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PACKING BOXES

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A short fiction I wrote some time ago. I think it was for a magazine submission? Thought I would post it here as I am currently going through old writings. Help me out with the genre in the comments, please. As you can see I couldn’t decide between adventure, crime and mystery. I am so rubbish at genres!

Fiction / Non Fiction: Fiction

Form: Short Story

Genre: Adventure, crime, mystery

Word Count:  2,988 words

She sat on the edge of the low footstool, her chin resting warily on her hand. She looked around at the room. It was cluttered with brown packing boxes of various shapes and sizes. “This is the right thing, isn’t it? Of course it is, stop being silly.”

The lump at the back of her throat where the tears welled made it hard to swallow. She looked through the bay window. Her eyes were drawn to the weather beyond. Black clouds hung low in the sky, ominous, willing her to step outside in order to release their fury down upon her. The weather reflected her mood which was dark and brooding. She sighed, a long, low, gut-wrenching sigh that emanated from deep within her soul.

The door chimes rang, singing jingle bells, even though it was already spring. They wrenched her out of the dark mire. She knew it was not one of her friends. She hadn’t seen much of them lately. They had left her to deal with everything on her own, at the exact time when she needed them most. The door chime rang again. She had stopped in front of the large, gilded mirror that dominated the entrance hall. The woman she stared at was pale and frightened. Her raven hair turned white almost overnight. Had it really been overnight or had it been longer?

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Into the Tale

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Copyright © 030315 by Karen Payze

Copyright © 030315 by Karen Payze

 

Vapours swirl up lazily from the hot coffee, fighting the endless fight against the cold night breeze. A breeze that plays with the pages of my book, flipping them one way then the reverse. I snuggle down under my blanket. I hear a voice, faintly, calling out my name. I yawn. Maybe I have been reading for too long. As I move to put the book aside, something catches my eye. A petal, floating gently on the breeze, waxes and wanes in front of my face. I rub my eyes. I have definitely been at it too long. The petal drifts down lands lightly onto the back of my hand. I study it for a moment. It certainly looks real. I reach out and touch it. It is soft, silky and so delicate. Carefully I pick it up and hold it close to my nose to get a better view. It’s pink, well, shades of pink but soft, candyfloss-shades of pink. My nose tingles from its intensely sweet scent. I turn the tiny specimen over and over, studying it from every conceivable angle. The shape is most irregular must there is a particular perfection to it that is hard to describe. Every vein of colour, every shade, every edge, every curl, appears to be purposefully made. And, as I look around my room, more petals, and more and more, dancing around the room. Each one unique.

 

I hear the voice again. This time a little louder. “Join me,” it is saying, over and over.

Is it…coming from the book? I squint down at the open page. I can see it. Right there, where the two sides of the book meet in the middle, a light of sorts, small at first but growing steadily. And a hand (of a woman?) stretched out…from within. “Come.” says the voice.

It is commanding rather than requesting and I find myself obeying. I grasp the hand. It is exceedingly warm – or mine is very cold. I close my eyes as the breeze intensifies. I can feel the blossoms swarming around me, enveloping me in their silk cocoon. My body trembles with excitement as the wind whips around me.

 

“Open your eyes.”

The voice is strong yet somewhat gentle at the same time. I open my eyes. In front of me is a well-worn dirt path. The winds has whipped up clouds of red sand. As it settles, the scene ahead unfolds in an array of colours. Row upon row of cherry blossom trees line the path. As I walk beneath them, the light of the sun becomes a swirl of pinks and whites. I turn to the sky and walk, open-mouthed, staring at the wondrous sight. The highest branches of each tree stretch across the path, desperately holding on to its opposite number, in an endless cycle of yearning.

 

I finally recall that I am not alone. I turn my head to the right. A young woman walks alongside me. She is tall with beautiful porcelain doll-like features. Her dress is of silk, in the same shades of pink and white as the blossoms around her. Her hair is long and dark brown. But each time the sun peeks through a gap in the branches above and dances on her hair, it illuminates it with shimmers of fiery red and sparks of golden yellow. That sun plays with her pure emerald green eyes and they sparkle mischievously.

 

She flicks her hair and skips ahead, stopping occasionally and beckoning me to come along. And I wonder what adventure awaits round the corner.

 

Copyright © 030315 by Karen Payze

Angelica

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Fiction / Non Fiction: Fiction

Form: Short Story

Genre: Historical, Slice of life

Word Count:  906 words

The Colonel stood in the centre of his study, leaning heavily on his cane, and  looking sternly at his new ward.  “What did you say her name was?”

“Angelica, sir.” Came the gentle reply from behind him.

He looked over his shoulder at the nun and grunted. “Angelica? Well that is some name to live up to.  Whoever though of that name for this child, I wonder?”

“She will surprise you, Sir.  you will soon see that she is her name.”

“Well, We will see.  She looks frail, hardly a child who could earn her keep.  How old is she?”

“She is eleven, sir. ”

“Eleven!  She is very malnourished then.  I would have put her at eight at the most.”

“And might I add, sir, that she will certainly earn her keep.”

“Is that so?” he asked, in mock surprise, before turning back to the girl, “Did you hear that, child?  Sister Christina seems to think you are capable of hard work.  Is she correct in this assumption?”

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