Joe and Julie were sitting in the hotel room they had booked to spice up their rather tired marriage. Before returning for their dinner they agreed to get dressed and take a slow walk along the promenade despite the drizzle that was falling.
Outside the hotel was a long flight of steps which led down to the seafront.
Julie asked him what he was wearing in the evening, and with a wink said that she would be trying her new high heels and stockings. “My brown hand-stitched brogues with the leather soles,” he replied. Meanwhile he opened their suitcase and started unpacking. He thought about the wet steps, her high heeled shoes and the chances of an accident. He smiled.
Julie, went into the shower, thinking about the steps, his shiny soled brogues, and how easy it would be for him to have a nasty accident. She smiled.
Every picture tells a story, each crumpled sheet, the telltale crease imprinted on each dishevelled pillow, this shrine to another night of brazen, shameless infidelity.
First time flying, like swimming, hold on to the side.
Pandora watched as the glowing orbs rose from the jar
Near the top they stopped. The sun was dropping rapidly in the Western sky. As if lost in their own thoughts there was no need for words. Each knew that the other was thinking of the days to come. It was deserted now but tomorrow this sacred place would be crowded with people; men, women, children, friends, relatives, all gathered for the last farewell. Nyruda had passed, her body was laid on the bier ready for the ceremonial transition.
At sunrise a procession would wend it’s way from the village to this rock, “The seat of the winds,” with their light load borne on the shoulders of six men, while the monks, women and children followed. There would be chanting, age-old mantras sung in a low drone, while the incense-burners twirled and their fragrance drifted over the plain at the whim of the breeze. It was not a lament but a celebration of one stage of her old life completed in preparation for the new.
A breeze was starting, exposing its presence with a twitch of Gana’s sleeve. In the distance he heard the lone cry of the lammergeier. He smiled, recognising the significance of the call, as if in reassurance that the wild eagles knew they were soon to be summoned and would be ready to help in the sacred task.
Tomorrow there would be many, wheeling and turning, carried high on the updrafts as they circled in readiness for their feast. The flesh would be stripped from the body leaving the white bones exposed. They would not be left long. The more experienced avian attendants would climb high in the sky their bills stuffed and ungainly with stiff, long, bristled moustaches. Like sharp but muffled drumbeats the sound of bones dropping on to the stones below would reassure the departing flock that the ceremony was being fulfilled. It would not be many days before the larger bones could be discreetly removed in accordance with their traditions ready for the final stage. Life would go on.
While missing you I shot myself
Picture by Marianne Sopala
“Ho ho ho, my young friends, you do seem to have got yourselves in a bit of a pickle but I think I may be able to help you,” said Maisy the friendly elephant who wasn’t at all frightened of mice and didn’t believe that they could run up your trunk. Even if mice were so small and an elephant’s trunk so big.
“Oh yes, Maisy it would be really lovely if you could help us get our house back down on the ground where it belongs,” shrieked the frightened little mouse family, “But how do you think you will do it?”
“I’ll tell you after you tell me how your little house got up in the tree.”
“Well, last night it was so windy that after we had all gone to bed the wind picked us all up and blew us up here. We didn’t know till Mummy mouse looked out this morning and saw where we were. We’ve been so frightened, waiting for someone to come and help. We’re so glad you came by. Now, how can you help us?”
“Oh, it’s easy she trumpeted in reply, “I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down.”
I had one impulse, it consumed my desire. I was dangling on a gossamer thread that was tethered high above my head. I stared up, fixing my eyes on the branch, not daring to look down. Out of the corner of my eye I could see all of my siblings starting to move upwards. A relentless tide of greenish-yellow bodies, each hoping to be the first to reach the succulent leaves that had overnight covered the branches of the birch tree, our ultimate goal. We all moved with one intent, to eat the sweet-tasting, luxuriant, green parcels of protein. Within minutes I had reached the smooth bark and I knew I would have to start eating the leaves. I would eat until my body felt like bursting at the seams. It was time to spread out along the branches as they became thinner, gradually dwindling to bushy growth.
I looked around and realised trouble was brewing. Small yellow birds had noticed that there was now a bounty of food and they were able with very little effort to pick up beak-fulls of juicy bodies that they could carry back to their nests. Each nest full of ravenous mouths chattering and clamouring to be fed. We would be an easy meal for the little chicks to digest and grow. I slunk along the twig trying to keep by body as low as possible, hoping not to be noticed before I reached the shelter of the leaf clumps. Then I could satisfy my hunger.
I started on the leaves nibbling away at the juicy green leaf-edges. Drawing myself up and then stretching out to take the next mouthful. Delicious! After a few hours, during which I managed to consume at least forty times my own weight of food I knew it was time to sleep. I hooked my claws into the bottom of an uneaten leaf and rapidly fell asleep. For the next few days I woke early and spent all of the daylight hours eating, hiding from the birds and retiring to sleep as it started to darken.
On the fourth morning I awoke after a restless night and it felt as though someone had wrapped me in a thick cloak. I twisted , turned and kicked until I managed to break free. I poked my head out of a strange-smelling, brown tube. I was exhausted so I just sat and rested It was then that I noticed my body had changed. My head was bigger, my eyes were brighter. My heartbeat was stronger and there were two growths on my shoulders. They got bigger and bigger . Wings! Somehow during the night I had managed to rebuild my body and I could fly for I was now a butterfly. Now there was no time to eat but another urge surged through my beautiful body.
”I have only one way out.”
How I wish she’d look up and read my proposal