of the creepiest, most disturbing children imaginable. 

Quartz: Eh? These are your children you’re talking about. Aren’t they?

Ashleigh: You sound like Map. Maybe she can just pretend they’re real children, but I’m the one who laid the bloody egg they hatched out of.

Quartz: What? (tries to keep his mouth from falling open and fails) You laid an egg? Which your children hatched out? All of them?

Ashleigh: I was in the Shadow Forest at the time, all right? The impossible is possible there. And no, it wasn’t all of my children. Just Danyel and Tayel. It was actually Christopher who hatched the egg which I laid. Map and Leiwell raised them. (mutters under her breath) Just because the egg came from me doesn’t make them my children. 

Quartz: Ah, so the ones you find creepy and disturbing are the twins. Who hatched from an egg. Did Leiwell hatch from an egg, too?

Ashleigh: Who knows? Dyvian just gave him to me. Told me to take Leiwell to Map and raise him. Yes, Map might call him our son, but he’s Dyvian’s creature. We can’t realy trust him. 

Quartz: So you ran away, afraid of the children who were asked to raise or whom were hatched out of egg you laid, leaving Map to raise them. (strokes his beard) No wonder she’s cranky. 

Ashleigh: Don’t get judgmental. I am what I am, or what’s left of me. Perhaps there was a part of me who could have been a good mother to the boys, but I lost her.

Quartz: Lost her?

Ashleigh: Lost her beyond the Door. I keep opening Doors to other places, other worlds. Every time I do, I lose myself. Or part of myself. It’s hard to remember. 

Quartz: How so?

Ashleigh: It’s hard to explain. I tried to in a collection of stories I wrote called Ashleigh Beyond the Door. I left them in a book for my children, so they’d have something, some part of me. Or perhaps a reason why I wasn’t there. 

Quartz: I thought you left because you found your children too creepy and disturbing to be around.

Ashleigh: I do, but I wouldn’t leave them just because of that. I would have tried harder to be a mother to them. I certainly wouldn’t have left the whole task to Map. (sighs) Who am I trying to fool? It was unforgiveable. I’m trying to make it up to them. At least I’ve been trying since the twins found some of the lost pieces of me. 

Quartz: I’m not sure if I’m following this at all. 

Ashleigh: Look, my family has been alone, isolated from the world for most of their lives. Except for Map who’s chosen to isolate them. What I’ve done is trying to make Map and my sons part of a community. I’m bringing the world to them, neighbors, shops, a tavern, all the things they’ve never had. 

Quartz: This could be another problem if they’re not used to being around people

Ashleigh: It’s better than being alone. A community is being formed whether they like it or not. I’m just going to have the waggons all come and start building. Map and the boys will get used to it. Things will be happier. 

Quartz: For you, perhaps. 

Ashleigh: Are you saying I’m being selfish? 

Quartz: You said it. Not me. 

Ashleigh: Rebuilding Omphalos is the most unselfish thing I’ve ever done!

Quartz: Did you talk to your family about your plans to rebuild before doing it?

Ashleigh: Well, no. I thought this way, there would be less fuss. 

Quartz: In other words, you had a bunch of strangers in waggons show up on the land around your family’s home and said, “Guess what? You’re going to be part of a village! Here are your new neighbors!”

Ashleigh: (slumping) You make it sound so inconsiderate. 

Quartz: I’m feeling more and more for Map. She really is the mother in the family. You’re more like one of the children, running into things without about the consequences. 

Ashleigh: I’ve thought long and hard about this! And what’s wrong with being childlike? It makes me able to relate to my own children more! Share their enthusiasm for everything!

Quartz: Do you? Share their enthusiasm?

Ashleigh: Well…no. They haven’t been that enthusiastic about the growing village. They haven’t really talked to me about it. 

Quartz: Really. 

Ashleigh: Don’t give me that look. My family just needs time to get used to the village…and me. 

Quartz: I’m sure they do. 

Ashleigh: We’ll get to know each other. Given time. 

Quartz: Right. (sighs) Good luck with that. 

Ashleigh: You’re giving me the look again! 

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Paula's Prompt: A Mantis's Vigil

On November 14, P.T. Wyant posted at a Wednesday Words prompt involving a praying mantis, a dog, and steps.

This poem was the result...

She sits upon the steps
Claws folded in prayer
The dog barks at her through the window
Not fooled by her display of piety
She might seem small, easy to crush
Yet her claws bring an end to her tiny paramours
Ready to decaptitate any lovers
Not that this matters to the dog
A bug’s love life is of no concern to her
Just that this creature insists on hunting on her porch
This porch belongs to the dog 
Along with all her humans inside
Only a door stops her 
She cannot run this murderous lover off
All she can do is voice her disapproval
A growling chorus of one
Meant to scare off the amourous
Alas, the mantis isn’t frightened off by such sounds
She continues to sit on the steps
Relishing her power as she waits
Until an unwary foot comes down and squashing her

Putting an end to her bold vigil. 

Monday, December 24, 2018

Scamper Along with Seven Tricks

Mousetrick: Hello, all you enormous humans and other enterprising individuals who managed to read this blog! Got any cheese with you? Perhaps a little gingerbread?

No? Well, perhaps you'd like a little holiday read? You can scamper along with me in this particular adventure if you click on the buy links below...what adventure? Why, this one!

Some say a mouse king has seven heads. Hah, trust a human to get our legends wrong. A mouse prince must perform seven tricks before the twelve days of Christmas are up. It’s how he wins his crown, but I’ve got my whiskers set on something else. A stiff beauty with a magnificent jaw, waiting for me under the holiday shrub. I caught his scent in a dream, which I’ve been sniffing after ever since. Scamper with me through my adventures and misadventures, dodging traps, cats, and giants, while I win a steadfast nutcracker’s heart.