The Tale Of The Bird & The Rose

-[Dedicated To Someone Who May Never Read This…]-

She

found a seed once, with the potential to grow into something beautiful. So she planted it in her garden green; she watered, loved and nurtured it so she could watch it grow from a bud to a rose. Until eventually its soft white petals bloomed amongst the nettle leaves and became something of awe in that distasteful garden of hers. But she found herself struggling to care for it as the brambles and cruel nettles prevented her from tending to it without wounding herself; soon enough she gave up. With her eyes clouded with sadness; frustrated and distraught at her failure, she plucked it from the ground and left it to rot.

 

He

had a bird once, who sang beautiful songs for whomever it met. The bird sang songs that lifted even the weariest of souls and though the bird loved singing for others, it never sang for him; still he treasured the bird so long as it made those he loved happy.  But deep down inside, he harboured a sadness that of which yearned to hear a song dedicated to him. So he buried his sorrow into dedicating his time to teaching his bird to sing to others.

 

When the twilight embraced the sky one evening, things changed:

He stumbled across a rose one day, wilted and dying, he picked it up and it pricked his fingers and threatened to pierce his skin further. He wasn’t frightened though. Instead, he took the flower and hung it by his window, and it remained there for days, watching the wonder and beauty of the world outside.

She came across a bird one day that sang lovely melodies to her. She began to fall in love with the bird and the efforts it offered to every individual it met. But she noticed that it sang only in the presence of others and never for itself. So she sang to it, and it listened to her songs of woe and joy but mostly it listened to the way she sang only and especially for it.

 

When the dawn kissed the sky one morning, they met:

The rose had dried into a timeless beauty, and he adored the rose in all its unconventional magnificence, thorns and all.

The bird had evolved and sang wonderful harmonies not only to others but to itself as well, and she never let a day pass, where she didn’t especially dedicate a song to it.

When he saw the bird, it began singing to him, all the new songs that the girl used to sing, and the sadness he drowned with himself, overflowed and flooded him. But he was finally able to smile because the bird sang for him too.

When she saw the rose, she finally saw it for all its beauty and saw the world, from the window it was once hung by. It was then, that the darkness was lifted from her eyes and she appreciated the rose for all that it was and all that it suffered amongst the weeds and nettles that it grew in.

The two of them, thereafter, indulged in days filled with sweet songs that enlightened both their souls and gardens so rich in beauty it was near impossible to ever see different again…

 

photo

Awful painting by yours truly 🙂

…The End…

“My Man Matty”

This was inspired by Raymond Carver’s Short Cuts

Mathew was only twenty-one but he thought of himself as a man. Mathew worked most days part time as IT support for a growing finial business in central London. This decent job paid for his current new apartment and fresh independence. He also had a girlfriend, Alex. They were both still in education but thought themselves to be rather mature and serious about their relationship. When he wasn’t working or doing essays, he was with his friends. They would often come to his apartment and drink beer and yell profanities as they watched football match in his small living room.

“That’s a red card for sure,” Chris said shaking his head unimpressed.

“Bloody hell, what’s he doing?” Mathew’s friend – Darren – asked annoyed. He got up from his seat and paced around the room. Mathew sat in the centre of the sofa, watching his friends as they absorbed the football match on the TV. Darren threw his e­­mpty beer can at Mathew’s head and huffed in annoyance. “Get your girl to give me another mate,” Darren begged.

“Tell her yourself man,” Mathew said as he turned back and gave his best effort to be act interested in the match. Darren looked uncertainly to the kitchen door and then back at Mathew.

“You tell her man, she’s your bird ain’t she?” Darren challenged. “Because if not, I’ll claim her,” he grinned.

“You’re so wasted,” Mathew laughed, he then also looked to the kitchen door, he could hear his girlfriend shuffling and preparing the pizza he had asked her to cook earlier that day. “Alex!” He called out, the noise in the kitchen settled. “Alex bring another round of beers in already,” he said. Alex then walked in with a tray full of beverages for the boys which she placed on a table crowded by empty cans and crisp packets. None of the boys noticed of her. Mathew then stepped out of the circle of football fanatics to be with his girlfriend. He whispered a quiet ‘thanks’ into his girlfriend’s ear before he turned back to his friends. “Alex make some pizza for us too,” He said as his friends all jeered at the prospect of food.

“All meat right?” Alex asked.

“You’re lucky your chick is hot Matt, because she asks bloody dumb questions!” Chris laughed and all the boys wolf whistled and hooted. Alex shook her head dismissively and walked back to the kitchen. Mathew watched her walk away and then said: “what do you expect – she’s only a girl,”

 

The next Sunday evening Mathew and Alex set about preparing for a dinner party that Alex had planned for her friends. As Alex polished the cutlery, Mathew cooked; set the table; stitched the detail in Alex’s evening gown and carefully placed a vase of flowers at the table. He admired his work silently as he stood by the door. He was clandestinely proud of his efforts.

That night all of Alex’s close friends came by and spent the evening dining and drinking. Mathew sat in his room reading the works of Charlotte Bronte, but he could hear the giggles and whispers of the ladies’ talk knocking on his door. He put his book down and turned to the door. Then he changed his mind and decided to go to bed. He stepped into his bed and looked at the celling… he thought he heard someone mention his name. His gaze drifted to the door. He blinked and then rolled over and tried to sleep. Finally he gave in and walked over to the door, he pressed his ear against the door; everything was a muffled blur. There was no helping it now, he opened the door ajar and listened.

“This mousse is an absolute delight,” one voice exclaimed.

“The flowers are beautiful too, oh Alex you have such wonderful eye for these things,”

“Her dress too! It’s lovely, I love the detail at the hem, stitched it yourself didn’t you?”

Mathew smiled, he smiled quietly and shyly and bit his fingers in a satisfied embarrassment. Suddenly, he heard Alex clear her throat, “Ah yes, I did actually, I’m glad you like it!” She said. Mathew frowned. His fingers tapped at the doorknob as he heard her go on: “It was nothing really,” and all the girls retorted by laughing at her humble response. Mathew slammed the door shut, and wished he had gone to bed after all. He grabbed the bottle of whisky on his desk and poured himself a glass; downed the whole glass in one and then went for the door.

 

 

“I can’t believe what you did!” Mathew hissed, as he tapped nervously on the kitchen counter. Alex peered at him from behind the fridge door.

“Babe, you’re stressing over nothing, everyone’s probably forgotten!” she reassured him. He looked at his fingers and watched as they tapped rhythmically on the surface.

“They’ll think I’m a joke,” He mumbled. “I can already hear them laughing,”

“Look babe,” Alex shut the fridge door, “We were all very drunk; too drunk. I didn’t realise when I was taking the video of you that… well, that doesn’t matter; everyone will just assume that you were too drunk to realise, its fine babe,” she then walked towards him, and reached up to his face to kiss him but was interrupted by a knock at the door. Mathew’s fingers paused and tensed.

“We’re here!” Darren yelled from the other side of the door, Alex glanced at Mathew as he anxiously watched the door. Comfortingly, she squeezed his shoulder before opening the door. “Hey, Alex where’s Matt?” Darren asked as the rest of his friends swarmed in and took their place on the sofa. Darren looked over at Matthew and smirked. “Well, well if it isn’t my man Matty!” He said with open arms, Mathew glared at him. “Or should I say… girl?” he mocked.

“Please don’t Darren, Matt’s not feeling well today; hung-over from yesterday actually,” Alex said.

“Aw, poor bastard… cross dressing is really tiring huh?” Darren winked, Mathew swallowed and clenched his fist, he could feel the blood drain from his face as he watched Darren laugh and walk towards the boys; walk away…The noise around him blurred and he could only hear the thumping of his heart. He could hear his girlfriend’s muffled voice asking if he was okay, constantly trying to assure him. He could hear Darren walking further away. He could feel his blood rush to his fist and he felt himself raise his first and the way it cut the air and how it delivered a violent blow…

 

Alex was stunned, shocked and horrified; both by the blood and Mathew. The room was quiet, not even the sound of commentator celebrating a goal on the TV could spur any movement. All eyes looked from Mathew to Alex… who lay dazed on the floor.

“Well,” Darren coughed, “I suppose this is what happens when the woman doesn’t stay in the kitchen….”

 

 

 

The Act of Murder

This is my horrible attempt of an opening chapter for a mystery/crime story – Enjoy!

***

Her voice resonated throughout the quiet dimly lit room of men sat at the edge of their seats, before a loud roar of applause cut through the silence and showered Cara Reinsworth; her rouge lips curved into a smile. The air was filled with the desire of the many men seated before her, all admiring the the way her velvet red dress hugged her figure so tightly and the manner in which her golden hair enticed them in the same way their own filthy golden wealth did to them.

As she walked off the stage many eyes continued to follow her; all like wolves hidden in the shadows of the light, preying on little red riding hood. But Cara preferred her own twist on the tale. As she gracefully made her way down the stairs her eyes surveyed the room for an interesting night, she savoured the hungry eyes that beckoned for her attention and begged her to bless them in early hours of the morning. She relished the prospect that so many filthy rich men desired her pure presence and that within minutes she’d have them at her feet and their money between her fingers. Yet she knew that tonight like many others, she had little control over the cast of this story; she only had a role to play and one job at hand.

Thomas sat there, patiently. The gangsters, dirty tricksters and dishonest scammers all surrounded him, gawking at her; he was practically invisible and perfectly integrated into the shady scene. The night was young but smoke clouded the room; glasses were being filled and hushed secrets of racketeering floated amongst the heavy waves of drunken laughter and yelling. Those who were not huddled suspiciously together were seated and captivated – not by her beautiful voice but her tempting lips. He ran his fingers around the rim of the bottle as he vigilantly observed her. He was about to play a risky game, one he knew was reigning champion at but one mistake and that title would be snatched away within seconds. The game was simple enough – capture the queen however the there was a whole chequered field stretched out before him. Every move was vital. She sang her last note and sauntered down the stairs, and glanced around the room. This was Thomas’s cue; he had one shot to initiate the game. He diverted his eyes to the seat opposite him and placed his hat across the table and waited. He didn’t look up, not even when the sound of her tapping red heels approached him, not even when her fingers curled over the gold bars of the chair. His hands gripped the cold glass of the empty bottle and her voice finally reached out to him.

“Hey there handsome,” He looked up and raised his brow,

“I was wondering when you’d come around,” he said coolly, gesturing to the seat opposite him.

“Sorry to keep you waiting, what did you think of the show?” She asked as she sat down and fluttered her eye lashes at him. The game had begun and just as he had anticipated she was already advancing the field, just as prepared to invade and attack as he was.

“Amazing,” he answered simply, she shifted in her seat and tilted her head. She was bored of hearing all the same things but her performance had not yet ended and her funds was better still when it was tainted by her own corrupt lies and cheats.

“Why thank you,” she giggled, just as she had rehearsed many times before.

“But your voice,” he said as she stirred her drink delicately in her cup, “It really is beautiful,”

“Oh you’re too sweet,” she smiled, quickly getting fed up of the conversation.

“How about we take this somewhere private,” He suggested tactfully sensing her irritated mood and placing his playing piece across the board.

“Why of course! I have a great hotel room specially reserved for you….” Cara drifted off…

“My name is Eddie, Eddie Hills,” Thomas said nonchalantly.

Thomas watched cautiously as Cara floated around the room, wisps of her curly blond hair hanging behind her, the hotel room was lit with candles and the busy, chattering city was muffled by the quiet of the room. She walked behind him and ran her hands up his back and let them waver on his shoulders, before she whispered in his ear, “We both know why we’re here,” she started, “I know what you want and I’ll be happy to give it you at a price,”

“You deserve nothing less,”

“Oh I know but I need to know I can trust you,”

“Whatever it takes,” he said, knowing he was getting closer to the trophy, he subtly reached into his pocket,

“Tell me something important, oh I don’t know… tell me about where you get your goods?”

“My goods?” Thomas questioned.

“Don’t play dumb with me Eddie, we’re both know you’ve got the best business in town next to Henry and his band, so just tell me and I’ll know I can trust you and we can start enjoying the night already,”

“And why would a lady like you want to know such things?” Thomas could feel he was on the verge of attaining what he had been waiting for the whole night. The last piece of information. The confession he had been after all along.

“I told you, just as something to make sure you pay me fairly,”

“Hah,” Thomas mused, “Maybe I could double the price, triple it even, all I need is a little honesty to seal the deal, perhaps even an alliance, you’re a beautifully smart woman… so tell me what you really do ” Thomas tempted. Cara smirked, she was indeed tempted, and this was something new. But she dithered at the offer, Thomas sensed this and immediately knew he had to act. He suavely lifted her chin gently to meet his eyes; two could play at that game.

And in that moment the blue of the ocean met with the deep green of the forest and both absorbed each other. Cara was taken aback. She was sent here to meet what was meant to be a foul rich old geezer who’d have nothing but money and women on his sleazy mind. Instead however, the empty chair and that signal came from dapper man with weary but honest green eyes and a dashingly handsome face. His dark blue attire made him look a million dollars and his charisma could have won him a million more. And all of this was abruptly realised within sudden seconds for Cara, for unlike others he seemed far more aware and slick with his moves. Perhaps this was why he was so good, perhaps this is how he gets his goods? That had to be it. But Cara suddenly realised who she was really playing with-

A scream shattered the silence and ricocheted through the hotel and echoed through the night. Both Thomas and Cara found themselves immobile – the scream had come from next-door. They both exchanged a confused expression; they both knew that voice as familiar. Cara had heard it over the phone and Thomas had only heard it hours earlier…. – They both rushed out the room and stood at the door adjacent to their own. Thomas knocked on the door but just as quickly as the silence had fleeted it returned again. Impatiently, he kicked in the door and stumbled into the cold room. Instantly, both Cara and Thomas was stuck by the distinct metallic smell of blood. A man who lay on the floor, eyes rolled back, lifeless.

Eddie Hills was dead.

The air that late December was thick with booze and nicotine and death and perhaps even chemistry. A tiny spark had ignited a flame between two souls that vanished from the scene that night. When Thomas turned back Cara was nowhere to be seen; confused by the happenings of that night he replayed the tape that was hidden in his pocket and listen to her voice. He was so close yet so far; and now with Eddie dead he seemed even further. However he knew he’d see her again because the story, the game, the crime and the capture; all had to go on for both of them. But the roles they play were yet to be determined…

From That Moment….

This piece was influenced by a scene in Good Fellas

From the very first moment I heard her shaky voice down the phone line I knew something was wrong. The words would barely leave her mouth, but I could hear her breathing uneasy; when she finally told me she had been attacked, I didn’t even think twice about asking for details. I knew I had to get to her. I just needed to get to her. She told me where she was I reluctantly hung up and rushed into my car.

I don’t remember how fast I was driving; I don’t remember what I was even thinking about; hell – I wouldn’t even be able to tell you if I knocked someone over on my way there, all that was going through my mind was the kind of danger she might have been in. The cigarette between my lips was doing nothing to calm my nerves, no matter how much of it I puffed while I sped through the streets and raced closer to her. The world around me blurred into a haze and a million thoughts battled to be heard in my mind but I gave none of them any attention. I kept repeating the location she recited to me in my head, again and again and never let it slip from my mind, not even for a single second.

When I finally spotted her by the phone booth, my heart dropped. I jerked my car to a stop in an instant and threw my cigarette on the floor; I opened my car door, got out and closed it again in one swift movement. Two steps and I already had my arms around her, her soft sobbing echoing the quiet streets.

“What happened? What happened? You alright?” I asked as I gently guided her towards my car, feeling a sudden rush of panic and concern. I opened the car door before she had even reached it – I just needed her to be inside it; to be safe. I also jumped over the back seat door and sat in beside her, not bothering to even go around.

“It was this guy who lives across to me,” she cried out. That was when I finally noticed what a mess she was… her beautiful black hair was ruffled and tangled like a nest, her pretty clothes were torn and covered in dirt and her gorgeous makeup was smeared across her face. A sick feeling churned in my stomach as I reached out and touched her ripped dress. “Wh-wha- what did he…” I stuttered unable to even think clearly, an image flashed into my mind but I blinked it away, not even wanting to imagine what had happened. Her face changed from upset to frustrated and angry as she began to explain what had happened. But before she could even finish or I could allow myself to listen I found my feet slamming at the pedals and car’s tyres screaming across the ground like I never did.

I didn’t hear what she said to me. I couldn’t hear it. Not over the hum of the engine, or the roaring of the wind that swept past us, the world suddenly seemed to be so damn loud and everything just drowned out her voice. When I reached her road, I slowed to a calm halt. I turned to her, her eyes hidden behind a pair of shades and her body limp and tired. It hurt me to see her like that; in a soft voice I told her to go inside. I watched as she walked in front of the car and disappeared into her house… in the mirror I noticed him standing there with a smug look on his face. An inferno was ignited within me. One hand pushed open the car door as the other gripped my gun. As I strode over to him I felt anger run through my veins and tense every inch of my body until it reached my mind where it erupted with rage. He grinned and began walking up to me, his mouth moving but all I could hear was my girlfriend’s broken cries. I grabbed him and suddenly… I saw him looking at her, I saw him touching her, I saw him forcing himself on her…

I blink again, and he’s on the floor, face covered in blood, wailing out in agony. I abruptly feel the weight of the guns in my hands and the sticky crimson blood that stains the bottom of it. I grit my teeth and hit him once more, relishing the sound of the cold metal colliding with his skull and – hopefully – breaking it. I warn him to stay away in an aggressive roar and stagger backwards and point the gun at his friends too before I regain my balance. The terrified expressions on their faces cue me to leave and I walk towards her house, I hold my breath until the sight of her calms me and cools me down. Her deep blue eyes wash over me and I once again hear my unfamiliar calm soft voice asking her to hide the gun and then repeatedly asking if she is okay…

A Small Act of Kindness On The Bus

Hello strangers,

The other day I was on the bus, on my way to college when something comforting happened which I feel I must write a short post about…

I was on my way to college, seated quietly by the window. I watched as every building, face and car blurred to the back of my mind and became another meaningless moment in my life which I’d likely never recall again. People constantly got on to and got off the bus as my headphones continued to trap music into my mind and pass the time a little faster. However my attention was diverted from my music and the world beyond the window when these two guys walked on; my eyes drawn to the lanyards that hung around their necks which hinted that they attended the same college as me. My college was full of delinquents and many of whom couldn’t be bothered; these two guys fit the scene perfectly. As I drew my eyes away from their lanyards one of them noticed me….

For some unexplainable reason I feel that time slowed suddenly, as he looked back at me and our eyes met for a brief second before I turned back to the window and time resumed again. His eyes were soft and green.

Things went on like normal. People got on. People got off. The bus drove on and the world continued to blur onwards. A woman with three children walked on at one point and she placed her buggy on the bus, her older son stood by her and talked to her; the one in buggy just sat quietly in his seat and the last child (who was the middle child) stood right in the centre of the bus. The guy from my college and his friend were talking as the bus driver let the last of the passengers at the stop on. The doors closed and I noticed the guy from my college suddenly acknowledge the boy stood there, he looked to the front of the bus and then back at boy. It was then I noticed that the boy wasn’t holding on to anything and in a single quick moment all the following happened at once:

The guy from my college held his hand out – the bus driver put his foot on the pedal – the bus jolted forward – the little boy violently jerked backwards and almost fell… only to be saved by the guy who kindly supported him with his arm…

The boy stood there leaning on the guy’s arm for several minutes before he looked back and realised it wasn’t his mother who had helped him. The boy looked startled at first but then just started laughing as if to say ‘who are you?’ the guy simply started smiling back at the little kid, in a friendly awkward kind of way. The boy then ran back to his mother and from behind his body he would look at the guy and smile and receive a smile back. I sat there myself smiling stupidly at this little scene that had unfolded before me and was unnoticed by everyone else… except me…

I kept seeing that guy around my college with his one friend that was with him on the bus. I kept seeing him and seeing that one kind gesture on the bus replay in my mind. I wanted so much to walk up to him and tell him I saw it, and tell him that what he did was a small but significant act of kindness that goes too often unappreciated. But I appreciated it, deeply. It made my day and gave me a little spark of hope that still remains with me even now. I wanted to say all that but my shyness and newbie-status at my college made me refrain…

Perhaps this why I’m writing about it, so that someday when you see someone do something kind, you’ll have the courage I didn’t to tell the person they did good and we need more people like them in this sometimes cold world. Sometimes it’s just nice to know that someone noticed and appreciates it…

For Better Or For Worse…

It’s there. It’s always there, that constant urge to just grab everything and run. But the black veil that hides my face and the extravagant white dress that hugs my body tightly tells me it’s too late… or is it? I may have already signed the papers but I never signed my soul away. I may be bound by love, but I have yet to confess. I can still run, I can still run out the door, find my freedom, find my rights. By walking through that door, I’d have already claimed my first right. They couldn’t force me to come back.

 

But why am I running away from them?

 

They who have supported me since my first breath? – They who loved and cherished me when I was young. What reason do I have to cut the strings that they have woven for me so carefully? Oh but I see now. I understand how when they cried “But it’s your choice!” they lied. For they had already confined me in a box; with walls built up of expectations – the expectations to just do the right thing. They told me what I could do – what I have to do. What I should believe – What I have to believe. They never let me explore the possibilities. They never let me find my own calling. And I…

Well, I never defied them. And perhaps that was my error. Perhaps this broken, withdrawn, pathetic face that stares back at me is merely the result of my error. My one error that will damn me to hell…

 

There is time yet.

 

I can escape.

 

I can find myself.

 

Await my calling.

 

I can make my own choices.

 

I pull my veil off, I tear the bottom of my white dress, I tear my necklace off; drop my bouquet; and I run through the door to my freedom! – Suddenly. Wedding bells ricochet through my halls; a hand grabs my arm violently! I find myself being dragged away from the light of the door, further and further away from my own revelation of happiness…

 

My hands are cuffed and restrained to a single solid pillar.

The stain glass window lets little light in.

My white dress has become black for I cry. I sob. But it won’t end. The wedding bells, the music, the chatter. All within in this empty holy building.

And my wedding ring… are the very handcuffs that tie me forever to this place of other people’s prayers…

The Cure…

“First one to look away loses!”

“I’m not playing,” I mumbled, but I could already feel him staring intently at me.

 

I could feel my cheeks burn ablaze; set alight by the pyromaniac that was sitting across to me, waiting for me to embrace the flare as he had once embraced the cool water within my calm ocean. I diverted my eyes, trying to find something to distract me, something to distract him. Yet I knew that would be impossible with his burning, new-found determination to ‘cure my fear’.

As every second passed, the temptation began to overwhelm me, enticing my gaze to slowly drift up, towards his; to meet the glassy world that was reflected behind the deep hazel swirls of mischief. The world from his eyes seemed so much brighter, more beautiful and far more profound than anything I had ever seen myself. But when he blinked, all that I could see in his dilated pupils was me… his lips curved upwards as we both smiled at the explosive silence; so much unsaid, yet, the tiny microcosm between us revealed it all.

Our gazes; still locked; never drifted nor faltered unlike my heart which was dropping and rising like the chaotic notes in dubstep, making the butterflies in my stomach evolve into violent moths excited and enticed by a single dim flame…

And then I realised; amid the galaxy that we had morphed in empty space between us and the veil of our shy and secretive smiles: I had found the light that I had been searching for; the light that would banish all the darkness in my world; my own perpetual flame.

He was the cure.