Fiction: Managing the Gremlin

February 2016 Blog Challenge: Blog 25 of 29

As a child I was happy to create stories and loved the escapism that they offered, especially from gremlins of every kind… 

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 somewhat like making 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 create content for this first fiction book.  Each excerpt, which stands alone on this blog – will eventually be woven into the larger fabric of my completed book.

Managing the Gremlin

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Staring forlornly at the shattered shards of ceramic all around her, Ariel desperately wondered what to do. She tried telephoning her father, but the line just rang on and on without being picked up.

The perpetrator of this havoc – her very own gremlin and tormentor Martrucio – was still with her, triumphantly surveying the scene and his message was “You are thirteen now.  Sod your mother – she deserves this, and more, for the way she treats you.”

Apart from her father and Marial – her celestial guardian, Ariel felt she had no one she could share or discuss this inexplicable episode with. Her father was seemingly unavailable right now and as for Mariel – well she always chose when she would make an appearance and right now, Ariel had no sense of when that would next be.

Ariel worked through her options – should she tell the truth; brazen it out with righteous anger or lie? Knowing her mother, none of these paths would mean that she would escape unpunished, but she had to do something – so she decided upon a lie… She would clear up the mess and tell her mother that it had been an accident. It was a feeble fabrication, since clearly the devastation surrounding her right now, was an ‘accident’ on an unprecedented and violent scale…

As she swept up the broken crockery, Martrucio danced around her feet and grabbed at the broom handle, mocking her. “This is all a waste of time – that bitch is going to get you, little Miss ‘Butter Wouldn’t Melt’ Tregorwick.”

 –o0o–

Ariel was right… Her mother was furious… Incandescently so… When she arrived home and Ariel set the scene, her mother’s rage ignited and she called her daughter a liar and a vandal. May Grigson screamed at the top of her lungs that her child was ungrateful, selfish, and said she was clearly her father’s daughter.

She cornered Ariel in their tiny kitchen – spat on her, then slapped and kicked even more tears out of her. She did not belief the lie – she knew it was spite.  The punishments she threatened were legion – there would be no going out, no treats, no television, no pocket money and no seeing her father, until she had paid every penny for every piece of damage… “This is all because I wouldn’t let you have your own way.” She shouted in Ariel’s face. “I will never forgive you for this, you evil, ungrateful cow. NEVER!”

And all the while Martrucio stood by, laughing along with every shout and every blow.

Ariel wanted to run to her bedroom and close the door on this nightmare, but her mother wasn’t finished with her yet. It was not enough that May screamed, slapped and shouted, she was now also determined to ensure that Ariel knew how having her things wantonly destroyed felt, too; so she decided loudly to break some of Ariel’s precious collection of ceramic cats.

May ran up the stairs, followed by Ariel, who was now angered by the fact that none of this was her fault “Don’t you dare!” she yelled as her mother threw open her bedroom door.

Of course those words ignited her mother’s ire even more. She marched to the dressing table, grabbed a handful of ornaments and hurled them, one by one at Ariel’s head.

Miraculously none of them hit the mark or broke, instead they fell safely to the carpeted floor. May was just about to come over and stamp on them to seal their fate, when the doorbell rang.

“Who the bloody hell is that?!” said May, as she stamped back down the stairs. It turned out that it was their next door neighbours Mr and Mrs Green, who wondered what was going on and if everything was ‘alright’. May apologised for the disturbance, which, she explained was all the fault of her selfish, vicious daughter. Having assured and got rid of her callers, she closed the front door on them, muttering “nosy interfering busy bodies”.

Much later Ariel sat on her bed, Martrucio at her feet – too emotionally strung out to cry, whilst staring at them both in the wardrobe mirror. She couldn’t even begin to make sense of what had happened and how she had been powerless to stop any of it. It had all just played out in front of her, ad nauseam.

Suddenly she noticed that the reflection in front of her had changed and that Mariel had manifested into the room with them. She didn’t move and just continued to start at their strange mirror image.

On seeing Mariel, Martrucio though, hopped off the bed in surprise. “Be gone – you stinking imp” she said peremptorily. He shrugged, then immediately disappeared from sight.

“So then, you’ve met your Gremlin.” she continued. “Why is he here?”

“I was hoping that you were going to explain that particular conundrum” replied Ariel.

“What happened?” asked Mariel. Ariel explained the sequence of events from the argument until that moment, with despairing, dry eyed disbelief.

“I feel so awful,” she said, “so, angry and scared and, oh I don’t know… Why did this have to happen? Mother will never let me forget this. I’ll be punished to kingdom come. And none of it is my fault. It’s so unfair…”

“Well, yes, I know that life can seem unfair at times like these” came Mariel’s reply. “And particularly to you Ariel, one who feels so out of place in life. But this is your place my dear and this is your mess, so let’s see if we can figure a way through it.”

Ariel now felt even more despondent. Mariel wasn’t going to wave a magic wand and make it all go away…

“You feel so awful, my fine feathered friend, because you’re so awfully sensitive. You sense things so deeply and along with that you are a deep thinker too. Such scenes as happened today will cut through you and wound you. But there is a reason for such depth and such perception – you need it in order to be able to fly.”

“I need to hurt in order to fly then?” said Ariel in disbelief.

“No Ariel, that is not what I meant”, Mariel continued “In order to be able to fly, to feel the wind, to soar and to swoop, you have to be sensitive. You have to feel the earth beneath you and sense the sky above. You have to see all, sense all, feel all and more than this; you need a depth of intelligence lost to most humankind, to be able to process all this and to respond to it, to rise greatly above it. Why – you are the very opposite of those so called successful, wingless beings with leaden feet we share this planet with, those who have stripped themselves of sensitivity in order to win and to achieve. You are not like that Ariel, you were born with wings and hence a whole corresponding set of senses and sensitivities. Without these my dear, you would be flying blind, would bang and bash into every obstacle, whereas I am teaching you to tune these skills, to be atuned to the world and all that is around you.

“Why is this happening Mariel? Why was I born with wings and then made to live this strange grey concrete life, most of the time? How can I defend myself against this gremlin when I’m so lost, so alone and no one understands what I’m going through?”

“Well my dear, you were born who you were and you were put in this place, so it is now up to you to find your way out of it, if this is not where you think you should be. Why in heaven do you say that you are alone, when you have your family and you have me? You must realise all that you have Ariel, and all that you are. You need to sit down and count every huge and tiny blessing that you have.

Gremlins are normal for folk like us. The wingless ones have them too, it’s just that they don’t see them as we do. So you have met your own gremlin, now – what is its’ name..?”
“Martrucio.”
“Your Martrucio – comes to you now, for he is attracted by the current darkness in your soul. He is the darkness in your soul too, for he feeds off your anger, and he drinks of your tears. This is how he thrives Ariel and he will do everything he can to drag you down to his low, stinking level in life. Your lowness becomes his significance and he will fight and do so dirtily to maintain it.”

“How do I get rid of him, Mariel? How can I live, how can I fly, with this evil creature constantly at my side?”

“Do you see him now, Ariel? No – because I acknowledged him and then I banished him. With absolute authority and committed certainty, I commanded him to leave.”

“But I told him to leave and he refused.”

“That is because he knew that you did not entirely mean it. That in telling him to go, you were giving him the significance to stay – by feeding him with enough fear and anger to swell him up and make him strong. This was your choice Ariel.”

“No, this was not my choice. I meant it when I told him to leave and I never wanted him to appear in the first place!”

“It is your choice to believe that Ariel, despite my knowing and telling you otherwise, then?”

“No Mariel, it comes from knowing myself. It comes from trying to banish him and failing… Does this mean that you will be leaving me now? That I can never fly again?”

“Oh Ariel, no! I do not abandon you for your flawed perceptions, warped by your emotions and sharpened circumstances. I am appointed to you to show you the ways of using your wings. Once you are old enough and free enough, you will decide where those wings will take you. And yes, you can still fly, little one. No gremlin can touch you when you fly – for a very good reason… What do you think that is?”

“Well…” Ariel considered… “one cannot fly in fear, or imbued with dark emotions. These make you visible and unsafe. The gremlin is attracted to those dark feelings, so without them, he has nothing to feed off and so cannot take off?”

“Yes, indeed.” said Mariel.

“Besides which,” said Ariel “I didn’t see any wings on that horrible smelly body of his!” At long last, she felt lighter and smiled with relief. “Let’s go fly now!”

“Not tonight, Ariel dear. It’s late and dark now. I believe too that you still carry the residual hurts of this difficult day, which will weigh you down. You need to work through all this now, to resolve it and make your peace with it.   Know that your gremlin will come back, but that he does not have to stay.”

Ariel was saddened by Mariel’s refusal. She felt that she deserved some fun and some flying freedom after the dire day that she had had. She sighed.

Mariel had suddenly disappeared. Then there, curled up like a black dog at the end of her bed, Martrucio had re-appeared…

PS: There needs to be a LOVE button. That was so beautiful, flowing, poetic. I can tell you love this character, the idea of flying. Had me wanting to know her life before and after this part.” ~ Alice Kasey

This is just one from the many hundreds of comments I have had on my recent blog postings.  The 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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