Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

I was walking below the towering sea cliffs, deep in my customary habit of scrutinising the artistic qualities of my environment, when a peculiar rock, no bigger than a tennis ball demanded my attention.   The rock was wedged in the cliff’s foot, its surface the blackest black I had even seen, it was as if I were looking into nothingness, a void.

Instinctively I reached down to retrieve it, when an unexpected voice spoke within me, “leave it where it rests, the rock is where it needs to be, dislodge it and the cliff might fall.”  The cliff remained standing.

 

© Paul Nichol    January 2017

“Excuse me, there appears to be a dead fly in my fruit salad”, the woman in blue dress protested.  The temptation to ask her how she knew it was dead was overwhelming, however I professionally suppressed the invitation to mock and instantly placed an expression of utter revulsion upon my tortured face.

“A fly Madam!  Dead!  In your fruit salad.  My apologises, please let me replace it at once.” I earnestly insisted whilst moving forward to retrieve the untouched plate from the table.  “I can assure you the fly was most definitely alive when I brought it from the kitchen.”

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© Paul Nichol.  2017

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Bookshelfbookcase

Proclamation

Invitation for thought

Intimidating, inspiring

Knowledge

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© Paul Nichol.  2016

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Rejuvenation

Winters skeleton shimmers

Warm flesh of Spring stirs

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© Paul Nichol.  2015

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It was a simple act of kindness, which amounted to nothing more than a few unexpected words, shared between two middle aged men on a crisp December morning upon a pavement, as the sun began its long ardours ascent into the cold, steely grey sky.     

 

To any onlooker the events of that moment have seemed unremarkable and they would have rightly dismissed the encounter as nothing more than the sharing of social pleasantries between old acquaintances.  However, they would have been wrong.

 

What transpired was far from normal for one of those men, although he would never admit it.

 

© Paul Nichol. 2014

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My pace was slow as I climbed the slippery slopes of the fatiguing fell.   The heavy black cloud had ceased in its downpour, but its oppressive bulk still hung above me, as though I were its anchor.  The tantalising tricking of the many invisible streams sang out upon the damp mountain air as they danced fully replenished into the valley far below.  The sharp snapping of brittle slate under my heavy footsteps pieced the beauty of this natural symphony, but on I climbed, in awe of the wondrous bleak beauty of my desolate surroundings.

I rounded the endless summit, its barren windswept baldness a statement to the ferocity of nature.  My footsteps were precarious as I stumbled over the moss-covered terrain, but then my eyes fell upon the small abandoned stone farmhouse, which was nestled in the steep, narrow valley which lay before me, its insignificance was magnified by the enormity of the endless black mountains, which climbed almost vertical about it, piecing the very heart of the overhanging cloud; it was an oasis where one should not exist.

Once my feet were free from the treachery of those slippery boulders, I slid shackled with excited fear down the torrent of scree, which avalanched away before me as a stone wave, before finally coming to rest on the soft valley floor.  I lavished on the safety of the bog like surface, which in places swallowed me up to my knees.  The array of water-logged roots and tall spindly grasses were a strange comfort after the torment of that bleak hard climb, but I found my path and the walking become surefooted.

The sombre silhouette of the tumbled dwelling mocked me from across the wilderness of the sodden paddock.  The deep granite grey of the twisted, ramshackle buildings were in conflict with the niceties of modern-day aesthetics; but their effect was pleasing, a cold dark if not brutal, unrelenting scar set against the oasis of coarse green vegetation which sat deep in the safety of this unexpected, hidden valley.  I stumbled over the remnants of the broken wall, which lay like a ring of broken bodies before the polished windswept stone of the farmhouse walls, my feet once again sinking deep into to sopping soil which had once been a garden, I marched undeterred towards my goal the elasticised earth pulling upon my fatigued legs in a relentless battle for dominance.

Finally I found myself standing in the silence of past lives, my troubled eyes running in distress over the viciousness of the lives of those long dead.  As I stared at all about me, I found it hard to believe that happiness had ever lodged here.  The mammoth mountains which, for an eternity had encircled this place, cutting all hope, cutting dreams of a better life had been victorious with their unrelenting might.

I parted the matted cobweb, which veiled my path and entered the ruin and the lost world of the decayed past.  The foul air was heavy with the damp aroma of rot, my chest tightened as I drew the tainted blackness deep into my lungs.  The doorway was shallow, and allowed only the minimal of darkness to escape its forgotten prison.  My eyes slowly dilated to suit the harsh surroundings, but I knew instantly that I had violated the sanctity of the uninterrupted past.   A cold, unnatural breeze brushed over me; turning quickly I stared at the open doorway:  I looked into a different world, a world of light and happiness.  I felt uncharacteristically scared, scared not of the darkness which now gripped me, but of what awaited my departure of this timeless place, but of what I would take with me, although I felt compelled to loiter, to remain as part of blackness; to wear the cloak which had been laid about me, to absorb as much of this place as it would allow me to do and to comfort me in a way I knew it shouldn’t.  Stay a few moments longer I told myself, know this place so that you can live it again in the dark moments of our future, but I ran, for what I felt frightened me.  I ran quickly from that place as fast as my weary legs could carry me, over the fallen wall, across the wet paddock with its restraining grasses clutching at my feet, around the deep bog until I crashed onto the surety of that black, brittle scree.

I began my relentless climb almost at once, up the liquid face of that devilish hill, but with each step the stones gave way and I slid back, towards to the bottom of the steep slope.  I tried time and time again, but my efforts were in vain.  In my battle to escape, I had been oblivious to the regathering storm.  The valley plunged silently into darkness; a massive cape of thick turbulent cloud shrouded my world, and the light of my day was defeated.  Nature mocked my human frailty as I ran like a scared child once again towards the sanctuary of that deserted farm.  Lashings of lightening snapped and whipped all about me, driving me ever faster towards my refuge.  Torrents of brutal rain crashed down, beating upon me with a deliberate viciousness; driving me, driving me ever faster, and ever colder, ever weaker back to that dark place.  My return was unsightly; I stumbled and crashed unceremoniously through that black doorway, landing with a deadening thud upon the solid stone floor of my tomb.

I wrote this story for my children many years ago and have just rediscovered it hidden in a folder on my computer.  It is a good, fun read for the mums and dads too, so I thought I would post it here on wordpress.    I would be interested in any feedback as there are more adventures waiting in my head for these troublesome characters.    I hope you and your children enjoy their adventure. 

Monk and Nee Help Fred Ostrich

 By

Paul Nichol

 

Monk and Nee were happily playing a game of tail chase, when Fred Ostrich the came crashing out of the jungle and tripped over the two startled brothers.  Fred Ostrich flapped his wings with all his might but it was too late, and he came crashing to the ground with a loud bump.  Monk and Nee pick themselves up from the ground, dusted themselves down and began to giggle, as they bounded and skipped over to where Fred Ostrich lay.

“What’s up Fred”? Asked Monk

“Why were you running”? Asked Nee

Fred popped one eye open and then the other; he stared glumly at his two cheerful friends.

“I’m an ostrich”, he said sadly.  “Ostriches like running” and then he blinked his little round eyes.  “I think I either slipped or tripped over something,” he added sadly.

“Yes it was me!” said Monk.

“No it was me!” insisted Nee.

“I may have tripped over both of you”, replied Fred Ostrich sadly “I do have two feet”.

“That’s all right”, said Monk.

“Was it a fun trip?” asked Nee.

“No!” replied Fred Ostrich crossly.

“You do look very silly down there Fred”, said Monk

“I feel very silly”, replied Fred Ostrich.

“And you look very small for an Ostrich”, added Nee.

“And you two look very tall for little monkeys” replied Fred Ostrich as he tried to lift his head from the soft grass but for some reason he found he just couldn’t.

“Aren’t you going to stand up” asked Monk.

Just then Boots Centipede appeared from beneath Fred Ostrich’s big yellow beak.

“What happened”, asked Boots Centipede rubbing a very big bump on the top of his little green head, with at least ten of his front legs all at the same time.

“Hallo Boots”, said Monk.

Boots Centipede was still quite confused and still a little dizzy.  He turned to the Monk and found himself staring up the long shiny beak of Fred Ostrich.  Fred blinked once again and smiled.

“Put me down!  Put me down now”, screamed Boots Centipede.  The two monkeys thought this rather funny and rolled around the ground laughing and laughing until finally they bumped into one another.

“You are down”, replied Fred Ostrich. “It’s me that needs to stand up”.

Boots took off his first pair of red Wellington Boots from his front most legs and rubbed his eyes.  He looked once again along Fred’s yellow beak and into is little black eyes.  “You’re not meant to be down here, you look very silly”, he said crossly whilst replacing his red Wellingtons onto his feet.

“I feel very silly”, said Fred, “Ostriches never lay down, they might sit from time to time but they never stretch out like this.  I feel like a snake that has just eaten a fat elephant”.

Monk scratched his head as Nee bit into a big juicy banana.  Monkeys have a habit of either eating or scratching their heads when they stuck for ideas.  Suddenly Monk began to scream monkey screams and jump high into the air and roll and tumble all over the place.  Nee knew that Monk had hatched a plan and so he eat another banana while he waited for his brother to finish his show.   Fred blinked and wondered what was happening behind him as Monk ran quickly up to Fred’s Ostriches and plucked out the biggest of Fred Ostrich’s lonely long tail feathers.   Fred screamed in protest at losing one of his prized feathers but still he remained stretched out on the ground.

“That’s a great trick Monk”, said Nee wishing he had thought of it first “can you get me one?”

“No!” said Monk.

“But I’ve always wanted a feather like that but every time I’ve tried to snatch one from Fred Ostrich’s tail, he has been too fast, and he’s just run away.

Monk bounded back to where Fred Ostrich was laying.  “I’ve got an idea”, he said but before Fred Ostrich could ask Monk what it was Monk began to tickle Fred with stolen feather.  At first under his chin and then down Fred’s long thin neck, Fred began to giggle, just a little, but Monk was not finished and he began to tickle Fred Ostrich under his big wing.  Suddenly the massive black and white wings began to open and flap faster and faster.   Nee was jumping up and down with such excitement, screaming his monkey screams, he didn’t notice Fred Ostrich lifting himself back up onto his two massive legs.  Monk on the other hand was now standing underneath Fred Ostriches giant body, where as Boots Centipede was now high in the sky sitting on Fred’s Ostrich’s big yellow beak.

“Put me down, put me down Fred!”  Boots Centipede screamed.  Fred looked at the little green centipede for a moment and then tilted his little head slowly one way then the other.  Boots held on with all his might as Fred levelled his head once again.

“I’ve a question for you” said Fred.  It’s always puzzled me, but why do you wear red Wellington boot?”

“When you have as many feet as I do”, replied Boots Centipede, “it’s best to keep your feet as clean as you can, otherwise bath time can stretch right through the night and into breakfast- time.  And anyway I like my red Wellingtons!”

“Red Wellingtons are very nice”, replied Fred Ostrich “but I think blue boots would look better on you.  I like blue Wellingtons.  Now hold on tight it’s a long way back down to the ground”.  He lowered his head once again and Boots climbed onto a tall green plant.  Fred then turned too Monk who was trapped between Fred’s massive legs.  Fred again blinked.  Monk was hiding the giant tail feather behind his back; he smiled and tried not to giggle.

“Thank you Monk”, said Fred Ostrich, “I think everything is back as it should be.  I’m standing up, my head is high in the sky, and you’re down there and Nee is eating his banana as always, and Boots.  Boots is happily munching a juicy green leaf”.

“What about your lovely tail feather” replied Monk, “I am sorry for taking it! I didn’t hurt you did I?  It was all I could think off at the time.  You looked so sad laying there on the ground; I just wanted to help you” Said Monk whilst taking the giant white feather from behind his back,

“But great fun I suspect”. Fred Ostrich replied.

“Well, just a little”, said Monk with a smile.  “But I promise I won’t do it again”.

“You keep the feather”, said Fred Ostrich, “you should use it to tickle that brother of yours, then that way he might stop eating those bananas and leaving the skins around for me to slip on.”  Fred again blinked, smiled warmly, and then lifted his head high up into the blue sky once again.  “Good-bye Monk and Nee”, he said, “and good-bye Boots”, and with that he was gone as fast as he had came.

Monk put the big feather once again behind his back and thought, what a good idea.  “Now where is that bother of mine?”  He said.

……….The End………..

© Paul Nichol 2013