Hello my Dear Reader, I hope I find you in the best of health and having as good of a day as possible. Today I am hanging out with my husband and one of his friends and I thought I would add a post.
I plan to add a story soon. I have been writing down ideas. I read a book once, the thing I got out of it most was “write what you know”, so I have been thinking about “what do I know”? And more importantly, Dear Reader, what would YOU, my audience, want to read about? Because without you, my Dearest of Dear Readers, I have no one to share my ideas with – and I want to share them.
So, I just wanted to pen down why I haven’t added any new stories yet. It’s not because I haven’t thought about it – it’s because I want to have an idea of what I am writing before I start writing it. But I am hoping tonight I will do that because I don’t want to let the tepid well of the water of my imagination run dry.
Now, you all take care of yourselves and have a blessed day. ❤ I hope you see you again my Dear Readers.
Once Upon A Time there was a kingdom by the sea ruled by a King and a Queen. The Queen was a unique women, she was very fond of the sea, and many of the villagers of the town she ruled were affected by the water she loved so much.
Few people in town knew of Ariel’s place of birth. She had appeared in their Kingdom suddenly. A mysterious woman with hair the color of fire and a voice that as she would wander the town docks singing every day, would make the men’s minds wander to far away places. Places where the world was nothing but endless beckoning of blue. As far as anyone knew she had come from across the ocean. A foreign fired haired beauty who had captured the heart of their beloved ocean faring Prince and had managed to store it in the castle. Along with, it seemed, everything else in the Kingdom. A Queen all the men in the Kingdom adored and the women all reviled.
King Eric was also a great lover of the ocean and would spend long amounts of time out at sea on his great ships. The royal armada consisted of many ships he had had commissioned for many things. There were fearsome war ships bearing cannons ready to fend off enemies. But there were also delicately carved massed vessels equipped with nets to catch the sea life that would feed the townsfolk and sustain the local economy. It during one of King Eric’s many sailings on one of his fishing vessels his and Queen Ariel’s paths first crossed. It was also on these vessels that he would most often leave on for long voyages throughout the year, leaving Ariel to care for the Kingdom.
Queen Ariel was fond of taking walks along the beach and on the docks daily. On her way to the beach she would always walk through town, picking up things on the street. She would place them in the pockets of an apron she wore over her dress that was embroidered with shells and scallops. While the Queen walked she would marvel over the various items people had discarded in the streets. Soon people learned the best way to earn Queen Ariel’s favor was to leave her trinkets. A bent spoon, a button, a candle, anything seemed to be a wondrous treasure to their slightly eccentric Queen.
During King Eric’s long voyages the Queen would be left to rule in his stead, and it was on one fateful voyage where her peculiarities and propensities became disastrous for the Kingdom. Somehow she came to learn that the primary food source of her Kingdom was flounder and crab from the sea. Soon after learning this she became hysterical. Legends claim she sat on the docks speaking to the seabirds for days. It was learning the fates of her ocean friends that drove her to make her royal decree.
The Queen went to the center of the city and gathered all her subjects around her. From now on, she announced, there was to be no more hunting or gathering from the sea, the beach, or anywhere near the ocean water touches. When protests arose she branded anyone who spoke up a traitor, and placed them in the stocks and the castle dungeon. No one dared to tell her the King was out procuring fish to store over the winter and to sell to the next Kingdom over. It wasn’t long afterwards she dismissed the castle staff and began to more avidly collect things, including animals like the seabirds that would perch on the castle crenellations. Rumors spread that she was filling entire rooms with her trinkets. Soon Ariel would only accept visitors if they came bearing gifts for her. The castle was starting to fill up with useless items, broken mirrors, bent forks, chipped bowls – all precious “baubles” not to be touched by anyone but the Queen.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Kingdom the people were struggling to feed themselves since the implementation of the Queen’s decree against fishing. The ground had become salted from centuries of the winds and the waves. Nothing would grow well enough to provide nourishment for long. Livestock had never been a staple of the townsfolk, and most homesteads only had a goat for milk and a chicken or two for eggs. People were able to survive for some time on their stocked pantries or with the help of a neighbor, but as the weather turned and supplies ran low the countryside slowly began to deteriorate. By outlawing fishing, the Queen had essentially outlawed food for her own people.
Queen Ariel stayed locked in the castle, oblivious to the suffering of the people around her. She was consumed by her sorrow. She missed the sea, she missed her King, she missed her sisters and father, and she missed her friends. She wondered what she had really traded her old life for. The only time she left the castle was to walk along the beach and the docks. She would sing while she walked, and while she sang her voice would carry on the wind and draw sailors out of their houses. They would stand, captured by their Queen’s siren song, while their wives stood by unaffected. Listening, the sailors’ would also miss the sea. They would yearn for the smell of the open water, the feeling of being surrounded in wide open blue, and they too would feel their hearts’ breaking with the weight of the loss. It was the women of the Kingdom who looked upon this bewitching enchantress with both fear and fury in their hearts. It was because of her their men lacked work and their babes lacked food, yet she stood on the shore and sang as though her callousness affected them not. As though the pain in her heart was greater than the pain in their bellies.
As the days grew shorter and night fell earlier it became more obvious that the people were going to need a new food source. Already dozens of the old and the young had died from fever and starvation, and many of the previously healthy were now starting to show signs of weakness. No longer did townsfolk leave Ariel tokens on the street when she went on her walks, as everything in a household could be sold for food in a neighboring village. This made the Queen sad, and she expressed it by demanding presents from anyone who made the mistake of crossing her path. Soon the streets, like the stomachs of the inhabitants, were all but empty.
When the King had left he told Ariel he would be back by the fall harvest. By now the winter solstice had come and gone and still he had not arrived. The Queen and the townsfolk both began to secretly worry his ship had been lost. Women up late at night trying to lull hungry babies to sleep with an empty breast began to see their Queen walk the beach in the moonlight yelling at the ocean. Pacing along the docks and calling out to something or somebody only she could see. Beseeching the water to bring her back her husband, or to let her come back home. Either way, the only answer she received was the sound of the waves crashing on the sand. The consensus among the Kingdom was that their beautiful Queen was mad, and that her madness was killing them all. It was decided that until the King returned the townsfolk would have to lock up their insane Queen, or face certain starvation.
By this time it was the women of the Kingdom who were the stronger sex, although not by much and mostly by chance of fate. They had been caring for the weak and procuring the food when the sailor’s were denied their livelihoods. The men, who for months had been languishing under the spell of Ariel’s song and wallowing along with her in her sorrow, found themselves starving and dying faster with nothing to keep their mind off their misery. It was the women working to keep them alive, to keep the children alive. The women who slaughtered the chickens and sold the goats. It was the women who came together to reap whatever would grow out of the barren ground. It was the women who cared for the sick and buried the dead when the food finally ran out. Women were also immune to the Queen’s song. And so, ultimately, it was decided that a few of the women of the Kingdom would capture and lock up Ariel for the sake of everyone.
They gathered up everything they had left that they thought would entice her and brought it to the castle. When Queen Ariel opened the door and let her subjects in to accept their gifts, they were able to grab and subdue her. They took her down, without food or water, and locked her in her own traitorous dungeon. From there the women went through the castle, searching desperately for food and trying to understand the extent of their Queen’s depravity. Birds would attack them as they made their way through a labyrinth of what was once a testament to royal decadence, but now was just an exercise in futility. All they found were rooms filled with junk displayed like war trophies and mementos to the ocean.
With Ariel safely locked away in her dungeon the Kingdom was able to fish again. The prospect of a health returned. The sailors were again able to return to the sea they too loved so dearly. Happily they loaded up their nets and set sail, their hearts light with the thought of being free from the chains of the land. But, as some ships left port that morning sailors of all ranks, from the most seasoned captain to the greenest greenhorn, swore they could hear Ariel singing. The ships that left to go fishing that day never returned.
The King never came back. Queen Ariel and King Eric were eventually forgotten. Life slowly returned to normal. The people continued to fish and live off the sea, but there is no King, and there is no Queen. There is no Kingdom. Now there is just an abandoned castle, filled with the collection of a mad ruler. Ships still come into port to leave fish for the town that the castle still overlooks, and sometimes sailors’ still swear they hear singing from the dungeons of a dilapidated castle overlooking docks that they’ll never return to.
I haven’t posted in awhile because I have found myself in a stagnant place and am trying to find a way out of it. I have been reading a lot to try to find inspiration in the words of others. I am struggling to find my voice, but I know it is in there and it is trying to find its’ way out. I just need to find it. I am worried my stories are too inherently “dark”. But, life is a dark journey isn’t it? Definitely darker for some than for others. And if you shy away from the darkness it only gives it more room to grow in my personal experience. I guess maybe I am a little afraid that the voice I find might scare some people away. But, my Dear Reader, I suppose that’s not really giving you the benefit of a doubt. And truly unfair on my part. So with that in mind I put some of my more “dark” poetry today and I am currently working on a story about a “nice girl” who finds herself making tough decisions that I will have up in the next few days for you. I will work on making my absences less often. Especially since I do want you. Dear Reader, to stick around. Have a good day, stay safe, and remember to Love Each Other.
“Damnit Zephyr! Get in the kennel!!” I shouted, as I wrestled with the 6lb cat that my sister had decided to let loose. “Today of all days…” I muttered, as I grabbed the tortoiseshell by the scruff of her neck and gave her a little shake of disapproval. “Lucy, I hate your cat.”
“No you don’t, you love him.” She replied, giving me one of her patented “Lucy Knows-It-All-All-The-Time Grins.
I had gotten her the cat 2 years ago as a moving away present. We had lived together our entire lives. Our parents, along with our youngest sister Arin, died in a house fire when we were both teenagers. At 15 and 16, Lucy and I set out on our own. We held hands and jumped into life headfirst. Two years later, when Lucy decided to move out and strike out on her own, I gave her Zephyr. And today would be the last time I would ever see either of them again.
Lucy was moving just down the road. Literally. To a small house with a small yard with a – get this, small duck pond in the back. I told her that cat would kill the ducks. But she didn’t care. Lucy didn’t care about anything except maybe getting home in time for her shows. Otherwise she was a real let it loose, live in the moment, free spirit kind of girl. Before she died, our mom used to say “Lucy dances to the beat of a different drum.” I’d say “yeah? What about me?” She’d usually respond with something like, “Oh Jane, you’re special too. But it was true, Lucy was the special one. What happened to her probably would have killed mom and dad all over again. I’m glad they weren’t around to see it.
The house was so cute. Yellow with white trim. And those damn ducks were everywhere. Not just in the pond in the backyard, but in the side and the front. Painted ducks, wooden ducks, duck nests, duck blinds; whoever built this house had a real thing for ducks. I remember joking with Lucy about it and her just brushing me off, “I think they are nice. They remind me of Arin.” The comment hit me like a ton of bricks. We don’t talk about our younger sister very much. There was a lot of age between us and Lucy and Arin never seemed especially close. She was only 8 when she died in bed with my parents while the house burned down around them. But thinking it over, I realized it was true, Arin had loved ducks. She had loved all birds actually.
I had driven Lucy and Zephyr to their new home and was planning on staying for dinner and a movie when work called. At the time I was working as a part time barista at a local punk dive. Rent was late, the power was about to be shut off, and my own cat was looking at me like I would make a sizeable meal if I didn’t fill her bowl right about meow – so I told Lucy I was going to catch a couple hours at the ‘Garbo and then I’d be back. She replied something about unpacking, told me to watch the ducks on my way out, grabbed Zephyr from his kennel and headed towards the back of the house. I remember watching her shining gold hair as she wandered away and thinking it looked like a halo in the golden sun of the dimming afternoon light. My sister, the Golden Angel of the Duck House…
While I went home changing into what I distastefully referred to as my “Greta Garbo Greatest Get Up” and headed to work to make fancy lattes and mochas for “too cool for Starbucks” hipsters, I thought about that funny little house my sister had just moved into. I remember that night I kept messing up people’s orders. I’m surprised I didn’t get fired. It doesn’t matter. It wasn’t that great of a job and the place is shut down now anyway. Turns out the owners were embezzling money. No wonder they only paid us all in tips.
I finished my shift at 2 am, and decided to go home. I figured Lucy was probably already in bed. It was way too late for our planned “dinner and a movie”, and I would just go and see her tomorrow. She was LITERALLY right up the road. Besides, the whole point of her moving out was to gain independence. And my coming over at 2:30 in the morning fresh off of work, waking her up demanding to hang out seems, in my mind, a little invasive. But I missed her. The void of her presence was persistent, calling me to recognize and acknowledge its lack of existence. So I decided that I would go run my errands, and invite my sister to come along, first thing in the morning.
I woke up the next day with a feeling. A bad feeling. I woke up and it was hovering over me the way a rain cloud hovers before a storm. I picked up my phone and messaged Lucy, “Hey you. You up yet?”, while I waited for her to reply I made some eggs for me and the cat and took a shower. An hour later I still hadn’t heard back. Tired of waiting, I decided I would just walk the couple of blocks up to her duck mansion and go see how unpacking was going. Or, if she was still asleep at noon, go wake her up and take her to lunch. I locked up the house and headed out, standing on the porch I noticed something, there were ducks on my lawn. I had never seen ducks on my lawn before and I have never seen ducks on my lawn since.
Walking to Lucy’s house was beautiful. It was a beautiful summer day. There were kids riding their bikes down the streets, dogs out barking in the yards, everything was as it should. That is, until I got closer to Lucy’s. The closer I got to Lucy’s the quieter it got. At first I thought it might have something to do with all the ducks, but that didn’t make any sense. No, for some reason it was just too quiet. Too still. Something was wrong here. Something was wrong at Lucy’s house.
Sprinting up the walkway I noticed there were feathers everywhere. Feathers in the fence. Feathers up the walkway. Feathers all over the driveway. Dozens and dozens of feathers…but no ducks. “Lucy!!” I screamed, pounding on her door, “LUCY!!”! Panicked, I shouldered into the door with all my weight and almost went through the entire house when it easily gave way under me, unlocked and unlatched. Scrambling to regain my footing, I squinted in the overly bright and cheery kitchen.
The kitchen was red. I blinked. Blinked again. Red? Wasn’t it yellow yesterday? Wasn’t the whole house yellow and white yesterday? But now, today it was red. Red…and feathery. It took my brain almost a full minute to recognize my sister had filled the sunny 1950’s kitchenette with the carcasses’ of what had to be at least 15 dead ducks. She had what looked like a Pagan sacrifice of to the Duck Gods in this Betty Crocker kitchen.
I found Lucy in the backyard, she had apparently run out of ducks. She had cut off all her hair. I couldn’t find the cat. I called the paramedics and they came and took my sister to the hospital. She had had a complete mental break with reality. And apparently it wasn’t the first time.
My sister you see, was crazy, I didn’t know it. But she knew it. Our parents knew it, and our little sister knew it too. Our parents used to try to convince her that her voices were dreams and nightmares. Tamed with self-control and responsibility. Medication and therapy were unapproved and frowned upon in our household and keeping secrets was second nature only to breathing. I was the only one who didn’t see it. “Lucy had nightmares”,” Lucy was “eccentric”. No, Lucy heard voices. The things that Lucy did weren’t born out of a free spirit, they were born out of nightmares and whispered taunts only she could hear. Lucy lit the match that defined our lives. She killed the ducks because she thought they were Arin, taunting her from the grave. Lucy tried to overcome her demons, but they ended up overcoming her. And all the while I stood at the window thinking about lunch.
I don’t go to the hospital very much. Partly out of shame, partly out of fear, but mainly because she is not the Lucy I remember. I have gone and seen the person in the padded room with the scars from the ECT and glazed eyes from the Haldol they have her on. I have seen the person who, when she is off her meds, claims she sees god and everyone is out to get her. I have seen the quiet serene woman who claims that she just wants to “go home”, even though her last home was with me. But I haven’t seen my sister. Not in a long, long time. I still feel her absence. Like a splinter that catches on an unfinished banister. She lives in Eastern State now. She has for 22 years. It too, is literally a block away. Lucy is there, dancing to the beat of her drum, and I am out here trying to take care of the ducks.
Hi, my name is Jessi, and I am here to write some stories and share them with the world.
I have been through many things in my life, and with all those things comes the knowledge that we have zero control. Except that is, within the confines of our own imaginations. To me writing and storytelling are some of the things that opens the doors to unlimited possibilities. It is my intentions here to kick open that door as hard as I possibly can – for my own sanity, and also for your possible entertainment.
So, please, kick back, grab a hot cup of whatever’s in front of you and enjoy a cold bowl of minestrone.