Crooked Cottage

This is just a little piece of flash I wrote.




Crooked Cottage


I pause at the gate, taking in the slant of the thatched roof and pale patchwork stone. The sign says ‘Crooked Cottage,’ and I know I am at the right place. Smoke winds its way from the chimney, catching in my throat. 

I raise my hand to the door knocker, but there is a sign reading, “Do no knock. I will see you.” The temperature drops a good ten degrees, I’m sure. Suddenly, I’m aware of my nerves. My heart thumps behind my ribcage. Tanya had better be here already. The prospect of being alone with this house and its owner sends a shiver up my spine. 

When the door opens, I am greeted by an old woman with violet eyes and wild grey hair. “Come in, dear,” she says, in a voice so soft I can barely hear. I start to say thank you, but she puts her finger to her lips and instructs me to hush.

Instinct tells me to run away, but greed for the revered chocolate hangs over me like a spell. Tanya has not stopped talking about it all week. 

“Is Tanya here yet?” I asked the witchy-woman as she leads me through the house.

“Shh,” she replies, “Quiet.’

“Why are we whispering?” I ask.

As she motions for me to sit, she smiles and begins to explain. “This chocolate is the most perfectly silky, sweet, magical chocolate. Whatever you want from it, you will get.” She pauses briefly, then says, “The secret ingredient is fairy dust. But fairies are timid, they are easily frightened, so you must be quiet around them.”

With a sceptical hand, I reach for the chocolate and put some in my mouth. Instantly, I understand. My mouth bursts with sweetness, and all thoughts of apprehension dissipate as I groan my appreciation. A happiness I haven’t felt since childhood floods my veins. Licking my lips,  I turn to the old lady and whisper, “Thank you. Can I come again?”


Magic Carpet Ride

This is something I wrote about someone who is the star sign Pisces, incorporating the following Piscean traits: big heart, kind, compassionate, extremely positive, intuitive, follow instincts, dreamers, escapists, enigmatic, get lost in own imagination, emotional, spiritual, romantic, artistic, creative.




Magic Carpet Ride

Matthew sat cross legged under the old oak tree. His hands, placed palms up on his thighs, he breathed slowly. A hush came over him, and the whole world disappeared.

As his lungs became cleansed with the clean, fresh air he was breathing, a warmth spread through his body. He cleared his mind of all the stresses of teaching his Year 10 Art class that afternoon. Sarah Baker’s catfight with Polly James faded into insignificance, and his heart became filled with love.

“Hey, Matt, I thought I’d find you out here.”

Rosie. The girl who made his skin tingle in anticipation of being touched by her. Opening his eyes, he brought himself back to the present. “Hey, you.” A smile spread across his face. “You’re looking beautiful.”

Watching her face colour as she dipped her head towards the floor made him need to kiss her. Grabbing her hand, he pulled her down and pressed his lips to hers. A corkscrew of electricity wound its way through his core. Pulling back, he caressed her face. “I mean it, you know. You are beautiful.”

This time, she kissed him, and a forcefield of static buzzed around them. It signalled the course of true love between soulmates, and, in that moment, Matthew knew they would be together forever.

When Rosie pulled away, she leant back against the rough bark of the oak. She sighed and picked a blade of grass,

“What’s up?” Matthew always knew when people had things on their minds. His mum told him he possessed a sixth sense. It was what led him to his spiritual path. Knowing that he could intuit things that others wouldn’t begin to see, he had to share his gift with the world. As for the non believers, they were the ones missing out. And so today, he knew Rosie was unhappy. Although, admittedly, anyone could have picked up on this one.

Rosie swallowed and opened her mouth to speak. But her breathing was shallow, and her words wouldn’t come.

Taking her hand and kissing the back of it, Matthew turned his whole body to face her. “Hey, this is me you’re with here. You can tell me anything.” He continued holding her hand.

“I hate my job. No, I hate my boss, and I can’t do my job.” As she sobbed, she stared back toward the house.

Edging close enough for their hips to touch, he draped his arm around her shoulders and squeezed, then kissed the top of her head. “Damian. I should have guessed he was responsible. What’s he done now?”

“Nothing new. Only undermined every sale I made, then told me I have to see an Occupational Therapist to assess my abilities, since I had six weeks off sick with glandular fever. He hates me, Matt. He thinks I’m rubbish at my job.” She let out a wail of unhappiness and Matthew hugged her tight.

“The guy is an ass. You should quit. You don’t have to put up with that kind of crap.”

Shaking off his arm, she rounded on him. “And what would I do, exactly? I’m trained for nothing. And, can you imagine the kind of reference he would give me?”

“Hey, it’s okay. I was thinking about the book you never have time to write. You could do that. I’m making enough money teaching to take care of us. We have some saved away. We’d be fine. And you could become a world-famous writer and we could travel the world, promoting it.” His blue eyes sparkled as he spoke, but Rosie just shook her head.

“I can’t quit my job to write a book I don’t even know if I can write. It’s too risky.”

“Okay. Well, oh yes, even better. We’ll both quit, and we could travel to remote areas of Africa or, like, the Himalayas, or somewhere, and we could teach them. We wouldn’t need money. We could volunteer with charities. Oh, that would be so good. Wouldn’t it?”

He looked at her as a lone tear drifted down her cheek. Using his thumb, he wiped it away. It hurt his heart to see the love of his life this unhappy. He kissed the spot where the tear had been. “Sorry, I got a little carried away, didn’t I?”

With a laugh, she smiled at him. “Yes, just a little. But you’re right about one thing: I do need to find a new job.”

“And I’ll help you. We’ll get you away from that nasty piece of work that calls himself a boss. I won’t let him hurt you again. I promise.”

“I know,” she said as she started to stand.

Holding onto her hand, he pulled her back down. “Don’t go inside just yet. Sit here with me on my magic carpet, and I’ll take us on a ride of your choice.”

After tapping his arm playfully, she said, “Okay. The Maldives, please. Expensive and showy, but I need some white sands and sun.”

As he began to describe the scenery in the countries they floated over, he could sense Rosie’s shoulders relaxing and her hurt melting away.

The Samodivas



The Samodivas

Iliya and Yanko met one day,
their adventure plan to make,
a hike to Pirin Mountain—tall—
the danger made them quake.
As far back as their memories stretched
the tale was always told
of Samodivas, beautiful,
and their graceful, deathly hold.
Each holiday, their powers increased,
with Easter time the height,
and those who failed to honour them,
would surely die from fright.
But these two men thought they knew
of a way to overpower
the blonde-haired sirens’ secret songs,
a way to make them cower.
Iliya studied many books
dedicated to the girls
he fell in love with their big, blue eyes
and flowing, flaxen curls.
When Easter came, he met his friend,
their plans to finalise,
to meet these beauties, win their love,
the task did tantalise.
Up into the wilderness they climbed,
’til they reached the pine ring
that symbolised the entrance
to where the sirens sing.
Iliya yelped and led the way,
his friend froze in his place,
as winged creatures circled round
draping him in lace.
“The plan, Yanko, remember the plan,”
Iliya had turned most white
a jolt to Yanko’s consciousness
and he prepared to fight.
Reaching out, with shaking hand,
he grabbed the closest diva,
he took his knife and cut her gown,
and threw it in the river.
Suddenly, attention changed,
the girls all turned in rage,
but Yanko simply cut their robes
and they fell into a cage.
The threads that were binding Iliya
unwrapped themselves at once,
with a grin on his face, he let out a laugh
and shouted, “Yanko, run!”

For years to come the men retold their tale of beautiful magic
of how a trip into the haunted mountains could have been so tragic.


*Loosely based on the Bulgarian legend of the Samodivas

The Saga Of Serge The Snail

My lovely hubby is trying to help me get my mojo back. Just lately, my confidence has dissipated. I think confidence is dependent upon you mental state, isn’t it? So, yeah, mine has kind of gone right now. But, my husband has said he will give me a prompt every morning for me to write 500 words or so about. Just so that I’m writing prose, which is where I want to be.

So, I agreed, Sounds like a good idea. Then, he gave me my first prompt: write about a snail that is trying to stop someone from eating it. (Did I say my hubby is a little odd? No? I probably should have!).

This is my effort:



The Saga of Serge The Snail


“Oh, monsieur, monsieur. Arrêtez-vous, s’il vous plait!”

The fat man hovered his pudgy hand between the plate and his mouth. “Huh? What?”

“This is a little delicate, monsieur. I need you to put me down.”

“What? Put you down? Who said that?”

Sweat beaded across the man’s forehead. Flicking his dark eyes around the room, he shook his head and continued raising his hand.

“Non, non, monsieur. I ‘ave asked you nicely. You must forget this treacherous path you are on. It will not end well. Bof!”

Claude yelped as the realisation hit him: the snail was speaking. “Non, this is not possible. I must have drunk too many Cabernets. Or, maybe those truffles were poisonous. I told Chef they did not taste as they should. Garcon! Garcon!” He tried to click his fingers, but the garlic butter dripping from them made the sound fall flat.

“Oui, monsieur? ‘Ow can I ‘elp you?” The waiter blew a strand of russet hair from his face.

“Those truffles you fed me. Where did you get them?” His eyes narrowed, and the boy took a step back. “Find out! Now. Allez!”

Bowing as he backed away, the boy scurried through the kitchen doors.

“Oh, monsieur. You do not understand. Those truffles came from the finest source. They have not made you ill. I am speaking. And there is a reason. My name is Serge. You must not eat me. Must not. I implore you, monsieur.”

A rash of panic shot through the snail’s body when Claude lifted him to his face once more. This time, though, he brought him to his eyes. As he turned the gastropod and examined his under-carriage, Serge’s head became woolly and light.

The kitchen doors crashed open, and the chef strode over to Claude’s table. Red-faced and covered in a film of sweat, he nodded at his patron. “Monsieur, I can assure you those truffles have not upset anyone else. It must be something else.”

Looking from Serge to the chef, Claude took a deep breath. “Okay, bon. Then, why can I hear this snail talking?”

“My name’s Serge. I told you that.”

Claude and the chef snapped their heads in unison to the plate where Serge sat alone.

“Wait, you heard that, too?” Claude studied the chef’s face as it contorted in an attempt to understand.

“Of course he heard me. Why wouldn’t he? Look, I do not wish to cause distress. I simply need you to set me free. Please.”

Pulling out a free chair, the chef took a seat and poured himself a large Cabernet. “But, but, you are escargot. You do not speak.”

“And yet, here I am, speaking with you. I understand it is slightly irregular, but if you just set me free, we can forget all about this.”

The men gawped at each other. Claude tried to speak, but the words got lost behind the hysteria filling his thoughts.

“Okay. I take that as agreement. Bien. Your forager ventured to a part of the woods where permission is not granted. Protected animals and plants live there. Some of us—well—let’s just say, you do not wish to consume us. A price must be paid for those who do. A dark magic spell will be cast over all who sink their teeth into our flesh. A curse upon your home, monsieur. Un malediction!”

A heartbeat passed before either man spoke. Eventually, the chef lifted Serge and looked directly at him. “Hmm. Un malediction, you say? Bon. The only problem with this tall tale is I forage my own food and plants. So I know you are not a special snail of magical properties. You lie, and I shall eat you to prove it.”

Despite his brave words, Claude couldn’t help but notice the tremor in Chef’s hand as brought the snail right up to his teeth.

“Non! Arrêtez-Vous! I beg you. I implore you. Ne mangez-moi pas. I will tell the truth. Okay. The truth. My wife—‘er name is Celine—needs me to help with the babies. Ten babies, and they are so badly behaved. If you don’t keep your wits about you, they run riot. The stories they tell, especially the youngest. Oh, monsieur. My Celine will go crazy without me. Please, spare my life for her.”

The two men looked from Serge, to each other. “Well . . . ” Claude no longer wished to eat the escargot. How can you eat a creature with whom you’ve had a conversation?

“Well, nothing,” said the chef as he pushed the little snail into his mouthed and swallowed. As he licked his fingers, he proclaimed, “Mmm. Delicieux!”

“Garcon, l’addition, s’il vous plait. Bring me the bill!” Retrieving his wallet from his jacket pocket, Claude left a pile of bills on the table and, as he fled the restaurant, shouted over his shoulder, “Never mind. These should more than cover it.”

The moment the door closed, the chef and waiter descended on the money. “Oh, dear me,” the chef said through a barrage of laughs. “It worked again. I don’t know how you do that, Michel. You throw your voice so well. Today, a snail. Tomorrow, a shrimp. Oh, so clever.”

The smile vanished from Michel’s face. “But that wasn’t me. Monsieur Claude always tips well. I saw no point in conning him.”

“What?” The air grew cold. “Say, what?”

“Honestly, monsieur. I thought you had mastered the art.”

Clutching his stomach, he ran to the restroom. As he entered a stall, a tiny voice from deep within said, “I told you, monsieur. I am special!”