Fiction: The Bedtime Story

February 2016 Blog Challenge: Blog 24 of 29

As a child I was happy to create stories and loved the escapism that they offered, largely due to the happy fact that my father read to me at bedtime every night. 

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.

The Bed Time Story


After dinner that night, Aunt Sarah turned on the radio to listen to the News and then the adults chatted about the work that needed doing on the Island estate and what the locals were up to.

Ariel secretly tried to stifle a yawn, though her father, as always, noticed. He smiled: “Come on then my little angel. You’re clearly tired and it’s nearly time for bed now. Go upstairs – get yourself ready, then under the eiderdown – and I’ll come up and read you a story.”

Ariel briefly thought about protesting, but she was tired and the thought of her father reading to her, made her quietly happy. The cosy bedtime habit they used to have was one of the things she missed most, now that her parents no longer lived under the same roof.

“Isn’t eight a little old for being read to?” said Aunt Mary, flatly.

“As long as Ariel wants me to,” said Daniel, winking at his daughter, “I will. Say goodnight to your Aunts, Ariel Angel.”

Ariel kissed each of her Aunts good night on the cheek in order of favouritism: Auntie Sarah first, then Auntie Becca and finally Aunt Mary. “Good night dear” each one of them said in turn, with differing degrees of warmth.

When she had settled into her bed, there was a light tap at the bedroom door and her father came in carrying a large leather-bound book. “Look”, he said “I’ve found a copy of ‘The Ancient Fables of Flying’ in the library downstairs. What do you think?”

Ariel sat up. “Ooh, yes please Daddy, read it to me.”

Daniel perched on the side of the bed and wiggled Ariel’s foot. “Move over now and make some more room for your old Dad” he grinned.

The book he held in his hands was a particular favourite of Ariel’s – one of the reasons being, that it couldn’t be found in an average public library – it had been specially written for the Emissariat, their circles and their children. She loved it too because it was beautifully illustrated with flowing, sumptuous images of wonderful winged folk; who, according to lore, were her ancestors of long ago.

Daniel lay the book on his lap and creaked it open. He turned the pages over to the beginning of the first fable and Ariel smelt leather and the must of dust rising from it, to heighten her sense of story and anticipation.

Her father’s voice rose and fell with the archaic rhythms of lilting prose: “Long, long ago, back in the time of sky and of water, when the people of the kingdoms of Breten had both wings and feet – there lived a beautiful Princess called Neyja; the only daughter of the august King Sira and his Queen – El The Beautiful…”

Ariel soaked up every word her father intoned, completely entranced. He told how the heroine of the story, Neyja – had inherited her beautiful wings from her mother. The book described her feathered glory in detail, from the span of her wings, to their distinct colouration and pattern. The book told that Neyja’s wings were unusual in that they were not completely white as was the traditional mein of her people, but instead graduated from white at the base of her shoulders, through to a sumptuous silver at their very tips – as if, the book stated ‘brushed by brightest moonlight.’

Not everyone could fly, even in those olden times – the gift of wings was an occasional inheritance passed down through certain royal blood lines, usually by women and sometimes, more rarely, to men.

Neyja’s winged mother Queen El taught her the ways of flight craft; for although some folk are born with wings, the book explained that flight was not simply a natural attribute, it was also a trait that needed to be nurtured.

One day when her mother was too busy to teach her, Neyja, without permission, impatiently took off on her first flight alone and was captured by The Drog – renegades from a rival, cold kingdom. After charming their leader Chifvik, she managed to escape the dark drudgery of marriage to his evil oldest son on their wedding day, when she was rescued by Gorour – a winged knight from the court of her father…

At the end of the first tale, Ariel’s father slowly closed the book to.   She was very sleepy now, but so wanted to hear the next familiar tale and the next; which went on to tell of the adventures of the children, the grand-children, and then the great grand-children of Neyja and Gorour, as they all flew and fought through the ancient kingdom of Breten; meeting monsters and mercenaries along the way and still, always, living happily ever after.

“Time to sleep now, my own little Neyja” her father said, lifting up the eiderdown, so she could easily shuffle down flat. As he kissed her forehead Good Night, Ariel was already fast asleep – flying easily through her feathered dreams until the early morning light of the next day.

PS: “Your writing is beautiful, it drew me in and made me want to read more. It’s my kind of book, that’s for sure. Your words are art, painting a picture, and I feel the story you have to share is a soul message…” ~ Lynda Louise Mangoro

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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