Beauties and Beasties

Three hags around a cauldron hot,
Two tall, one short, all steeped in rot

“Sisters, dear,” the short witch rasped,
“Please join me in my evil chant.”

And so the wicked three clasped hands
Enpowered by their fevered rant:

Warted toads and skinny skinks,
Strangled pigs and hair of lynx,

Essence of offal, rattlesnake’s tongue,
Sweat of warthog, elephant’s dung.

Lizard’s lips, slime of slug,
C’mon girls let’s chug a lug.

Feverishly they consumed the potion
A night of devilment set in motion

Quickly worked the magic brew
Hags became beauties right on cue

Summoned they a carriage grand
And ventured out upon the land

In search of men unvirtuous,
The shallow and oblivious

Easy prey for witches three
On Halloween, the hags were free

Tortured men with promised kisses
Allowed them to fulfill their wishes

But every man seduced in turn
Soon felt his skin begin to burn

Venomous kisses raised seeping blisters
The mark of conquest from evil sisters

And when All Hallows Eve was o’er
Three witches laughed at settled scores

Call and Response

Photographic art by Julie Powell

Call and Response

words by Leslie Noyes

Time ceases to exist
When the old man speaks
Yet trembles when he listens.

Draw nearer, friend
Better for him to hear
Above the fray and frenzy.

Whisper loudly, for he is
Stone deaf and ancient
Beyond our reckoning

His tears flow like cold sap
Weighted with the detritus
Of aging arteries

But, flow they do in silent
Sympathy with all that has
Befallen man, and all that is to come.

No platitudes forthcoming
Today he listens only.
Tomorrow, he may speak in tongues.

Please visit https://juliepowell2014.wordpress.com/ for more amazing art.

Faerie Sighting!

Since placing a faerie house behind our home I’ve been anxiously awaiting a glimpse of one of the wee inhabitants. Knowing that the fae are shy by nature I figured it might be weeks, months, or even years before one appeared. 

I began leaving small gifts for the faeries: buttons, bits of bread, and a thimble. Every day I checked the house, and noted that my gifts had disappeared. Of course, we have a great many squirrels who call our forest home, so I reasoned that it was they who’d taken my offerings.

So imagine my delight when, upon returning from an afternoon matinee, I spotted a tiny visitor outside the faerie house! Now, the photo isn’t terribly clear; I feared getting too close lest I frighten the faerie away. See if you can spot the tiny being.

  
There, a few inches to the right of the ladder, if you look carefully you might see a pair of wings. 

Hopefully, now that our newest neighbors know we mean them no harm I’ll be able to get closer for more definitive photos. I’m trembling with excitement. I must get this news to the grandchildren as soon as possible.

Peace, people!

Clan O’Laughlin

We completed work on our faerie home and placed it on a stump in our backyard. We checked on it first thing this morning, and sure enough, a family of wee folk had already moved in. 

It seems they’d already had a home there, we just couldn’t see it until we built one! Fae magic is a strange and wonderful thing, indeed. Their story, that of Clan O’Laughlin, is recorded below. I had a little help with the telling of it.

Clan O’Laughlin

According to legend, over two hundred years ago, young Seamus O’Laughlin accidentally poached a lamb from his faerie king, the fearsome Grady O’Grady. Seamus wasn’t a thief, but his family was starving and when he came across the lamb wandering along a country lane he didn’t think twice, but took it home to be made into stew.

His wife, Brigid, knew immediately that the lamb belonged to Grady O’Grady and that if the king discovered the crime Seamus would be hanged in the public square for all the wee folk to witness. After cooking the stew Brigid gathered her loved ones together for one last meal in the family home.

“We must flee this place, and be quick about it,” Brigid told Seamus and their little ones, Ian and Aileen, as they partook of the hearty lamb stew.

That very night Brigid and Seamus placed their few valuable possessions into their small wagon. The door to their humble domicile, constructed many thousands of years ago by Seamus’s great-great-great grandfather was laid atop an heirloom bench and Brigid’s wash tub for their journey to parts unknown.

After many days of rough journey across the Irish countryside, the O’Laughlin family arrived in a port town and stowed away on a huge ship. Safely belowdeck, Seamus scavenged for leftover food from the human passengers while Brigid tended the little ones and made tasty meals from scraps. 

Weeks passed before the boat docked in a place the sailors called “Florida.” Anxious to be off of the shop, Brigid climbed to the crow’s nest undetected by human eyes and scoped out the prospects for her family.

“Seamus,” she said, returning to their hideout after breathing the fresh air and looking out over the green land, “I believe we can make our new home here.”

And Seamus, eager to make Brigid happy, agreed. The family once again loaded the wagon and set off for the interior of Florida. 

Many strange creatures accosted the family on its journey. They quickly learned to avoid lizards, snakes, and alligators. Seamus lost a finger fighting off an aggressive gecko, but Brigid nursed him back to health with herbs from Ireland that she’d packed for the trek.

Finally Seamus led the small band to a forest beside a lake. Here he and Brigid built a home and established Clan O’Laughlin on American soil. And to this day, Seamus’s family resides near Havana, Florida, in the shadow of a home occupied by kind, peace-loving humans. 

  

The Daily Prompt: Out Foxing the Fox

Unexpected Guests–You walk into your home to find a couple you don’t know sitting in your living room eating a slice of cake. Tell us what happens next. (The Daily Prompt on The Daily Post)

  

Before the pair can register my arrival I slide quickly to the floor and roll behind the chaise longue. I knew this day would come, but I had hoped it would be many years down the road. Consciously I slow my heart rate and breaths per minute until I am barely more alive than the errant sock lying underneath the candle stand to my right.

“When did you say you expect your wife?” asks the male half of the duo.

“Any minute now,” my husband replies. “Unless she gets caught in traffic.” His voice betrays no hint of concern, but then why should it? Andrew has no idea of my true identity. 

“More cake?” he asks. “I baked this last night. From scratch.”

“It’s quite tasty,” comments the woman. “But no thank you.”

I hear plates and cutlery being placed on the coffee table.

“Could I trouble you for a glass of water?” she asks.

“But of course. Mr. Mulder, would you also like something to drink while we wait for Lana?”

I hear a muted “yes” and then Andrew’s familiar tread on his way to the kitchen.

“Do you think we have the right home?” the woman whispers.

“I’d bet money on it, Scully,” her partner says.

Andrew returns to the room with a hearty, “Here we go! How remiss of me not to include a beverage with the cake.”

The man asks in a strained voice, “How did you and your wife meet?”

“Oddly enough, we met at a Scifi convention,” chuckles Andrew. 

I hear a choking sound from one of our uninvited guests. 

“Why do you say ‘oddly enough’?” coughs the man named Mulder.

“Because Lana detests that stuff. Calls it nonsense. I’m the big fan. She was there doing research on the geeks who attend such affairs. Just my luck she found this geek attractive.”

“Of course,” Andrew continues conspiratorially, “You know she’s one of them. An alien. Just as you expected, Agent Mulder.”

The female, Scully, coughs loudly, a long painful sounding affair. Her partner follows suit. 

“Yes, it’s part of the reason I found her so fascinating at the convention. You see, I’m one, as well. My darling Lana, like myself, is a Mirbeesian, from the planet Mirbee 2, just a couple of light years from Earth.”

The coughing crescendoes to a shattering peak and then subsides to be replaced by a weighted silence before Andrew intones, “Lana, come out. You’re safe. The agents won’t bother you now.”

I emerge from my hiding spot to find Andrew grinning from ear to ear and the agents lying motionless on the floor.

“Andrew!” I cry, “What have you done?”

“Oh, they’re quite dead, my dear, but it had to be done if we’re to have any peace.”

“That’s awful, but I suppose you’re right. Andrew, you’ve never given any indication that you knew about me. And I certainly didn’t know that you were like me. How did you know?” I break down, crying at the enormity of it all.

Andrew takes me in his arms and strokes my hair. “My Lana, remember how I insisted on doing all of the cooking?”

“Yes,” I whimper, beginning to understand. 

“Had you been from Earth, my food would have had the same effect on you as it had on the agents here. I came to Earth specifically to find a mate so we can finally begin our infiltration.”

“How fortunate you found me on the first try.” I sigh.

“Who said you were the first try?”

Thirsting

Thirsting

By Leslie Noyes

we slept for eons
awakened then by a kiss
thirsting for true love.

  

hungry we scrabbled
tortured by cloistered trappings
tongues seeking life’s blood.

  
submit, our lovelies,
slake our thirst, break these shackles
join in ecstasy.

I’m a long time fan of the vampire tale. Scary, sparkly, ghastly, gory, romantic, rascally, I love them all. Except for the silly ones. They just piss me off. Vampires don’t do vaudeville.

Peace, people!

Shoes and Zombies

One might wonder what possible relationship could be found between shoes and zombies. 

 
On the surface there seem to be few, if any connections; however, for one such as I who periodically stops to ponder survival in a zombie apocalypse, shoes, or more specifically, types of shoes, might have a real bearing on one’s chances of surviving a zombie horde.

I’ve never been a shoe maven. Oh, in my younger years I enjoyed putting on a pair of heels with a short skirt and watching heads turn as I sashayed into a restaurant. I was never a great beauty, but my legs were more than adequate as such things go.

Not long after I hit my mid-30’s, though, I realized that the leggy look enhanced by a pair of heels in no way made up for the resulting back and foot pain, and except for a couple of notable occasions (both weddings) I’ve steered clear of shoes with anything higher than an inch of heel since then.

I credit this common sense for giving me exceptionally nice feet for a woman of 59, feet that can walk for miles with no complaint. And that’s where zombie survival kicks in.

  
Apparently the zombies pictured above have found easy prey, presumably one who was unable to outdistance the walking dead due to poor footwear choices.

  
While this pair of Louboutin’s might help one strike a stunning pose on the red carpet, chances are they’ll only slow one down when survival matters.

  
On the other hand, this waterproof boot by Merrell would provide protection, comfort, and traction in all terrain. 

What I’m Reading

Since I’m certain everyone is dying to know, I’m currently engrossed in The Dresden Files series by author Jim Butcher.

The Dresden Files series revolves around Chicago wizard/private investigator Harry Dresden who uses his significant powers to help find lost items and to solve crimes. Early on, Harry becomes embroiled in the supernatural happenings in the Nevernever and takes on the three, yes three courts, of vampires, setting off a war with the vampires of the Red Court.

I have something of a literary crush on Harry Dresden, whose full name I won’t reveal because names hold power, don’t you know. He’s a combination of Han Solo and Indiana Jones with a good measure of Harry Potter thrown in for good measure, and his skill for tossing out witty wisecracks is matched only by his integrity.

Deep into book 11 in the series I realized last night that I’ve been dreaming about Harry and his closest friends, Bob, Murphy, Michael, Butters, and Thomas. Even his pets, Mister and Mouse have been featured in my nocturnal adventures lately. I care about them, and that’s how I know it’s a good series.

I highly recommend The Dresden Series to readers who enjoy their scifi/fantasy mixed with humor and occasional romance. Harry and company are a whole lot of fun.