The scariest Halloween Story. Ever.

Today started much like any other school day, with the 4 cherubs emerging from their sleeping caves, grouchy, unkempt, and hungry for breakfast.

Exhibit A:  The Cherubs  Ages 10, 5, 9, 7

L-R: Cherubs #1, #4, #2, #3

Pay special attention to Girl Cherub above. She looks so sweet, innocent even.

Husband spent the wee hours of the night with Boy Cherub #3 enduring The Most Vomitous Night Ever. So we knew this morning there would be one less munchkin being sent off to the Elementary School. In the scheme of morning preparations, this makes things a tad simpler as the daily sock crisis would be shortened by two feet.

Boy Cherub #1 was having a rough morning. Instead of donning his Evil Emperor costume for the Halloween festivities as school, he should have dressed as Oscar from back in the day.

Enter Girl Cherub #2.  Girlfriend here takes after her momma. She does not like to be late. For anything. Ever. She is very responsible and knows how to get things done. She rose early, dressed in her vampire-queen/ghost costume and met me at the breakfast table with her snack packed, water bottle topped off, and school bag ready.

Boy Cherub #4 is sweet and kind, gallant, and on the ball. He sits at the table next to Girl Cherub #2 and has himself ready to go.

Fast Forward and we are all in the car, Cherubs #1, #2, and #4 are buckled in and ready to go. Boy Cherub #3 is watching cartoons on the couch extending The Most Vomitous Night into The Day. I pull the car out of the garage and park in the driveway. I need to run back in the house for my jacket.  I go into the house, grab my jacket and get back in the car. Elapsed time: 30 seconds. I turn around and look at the spawn.

Girl Cherub is missing.

“Where is your sister?” I ask, annoyed that she is not where she is supposed to be and the school bell will be ringing shortly.

“She went back in side,” says Boy #4. “I saw her go.” 

I run back inside and shout “Girl Cherub! It’s time to leave!”

No answer.

I call into the basement. “Girl! We are going to be late!” No answer.

My heart starts pounding right about now.

I call out into the backyard. “Girl Cheeeeerrrrrruuuubb!” No answer.

I’m sweating. Girl Cherub is not usually one to go off like this. My mind begins a flip flop between anger that she is making us all late, and worry because I really can’t find her.

I go back outside and call for her down the street. No answer.  Boy Cherub #4 swears he saw her go in the front door. That door is locked, so that isn’t possible.  Boy Cherub #1 admits he didn’t actually SEE her going back into the house. Here is where the panic began.

Husband starts frantically racing up and down through the house yelling and looking for Girl Cherub who at this point must have hit her head and be unable to call out to us.

I run to my office and grab the phone.  I am about to call the police.  I am beside myself. Disbelief washing over me that my daughter has actually been abducted. One of my greatest fears is being realized. This can’t be happening.

I am holding the phone about to dial 911. I look down and see the school directory sitting on my desk from the earlier call to excuse Vomitous Cherub #3 from school today.

I get an idea.

I dial the number.

After a short conversation with a man who must have thought I was one of those parents, he gets back on the phone and saves the day.

Turns out Girl Cherub was sitting in the car and absolutely furious over the fact that Boy Cherub #1 made us late today. And he KNEW that today was her classroom Halloween Party and he was Making us Late ON PURPOSE!  So, while sitting in the car, Girl Cherub spied the school bus rolling past our house. Not one to be late for anything. Ever. Girl Cherub grabbed her stuff, hopped out of the car, and flagged the bus down as it passed by the house. She got aboard and disappeared without a trace.

Of course, this is only a tad humerous because it ended well, but it is a cautionary tale.  I arrived, wide eyes and flustered to Girl Cherub’s classroom and interrupted her Halloween Party to have a talk with her in the hallway. She and I were a bumbling sobbing hugging squeezing mess as I explained how seriously scary things became at home when she made that choice to walk away and take the bus. She had no idea that we would be worried.

A lesson was learned all around, and even Boy Cherubs #1 and #4 were freaked out for a while. But Girl Cherub will never go anywhere without telling her parents again.  I’m sure I can use this when she is a bit older.

It’s ok to drink wine at 10am, right?  It’s evening somewhere.

The Prophecy Unfolds (#REN3 Blogfest Finale)

The Prophecy Unfolds (#REN3 Blogfest Finale)
Welcome back for the final installment of my Rule of Three Blogfest journey. Thank you to everyone who stopped by to read and comment. It is quite a challenge to wrap things up in only 600 words.  But here it goes, and I hope you enjoy the finale!  Details of blogfest, links to others, and special thanks are below.
The prompts used: 
The misfortune is resolved/accepted.
Relationships mend/ are torn asunder.
The final event becomes another secret for generations to come.

Word Count: 598

Part 1: Godwin’s Tale can be found here.
Part 2: King Ansel’s Tale can be found here.
Part 3: Cassandra’s Tale can be found here.
Part 4: The Prophecy Unfolds:
http://wallpaper-s.org/11_~_Winter_Forest.htm
Three months passed, and with each moon so did King Ansel return as promised to the tiny outpost. Against the urging of his advisor, Sir Willem, the King refused to let go of the witch’s prophecy. He made good on his vow to continue scouring the lands until he found his sister and her bastard prince. They couldn’t hide forever.
Godwin stopped on the edge of the woods and let the meager sun warm him. Winter had a tight grip on the land now and he and Cassandra found comfort in the knowledge that travel was all but impossible over the mountain passes between Renaissance and the Northern Kingdom. Mother Nature had granted them a small reprieve from King Ansel’s visits, at least until Spring.   
Cassandra had settled in to her new life quite happily, and was growing warm to the idea of a life with Godwin.  Now that she was accepted in the town as Cassandra Woods, and Godwin’s exuberance had been tempered by time and his professed desire only to make her happy, she realized that he was indeed a man she could love, in time.
Cassandra had returned from the market where she and her son, Roland, had spent the afternoon shopping for fresh winter vegetables and some of Eleanor Blacksmith’s preserves. She watched as Roland crawled near the table after a wooden top Godwin had whittled for him.
Feet stomping at the door made her curse herself for lingering too long gossiping in town instead of tending to their meal. She felt it was a small kindness to have a hot dish ready for Godwin when he arrived home from his patrol.
“You’re home early,” she said as she opened the door.  Her smile froze on her face as the icy air blew over the threshold.  Two strangers in hooded cloaks stood in the doorway.
“Cassandra?” The smaller man removed his hood. Sir Willem. That meant the hulking man behind him could only be—
“Step aside man, your King is beside himself and wishes to sit down,” King Ansel spoke in a menacing whisper. He sat down heavily near the fire. “I knew Godwin was a better tracker than he led us to believe. Last month I met some men of the Assart. They spoke of Godwin’s performance at the games each year and I said, ‘no… not my man, he couldn’t track a dead goose.’ But it got me thinking.  Willem didn’t think it was possible. But who, if not a woodsman, would you have ever met in the forest?” King Ansel’s smile was cold. Cassandra picked up Roland.
Willem gasped. “Cassandra, the child—”
“Willem, hush,” Cassandra began to weep.
King Ansel looked at Willem and back at Cassandra and beheld the babe, whose eyes were the exact brown shade of Sir Willem’s. “Willem, all this time I’ve blamed poor Bonacre. Did you drop him on his own sword then? You sly devil.”
The King drew his sword, it seemed enormous in the tiny house. “I’ll cut you down and await Godwin, shall I?”
Roland started to cry. Cassandra gripped him tighter. The child threw his wooden top across the room. It hit the King’s ample belly and rolled onto the floor. King Ansel stepped forward, raising his sword for a mighty blow. He stepped on the child’s toy and found himself reeling, arms thrown sideways, sword forgotten. He fell backward onto the hearth. Godwin’s iron fire poker—a gift from his brother—protruded through the front of King Ansel’s neck.

Willem broke the silence, “The King is dead. Tell no one.”

************************************************************************

#REN3 is a blogfest and contest being hosted by:
Stuart Nager @ Tale Spinning
J.C. Martin @ Fighter Writer
Lisa Vooght @ Flash Fiction
Damyanti @ Amloki

Thank you to our generous hosts and for all of the authors
who have offered copies of their books to the winners:

  1. Michael Hicks, In Her Name: Empire     LINK
  2. Marcus Clearspring, Walkabout Gnomes     LINK
  3. Alex J Cavanaugh, Cassa Star     LINK
  4. S.L. Pierce, The HateThe Devil’s GameSecrets     LINK
  5. Faith Mortimer, Echoes Of Life and Love     LINK
  6. Talli Roland, Watching Willow Watts     LINK
Honorable mentions:
  1. Damyanti Biswas, A To Z Stories Of Life and Death     LINK
  2. J.C. Martin and Michelle Davidson Argyle, Stories For Sendai     LINK
  3. Stuart Nager, Dawn Of Indie Romance     LINK

Princess Cassandra’s Tale (#REN3 Blogfest Pt. 3)

Princess Cassandra’s Tale (#REN3 Blogfest Pt. 3)

Welcome back to WEEK 3 of the Rule of Three Blogfest where we are dropped into the town of Renaissance, population 333. Everyone has a secret! Details of the blogfest and the rules can be found below.  For now, I give you my third installment: Princess Cassandra’s Tale.  Next week, the climactic ending.  Enjoy!

Part 1: Godwin’s Tale can be found here.
Part 2: King Ansel’s Tale can be found here.


Part 3: Princess Cassandra’s Tale:

http://www.myhdwallpapers.net/all-alone-in-the-woods/1091/

Four weeks passed when the woodsman returned to his shack on the eastern edge of town. Cassandra had grown so used to solitude. She marveled at how easy it had been to adjust to a commoner’s life.

“Come in,” she whispered.

“My apologies, your highness.” Godwin stood near the table holding his hat.

“Please, call me Cassandra.” She looked at the man to whom she owed everything. He was clean shaven, his hair combed to one side. He looked like a child about to give confession. She dropped to the floor, kneeling before Godwin. She kissed both his hands.

Cassandra had been careful to remain indoors during the daylight. She only left the shack at night, and then only to use the outhouse. Fear of being discovered by her tyrant brother was fear enough. Eleanor Blacksmith visited daily with food, water and clean linens for the child. She also brought gossip from the town.

Cassandra looked forward to Eleanor’s visits. They talked together and both remarked at how peaceful the child was. His cries were easily tended. Each day, Cassandra thanked God for sparing them, for the kindness of strangers, and for keeping the people of Renaissance in the dark.

“You’ve spoken to your brother?” Cassandra asked.  “About his plan for me, for us, for the three of us, I mean,” she stammered.

“Aye, I’ve just left him. Eleanor sends regards,” he smiled. Godwin shuffled from one foot to the other, looking at his boots. “It’s a wise plan. After a month on this hunt with his Highness, it might be your only hope. He is set on finding the child. His party has taken a new guide to the north. He’ll be back, he swore it.”

Cassandra laughed. “Swore it, did he?” She lifted the sleeping babe from his basket. Her pride swelled as she shared her son with Godwin. She couldn’t ignore the feeling of deep fellowship connecting her now to this gentle man.  She wondered if Geoffrey’s plan would be the end of them both. Godwin put his large finger in the babe’s hand, letting the child grab hold with tiny fingers.

“Geoffrey will receive the letter tomorrow,” he said. “No one in Renaissance knows that we don’t have a brother living south of the Culdees so news of his death will be received without question. I’ll leave the following morning to tend to my dead brother’s business and return in a week’s time with his bereaved young wife and new babe.”  The way Godwin spoke to her, Cassandra wondered if he was having second thoughts. Everything depended upon the will of this man and his family. She felt vulnerable.

“Are you sure you’re prepared to keep me as your wife?” She asked. I know it is custom in these parts for a man to take on his brother’s burden, but can you live knowing it is all a lie?” Cassandra tried to keep her voice steady. She knew the people of Renaissance would never know her on sight, and without all the jewels and fancy garments of the royal house, she could pass as a peasant with ease.

Godwin cleared his throat and looked into Cassandra’s eyes. “I’ve never married. Not for lack of want, but because no woman stirred me deeply enough to capture all of my heart. And then I beheld you in the forest. For the first time, I am alive.”

A different fear gripped Cassandra’s heart. He was so earnest. She wondered if perhaps she was the one to worry about. Could she hold up under this ruse? She tried to smile.

Word count: 600
Prompts used:

  • Betrayal is in the air
  • Relationships unravel or strengthen

************************************************************************

#REN3 is a blogfest and contest being hosted by:
Stuart Nager @ Tale Spinning
J.C. Martin @ Fighter Writer
Lisa Vooght @ Flash Fiction
Damyanti @ Amloki

Thank you to our generous hosts and for all of the authors
who have offered copies of their books to the winners:

  1. Michael Hicks, In Her Name: Empire     LINK
  2. Marcus Clearspring, Walkabout Gnomes     LINK
  3. Alex J Cavanaugh, Cassa Star     LINK
  4. S.L. Pierce, The HateThe Devil’s GameSecrets     LINK
  5. Faith Mortimer, Echoes Of Life and Love     LINK
  6. Talli Roland, Watching Willow Watts     LINK
Honorable mentions:
  1. Damyanti Biswas, A To Z Stories Of Life and Death     LINK
  2. J.C. Martin and Michelle Davidson Argyle, Stories For Sendai     LINK
  3. Stuart Nager, Dawn Of Indie Romance     LINK

While I wasn’t writing…

While I wasn’t writing…

Fall Break is here and the smalls are home from school this week. The weather has turned cooler and we’re all snuggling in to our warm beds and sleeping in. I love the fall!  Mums! Pumpkins! Spooky decor!   Does anyone else out there feel like the year has just flown by?  I know that as we get older time does some strange things, but I swear, it was January only yesterday.

I’ve already lost the daytime writing battle while everyone is home, so I thought I’d share the things that have been happening over here these days.

Behold: Smolder in a jar!  My friend and I made a batch of Peach Habanero Jam yesterday and the whole time we were commenting on how pretty the color is.  Don’t you agree?  This is best served over cream cheese or something of that nature, with crackers. This way you don’t burn your face off.  And it seems everyone will need one jar to themselves (if our after-canning tasting party was any indication) So yummy!

Speaking of Smolder… I spied my man Mr. Darcy front and center at the Costco this morning and snatched him right up!  I was horried for learn that several of my friends have never seen Pride and Prejudice. Can you imagine?  I promised to rectify the situation and bring our friendships back on an even keel with a screening at my house, and then wondered where I might find the DVD with my favorite, Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. Ask and you shall receive… 13 DVDs! over 29 HOURS of movies!  Pride and Prejudice, Victoria & Albert, Emma, Jane Eyre, Catherine the Great, The Mayor of Casterbridge, The Magnificent Ambersons, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Vanity Fair, The Great Gatsby.  Hooray!

*swoon*

And then…

Mums! Pumpkins!  The kids picked out their pumpkins for the carving to come. For now, they are enjoying the stoop and their own personal spook show happening on my front door:

Boo! All of those little things you see here are ghosts. Many of whom are named after my kids’ friends. ;) We were trying to recall the names of the Pac Man ghosts while enjoying the kids’ decor.  Blinky, Pinky, Inky?  Anyone?  I refuse to google it.

And finally, I give you the view from my desk. I love these maple trees. We have three of them and they just get more and more beautiful.  *le sigh*