Wednesday 5 December 2018

#IWSG - December - My writing space - WEP/IWSG news - WEP/IWSG December Challenge

Hello all!

December. Time for some of us to finish work for the year. Prepare for Christmas festivities. And holidays.

It's also time for the December WEP/IWSG challenge. It went live on December 1, and we hope for early entries this month, starting on December 1, otherwise we'll be reading, judging etc during our Christmas dinner. There are already entries up. Click on any name with a DL (Direct Link) included. This means the entry is posted! My entry is up -- next post -- if you'd like to read my attempt at a sci-fi flash fiction~

It's time for the IWSG posts.

Top Site for Writers

Alex's awesome co-hosts for the December 5 posting of the IWSG are J.H. Moncrieff, Tonja Drecker , Patsy Collins, and Chrys Fey!

The suggested question for the month is:

December 5 question - What are five objects we'd find in your writing space?

Half of the week I work in Brisbane. The other half I relax at Peregian Beach. In Brisbane I write at the State Library overlooking the Brisbane River before I begin tutoring. In Peregian, I have #ARoomofmyOwn, called Den's Den which overlooks the Pacific Ocean which is always inspirational with whales, sailboats, hang-gliders...

5 Objects in my writing space (other than laptop I guess, cuz we all have something to write on)...

1.  2 whiteboards with my current projects and plotting ideas.

2. Hundreds of books - real paper ones - favorite reads I'm keeping, vintage Shakespearean plays and other old school textbooks, craft books, reference books, travel diaries, travel narratives, travel magazines, notebooks - from conferences, writing groups, critique groups, my own notes...

3. French figurines and artworks I study while I'm looking for inspiration for my French novels.

4. A foot massager under my desk - not human, LOL, a wooden one.

5. An air conditioner and fan without which I could not write.

  • How about you? What do you have in your writing space?
  • How's your December shaping up?
  • What're your  goals for 2019?

Now, the IWSG and the WEP team have been busy this past month.

The IWSG held a competition, open to all, for the best writing prompt to kick off 2019 in February. They graciously offered a prize. The WEP team chose an entry by Toinette Thomas, 28 DAYS. 

There was an in-house competition between the IWSG admin to come up with the best prompt for December 2019. The winner was Tyrean Martinson. The WEP team liked her suggestion, FOOTPRINTS.

Now we have all the prompts and blurbs in the bag for 2019. Here is the year badge. You can go HERE and read the blurbs. It will be an exciting year for the WEP/IWSG partnership. I hope you'll join us. 

We'd love it if you shared the badge on your blog or facebook etc.

If you haven't joined the WEP mailing list, it's a great way to get reminders of challenges, winners and guest posts. Go HERE and sign up!

Thanks for coming by!

Saturday 1 December 2018

My #WEP/IWSG Writing Together post for December. My #sci-fi #flashfiction. The Big Empty,

Hi friends!

Time for the December WEP/IWSG 'writing together' competition. The challenge is Ribbons and Candles. The blurb said:

Perfect for the festival/festive season. Perfect also for flashes not themed around festivities or holidays. All prompts here work year-round and are pan-global. Genre, themes, settings, mood, no bar. Only the word count counts. And you could ignore that too and come in with a photo-essay or art, minimal words required.

A party. A power-cut. Gift-giving. Hair braids. Ribbons of roads, rivers, paper, love, hope. Candles in the room. Candles in the church. Candles in the wind. And any combo thereof. It could go in a thousand different directions, choose yours and step outside the square!

So I've come up with a sci-fi flash. Yep, you read that right. I'm no sci-fi writer, but I've just finished a year which as always included teaching George Orwell's 1984. Some of his invented words influenced me to write this little story. Yep. Another incarnation of Winston and Julia? Don't bother critiquing it; just enjoy it if you can!

This December we ask you to please post your stories from December 1st as we'll all be busy doing holiday things.

The Big Empty

Edward saw that life on Xcelsior, which privately he called the Big Empty, was slowly emptying the life out of Rachel. Since her arrival, she had grown skinny, her complexion pale, and the eyes that looked at him from under her dank, brown hair tied in bunches with little red ribbons, were gray mist, lost and sad. Yet despite her lack of physicality, he experienced strange emotions every time he saw her. Something grew in his chest and moved upwards, causing his throat to close each time they rode the travellator to work.

Rachel. Thoughtful. Secretive. He counted it as extraordinary luck that they worked side by side – she the romance writer, he the poet.

Both had been shipped to Xcelsior, she from Bandanland, he from Paradox 21, to help prepare for the Annual Holiday Gathering and End of Year ReBooting of Minds.

‘We need your pens to create uplifting, soulful words for the season of celebration,’ the Grand Leader said when he met with them in his grandiose office pod penthouse in the grandiose structure called New Mind Central.
Rachel was quite famous on Bandanland and beyond for her romance volumes which were widely distributed in special reading pods. Her exquisite words filled a void in the population who suffered from a surfeit of technological breakthroughs, whose regimented lives permitted no time for reality romance. Indeed, in Rachel’s first lecture addressing the New Politic, she’d waxed eloquent on the need for love and romance in people’s lives to make a sterile world palatable.
Edward had studiously kept his face passive. He’d seen the Grand Leader and his minions frowning as she spoke. He saw it written on their faces – finding partners for the populace is our domain.
‘I cannot understand your poetry,’ she confessed during Social Time afterwards.
‘Few people can.’ He was a pedant, but the poems he penned for the Grand Leader were empty, soulless, utilitarian. The poems in his head were a different thing entirely. Thirty-first-century poets in the Poleaxer Galaxy were an obscure animal, even more unknown and irrelevant than their predecessors on the defunct planet Old Earth from which the Incarnates sprang.
‘Come with me.’ He leaned against a glass wall impregnated with bright flickering candles which reminded him of drunken slithering snakes. She leaned against him, the candlelight flickering over her face and lighting up her red ribbons like they buzzed with static electricity. It unnerved him, so he upended his glass of Health-Giving Herbal Tincture and swallowed the ghastly green goop in one greedy gulp.
‘I miss having someone who knows who Shakespeare was,’ Edward said, trying not to burp, well aware he had just committed Thoughtcrime. ‘I recite his sonnets every morning. It helps me retain a little of my soul.’
‘Looking around me,’ Rachel whispered, ‘I don’t see anyone who appears to have a soul.’
Rachel’s face seemed lacking in some way. Her muscles and tendons were strung out and defined, but didn’t really support her face frame. Odd. Was she a reincarnation? Or a robot?
She twirled one of her ribbons and his throat dried up despite the green goop. ‘The only thing I find scintillating is literature and –‘
‘And?’ There was that unfamiliar pumping feeling in his wellspring, that strange bellyfeel. Was it those red ribbons in her hair? He wanted to tug at each one and see her dank hair fall to her waist.
Edward decided that despite it being a sexcrime and despite her odd face, he was going to ask her to commit Goodsex with him, even though they could be relegated to the status of Unpersonhood for such a crime.
If the Love Ministry spies heard his next words, he’d be subjected to ReOrientation Activity Class after work each day.
‘I want to love and romance you,’ he said, his eyes flicking around the room nervously. He could be locked away until early in the Next Year because everyone would be too busy to think about him. They would be practicing Relaxation and ReCommuning and Mindfulness to prepare them for new great adventures while he languished in the prison pod.
Rachel smiled and patted his hand. ‘Sweet Edward.’
Then Edward understood why her face seemed curious and incomplete. Her face was a superstructure which until now had never supported a smile.
Leaving the drunken snakes impersonating candles behind, they returned to Edward’s pod and made Goodsex together. It was then clear to him what that something was that grew in his chest and closed his throat every time he saw Rachel. L-o-v-e.
Next morning, those first moments as they found their table for the Early Rising Egg Nog and Pancakes were like a new, exciting dance for Edward. It was the Xcelsior Annual Holiday Gathering and End of Year Resetting of Minds’s Eve. They sipped historic Egg Nog which originated on the Old Earth, followed by Xcelsior’s chef’s attempt at pancakes drowned in manufactured sweetener based on the honey also found on Old Earth.
The fat, yellow drink and the sweet pancakes brought a sparkle to Rachel’s cheeks. Edward thought: This is what it feels like to be alive. I never knew this feeling inside before.
As she nibbled pancakes and stared into his eyes, Edward bravely decided it was time.
‘Rachel, I want to share one of my poems from inside my head where it's been ever since I boarded the ship to Xcelsior.’
‘The Big Empty
by Edward Colterman
If I ventured into the Big Empty,
I would kiss the
fall of your hair; I would lie
beside you in the silence of candlelight,
and trace with my fingertip your lips’
surge and fall, the ribbons in your hair.
I would pull you gently from
the undermass,
the crystal and stone, like a spiderweb
from foliage, like
breath from a sleeper.
If I ventured to the Big Empty,
I would never stop looking for
‘Now that I have found you, Rachel, I am not empty anymore.’

With thanks to Tony Daniel, whose poem I adjusted.

996 WORDS - Comments only as this story isn't going anywhere...

Many thanks for coming by and reading. Click on names with a DL after them in my sidebar.

Wednesday 7 November 2018

#IWSG question -- A question of creativity. WEP winner! New Challenge!

Whoa, November 7 already, at least in Australia! I know Americans are busy voting. Luckily, in Australia voting is compulsory, so no need for all that 'get out and vote' hype I see on CNN.

So, today I'm voting for creativity.

Top Site for Writers

November 7 question - How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing?

Alex's awesome co-hosts for the November 7 posting of the IWSG are Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Ann V. Friend, JQ Rose, and Elizabeth Seckman!

Please visit!

Writing, like most crafts, involves bucket-loads of creativity. Some say writers are born, not made. Those same people say there's no need to stack your shelves or Kindle with craft books. Do you agree? Sure, some parts of writing come naturally, but we can't write a ramble like the classic authors could back in the day. Readers these days demand a lightning-fast plot, virtually non-stop action, and adherence to the tropes of a genre. These don't come so naturally. 

What is left for our creativity?

I was recommended a great book - Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and several other tomes.

The first question she answers in her book is:

Q: What is creativity? 

A: The relationship between a human being and the mysteries of inspiration.

Gilbert is interested in creative living as a whole. We perhaps think of writing first, but chances are, we are all creative in other ways -- I like to draw and would love more time to pursue watercolors, I like arts and crafts, I play guitar -- but when you're fully into writing, many of these creative outlets take a back seat. There's only so many hours in a day and all that. 

As Gilbert says: I believe the central question upon which all creative living hinges: Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you? 

Good question.

Especially when it comes to writing. Are we writing truthfully? Or are we writing carefully, censoring our words constantly for fear we'll find no audience for our stories if  we actually write what we'd like to write?

Along with courage, Gilbert says you need Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust and Divinity.

What do you think? That's a lot.

Would love to hear your opinions.

1. Do you have a favorite writing craft book?
2. Do you indulge in a pasttime that encourages your creativity?
3. What other creative forms does your creativity take?


Image result for vote for creativity image

Thanks for coming by.


And we're already thinking of the WEP/IWSG Challenge for December. Think about joining us!

Go HERE for ideas!

Huge congratulations to Kalpanaa for winning the October WEP?IWSG!

Thanks to all who took part and amazed us with their creativity!


WEP and IWSG are holding a contest for the February WEP theme!

Rules: Submit your idea for a WEP February theme by November 12to Nothing U.S. culturally bound. Should have wide appeal.

Prize: Feature in the December newsletter for the winner. And, of course, the winning theme will be the official February WEP theme and accompanied by a stunning badge!

DeadlineNovember 12. Winner announced in the November newsletter on November 28.

Monday 15 October 2018

#WEPff - My #ff for the October challenge - Night in the Montmartre Cemetery

 Hi everyone!

Here is my ghostly story for the WEP/IWSG writing together October challenge. I hope you enjoy the read. The stories this month will all contain some scary elements. I hope I achieve this in mine. Whatever, I had a hoot revisiting Paris in my mind while writing it.

Night in the Montmartre Cemetery

Ciassia had seen a ghost. A ghost wearing black. Lurching behind her, rasping, grunting, reaching out his filthy hand, trying to snatch her as she hurried along the streets of Pigalle, Paris’s red light district.

Putting distance between them, gasping for breath, she slipped into an alley behind Moulin Rouge, as quiet as a crypt. The air was dark and thick, like a black cape had floated from the night sky and covered the earth. A beacon of light from the Eiffel Tower swept in arcs across the gloom – a sea of fog swirling like a fleeting ghost. Each time the flash passed overhead, the blanched fog and mist took on a shivering pallor, giving life to the unliving.

As crazy as it seemed, she was running from a ghost.

Creeping along the alley, touching the walls, she tried to ignore the shivers shooting up her spine.

What else might be lurking in the gloom? She pulled her red shawl tight around her shoulders. Fear gave her feet wings as she hurried through the darkness to the next corner where street lights shot a hole into the misty light.

She huddled under the streetlight, listening to the night sounds, but could hear nothing over the rasp of her jagged breathing and the blood rush pounding in her ears.

She sensed a movement behind her. 

She must leave the comfort of the light.

Reluctantly, she stepped into the darkness again. She ran, fast, faster, through the fog. One foot in front of the other, fighting the urge to run back to the crowds exiting the nightclubs of Pigalle. She fought the urge to run to her hotel and safety. To where she’d left her cell phone and purse on the night stand.

In front of her loomed an ancient stone wall wrapped in weeping moss. Montmartre cemetery. How did she end up here?

She’d seen the stone garden from a distance. In the daylight. A forest of small crypts adorned with stained glass and magnificent sculptures. The resting place of many famous bones including her idol, Simone de Beauvoir. Would hers be added to the pile? Would she sleep for eternity beside Simone?

No. Please God. No. No. No.

She huddled amongst the stone ghosts rising from the ground like resurrected souls, the darkness only broken by the beacon flashes from the tower bathing the dead faces in ghostly light, sharpening their features, sending shadows shuddering around her feet.

How could she see her pursuer in the crowded forest of stone?

Running steps. Clamping a hand over her mouth, stifling a scream, she veered off the main path. Knelt behind a large crypt with a high brick wall behind. ‘Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir’ read the headstone. Long dead. They could not reach beyond the grave to save her.

She heard a screech. A cat. A black cat. Leaping over the crypts. She forced herself to keep still. The cat sounds faded, but she stayed crouched, her heart hammering so loud she was afraid the man in black would hear it.

Such a creepy, creepy place.

She couldn’t spend the night with dead people. She had to get back to her hotel at the top of the hill. She had to get back to safety.

Gathering what was left of her courage, she stood, her eyes beacons trying to cut through the darkness.

Is he here?

Then out of nowhere she saw … not a him ...  a her.

A white dress ghoulishly radiant.

‘Are you an angel?’ she whispered. Stupid question. This vision could be nothing else. She was one of the stone angels come to life.

The angel stood in front of her, arms outstretched, beckoning her. Then she pointed a finger the way Ciassia had come.

Is she warning me?

Telling me to turn around?

Fat tears ran down Ciassia’s face. ‘Please help me,’ she said through trembling lips. ‘A man chased me through the street in Pigalle and has followed me here.’

The Eiffel Tower beacon flashed again. It passed. The angel was gone.

Another figure emerged from the fog, arms outstretched. No angel. The man in black. As black as Poe’s raven.

She screamed, turned and ran. Down the hill. Toward the exit.

Stumbling over a crooked gravestone that jutted from the earth, she hit the ground on her knees. The pain was excruciating, but she jumped up again.

Poe’s raven was so close she could smell his fetid smell, like a pit of snakes. Mouldy. Rotten.

Her boots reached out in front of her. Into nothing.

She was falling. Falling. Falling.

The ground had opened up and swallowed her whole.

She bounced off dirt walls and hit hard stone ground, the breath knocked out of her.

The hole was pitch black.

She screamed, clawing the dirt walls, her fingernails tearing, her fingertips bleeding.

A grave.

She was in a grave.

She screamed and screamed. Clawed and clawed.

Then. Footsteps.


Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

Out of the sky, dirt poured down upon her.

Filled her mouth.

Filled her eyes

Filled her hair.

Filled her.

‘Who’s there?’ she croaked, spitting dirt, trying to keep the terror from her voice.

The beacon flashed overhead revealing a tall, dark figure, arms outstretched, his cape giving the appearance of raven’s wings.

‘Help me. For the love of God. Where is your humanity?’

He grunted and tossed more dirt.

‘I lost my humanity many centuries ago, little girl.’ His voice was raspy and hollow, like he hadn’t used it for centuries.

Large clods. Then stones. Battering her.

‘Soon you will join me.’

He was a fleeting ghost.

He was burying her alive.

She screamed and screamed. Then a huge rock hit her temple, knocking her to the ground.

‘Soon your life will begin,’ the hollow voice rasped, growing faint as her consciousness fled.

 She heard his laugh. An eerie sound. Like a raven calling.

WORDS - 985

To read more entries please click on names in my sidebar with DL (Direct Link) beside their name or go to the WEP site. 

You have until October 19th to post if you have some scary fiction or non-fiction to add to the list. It's easy to SUBMIT your name to the list.

Wednesday 3 October 2018

#IWSG post for October. KEEP CALM and WRITE ON!

Another month has gone by -- the world is in turmoil -- earthquakes, tsunamis, droughts, bushfires, floods, political turmoil -- you name it -- we've been through it -- I survived so far. Did you?

Now it's time for the IWSG again. Is your writing in turmoil because of what's going on globally or in your family or community or in your country? Or does turmoil help deepen your writing?

Top Site for Writers
Go HERE to read more posts!

Alex's awesome co-hosts for the October 3 posting of the IWSG are Dolorah @ Book Lover,Christopher D. Votey, Tanya Miranda, and Chemist Ken! Please visit if you can!

I've never been one to set myself a daily word count which must be adhered to no matter what, (except for the 5 times I did NaNoWriMo) so I have no problem not writing if something comes up. I don't get frustrated. I don't post about it. I don't whine about it to writing friends.

Writing is a part of life. It's not all consuming although it can seem like that at times.

I just read a post by an author in a Facebook group I'm a member of. She's totally consumed by her writing. She's written 65,591 words in 10 days!! Makes NaNoWriMo look like a tootle~~! She's got a serial due in 5 days and 9 books left to write in 2018 which will make it well over 30 books for the year - egad, one every 2 weeks. I could be dispirited, but I'm not, I'm excited for her. I checked out some of her book samples on Amazon and they're well written, so go Yumoyori!

But when I think about it, I've just finished Book Three in my paranormal romance and am pushing into Book Four while I go back and finesse from Book One now I know a lot more about my world and my characters and how to write a serial. Awesome progress for me, a slow writer who takes time out when called on or when travel calls me.

So all of the above sort of answers the October question. I suspect it wasn't what the question really meant, but my reaction just flowed out --

How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

I have the news on all day. I can just hear it from my writer's den. I get upset when I see over 1,000 people killed so far in the Indonesian tsunami and Japan's death toll growing from the latest typhoon. Paying attention to these major events, not  just what's going on in my life -- shows me that life is full of turmoil and most people are worse off than I am, far, far worse off -- some things we can control, some we can't. But we must deal as best we can. Sometimes writing helps get through negative, challenging times!

Speaking of keeping calm and writing on, the new WEP/IWSG writing together challenge is now live!

It's open to freaky or non-freaky posts which would suit the prompt! Please join us if you'd like to participate with a caring group of keen, supportive writers...and your entry might just catch the judges' eyes and you could win a $10 Amazon Gift Card and get to write a guest post. How could you resist? Share an extract from a WIP, pen a poem, post a photo essay on your trip to the catacombs in Vietnam, Rome or Paris, write a non-fiction entry...go HERE for more inspiration!

The October challenge is hosted by Yolanda Renee, horror author extraordinaire. This is her final gig as my venerable co-host so please make it memorable for her. WEP adds L G Keltner to the team!! Welcome L G! Along with Nilanjana Bose, Olga Godim and help from the IWSG in the form of C Lee McKenzie, Pat Hatt and Nick Wilford, we're going from strength to strength.

Hope to see your name on the sign up later today!!


Wednesday 5 September 2018

#IWSG post - Tripping along the publication path.

Hello all!

Time for the #IWSG again!

Top Site for WritersAugust has been an especially busy month for me, what with organizing the merging of WEP with the IWSG for the purpose of joint writing challenges. 

The inaugural August challenge is half over. We've had the sign ups on August 1, the posts on August 15, the winners announcement on August 26. The next post at WEP is the Guest Post. As well as winning an Amazon Gift Card, the winner, Tanya Miranda has been asked and agreed to write a guest post which is always a surprise treat.

If you'd like to keep in touch with what WEP/IWSG Writing Together challenges are up to, you can visit our site and subscribe to our email. If you have problems with that, email me and I'll add you manually.

On October 1, the new Halloween month challenge will go live and it's time to go through the process again.

It was great to see so many new writers join us in August. We hope even more of you will see the beauty of writing flash fiction, nonfiction and poetry to a prompt. Or taking the opportunity to get eyes on an extract of your WIP. Or just meeting a lovely, supportive bunch of writers to form new networks.

Alex's awesome co-hosts for the September 5 posting of the IWSG are Toi Thomas, T. Powell Coltrin, M.J. Fifield, and Tara Tyler!

Now, to the month's question - 

September 5 question for the IWSG- What publishing path are you considering/did you take, and why?

I went through the process of doing all the work myself and self-publishing with Amazon years ago just to see how it worked. It wasn't that hard, but it's not what I have planned for the future.

I'm no expert, but I'm following experts and have shared in previous  posts how I plan to publish when I'm ready...under a pen name which will be no secret. I don't want to bore you by talking about myself - my least favorite topic - but for the interests of adhering to the IWSG question, here's my pre-planned publication process. You'll note it is self-publishing. I have a contemporary novel with Avon books, but may end up self-pubbing that too. I am going to:

1. Write several books for what is called 'fast launch'. Having 1 book out there doesn't do you any favors. You need to grow a backlist quick smart (which is hard for a slow, perfectionist writer) which is why I'm writing several before I hit PUBLISH, probably using my friends at Draft2Digital.

2. Buy the best covers I can afford. As I'm writing a paranormal romance series, (I'm up to Book Three) I need to arrange for all the covers to be  made by the same artist so they look same-ish and stunning, of course. I have sketched them out...woo hoo.

3. Even though I'm a savvy editor myself, I work with 2 close critique partners mainly for plotting and structure which I suck at and have a great beta reader who's more like an editor but a fraction of the price. I'm the Grammar Police, Punctuation Police, Spelling Police, Sentence-structure Police  and the Thought Police (sorry, doing 1984 with my students) in one package, but still believe in hiring good editors. 

So, all these things cost money. Hopefully, down the track I'll see some return for the years of lackadaisical laptop joy - gosh I love alliteration don't I?

How about you, best-selling authors? I'd be interested in hearing your comments. Maybe you think I have rocks in my head. Maybe...who knows? We all make our own path in the end.

Have a great month, everyone!

If you like the challenge of a juicy horror, ghost, edgy, paranormal whatever story, or can find a way to write a 'normal' story or poem for this prompt, join WEP/IWSG Writing Together for the October challenge:

You're most welcome!


When this goes live, I'm up in Northern Queensland visiting family. I will return the visit when I can. 

Tuesday 14 August 2018

#WEPff - WEP August challenge - my #flashfiction - Carpe Diem.

Hello everyone!

My story for the inaugural combined WEP/IWSG challenge has a long history. I first wrote a much different version for my first #fridayflash entry in 2010 which was somewhat behind my idea to start RomanticFridayWriters, now WEP. I've since written a novel based on this original idea which is languishing in the slushpile at Avon Books. 
I present to you a snippet from the original Saskia and Raphael Parisian love story. 
I hope you enjoy my women's fiction. 

Image result for images of paris rooftops

Carpe Diem

It happens every morning. That seeping dread. Jolting her feet until they burn from toe to heel. Creeping up her limbs like a colony of ants, enflaming her throat. Finally, it settles like a leaden ball in her chest where it maintains its constant slow burn.
As the room washes with the first glimmer of light, Saskia lies in the bed of her third-floor Parisian apartment, whispering her mantra over and over – Carpe diem, carpe diem, carpe diem, willing the dread to pass.
She has always loved this golden hour when the world holds its breath, hoping the new day will disperse gifts from a benevolent god.
What will be my gift?
Will He send the angels for me today?
Or will Raphael come back to me today?
She spies a dove at the window, silvery wings fluttering, ‘Get up. Get up. Get up.’
Ignoring the leaden ball in her chest, she throws aside the sheet and pads across the carpet to the open window.
Satisfied it now has an audience, the little dove dives into the ornate bath in the courtyard, shaded by purple wisteria which creeps restlessly along the exposed ledges as if it knows time is short, that in winter it will become an ungainly skeleton.
From the spindly branches of the pretty tree, the bird begins its morning song. The joyful notes thrum like a soaring solo in a Beethoven symphony.  
Song over, the silver bird soars into the sky.
She stands at the window clutching the sill. The beat of every passing moment pulses in her ears.
Carpe diem.
She must seize the day.
I will not think of all I have lost.
Raphael. Raphael. Raphael.
I will not think of the glory days.
Raphael. Raphael. Raphael.
She puffs out a breath and decides that a pure blue sky demands a walk over the bridge in front of Notre Dame.
Today she will miss the ecstatic sounds of Eloise and her lover in Apartment 2 who like to make noisy love in the afternoon, all afternoon, reminding her of herself and Raphael in the flush of first love.
Before he had a change of heart.
Before he found someone he loved more than her.
Why does her heart still pine for him?
Perhaps she can blame Eloise.
Get out of my head, Raphael.
She studies the glorious golden sun cresting the horizon. She watches the orb creep over the beautiful old sandstone buildings like a playful giant, blowing fire onto the zinc rooftops, transforming them into molten gold.
She completes her salute-to-the-sun routine, bathed in the warming rays.
While she dresses, she glances at her bed. Their bed.
One morning she woke and his side of the bed was cold, the sheets unwrinkled. He has never shared her bed since. According to the social pages he has warmed the bed of many of Paris’ young women and broken their hearts like he has broken hers. She wonders how he finds the time.
Today, if she can manage the short walk from la Tour Eiffel, she will surprise him at his latest art exhibition at the Musée du quai Branly. She must give the gods a chance to bestow on her a last wish.
To see Raphael one more time.

Leaning over the wide cement ledge, her vision fills with the Gothic splendour of Notre Dame. The sun-bathed brick structure stands proud and golden on the Île de la Cité, her buttresses grasping the edges of the Seine. Taking a deep breath, she inhales the river smell − reedy, thick, brackish.
She averts her eyes from the thousands of glinting golden padlocks that lovers have attached to the bridge’s mesh sides, signifying undying, unbroken love.
Hers and Raphael’s lock is lost amongst the thousands of metallic clasps engraved with initials and love symbols, rusting away, short-lived like their marriage, soon to be cut loose by Parisian councilmen.
Why is Raphael clouding her mind today of all days? She closes her eyes and imagines him running across the bridge as he used to do, wrapping her in his arms, spinning her around, making her feel safe.
How she would love to feel his arms around her again.
She stands glacial, immobile, a Rodin sculpture. 
Tomorrow she will leave all this beauty to enter an entirely different world.
A world of hospitals, doctors, nurses, prodding, jabbing, priestly prayers and last of all, hope.
She steps away from the rails, Mahatma Ghandi’s words giving wings to her feet: ‘Live as if you were to die tomorrow.’
She whispers her mantra over and over.
Carpe diem.
Carpe diem.
Carpe diem.
A pain stabs her heart, throwing her against the concrete rail. She clutches her chest with both hands. No, not yet!  The ground rushes to meet her. Warm concrete slaps her face. A dog yaps.
Then black envelops her.

She hears him.
A much-loved engine purrs in the distance.  
A huge black motorbike is propped against the kerb.
Her angel. Her Raphael.
He stands at the end of the bridge, hands in pockets, watching her, his studded motorcycle boots planted firmly on the timber.
Her heart beats so loudly the sound chokes her throat.
If only she could get out from under this block of concrete and run to him.
Oh, those capricious gods!
Why is he wearing black?
He opens his arms.
She stands, but is rooted to the spot, hands pressing her heart, feeling the throbbing joy.
He beckons her … come!
She whispers her mantra over and over as she staggers into his waiting arms.
Carpe diem!
Carpe diem!
Carpe diem!
‘Saskia.’ The aching note in his voice moves her more than his words.

WORDS - 948
FCA - as per preference list below


This is my entry for the WEP/IWSG August challenge.


Please CLICK on entries at WEP to read more stories. 

Thank you for reading. If you're not joining the WEP/IWSG challenge this month, perhaps you'd consider joining us in October for Deju Vu Voodoo - (((shiver))) (((shake)))