Most of my posts on here on ‘Peachey Letters’ are formed out of fact. I write about what happens in my life and draw in personalities and scenes that I pass along the way. My books and blogs to date are based on my factual life stories, yet I inhabit a fictional, imaginary world too.
In dark and in secret I have been, intermittently writing a work of fiction. At the moment I work on it only when the muse strikes, yet so often, its stories shape my brain and inform my theoretical thinking. It is my fierce joy and not something I have shared with any one yet…
Yet last night I sat through a storm. I was watchful and wakeful and I knew I wanted to write this scene into my new burgeoning book. When I finally finished, I looked at the time and it was 3.00 am… And I just knew it was time to go public, with this little teaser of text. So – rarely, I am going to share an excerpt with you. I would be intrigued to know what you think… Here is, quite literally, my first piece of flash fiction, which, will eventually form part of the first book in my fictional trilogy… There – I’ve said it, and here it is…
Please note that this writing is copyrighted* and not to be used in any form, with out the author’s or her publisher’s permission.
A night of humid closeness was followed by a clear, sunny day. What a long glorious day it was. Ariel was busily occupied – productive, secretive, yet still social with those around her, and through all this, she felt so content. It was a day composed of sunshine and freedom. She felt the summer shimmering in her veins and the warm energy of long light moving her effortlessly through all that she had do.
Around her the adults smiled, soaking up her teenage joy and leaving her unattended to her ministrations, stopping her only to feed her and then letting her return to her happy, distant reverie. She danced around her tasks, and sang out her joy, celebrating this zenith day of summer time, passing onto, then flowing into, a profound and wakeful night once darkness finally fell. She climbed the curving stone stairs to bed, but instead of slow sleep, her body fizzed with relentless wakeful energy.
The windows in her room had been left open to allow the summer air in and through them, suspended in the dark night sky, she saw a magnificent moon – clean, large and glowing with a light peachy luminescent tint. She would ask her father in the morning what this beautiful moon meant; yet for now she admired its landscape; for infinitesimally far away from it as she was, she could see the shades and swirls of darkness on its surface. She left the windows open and climbed up onto her high bed.
Happily awake despite her long languorous labours that day, she was filled with the fiery approach of an eclectic vitality jingling through her senses; and then, suddenly a storm started. A weather phenomena of flashing form feared by so many. Whilst instead, she loved the sudden electric energy. It was, she realised now, what she had somehow been waiting for…
It was the kind of lightning you did not see as distinct strands of forked bolts, instead it lit up a vast, eternal sky with every fantastic flash, with the thunder threatening quietly, far away, in the unknown distance over someone else’s head.
The curtains and windows were wide open as she watched the storm, whilst the darkened sky changed and flashed to an encompassing lightening, lighting up the circumference of her cosy world, whilst thunder, getting closer and louder, accompanied the light show – rumbling its deep music, rolling and grumbling its cymbal clashing harmony to the fireworks alternately turning the sky from dark to light and then landing back at night. Now, after her long sated day, she lay sleepily curled up on her side in bed. Her wings, hidden all day, were lazily unfurled and stretched out luxuriantly behind her.
The storm was beyond human rationale, not something made by man, but loudly ethereal. It was present and solid, yet entirely unearthly. This was not a time for sleeping through the storm as she had when she was a small child, but instead to feel its unfettered and untethered magic, tempered too by her human feelings and fledgling flying experience.
She felt so alive and happy, plugging her psyche into the lightening – feeling the magic of its’ electricity compounding her, and suddenly sitting up from her slow sleepiness, as a huge flash illuminated her whole world, making her gape at the light play and gasp in awe as the whole black sky was suddenly illuminated beyond the bounds of solar experience; and then, immediately, switched back to darkest blackness. There was yet another giant crash of unearthly light and sound, and now she was no longer remotely sleepy; instead Ariel sat up and beat her wings in strange swaths to the pleasingly odd staccato rhythms of the syncopated storm all around her.
Then the rain started, hurling itself through the window and into her soft, safe sanctuary. Another flash of lightening dominated the sky and then she was aware of Mariel who had sweetly manifested and was standing at the foot of her bed, seen suddenly in the strobing light and now transmogrified and transpired at Ariel’s side.
In the intermittent darkness Mariel was a black fallen angel with a dark halo, yet in the light of the luminescent bolts, she was an incandescent free form faery, glowing with rampant electricity, as she softly beat her wings.
She held out her hand to Ariel. “It’s time to fly, sweet sylph” she said and the next Ariel knew, before thought or fear, they had taken off and sped through the wide flung windows – fleeing out into the sweet, stern storm.
They raced to the place of lightening and chased and dodged the lingering illuminating bolts. Like tiny winged infants they shrieked their fearful joy at tricking and avoiding each deadly bolt dealt by the rain gods above; playing hide and seek with the waves of luminous light, chasing and swirling – round and round each other, and soaring around the storm lighting up the sky and their radiant wet, guffawing faces.
Like butterflies they sought the brightness of the lightening waves, and then like moths in the blackness in between, they flew darkly towards the misty moon, guessing and giggling as to where the next strike of electric light, to evade, would be. They flew on humming winds, laughing and buffeted for hundreds of endless, gorgeous sky miles. Flying free without birds or other fearless feathered companions, instead just the two of them were in the sky; rain twins, swooping wildly on the wind and squawking their luminous delight at the majestically altered, deviating night. The canopy and panoply of the whole widened sky of the world was theirs and all theirs – alone. Shared only with the joyous beating rain, running off their waving wings in effortless rivulets and shed unseen, into the feckless darkness of plain night, in between the embracing scions of vibrant vision.
Ariel had to rely on her winged guardian to map and negotiate this altered world. She would be lost without Mariel, since she could not know where on earth she was, rushing and flapping over an unrecognisable landscape – one moment crafted swiftly into form with light, only to be dashed back to darkness. Mariel was still teaching her the skills of aerial navigation, but not tonight. Tonight was formed for fun, for blessed release, for divine, rib aching laughter and for airy earth bound escape, both of them realising their ethereal forms in the secrets of the storm.
They had flowed through a dying day which had now streamed into sweet early morning hours, as the storm weakened, then fled in the face of the new, promised dawn.
And suddenly there Ariel was, sitting on her bed alone, in the still darkness before dawn; her wings drily folded, formed against her back; turning her head back to the window with wonder. Did all this really happen? She tested her senses and felt the enervation of flying freedom in her aching muscles and the delicious tired feel of her flown out wings. She would preen them back to pristine flatness in the tame morning to come. For now she just closed the windows to and smiled into the remaining darkness. She was now a storm rider! What a delicious secret. And sleep would soon claim her tired and sated body, saturated with the pleasure of a storm now sweetly passed.
In the new next morning, she awoke slowly and stretched. Her head was light with a combination of tiredness and heavy dreamless sleep. She put on her night gown and slowly wondered downstairs in her bare feet. She knew that such loose behaviour was not approved of in this household; yet happily, for once, she didn’t care. She reached the kitchen and was still alone. The table was set, in her place, with her breakfast – a cold sausage (thickly breaded and toasted) sandwich, and tepid tea – sitting in its pot under the patchwork cosy waiting for her. All was silent, apart from the insistent, rhythmic tick of the mantel clock, telling her too, that she had slept in and over shot their usual breakfast time by several hours.
After a night of hungry flight, gladly she wolfed down the delicious rations. The sausages were glossy, plump and beautifully burnt. The cold toast that surrounded them crunched and snapped so loudly in her head, that she was smilingly reminded of last nights’ thunder which surrounded her in the past dark, and was now beating inside, in her brightening brain.
Replete with tea, sausage and toast, she wandered out through the open back door to test the day and the temper of anyone who saw her in her crumpled night wear.
Out in the outside, she joined Agatha, the tabby cat, sunning her furry body and then worming and squirming her pleasure at seeing that Ariel was now sharing her space. The firmament above them was a blend of blue and grey, with fat, fluffy clouds spread over an elegant, brightly lit sky. Despite the lashing rain of last night, the stone flags beneath her feet were dry and warm, heated through already by the intermittent bright sunshine. She knelt down to scratch and rub the happy cat, who chirruped her delight and approbation in return, snaking closer and rolling over so that Ariel could fuss her from all bodily angles.
Still they were alone, Ariel and the cat. But somehow the silence of the late morning was loud. It was as if all the adults knew everything (about her night), but were saying nothing. They had left Ariel to her flying destiny and a solitary breakfast. They had allowed her fleeting night time freedom and let her ride the storm with Mariel, (whom they had probably never met) without question or judgement.
Knowing now that no one would disturb her, she dropped her dressing gown to the ground and spread her feathers, stretching, preening and ministering to her wonderful wings in the strengthening sunlight of the lengthening day. The cat licked and soothed her own fur in companionable, lick-y silence. When Ariel’s wings were flattened and stroked into perfect shape, she folded them back in to her body, put her dressing gown on and walked heavily back through the kitchen, across the dark hall and up the stone stairs to the beautiful old fashioned, porcelain bathroom.
She tried the taps and found that there was plenty of hot water, which she ran, without permission, into the vast roll top bath. She stepped in, sloshing and slipping pleasurably in the steaming water, which fogged her senses, washing away the last traces of tiredness from her body. Then she reached up to the cold glass shelf to grab and add the unction of fragrant bath salts, to ease the mild, pleasing aches in her shoulders and wings, and to chase away the final bodily vestiges of an extraordinary night, to face the easy tasks of another solid, steady day.
* Copyright © 2015 by Sandra Peachey
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PS: Did you know that a collection of my ‘Peachey Letters’ have been gathered together in to a beautiful book, exploring all the facets of love in its’ gore and glory? 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, what ever it holds for you… You can buy ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’ by Sandra Peachey, from book websites any where in the world, including on Amazon (in both Paperback and Kindle)…