Fiction: The Story of Gremlins

February 2016 Blog Challenge: Blog 22 of 29

As a child I was happy to create stories and loved the escapism that they offered.  As an adult, I have now returned to the fiction form and have embarked on writing my first novel (of a trilogy). It’s a blend of semi auto-biographical and fantastical elements, which feels to me like arranging a giant patch work quilt of my life: There are some favourite scraps of my own old clothes, which I am adding to, embellishing and turning into a brand new pattern…

Part of my blog challenge this month is to boost the content of this first fiction book.  Each excerpt, which will stand alone on this blog – will eventually be woven into the larger fabric of my book design.

The Story of Gremlins


“But I want to stay with you, Daddy” Ariel protested, refusing to let get of his hand.

“I know, Sweetheart, but Daddy has to do some work for a few hours. Besides, you’re a big grown up girl of 8 now. And it will be fun to be with the other children for a while.”

Ariel was not convinced. She folded her arms and pouted. “But you said it was school. I’m on my holiday now, I don’t want to do school!”

“Oh what a face, Ariel Angel. Look, it’s just for a couple of hours and it’s not like school back home, I promise. And you’ll like Miss Maribelle. She’s going to tell you lots of interesting stories. Go on, sweetheart. Look, here’s Miss Maribelle now. You go with her and the other children and I’ll see you at afternoon tea. Go on, be a good girl now Ariel.” He kissed her on the top of her head.

The eponymous Miss Maribelle, followed by a small gaggle of Emissariat and Island children met them in the corridor. “Ah, this must be the littlest Miss Tregorwick. How do you do, young lady?” she asked.

Ariel said nothing in reply and tried to stamp and stand her ground, but her father passed her little hot hand into the cool grasp of the young woman who had met them. “Come along then, we’re in the Conservatory today,” said Miss Maribelle, tugging Ariel away from her father. Unwillingly Ariel went along with the little throng, twisting back to watch her father wave and then walk away in the opposite direction.

Miss Maribelle tugged at Ariel’s hand to turn her back around and marched peremptorily on. “Come on, everyone – this way.”

Ariel was determined to be difficult and looked her new adversary over. Miss Maribelle was clearly a grown up, but quite a youngish one. Her long blonde hair was braided into 2 plaits, which were wrapped over the top of her head. Wisps of hair escaped untidily from their braided bonds. Under her large round blue eyes, she had a small pointy nose and a thin lipped little ‘O’ of a mouth, which all made her look strangely childish. Despite the fact that make up was not allowed in this place, this lady’s eye lashes looked suspiciously thick and long. She wore a colourful, floaty, somewhat shapeless hippy style dress and her feet were encased in flat summer sandals.

She marched them all down to the Conservatory, which was perched precariously at the far end of the Castle. The ceiling to floor windows overlooked the sheer drop of Bransome Cliffs and what was today – a grey, but flat and calm sea.

Despite the silence of the assembled children, Miss Maribelle clapped her hands for attention. “Take a cushion each, children and sit down, around me – here.” She indicated a tall wicker chair, in amongst the tall pot plants, which she settled herself into. Next to it was an untidy pile of colourful, hand embroidered cushions.

Ariel hung back whilst the other children took their pick; then, as she could see that they were all agreeably acquiescing to their assembled fate, grabbed herself a yellow cushion, embroidered extravagantly in neat, tiny chain stitch depicting purple violets with spikey green leaves. She sat down at the back of the group and picked at the stitches on her squishy seat absent-mindedly.

Ariel counted the number of children sitting around her. There eight in all – the three Tegarn kids sitting in a row, her cousins Rosie and William and two others she didn’t know. Sharon and Janey Tregarn were paying close attention to their teacher, as were all the other children; except Luke, who was staring through the glass wall, at the sea.

“In today’s Holiday Class, I’m going to tell you all about the little ‘dyowlow’ in our lives. Now – who knows what dyowlow means?

“Devils. Cornish for devils” Luke Tegarn said flatly, not even turning his head.

“That’s right Luke. Remember to raise your hand before you answer, in polite consideration.” Miss Maribelle responded with sweet sternness. Luke continued staring out of the window and raised his hand. “I thought we were here to talk about gremlins and demons today, Miss…, but may be you don’t know the Cornish words for them.”

“Well thank you Luke Tregarn, but we are not here today for a lesson in Cornish language…”

“Good job then, tebelvenyn.”* Luke muttered. The children giggled.

Miss Maribelle raised her voice to silence them. “I will do the speaking, unless I ask any of you to speak. Now – to continue. You all know about Satan – the devil. As God’s most evil adversary, he pushes his dark intentions out into this sun lighted world of ours. To do this he has a legion of many workers, and these include many minor devils, or demons, in his employ. They go by many names and have many forms, but today we are going to talk about our own personal demons or gremlins

Despite herself, and Luke’s quiet attempts at rebellion, Ariel found that she was drawn into Miss Maribelle’s tales. Over the next couple of hours their teacher told them that everyone had a personal demon who could appear to them, at any time in their lives, but who usually introduced themselves to each of us, somewhere in most people’s teen years. These ‘dhamonae’ or personal demons were the harbingers of dark, dangerous thoughts and bad behaviour.

Ariel looked at Luke’s sulky back and smiled, thinking that his gremlin had clearly arrived and was sitting in this glass house amongst them all. And as if that miniature demon had just poked Luke in the back – right at that moment he stealthily turned round to wink at her, then swivelled back to gaze at the sea.

The lesson continued and Miss Maribelle told them how the dhamonae could take many shapes and come and go from their lives at any time. They all needed to be aware that these creatures existed, but not to be a feared of them, for they were as normal and natural as anything under God’s sun. These colourful gremlins, she explained, could seem to friend you or they could seem to fight you – so everyone had to learn how to deal with them.

The first way was to acknowledge them, for they love attention. Next you had to tell them firmly how to behave and to keep them in check; for if left to their own devices they could lead you on to evil ways.

Suddenly all Miss Maribelle’s words were at an end. “And that is the end of today’s little lesson children.” She clapped her hands again. “Come now. Put your cushions back in the pile and let’s go down to the dining room for afternoon tea.”

Ariel stretched her arms out in front of her, then stood up. She noticed that Luke had already got to his feet and was pressing his nose against one of the large thick panes of conservatory glass. She grabbed his cushion, abandoned on the floor and threw it onto the messy pile, then followed the chattering crowd of children out of the room.

“Ariel Angel” Luke said, “Come on out! I know where we can find some gulls eggs.”

“No Luke – can’t come. Have to see my daddy and have a nice big piece of angel cake. There are fairy cakes too and shortbread biscuits.”

“Don’t then. Be boring. Get fat eating all that cake. Daddy’s girl.” Luke ran past her and out of the door, where his sisters were waiting for him. They rolled their eyeballs as he pushed by, ran down the corridor and out of the side door to the gardens. He was gone.

“Well then” said Sharon. “Let’s go eat cake then.” She held out a hand to Ariel and Janey followed suit.  Ariel took their hands giggling and together the threesome walked down the corridor, hands swinging, to go claim their cake.

* evil woman

~ Sandra Peachey ©

PS: “What a fab idea…  Thanks for sharing, you are a wonderful writer, I look forward to reading the next one!” ~ Lyn Bromley
“Loving this – we are all blessed with your writing, your love & your courage.” ~ Lucie Bradbury.

These are a couple from the many hundreds of comments I had when I did my first blog challenge 4 years ago.  The blog post above is a fiction and yet I also write about my own experiences.  In fact a collection of my ‘Peachey Letters’ have been gathered together in to a beautiful book, exploring all the facets of my ‘real’ life in all its’ badness, banality and beauty. This is love seen in every aspect of the life that I live.  In it you will find the dark and the light of love, in a way that will make you think, entertain you and let you know that you are not alone in life, whatever it holds for you… It is of course the perfect Valentine gift. You can buy ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’ by Sandra Peachey, from book websites anywhere in the world, including on Amazon (in both Paperback and Kindle)

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