There Is No Place Like Home

Dec 12 2017, 11:07 pm in , ,

   I’m Rebekah Simmers and I collect angels. A very specific type. They are about three inches tall and carved by hand from natural wood. Each has a simple painted face, thin wooden wings and wear a small golden crown upon their heads. The main difference is what they hold in their non-descript hands. A harp. Bells. Cello. Drum. A heart.

One has her hands held straight over a xylephone.

 

 

 

Another’s are held together as she kneels over the baby Jesus’s cradle.

 

If you look closer, you will see more subtle differences. Some are made with darker woods. A few have a broken wing.

 

 

 

 

 

Three are adorned with blue Swavorski crystals. A few are as old as I am, most much younger. All were made in one of the mountain regions here in Germany, where they have been made for decades in the wood working traditions that originate there.

 

 

 

I was born in Germany as an Army brat, where my mother bought the first of these Angels. Every year she sat on our piano, the sheet music for “Stille Nacht” sitting in front of her on her own grand piano. She was my favorite Christmas decoration, connecting me to this far off place where I was born. I visited Germany in high school and went to a Christmas store in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, I saw some sitting in a basket. My own collection was born.

Now as a military spouse, I find myself living in Germany. My typical American Christmas with a side of Germany has been transformed into it’s own full blown German experience. Like in America, where each region has it’s own slight differences, each area here has a unique flavor based on regional folklore and traditions.

I live in Stuttgart in Baden-Wurttemburg. We do not live on a military base, but rather down “on the economy” in a smaller German town that has a lovely village feel. “History! Tradition! Hofen!” I have been told by more than one person who hails from our town and it is rich in both of those. The town has a distinctive Schwabian flare to it. A slightly different accent is spoken and traditional authentic Schwabish food such as maultaschen, schupfnudeln and Spaetzle are served year round, but they are very recognizable in one of Germany’s special traditions – the Weihnachtsmarkt. Christmas markets.

The Weihnachtsmarkt happens through Germany. Markets can have a specific theme. There are Medieval, Baroque, Victorian, and Children’s markets. At each you can count on the food. Bratwursts, pommes (French fries), Brezeln (pretzels), Lebkuchen (spiced cookies)). There is also music with live bands, beautiful lights and decorations. Elaborately decorated booths selling everything from delicate glass ornaments and puppets to pots and pans. Gluehwein, a hot, spiced red or white wine, is offered in a mug uniquely decorated for that specific market – a collector’s item

In Stuttgart it lasts the entire Advent season. The Weihnachtsmarkt in our little village is for one day and is held in and around the old burg / castle ruins. 

My favorite things is being able to visit different markets stands overflowing with hand carved/painted wooden decorations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is food, handmade crafts, jellies, jewelry and a wood carving stand among others.

 

There are semi-circle structures called Schwiboggen, often lit up, depicting some variation of winter theme across the bottom.

There are Nutcrackers, smokers and ornaments of all shapes, sizes and themes. And my angels. Not the intricately painted and detailed ones, but the natural wood color, short skirt angel orchestra, with the little one sat at the grand piano, that brings me full circle and makes this foreign country feel like home to me.

Rebekah Simmers is addicted to words.  She’s working to complete the first novel in a trilogy.  She’s a military spouse, mother of five and one fur baby and a dedicated volunteer. 

If you want to read her Flash Fiction story, Ring Pop, search her name in recent posts.

 

Christmas in Finland by Jo Jackson

Dec 11 2017, 10:47 pm in ,

    Here in the north of Finland, December is a pretty dark time of year. Where I live our ‘day’ lasts a whopping 4 hours right now but further north, high above the arctic circle, they are already experiencing the long polar night or kaamos when the sun doesn’t rise above the horizon at all. But Christmas in this part of the world is anything but gloomy!

 

 

Houses are decorated with twinkling fairy lights and flickering candles throughout the winter but even more so around Christmas. Finland is also celebrating 100 years of independence in December this year so many public buildings are also being illuminated with blue and white light to mark the occasion. On the day itself every house puts two blue and white candles in the window at 6pm. Popular belief is that Finns used to put candles in their windows as a sign that theirs was a ‘safe house’ during the war for independence.

 

 

 

 

If you’re especially lucky, you might even get to see some natural illuminations in the form of the Northern Lights. There are few things more magical than watching the night sky come alive with colours and shapes moving gracefully across the heavens above.

 

     Christmas in Finland is all about family. Everyone comes together on Christmas Eve and, unlike most countries, Santa visits their houses during the evening and they all open their presents on the eve itself. My children and I watch from our window to see Santa visiting the neighbours’ homes with a bulging sack and I can’t tell you how exciting it is!

     Having grown up going to bed on Christmas Eve and waiting eagerly for the morning to see what I’d been lucky enough to be brought, I can’t quite get my head around opening everything up on Christmas Eve. So, my girls don’t get their presents until Christmas morning but Santa does bring them one present on Christmas Eve to open. He drops the rest off on his way home to Rovaniemi.

     Rovaniemi is a city on the arctic circle where Santa lives. It’s in Lapland and we drive up to hand deliver the girls’ letters to him every year. There are enormous Christmas trees and lights everywhere you look and even though the place is teeming with tourists during the winter months, it’s hard not to get drawn into the atmosphere of it all. Christmas music floating on the air, reindeer waiting to be petted and usually a lot of snow!

     Children in Finland keep an eye out for tonttu or elves, Santa’s helpers who come to see who is being well behaved. A flash of red outside a window can unleash some serious excitement I can tell you!

     Christmas is also full of music and gathering around a piano with friends and loved ones, with a glass of glögi (a hot Finnish drink that can be alcoholic or child friendly) and some freshly baked gingerbread to enjoy the season together is very Finnish indeed.

                                                                   Hyvää joulua!

 

I’m Jo Jackson and I’ve been writing stories since I was a child. I wrote my first serious attempt at a novel at the age of 14 and wrote regularly after that until real life and ‘adulting’ got in the way.

A few years ago I allowed myself to have enough belief and confidence in my writing to try and do something about the stories that have been trapped in my imagination for too long. I’m a British born preschool teacher and photographer who’s been living for the last 12 years in Northern Finland with my husband, two children and our crazy black labrador. Here I write under the northern lights in winter and the midnight sun in summer, taking large amounts of inspiration from family holidays spent in the Scottish Highlands as well as the adventure games of my childhood. I tend to write about love, in various guises. 

You can read Jo’s Flash Fiction, Todayright here. Just search recent posts for her name.

 Aussie Christmas

Dec 10 2017, 9:57 pm in ,

 Aussie Christmas!

     Christmas day in Australia is the middle of summer.  The only “white snow” we see is icing sugar dusted on top of fruit mince pies.

     As a child, Christmas was filled with excitement. 

       The lead up to Christmas was crammed with fun preparation, being the end of the school year, we would spend the last few days of school making Christmas crafts, classroom parties and singing Aussie Christmas carols.   Hallways would echo with “six white boomers”, “Aussie jingle bells and my favourite “carol of the birds “Orana”.  Orana is aboriginal for dawn, or welcome.

     Managing Christmas Eve must have been an additional challenge for my parents, not only were we too excited for sleep, but day light savings meant it did not get dark until 9pm.   I can remember lying in bed, wide awake, listening out for the sound of sleigh bells and not able to sleep in a bedroom where the sun was peeking at me through the curtain cracks teasing “I can see father Christmas!”

  Christmas day, when it arrived meant an early rise, matching outfits for my sisters and I from our grandmother and off to church.  After church, it was breakfast, often with cold meats on bread, and then finally we were able to file into the living room to see what was under the Christmas tree.   

     Christmas lunch was still a sit down roast meal, a tradition hard to avoid with an English father and German mother, but we dined in the garden.  After plum pudding we spent a leisurely afternoon playing with our new outdoor toys or splashing in the wading pool in new togs.  

 

     Sometimes we would be interrupted with the siren blaring, and my father, volunteer fire fighter racing off to the fire station to fight fires that were out of control in the hot dry bush heat.  We waited nervously, watching the orange light from the encroaching flames on the mountainside for warning of whether we needed to evacuate.

 I grew up and had my own family

                      and now live in the tropics. 

Christmas day lunch had to transform to cold meat, salad, seafood and Pavlova (meringue with whipped cream and fruit).  We spend the day swimming in the pool and lazing under the air conditioner. 

   

I am blessed to have “Peter Pan” children who even as young adults are still captivated by the magic of Christmas and rush to the Christmas tree to see if father Christmas has left them a stocking with their name on it.

     The day after Christmas, Boxing Day is for relaxing.  We sit watching television for the start of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race, eating left overs. 

     

 

  My own tradition is to complete a scrapbook page for each family member of their achievements over past twelve months.  It allows me to recognise and celebrate all that has happened for each family member, and creates a sense of closure to the year in the days leading up to the New Year.

 

“Aussie jingle bells

Oh jingle bells, jingle bells

Jingle all the way

Christmas in Australia

On a scorching summers day!

Jingle bells, jingle bells

Christmas time is beaut!

Oh what fun it is to ride in a

Rusty Holden Ute!”

                                                                                           Liza Roberts

 

     Liza is an Australian social worker and successful social entrepreneur with three teenage children and four cats who is harnessing increased time and the space to extend on her writing. 
     Previously published co-author of social work practice programs, Liza is putting pen to paper in a new genre.  Filled with sentimentality and adoration of human resilience, Liza incorporates paranormal, fantasy and spiritualist concepts and philosophies into her fiction writing.  Writing sets her soul free and allows her imagination to wander, creating new landscapes and worlds for her readers to explore. 

You can read Liza’s flash fiction, Rise of Hylzarie, right here. Just search recent posts for her name.

 

Christmas Around The World

Dec 10 2017, 12:01 am in , ,

During Christmas do you hear what I hear? Do you see what I see?

Does your Christmas taste, smell, feel and look like mine?

Doubt it. When we think of the different ways Christmas is celebrated we generally think nationality differences and continental differences. Right here in this country Christmas is celebrated in dozens if not hundreds of different ways. Maybe you go to Rockefeller center to ice skate, or to the Plaza in Kansa City (with three hundred thousand other people) to see the lights come on. Or, in St. Augustine Florida, go to the Nights of Lights to see the whole town lit up and to the bay front to watch boats cruise by in their holiday finest.

Please visit over the next few days as friends from around the world will be sharing how they celebrate the Christmas Season.

During Christmas do you hear what I hear?

How do you say Merry Christmas? Around here it’s likely to be, “Y’all have a Merry Christmas.”

Or maybe, according to your heritage, you say one of these.

Mele Kalikimaka- Hawaiian

Feliz Navidad- Spanish

Joyeux Noël – French

Fršhliche Weihnachten!  – German

Buon Natale! – Italian

I’ll also add I’m far more likely to hear boat motors then sleigh bells.

Do you see what I see?

I grew up in Florida. Christmas never included snow. I do see white, but its beach sand. What does it look like inside and outside your house for the holidays? We made our own wreaths from cedar boughs or magnolia leaves, decorated with holly and humongous pinecones. Garlands were made of the same material, all of which we gathered ourselves. Table decorations could be palm fronds, magnolia leaves, holly and citrus fruit punctured with cloves.   

            

 I decorate with Santas in flower print shirts and sandals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   On my tree are twinkle lights covered with shells and plastic flamingos and starfish.

 

Outside I see white, but its beach sand, not snow.

I see poinsettias in gardens and palm trees, not Fraser firs, wrapped with Christmas lights. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I see my small coastal community brilliant with millions of lights.

 

After Christmas I see Santa, in his bright print shorts, riding a yellow bicycle on the beach or surfing.

Do you smell what I smell?

In Florida, as I mentioned, many Christmas wreaths and garlands were made with cedar branches. A decidedly different scent than the fir and pine boughs used in northern regions.  Table arrangements frequently included magnolia leaves and citrus punctured with whole cloves.

Paper white narcissus. 

O. My. I can’t describe the scent other than to say it’s Christmas to me.  I find it strange that with all the other places we’ve lived these are the only scents I associate with Christmas.

 

 

 

 

 

Do you feel what I feel?

Christmas here feels warm. No need for seven layers of clothing when you are out and about. Even though the evenings can be chilly and damp and a bit foggy this time of year many holiday parties are indoor/outdoor by the pool parties. Or, outside at gathered around a fire pit for an oyster roast. 

You certainly don’t feel terrified you’ll slip on the ice and break your bright and shiny hiney or, some reindeer is gonna run you over.

 

With the joys of social media we get to see what Christmas is like around the globe. As are many of you readers. Please share what the sight, sounds, tastes, smell, and feel of Christmas is to you.

                                                           Rita

 

Tequila Christmas Cookies

Dec 9 2017, 12:39 pm in

I’m making Tequila Christmas Cookies before the Army Navy Game. Go Navy. Here is my recipe for the best ever cookies. 

Ingredients

1 cup of water

 1 tsp. baking soda

 1 cup of sugar

1 cup of butter

 1 tsp. salt

 1 cup of brown sugar

 1 tbsp. lemon juice

 4 large eggs

 1 cup nuts

 2 cups of dried fruit

 1 bottle tequila

 Sample an ounce of the tequila to check quality.

Put butter in a large bowl, pour 2 ounces of tequila and drink. With electric mixer beat butter until the bowl is fluffy.

 Add one teaspoon of sugar. Beat again.

 At this point, it’s best to make sure the tequila is still OK, so, try a half a cup.

 Turn off the mixerer thingy.

 Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.

 Pick the frigging fruit and the damn cup off the floor.

 Mix on the turner. If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers, just
 pry it loose with a drewscriver.

 Sample the tequila to check for tonsisticity.

 Next, sift two cups of salt, or something. Check the tequila.

 Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.

 Add one table.

 Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find.

 Greash the oven.

 Turn the cake tin to 360 degrees and try not to fall over.

 Don’t forget to beat off the turner.

 Put the bowl through the window, finish off the booze and make sure to put the dirty stove in the dishwasher.

                                                       CHERRY MISTMAS TO ALL!

 

Aioli

Dec 5 2017, 9:11 am in ,

Aioli     

     Growing up, one Christmas and New Year tradition was Aioli. We had it other times of the year but it wasn’t the holidays with out plenty of Aioli. 

     Aioli on a slice of baguette.

     Aioli on a cracker.

     Aioli on a slice of roast beef.

     Aioli on……….

     Well, you get the picture. Aioli on what ever makes you happy.

     What is this Aioli you ask?  One thing it isn’t is mayonnaise with garlic seasoning. The word Aioli means garlic and olive oil.  That’s exactly what it is with an egg yolk and salt thrown. If you love garlic you will love this.

     Oh. Warning. There is NO—as in NO—way you can avoid garlic breath for 24 hours after eating. Upside is, no family who regularly eats Aioli has ever been bothered by vampires.     

Here’s the recipe       

Makes 1 cup. Don’t suggest you double the recipe. If you want more, make two batches.

Ingredients

2 cloves of garlic. Or three. I’m in the 3 group.

2 pinches salt. I use coarse salt.

2 egg yolks.

Approximately 1 cup olive oil.

 Directions

Cut the ends off of the garlic, peel it, and either chop it or put it through a garlic press.

Put the garlic in a mortar and pestle with the salt and grind it into a paste.

In a heavy mixing bowl (one that won’t scoot across the counter as you’re mixing with one hand and pouring with the other), whisk (you can use an electric whisk but I think that’s cheating) the egg yolks and garlic mixture together until well combined.

Start adding the olive oil, drop by drop, whisking all the while. You can add it a bit faster as you go along, but as with mayonnaise, the key to success is going very slowly at the start. When you are done adding the oil you can adjust the seasoning as suits your taste.

Serve with crackers or thin baguette slices or anything you like.

                                                         Merry Christmas

Lighthouse Christmas

Dec 3 2017, 12:00 am in ,

To welcome the Christmas Season I’m sharing photos of a few Lighthouses in their Christmas finery.

The St. Augustine Florida light. Photo by John Joseph.

Tree at the bottom of the light.

The St Augustine Florida Light Keepers house on with thousands of luminaries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Santibel Light.

Tybee Island 

 

 

 

 

                      Marbel Head Ohio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Montauk Light

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nubble Light

 

                                               Deer Isle Light

 

 

 

 

Aren’t these fantastic? 

    Merry Christmas to all.

Why I Write Military Heroines

Nov 4 2017, 9:35 am in , ,

I’m often asked why write military heroines? My question is: why don’t we have more books with military heroines? I feel like the women in the service of their countries are under appreciated.

            Well, I come from a family, who over the years, have served in every branch of the service in every conflict since WWI. I have ancestors who served in British conflicts back to the early 1800’s. Two great, great, great, great uncles were in the Charge of the Light Brigade. Thomas Dunn, a corporal, and Alexander James Dunn, a lieutenant were members of the 11th Hussars, a British Army unit. Lieutenant Dunn was killed in the battle. Corporal Dunn was one of the fabled survivors.

            I have stories of family in WWI but no proof. SO, fast forward to the next war to end all wars and I have many, many relatives who served. Some weren’t even in the military. Half of my family lives in Florida. Have since around the early 1900s. An uncle owned several shrimp boats. One day, after the start of WWII, some scary guys in suits and uniforms showed up and said his boats were needed to protect the east coast from U-boats. There was no please. No thank you. No payment. All his boats were taken and he never got them back. I take that back he got as couple back in such bad repair they were useless.  He never complained. He was proud he could help.

            My daddy trained Coast Guard recruits in Florida and Washington State, and patrolled in the North Atlantic riding shotgun for convoys.  

            Another Uncle was a Navy ace in that war and in Korea.

            One uncle, on the other side of my family, was home in December 1941 for 30 days of leave before he was to report to his next duty. His next duty? The USS Arizona in Hawaii.

            My husband’s uncle served in Germany.

            Hubs was a Marine and served in Vietnam.

            One son was with the first Marines into Bagdad in the Iraq war.

            There are many others but I think you get the point. The military in is my DNA.

 

             George Washington credits winning the war against England to six colonial spies who risked their lives to bring him information. One of them was a woman whose name has never been discovered.

            Dr. Mary Edwards Walker is the only woman to receive a Congressional Medal of Honor for her efforts during the Civil War. Her name was deleted from the Medal of Honor Roll in 1917. She was asked to return the medal and refused, wearing it every day until she died.

              Agnes Meyer Driscoll known as Madame X, an American cryptanalyst for the U.S. Navy during World War I was a brilliant code breaker.

            During WWII over 1000 women in this country flew every type of military aircraft, ferrying them to military bases and departure points. They were test pilots and towed targets to give gunners training. Their service wasn’t recognized until the 70s.

          Nancy Augusta Wake was a British agent who became a courier for the French Resistance. By 1943, Wake was the Gestapo’s most wanted person, with a 5 million-franc price on her head.

           Rose Antonia Maria Valland was a French art historian, a member of the French Resistance, a captain in the French military, and one of the most decorated women in French history. She secretly recorded details of the Nazi plundering of National French and private Jewish-owned art from France. Remember the book and movie The Monument Men? That’s her.

           I have a special place in my heart for the nurses who took care of those who fought in Vietnam. Read, The Trunk, in my new book Let Me Tell You A Story.      

            The person who is credited with finding the terrorist leader who ordered the 9/11 attacks (I refuse to say his name) is a woman.      

     So you can see why I wrote Under Fire, Under Fire: The Admiral, Point of No Return with extraordinary Military heroines. Women at the top of their field in a man’s world. They don’t want a man to take care of them they want a man who will accept them for who they are and stand shoulder to shoulder with them in their adventures.

Haunted Lighthouses~ A Flash Fiction Paranormal by Rita Henuber

Oct 28 2017, 6:22 am

                      Haunted  Lighthouses

From William Samuels’ Journal. 

Written on a plane headed to Kansas City.

     I love lighthouses. I grew up a block from the St. Augustine, Florida lighthouse. As a kid the grounds with its old oaks were my playground. The light and the keeper’s house were basically abandoned after the Coast Guard automated the light.

     I’m not admitting to anything but…entering the structure was—cough—hypothetically possible. Hypothetically, I spent some rainy afternoons in the keeper’s house with a girlfriend or two, making out. Occasionally, of an evening, Clay, my best friend in high school, and I would entice our dates to climb in a window and go into the light. Not up to the top, just stay at the bottom where it was nice and private. I’ve only been to the top a handful of times. Not because it’s 219 steps to the top, but up past the first 50 or so steps I got a queasy, dizzy feeling. Like vertigo. Pretty sure it’s because of the heavy smoke smell permeating the walls. Accumulated from years of cigar and pipe smoking keepers. I also hear things, like phantom footsteps that kept me on the ground. One of the times I did go up to the top was with a girl. While we were up there she clocked my hard enough to cause a bloody nose. Why? She said I tried to push her over the iron stair railing. I didn’t lay a hand on her and I was pretty mad she said I did something like that.

     Anyhow, that’s how I got started with lighthouses.

     I went away to journalism school at the University of Missouri and believe it or not there aren’t any lights there. I was so used to the beam from the St. Augustine light sweeping past my window every minute and a half I had trouble sleeping. After graduation I worked for a couple of small newspapers and freelanced. I could see the internet was killing print media and in my spare time—which had become more than my working time—I began to write the great American novel. Quickly learned I’m no Stephen King. Writing is hard. One night at the corner pub I was telling a friend my sad tale of woe and he gave me the name of a client of his looking for a ghost writer. Well, hell. I gave it a try and found out I could do it and do it well. I live comfortably off my earnings. So do two ex-wives.

     I recently traveled to Michigan to work with a client on his auto-biography. He spent his childhood on the upper-peninsula, or thumb, as the locals call it. Knowing some about a client makes the ghost writing easier. I visit to gage the tempo of a client’s speech and get a feel for where they live. This client is a nice guy, nothing earth shaking in his life. Some interesting stuff, like his grandfather came to Michigan from Boston on an orphan train. We bonded big time when he tells me about a nearby haunted lighthouse he and his friends hung out in. I’ll be honest, I never thought about lighthouses in Michigan. But, get this, Michigan has more than any other state. The rocky shores on four great lakes have a hundred and twenty. Florida has thirty. Yeah. We shared a few lighthouse stories and a lot of damn good whisky.

     My business concluded, on a whim I drove my rental to a few of the Michigan lights. I was greeted at each by enthusiastic volunteers who treated me to the stats, stories and secrets of their wards. These bastions are pretty damn amazing. Most, built in the late nineteenth century on inhospitable rocky islands and desolate land, are pounded year round with treacherous weather. Yet, they’re still standing.  Gotta tip my hat to those who built the towers by hand. One thing is the same as the St Augustine light, they smell of cigar and pipe smoke. I mentioned this to the woman—an aging hippie type—showing me around. She stopped dead in her tracks and put her hand to her throat, breathing hard. Thought she was having an attack.

     I made my way to the next house where a great guy and his wife show me around. At the top the lady, in a hushed voice, says, “The windows are clean.” I thought she was responsible and asking for an atta girl so I told her she did a good job. Although I wasn’t sure how she’d managed to do the outside. Also I mention it’s too bad the smoke smell can’t be removed by cleaning. The couple give me a hard look. The Mrs. politely informs me she didn’t clean the windows, the ghost does. Okay. The Mr. chimes in that not everyone can smell the smoke from the light keeper’s cigars. As if I’ve given them a secret handshake into a paranormal club, tales of haunted lighthouses around the country pour from them. Strange lights, music playing, cries of women and sailors, heavy footsteps on the stairs. Cleaning ghosts, like the one here, who clean light windows and brass. Specters of women in flowing white gowns and men in pea coats.      

     On the ground, outside and after the hairs on my body returned to their proper positions I was slapped alongside the head with a book idea. Thoughts swirled in my mind and I wasn’t able to think of anything else. I’ve heard writers speak of getting ideas this way but this is a first time experience for me. I’m excited. Excited about writing for myself. I can hardly sit still. The woman in the seat next to me keeps giving me funny looks. I gave her a big smile and almost tell her I’m going to write a damn good book about a haunted lighthouse.

 

     I’m Rita and this is my blog. Thanks to the authors who have shared brilliant Flash Fiction stories with us.  Thanks to the readers for stopping by. 

The Rise of Hylzarie ~ A Flash Fiction Fantasy by Liza Roberts

Oct 26 2017, 10:48 pm in , ,

The Rise of Hylzarie

 

     Luciana walked towards the sinking rays of the sun, basking in their orange light where she reached a rocky clearing beside a small stream.

     The light turned salmon pink and the horizon swept to lilac, an evening star twinkled, signalling that this was the place. 

     Luciana knelt on the dusty earth at the water’s edge, capturing the cool liquid in her hands. Her thirst quenched, she opened the sleep sack that she had carried on her back and laid it out against the soft sand.  The earth still warm from the sun and smelt of sun baked clay. Breathing in the warm air, she sank into the soft layers of the sack, head cushioned against the mound she had made.  Eyes widely gazing out to the indigo endless sky. She smiled at the small stars, each twinkling in their own time and pace. All her life had led to this moment, to this night, to this place in her journey now.

     She was ready.

     Fulfilled with all that she had achieved and ready for what was to come. Butterflies fluttered and danced inside her, in anticipation of the moon rise. 

     Then, across the mountain range, a glow, a slit of light rising. Luciana closed her eyes.  Hoping for a moment, to be suspended, without the wrinkle of time to change it. A cool breeze wafted across her body, light and smooth as a silk scarf, sending a quiver through every part of her. Sensing that something had changed, she opened her eyes. 

     The moon had now risen in the sky as a luminous ball of pearlescent light. All around her was a blaze of silver and white shadows.

     Sitting bolt upright, she peered closer, making out shapes of heads, a scramble of legs and manes.  A soft hush flowed from the circle, the sound of gentle pawing and stamping of hooves against the earth and the occasional snicker and snort from flared nostrils.  It was then that Luciana noticed the glittering horns. Her butterflies rose again, but this time with each flap and flutter of their wings, bursts of joy exploded from their energy.

     This was her destiny!

     Luciana stepped from her sleep nest towards the circle.  The largest unicorn stepped forward to meet her and the rest of the clan, bowed their heads and murmured “Biancha the great white powerful one.”

     Biancha shook his long mane, jewels twinkling within the tumble of curls.  Upon his breast, a crest, which Luciana recognised immediately to be that of her family. Luciana bowed her head, reaching out to touch the crest with trembling fingers and whispering “I am yours” Beneath her fingers she felt Bianchas powerful muscles and strong beat of his heart thud within him.

     “I name you Hylzarie, lover of the moon,” he bellowed. His muzzle dipped, touching Luciana lightly on her head, sending an electric flash between them both. 

     Luciana shuddered and felt her long silver blond hair tumble across her shoulders and back. Her pale skin became translucent and her fine hairs stood on end.  Each strand grew and glimmered into shining fur.  Her coat flashed, sending rainbows of sparkles along every hair, a mane and tail shimmered silver pearl and her aura changed from blue to violet. Her delicate doll like hands and feet melded before her eyes into pearly hooves and upon her head, pointed ears grew.

     With a shake of her jaw against her dainty neck, she flung her head from side to side and her dark blue violet eyes and rosebud lips transformed.  She felt a tingle at the place of her third eye and at once knew that she too had a horn like her sisters.

     The moon high in the sky now, its luminous gaze of approval to the birth of Hylzarie below.  A shooting star shot across the sky adding to the celebration.  All was quiet. Then there blew up a breeze, and with it across the dark blanket of sky, clouds raced towards the moon. Their great billowing tufted balls casting shadows across the earth.

     Hylzarie looked up to see great Pegasus, imposing and encircled with cloud.  Shades of magenta, aqua, violet and blue swirling, flowing, circling about him, his long mane flowing with the breeze, unable to see where his mane ended and the circles began, his huge powerful wings arched high into the heavens, powerful beyond anything Hylzarie had ever imagined. His presence filled her, His voice inside her, a part of her.

     “Hylzarie you are the chosen one, you are the light and doorway to our future, you must keep the gateway safe, guard it with your life and only allow those with the gift through.  If you fail you will die along with your clan and their future.”

     Hylzarie reared, her feathered hooves reaching high into the sky, she threw back her head releasing a cry. Her powerful hind legs exploded her entire being into the sky, her spirit soared into the clouds, propelling her higher and higher. She felt so powerful and limitless. Her entire being filled with energy and light. 

     Full of power from the moon and universe, her hooves fell towards the earth once more.  When her front hooves felt the thud of the earth beneath her, the full heaviness of gravity oozed back into her being and the comforting sensation of mother earth, warmed her blood again.

     She was ready.

 

 

     Liza is an Australian social worker and successful social entrepreneur with three teenage children and four cats who is harnessing increased time and the space to extend on her writing. 
     Previously published co-author of social work practice programs, Liza is putting pen to paper in a new genre.  Filled with sentimentality and adoration of human resilience, Liza incorporates paranormal, fantasy and spiritualist concepts and philosophies into her fiction writing.  Writing sets her soul free and allows her imagination to wander, creating new landscapes and worlds for her readers to explore. 

Rise of Hylzarie is Liza’s first flash fiction in a fantasy world, and is an excerpt from a wider piece that encompasses a world where unicorns run free, and where magic transcends the human race.

 

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