A fairy tale (of sorts)

Another TMA story i had hoped would score better than it did. never the less it is still a piece i really liked writing and i hope that you will enjoy reading. i have corrected some grammar mistakes but other than that it is as submited.

THE NIGHTINGALE

She was beautiful. The eyes of all the men in the building rested upon her golden hair and graceful body. The eyes of all the men but one. That one sat in his curtained booth and instead watched the crowd. Every man in London wished to be acquainted with James Bartholomew Edward, they all wished to believe the lie he sold them. That any of these girls could be theirs. But Edward knew the truth. He had no need to watch the dancer, she was his. All the exotic creatures that appeared upon The Diamond’s stage belonged to him. Each enchanting singer and nubile dancer, they were his treasures. The Diamond was his kingdom.

During the day it was where he allowed his girls to worship him, on their knees amongst the trash left behind by the dandies and fops., and at night he saw them worshipped in their turn. The greatest treasure in Edward’s life was hearing his customers as they praised his possessions and admired him for having them. They wished that they could be him, he wondered to himself what those men would think if they knew that he was bored. James Bartholomew Edward had grown tired of his girls. Each of them, exquisite and unique, with their list of tricks as long as any prized concubine had become dull. There was nothing new or exciting in this world. At least until he heard the rumour.

He first heard it one night as his clients were leaving. Two young gentlemen talking in that way they do about what they had seen that night, comparing the girls by their beauty, their skill. Praise Edward accepted as his due.  And then from nowhere a fragment of conversation that stood above the chatter.

‘I agree that those specimens had the voices, and the bodies, that could tempt a man to sin, I still say none can compare to the girl I heard yesterday. Her’s was a voice that could tempt a man to marriage.’ and then with a laugh before Edward could mark them, the dandies where gone.

This one sentence made Edward’s heart race, the best of the best in London belonged to him and so this girl would too. He gathered his factors, sent them out to the music halls, and concert halls, searching for the girl with the beautiful voice. But they returned with nothing other than more rumours and whispers. He turned his search further afield, to the operas and salons, but still nothing. Edward could feel the euphoria slipping away with each failed search. He was unable to eat or sleep. He took no pleasure in the soft lips or clever hands of his girls, the idea that something so precious existed out there, and yet was not his, tormented him.

It was months before his relief came one day in the form of a beggar boy.

‘I’ve heard about that girl you been looking for, Guv. Might be, I know where she can be found.’

‘And of course you would be willing to take me to her, from the goodness of your heart.’ Edward had had dealings with this type of ragamuffin before. They reeked of sewage and the street and their morals were just a rotten as their scent. On the whole, they were exactly his kind of people.

“There’ll be a price. Ain’t there always, Guv.” The boy smiled, Edward could see several of his teeth were missing and those which remained wouldn’t be there long judging by the smell. Edward paid the price, there was nothing within his possession that he would not have given to gain his prize.

Rather than take Edward to a concert or theatre, the boy led him to the backyard of a large house. In the yard was a young girl pinning up clothes. She was dressed in a homespun brown dress and her pale hair was tucked under a white cap. On her face was a large yellowing bruise that did nothing to disguise her perfect symmetry. As she worked  the girl sang. She sounded like an angel, it was a voice unlike any Edward had every heard. It awoke parts of him he had worked hard to lock away many years ago. He knew his search had been worth the trouble, this was the girl who could wipe away his years of degradation. She could renew him.

It was a slow process wooing the mysterious girl, the matter of months, not hours as he was used to. At first she would not even tell him her name. He called her Nightingale because she sang in his dreams. Her father had promised her to a man with angry fists. Edward  knew people who took care of that problem. But even once her abuser was gone, none of his usual tricks worked. He sent her a dozen crimson roses and she told him she preferred to see them growing wild. He offered her strings of diamonds and pearls and she returned them saying they were meant for a lady of breeding not one as simple born as she. He offered her everything he could think of, his money, his businesses, and she turned them all down. Eventually he went to her himself, without gifts or deceit and begged her to sing for him, just once, upon his stage. To his surprise she agreed , but only if he would marry her.

 

Edward’s life was bliss for a while, he was entranced by the newness of his marriage and the passion of his bride. He was once again the toast and envy of all of London. Once a month his wife would sing upon the stage and the crowds would flock to see her, paying him every penny they had. But as the night faded, his nightingale would sing just for him. Though she had appeared as such an innocent when they at first met, it took very little training to teach her the ways of pleasing him. She took to it like she had been to the whorehouse born.

A year had almost past before he found himself growing bored of his wife. It was longer than it had been for any of his other girls. By the time that their anniversary came around his wife had lost much of the sparkle that had drawn him to her. She reminded him of a plant stuck in a dark corner, withered from the lack of the sun, when he should be enough for her.

The month of Edward’s birth came around. Since this was to be his 50th  year, James Bartholomew Edward decided he should throw himself a party. It was the social event of the season. Everyone who was anyone was in attendance. His girls danced and sung and kept his guests amused. And before his presents were opened, his delicate young wife took to the stage and sang a song, loaded with dark promise, dedicated solely to him. It failed to stir him.

Among the guests at the party was a man recently arrived from the east. Society had named him  Magister for it was said he knew the secrets of the orient. His was the gift that Edward was looking forward to the most. His heart pounded with anticipation when the Magister’s men wheeled out a large wooden create. All the guests gathered around the box to see it opened, chattering like magpie preparing to steal off with the prize.

Inside the box was a figure. A doll with a perfectly proportioned female form. She had beaten gold hair, porcelain skin and sapphires for eyes.

‘I call it an… automaton,’ the Magister whispered in Edwards’ ear  ‘and with the latest phonographic tools, I have made her sing.’

He reached around behind the doll and turned a dial, there was a whirring of gears and a strangely wet sound, then suddenly the automaton’s voice filled the air. It was pure and clear like Edward’s wife’s, but without the longing he heard in hers these days.

The doll sang note perfect and emotionless, and without ever having to take a breath. Throughout the night, even after the guests had grown tired of the novelty and gone home. Long after Edward’s wife had left the stage and slipped back to her quarters, her wet cheeks unseen. Past when the night had ended and dawn begun. The doll still sang.

In the quite moments after everyone else had left the Magister spoke to Edward of secrets, and the sacrifices needed to keep the doll singing.

‘ The creation of my masterpiece required skill and magic, to keep it running simply requires…willing.’ The Magister’s voice was deep and spicy. As potent as any drug or opiate. ‘ All my lady requires to keep performing is Oil. Rich, fresh Oil every day.’

The Magister showed Edward how to load the fluids into the chamber in the doll’s chest and how to set the dial. ‘I will give you one warning my dear sir, as with all things, what you get out is only equal to the quality of what you put in.’ And with a hyena’s laugh he left.

Procuring the necessary supplies for the automaton proved an easy task for Edward. Most of the girls who sang and danced at his clubs had come from nothing, he felt no regrets or remorse at returning them to nothing. He would gather the Oil in the morning, then spend every evening listening to the doll sing. The automaton’s radiance obscured his wife’s beauty to the point she ceased to exist for him. He never noticed when his wife vanished, so mesmerised was he by the song of his mechanical nightingale. It became the only thing that mattered. His kingdom was nothing to him now. The clients no longer came to The Diamond spending their money. What good was a music hall with no performers.

When his girls were gone, from his greed or from their fear, Edward turned to the streets for his Oil supplies. The ladies who worked the streets were infested with TB and syphilis, or they filled their bodies with cheap gin. Disgusting creatures but needs must and his darling had to be fed.

It only took days before the change to the automaton became noticeable, her gold began to tarnish and her voice became cracked and raspy. Edward found it hard to look upon her, seeing his reflection in her ruin. Instead he hunted the Magister throughout the seedy streets of London in the hope that he would have a cure.

‘ I gave you my warning, my fallen lord, if you chose not to heed it, why should I correct your folly?’ The Magister turned dismissively from Edward unaware of the knife gripped in the madman’s hand.

‘If you cannot provide a cure, then you shall provide the Oil.’

Each  new collection was easier than the last, and if the showgirls had made his doll sing like an angel, then the Magister’s oil should fill her voice with magic. He ached to hear her sing once more.

Edward rushed back to The Diamond unaware of the world around him. Not noticing the people pointing at his blood stained form. His mind focused  on his desperate mission to restore the automaton to glory.  But as he entered through the stage door, Edward was lifted from his haze by the sound of his mechanical nightingale singing upon the stage. The Magister must have placed a spell upon the automaton, causing it to fail. Now the Magister was gone the spell had lifted, his precious thing had been restored to him.

She was standing upon the stage, under a spotlight. Her golden hair sat at an angle on her head refracting shards of light. Her voice sounded out loud and clear. A tear ran down Edward’s cheek mingling with splashes of blood. He rushed to her and his eyes flew open wide as the Nightingale slashed him from groin to neck. His life Oil flooded down on to the boards where she had once sang for him. His body fell as her rival’s golden wig fell from her head and a smile played on her lips.

‘ I would have sang for you for all eternity,’ she reached down and caressed his face, drawing down his eyelids, ‘all I asked for was your love.’

my tma poems.

Here are the poems i wrote for my TMA. i like them 😀

 

Red.

 

Scarlet lettered ladies,

Crimson splattered slips.

Auburn crowned infamy,

Anonymous cherry lips.

 

Claret scribed confession,

Victoria’s vermilion reign.

Demonic Knave of Hearts

From Hell-fire’s flames.

 

Poppy eyed manhunter

Of history’s black heart.

Marooned in murky mystery.

Folly, falsity or Fact?

Hostile Takeover.

 

At first it felt like we were all friends.

Playing on the same field,striving for

the same goals. Then the interlopers came,

with their take over nature. Pushing us who

had always been there, to the side.

Changing the names we had given to things.

They told us what to think and do.

They poured over us

with their condescending nature.

Sanctimonious. Berating us.

We tried to stand against them and

they united against us. We couldn’t keep

them out. This isn’t a private play park.

But now the atmosphere of fun has gone.

And so I wonder,

Do I want to play here any more?

The Scent of Roses.

 

A hot cup of tea when it’s chilly outside.

Cracking the spine on a brand new book.

removing my shoes after dancing all night.

A cute guy in a kilt, or dressed up in a suit.

Finding £5 in the road when I’m skint.

Plenty of bubbles filling my bath.

Bumping into a friend and grabbing a drink.

A joke so bad that I can’t help but laugh.

A cuddle at bedtime. A kiss goodnight.

Spending time with my daughter when on vacation.

A moment of peace in which to write.

Trying to say Floccinaucinihilipilification.

 

Little instances that pass unremarked,

but if we let them slip by, we can’t get them back.

some random poetry

now that my poetry assignment has been submited i thought i would post a few poems that didn’t make it in to the submissio

Under the Pier.

 

A cold and cavernous chamber,

lit by golden Tiffany light

that fails to shatter shadows.

A verdant carpet lines the pebbled

ground, slick and sleek and slimy.

The wood pillar posts painted

magnolia by Molluscs ,barnacles

and limpets.

The salty tangy scent of changing

tides lingers on the air,

while the sound of screaming

seagulls barely

punctuates my sanctuary.

Exposed, but only momentary

before the moon waves

her arms and claims it for Ariel’s

pleasure once again.

 

High Rise

Some nights I can hear

my downstairs neighbours

fighting. Their voices carry

louder than the TV, I try

not to turn the volume too

loud and wake up everyone

else in the house. But I just

want to yell shut up.

 

Some days I can hear

the guy who lives upstairs

whistling. He’s not bad,

he can carry a tune. Yet

on occasion it drives me

completely crazy and I

really want to tell him

to just give it a rest.

 

But then I think:

 

Some times I sing out

of tune in the shower. I

imagine I’m a superstar.

Or I will watch quiz shows

on the tele, shouting answers

and insults at the screen. I

guess what I should scream

is I’M SORRY I’M A PEST.

 

Wildflowers

Do faeries play amongst the feral florals

at the bottom of the garden, where gardenias once grew.

Do they hold a harvest hootannay,

inviting all and sundry to join their jamboree.

 

 

some poems

public masks, private pain

How are you doing?

I’m fine.

How are you doing?

couldn’t be better.

How are you doing?

It’s lovely outside.

How are you doing?

I have good days and bad.

How are you doing?

STOP…stop asking me that.

How are you doing?

I’m falling apart,

what do you think.

Each time I see you

I can’t take in air,

I’m tierd and I’m lonely.

I hurt in my soul

but… you’re MY heartbreaker,

so, shouldn’t you know?

 

OTHER PEOPLE.

Strangers in a room,

What they choose to share,

The things the want to keep.

You know only what they allow.

Look around and wonder

What secrets do they hide.

You’re drawn togther by circumstance.

But could a stranger change your life?

 

 

 

 

TMA02

A Dream of Flight.

In just one night, the Watch Towers fell.

As an island, other nations had seen them as weak. They lacked the resources to fund a large army or navy. Their land had been subjected to raids and attacks until the great lords  had gathered their strength and set up the coastal watch.  But the great defence structure the lords put in place to protect their island kingdoms proved ineffectual. There was no time to send the message from one beacon to the next or to ready a host. Despite all their preparations the attacks did not come from the sea where the ships would have been spotted or  from overland in a  wave of rebellious uprising. The attacks were unexpected. They came from beneath!

 

Kyle was dreaming he could fly. He had the same dream every night. In his dream, he had no idea what kept him in the air but he could always feel the wind battering against his face as he soared through the sky. Tonight, like every night, the dream felt so real  until he was woken by a noise which was almost too loud to hear. He could feel the vibrations of the sound violently shaking his pallet as he tried to cling to the last remnants of sleep. But it was the scream that finally brought him to full consciousness. It sounded like the scream, Shanae, his little sister let loose when ever she was hurt or scared. Or whenever she wanted something of his that he wasn’t prepared to share.

However if there was one thing that Kyle’s father had drummed into him all his short life, it was that a man had a duty to take care of his family and that included annoying little sisters. He couldn’t understand what she would be doing out of bed at this time of night but Kyle took his responsibilities seriously. He gathered the energy to push  himself out of his warm bed, grabbed his itchy grey tunic and little wooden practice sword that sat on the chair and he ran  towards the door.

Kyle found himself overwhelmed by the cacophony of sights and sounds that awaited him outside. The only thing he really noticed  was the smell. The bitter, salty scent of seaweed that had always existed in the background, sat in a heavy layer over the town. The smell was as tangible as the noise had been earlier, alive with a richness and  it had never held before.

As his mind adjusted to the chaos of battle, Kyle began to notice his neighbours. Old Mother Rowen was stumbling  through the puddles on her unsteady legs, ignoring the thick red water as it splashed up onto the hem of her dress. Master Brennan the smith, the strongest man  he had ever known (apart from his father) was curled up on his side like a baby, his back pressed against the wall of the forge whilst inside the forge fire ran rampant. Everywhere he looked there were people, some of them where running, others where lying down or standing still and among them from nowhere there appeared dirty, misshapen, creatures with wicked blades and brutal swords.

Through a gap in the crowds Kyle spotted his sister. Shanae stood in the middle of the crowded thoroughfare, her cherubic face streaked by tears and her mouth opened wide to allow free rein to her screams. She appeared oblivious to the chaos that surrounded her. Perhaps it would be like it was with the bogeyman, thought Kyle; if Shanae just ignored the monsters, then maybe they would ignore her.

All Shanae knew was that she was scared and cold and that when she screamed her mummy was supposed to come, but she had been screaming so long that her little throat was sore and still her mummy was nowhere around. Shanae just wanted to be held.

Kyle made to run to his baby sister and though his wooden sword was no match for the bone and metal blades wielded by the creatures, he knew he would do his best to protect her. Before he could move to Shanae’s rescue, a hand grabbed at Kyle, lifting him off his feet and pressing him in close to a well built chest.

The man began to run from the fighting with the boy held securely in his arms. He used his free hand to press Kyle’s head firmly against the dragon emblem embroidered on his tunic. The only mercy he could give the boy was in stopping him from turning to look as two of the creatures appeared at the side of his sister. The boy didn’t need to see them slash at her with their weapons. He didn’t need to witness them grabbing her in their twisted arms and dragging her with them back into the dank, cold ground. It was a memory that no one should have to form. So he ran with the boy till the darkness swallowed the up the village behind them.

Kyle struggled against his captor until his sister’s screams stopped abruptly. In his mind he knew that if she no longer cried she was no longer in pain. He had failed her. Kyle couldn’t see anymore point in trying to get free. All he had managed to do was scratch himself on the embroidered dragon. He wished the man had never grabbed him and that the nightmares had killed him as well. How could his parents ever forgive him for not saving Shanae?

The man who had grabbed him placed him gently down in the shelter of the watch tower stables. Kyle turned his head quickly away trying to hide his tears. But even here in this place that Kyle usually thought of as refuge there was no peace to be found. Shanae had loved to come to the stables, she had always squealed in delight when the horses had snorted or stamped their feet. Now it was the horses that were squealing, frightened by the noises drifting up from the town and injuring themselves as they crashed against their stalls, trying to break free. Kyle placed his hands over his ears to block out not just the sounds of the horses but everything that had happened since he woke up. The man knelt down beside him and gently pried Kyle’s hands down to his side.

‘I know this is hard on you boy, but we don’t have the time for you to fall apart on me now,’ he pushed a dirty brown curl out of the boy’s eye, ‘ these things, the Guin, are supposed to be just a myth. My Gramma told me tales of them when I was young to frighten me into being good. It’s why we wear this emblem, it’s meant to ward them off, but I reckon it’s only the real thing that’s strong enough to help. She said if they took someone with them they would keep that person as a slave, so your sister may still be alive. But if you don’t listen to me and do what I tell you there will be no one left to save her.’

Kyle raised his head and looked at the man. He was older than Kyle had thought, with grey hair on his temples and wrinkles around his kind looking eyes. He looked familiar.  ‘Who are you?’

‘I’m part of the watch with your father. You have to go to him boy; he alone knows how to salvage something from this. The Guin will try to stop but they can’t break through the courtyard cobblestones. I’ll guard your back, boy, make sure you get safely to the tower.’

‘If he has this power, why didn’t he save Shanae? And where is my mother?’ Kyle found it hard to keep from bursting into tears again as he spoke of his family.

The man’s face softened as he looked down at Kyle, ‘I think that’s something you will have to ask your father, boy.’

‘DON’T CALL ME BOY! I-I-I have a name.’

‘ Of course you do,Kyle,’ the man replied as he led Kyle to the stable door.’ Now, RUN!’

Kyle stumbled before his boots found traction on the cobbles. As he was running he could hear the sound of metal striking metal and, in the distance, screams from the town but less now than they’d been before. The watch man was doing his best to hold back the Guin. It took all Kyle’s will to keep from looking back but he knew if he did he would falter and the monsters would catch him. He thought he could feel their warm sickly breath on the back of his neck as he pushed himself through the hole leading into the watch tower.

The beacon chamber was on the very top of the tower, it was reached by a twisting flight of cold stone steps. Even in the poor light that crept through the doorway, Kyle could see the dark stains which trailed through the door and up the stairway into the tower. Kyle ran up the stairs, his heart pounding in his chest, more from the fear of what he would find than from the exercise.

The door to the room at the top of the tower was lying open. Through the gap Kyle could see the room in disarray. The vat of oil kept to start the warning fires had tipped on its side. The liquid puddled around the access to the cupola where the beacon was housed. Kyle’s father was slouched in the puddle, the embroidered dragon on his front obscured by the blood that had soaked through his tunic. His father raised his hand up and gestured for Kyle to come to him.

Kyle slammed and bolted the door before he crossed the room. He knelt down beside his father, trying to avoid covering himself with the spilled oil, as he listened to his father’s shaky words.

‘ I’m so sorry, my son. I thought my father a fool; I didn’t listen when he told me of the myths and monsters. I dismissed him when he spoke of our destiny. I didn’t pass the stories onto you like he asked, if I had perhaps this day would never had come.’ he broke off as  a fit of coughing wracked his body leaving a small red trickle of blood running down his chin. ‘ It is too late for me to tell you now all that I should have, but hopefully I can give you enough to survive this day’

Kyle wiped away the blood as he watched his father’s blue-grey eyes begin to dull. ‘ I don’t understand what you mean, father. I don’t know what it is you want me to do.’

Kyle’s father used the last of his strength to pull his son to him. He placed the old medallion he had always worn around his son’s neck and then whispered the words his own father had told him when he was just a lad. They were words he would have sworn he no longer remembered but they now returned to him bright and clear. Then with a kiss on the cheek he bid his son farewell.

Kyle knew he should cry for his father but he had used all his tears on Shanae. Instead he just sat dazed by the events that had occurred . It wasn’t until the Guin began to bang on the heavy wooden door that Kyle woke up enough to carry out his father’s final instructions. He climbed up into the cupola, placed the medallion over his heart and shouted out the odd words his father had whispered.

DOMINI DRACONUM VOCAT TE, ATTENDE.’

For a moment there was silence then a sound like thunder. An unnatural wind battered against Kyle, shaking him from his unstable perch. He plunged towards the ground. Far below he could see the Guins reaching their arms up towards him. Kyle was sure that this would be how he died, but suddenly, the Guins were swept away by a rolling wave of fire. Kyle felt his breath forced from his body as he crashed into a solid leathery surface. The searing heat that poured down on the Guins  was comforting to Kyle. The movement of the giant wings felt so familiar. Kyle and the dragon were one. It was as if his dream had come true.

 

The boy stirred in his sleep, sometimes crying, sometimes shouting out loud. It had been four years since his family had been taken from him and his soul was still raw. If it had been within his power the dragon would have taken the bad memories from him and allowed him to sleep in peace. But he also knew doing that would weaken the boy. If he was ever to be strong enough to face the Guins, to rescue his sister and the others who were taken, he would need to work through his grief. He would need to learn from what had happened that day. The only thing the dragon could do was keep his body strong and nourished, while his mind healed. Soon the boy would be a man and when he woke once again they would fly.