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Story From A Song Challenge: Day 3

Each weekday throughout May, I am selecting a song and attempting to write and post a short story inspired by either its atmosphere, emotion or lyrics. Go here for day one. Today is my first attempt at penning a fable. 

The Heron and The Fox
Inspired by: Laurence Made Me Cry – All That Patience Brings

 

A heron, large and magnificent, but newly parted from his mother’s side, landed in a lake in search of his first meal alone. After a while, he was approached by an egret who asked whether he’d had any fortune in his quest for food.

“Not yet,” replied the heron, “but surely it is only a matter of time before a number of tasty morsels find their way to my beak.”

“What right do you have to be so sure?” asked the egret.

“Dear friend, my mother is the greatest hunter to ever grace these lands. Her prowess is admired by all who know her, and she hasn’t once exited either river or lake without a full belly, even if it took her many hours of waiting to achieve success.”

“Then I need not wish you good luck, only good eating,” said the egret, before flying off for pastures new.

Unbeknown to the heron, a hungry fox had overhead this exchange, and was now monitoring the situation with great interest from behind a nearby tree. She knew that the bird was far too dangerous a prospect while it was strong, but were it to remain unfed as she suspected, her chances of a sizeable meal would increase significantly.

For two days, in-between her searches for other sustenance, she returned at regular intervals to check on the heron, who always stood statuesque in the same spot he had landed. As nightfall fell three days on from the heron’s landing, she seized her opportunity to tackle the bird and drag him from the water.

“I am a failure,” began the heron dejectedly, too weak to struggle as the fox pinned him to the ground. “An embarrassment to my mother. For three days I stood in that lake, and for three days I went hungry.”

“Of course you did,” said the fox with a prideful grin. “That’s no lake; you’ve been standing in flood-water!” And with that, she beckoned over her cubs for a welcome meal.

Patience is folly, without sufficient intelligence and endeavour.

My review of the album this song appears on can be found at the following link – http://alonelyghostburning.co.uk/2013/02/21/laurence-made-me-cry-the-diary-of-me/

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Story From A Song Challenge: Day 2

Each weekday throughout May, I am selecting a song and attempting to write and post a short story inspired by either its atmosphere, emotion or lyrics. Go here for day one.

Where Are You, My Faith?
Inspired by: Cayetana – South Philly

_

Top down, cool air cascading against her face and a long, straight and most importantly, empty road extending all the way to the horizon. Just how Jessie liked it. She’d spent more Sunday afternoon’s blazing this trail than she could remember, pumping out tunes on the stereo or contemplating the nuances of life. Today was different, however. Today she had company, and while she would generally do whatever was necessary to stop others from intruding on her Sunday ‘me-time’, she’d had no moral choice in the matter on this occasion.

That morning she had returned home early from Sunday Service. She’d assured her parents when moving states that she would continue to go to church – felt that she owed them that much given her choice of career- but not reneging on that promise was becoming harder each week. The day’s service had been even more contrived than usual and she simply hadn’t the fortitude to see it through. Still, she’d only promised that she would attend, not that she’d stay until the bitter end. As it had turned out, her increasing disillusionment with God had come at just the right time. Her ahead of schedule return to the two-bedroom flat she shared had come as a surprise to both her flatmate, Beth,and to the girl’s boyfriend, Brian who was in the process of beating her to a bloody pulp. She’d suspected violence for months, but until now she’d never had any concrete proof. Beth always denied it, of course; too scared and too confused to seek help, no doubt. This particular hammering looked worse than anything she might have blamed on disagreements with gravity or covered with cheap make-up. The guy had made a run for it when he’d spotted Jessie, near tripping over his own feet to escape – clearly has some sense, she’d thought.

Having spent the next hour doing her best to tidy Beth up and trying in vain to get her to go to the police, she’d decided that she couldn’t leave the vulnerable girl alone with the threat of her ‘Love’ returning to finish the job he’d already made a decent fist of starting. Even if the Beth wouldn’t help herself, Jessie sure as hell wasn’t going to let her die at the hands of some wannabe body-builder jacked-up on steroids.

So, here she was, driving on a Sunday afternoon as she always did, but with an unwelcome intrusion on her thinking time. The morning’s events had left Jessie with burning questions regarding the faith she was becoming so confused by, and she felt that she needed her long, lonesome drive more than ever. “Are we answerable to God?” she asked aloud, “Or only to each other?” She waited patiently but there was no hint of a response from her passenger. For that she was thankful; perhaps the extra body in the car was not going to prevent from thinking through her problems after all. Was it fate that she’d grown restless with her faith; that she’d returned home early the one time it was imperative that she did so? And if that was the case, did it mean that their was a higher power, directing her towards her destiny? She pondered this undisturbed for the remainder of the journey, and by the time she pulled over, miles from anywhere of note, dusk settling in, she was feeling no less undecided.

After guzzling from a bottle of tepid water, she vaulted over the driver-side door before slowly walking around to the back of the car, knowing what awaited her would lead to the biggest decision of her life. “Time to go for a walk,” she said as she opened the trunk. Brian screamed as she grabbed hold of his ear and pulled him out onto the road. She hadn’t bothered to gag him, but his hands were tied together, as were his feet. If he’d been refreshingly quiet throughout the drive, he was making up for it now, shouting at the top of his lungs as she half carried, half dragged him across the deserted, dusty grasslands that extended away from the road as far as the eye could see. The chances of anyone hearing his anguish was remote, but Jessie still wished he’d shut-up; she had more thinking to do. Should she spare the man’s life? Or was this an opportunity to save sweet Beth from the monster’s vile clutches for good? Perhaps that was her God-given destiny.

When she felt they’d walked far enough, Jessie dropped her prisoner to the ground.
“What are you gonna do to me?” he snarled. “You ain’t got no weapon on you.”
It was true, she wasn’t carrying a gun. Or a knife. But four-years of mixed-martial-arts training was enough for one to know how to finish someone off. Kicks, strikes, holds – there were a multitude of ways she could kill the now defenceless man in front of her without the need for man-made implements. I just need to use the tools that God gave me, she thought. An innocuous enough phrase for most, but for Jessie it proved to be a trigger; the sign she’d so hoped to receive.
“I think you will soon believe me when I tell you that I do not need a weapon to end your life,” she replied calmly, before planting the laces of her boot onto the side of his head with as much force as she could muster. He hit the ground, but she picked him up and repeated the same deadly move. After five of them, he was just about unconscious, after maybe ten, fifteen, twenty, he was as good as dead. She dropped to her knees, pulled him up for the final time and locked her arm around his neck to remove any final scraps of life that may have been clinging to his limp, pathetic body. As she stood up, brushed herself down and began walking back to her car, she realised that her faith had never been stronger.

My short review of the demo this song appears on can be found at the following link – http://alonelyghostburning.co.uk/2013/01/08/cayetana-demo/

Story From A Song Challenge: Day 1

Call me Crazy…

Each weekday throughout May, I will be selecting a song and attempting to write and post a short story inspired by either its atmosphere, emotion or lyrics. Perhaps even all three. It is likely that the songs I choose will be from lesser known records that I have reviewed on my music zine, so if you’re kind enough to follow my journey this month, you may also discover some great new music in the process. I live in hope that you will enjoy some of the words I manage to string together.

Residual
Inspired by: Anna Lena & The Orchids – View Of My Sanity

_

The woman awoke from her nightmare with a start, heart racing; covered in sweat. She lay still looking at the wall, the darkness of the room tempered by the flickering of candles. Since her daughter had been taken from her, she hadn’t been able to bear sleeping in darkness; light was her shield as evil threatened ever more menacingly to engulf all that she was.

Her body felt awkward, uncomfortable, but an increasing feeling of dread prevented her from rolling over onto her other side. She sensed eyes burning a hole in the back of her head, and even when she’d finished slowly, carefully pulling the thick covers as far over her as she could manage without falling into pitch black, she felt no less exposed. ‘This is madness,’ she thought to herself, ‘I’m alone.’ She took a deep breath, and began a slow, nervous count to three.
‘One…’
‘Two…’
‘Three…’
She closed her eyes and turned herself, then waited anxiously for any external response to the ungainly manoeuvre.

Nothing.

As the minutes ticked by, and more sense began to return to her sleep-disturbed brain, she once again braved her eyes to open. When they did so, her fear returned in an instant. She leapt to her feet, tossing aside the cover; the soft wind from the open window all of a sudden turning icy-cold as she backed away towards the partially open bedroom door. The shape that had so frightened her continued to hover under the quivering candlelight, but made no attempt to react to her movement. Without taking her eyes from the eerily static spectral outline, she crept onto the landing before heaving the door shut behind her, then raced urgently towards the top of the spiral staircase; bare feet slapping against the wooden floorboards. In her haste to descend the stairs, she did not hear the young girl’s voice trailing in her wake.

***

The girl looks up into his pale face with an air of triumph.
“See, it was Mummy! I told you it’s not me that messes up your old room every night! I can never make her hear me though.” She quiets and screws up her face, seemingly deep in-thought, then, with a sudden measure of sadness, asks, “Daddy, why hasn’t Mummy gone to Heaven yet?”
He meets her gaze but cannot find a suitable response. Reopening the door to the room he and his wife used to sleep in, he only hopes that the love of his life and mother of his child just isn’t ready to cross yet, and that the angels haven’t cruelly ignored his desperate prayers for a second time.

My review of the record this song appears on can be found at the following link – http://alonelyghostburning.co.uk/2013/03/19/anna-lena-the-orchids-anna-lena-the-orchids/