A piece from our Wednesday Writer’s Group.


It seemed as though he would never find his place where laborers toil. It didn’t matter. He had a purpose. Just because it didn’t involve what others call “real” work, well, that wouldn’t stop Peter.forest.jpg

He had one blue eye, one grey one. He was a glassmaker, but not a good one who could sell in shops and at fairs to make a living. Rather, he made things for a purpose and then gifted them to the ones who were in need.

He made the glass goose for her. It was small and delicate. He didn’t know her yet but he knew it must be a goose and hers was the hand to hold it, hers the neck around which it would hang. She would make herself known when the time was in season.

Until then, he would eventually find and work with Alex washing windows. It had to be something to do with glass. It always was about the glass.

When Peter was young child, maybe six or seven, while walking through a forest having been separated from his family’s picnic, he came across an old beaten-down house. At least that was the voice he heard in his head describing it. It was his father’s voice. His father hated old beaten-down things, maybe because he was. Nonetheless it didn’t stop Peter from investigating the Forest House as he named it.

Peter could climb or run like any animal of the forest. Or fly, yes. Even fly he believed if he was given the opportunity. He was able to walk without being heard. It was as if he floated above, barely touching the earth.

When he reached the Forest House, the door was unhinged, hanging desperately to one side. Without a thought Peter let out a long sigh of air to make himself as small as possible and squeezed under and between making his way into his Forest House.

He thought it would be dark but it was the opposite. The roof was gone. Part of it sprawled across on what was once a floor. And the rest of the roof, well, maybe a wind took it to a place of new purpose. It was as if the forest became the house, or the house was now the forest. Vines and moss and golden streams of light from an opening high above flickered and fell across the cottage.

Then it caught his eye, glass. Strangely enough, the glass in the window frames was perfectly fitted. He stepped closer to the rectangles still holding a crystal glance out into the depth of trees and brush. As Peter approached one window, he noticed something more confusing. It was as if the window was melting. It was solid. No holes or gaps that he could see, just a sag.

Gently he reached to touch it not wanting to ruin or break it. Peter always had a gentle touch. It would come in handy while working with glass in later years.

As he reached to place his delicate slender fingers on the pane, a sharp voice screeched out to him. He made himself pull back instead of falling forward in his start. He stumbled away not wanting to break the glass and landing with a flop on the cool mossy ground.

Peter sighed. It was his sister, Anne, and he had been found. She always found him. She with her loud voice and stomping feet would halt whatever journey he undertook.

At least for this first day in his Forest House he would comply with her demand. But he wasn’t going to let her stop him. He would return often and for years. That first day he left holding Anne’s hand with the image of melting sagging glass in framed windows of his Forest House etched into his memory.

When he got home he asked everyone he knew about the dripping glass. He eventually found out that glass is considered a liquid and over years old glass will move like slow, very slow lava. And that was it. Peter was wedded to the magic of glass.

But now he was walking, to where he did not know. To meet Alex with whom he would partner. He would discover that he would be a window washer. Yes. That would be it. When washing windows he could look out as well as in.

And there Peter would find the owner of his glass goose.



Day 23: Peace Poetry Postcard Month



In winter’s forest room
light streams down
from eternity’s birth,
moss unfurls where
no sun alights,
vines yaw, rocks
linger in peace.

Noiselessness drums
a tattoo of suspension,
clemency, tolerance.

In the forest room
we rest to wonder,
breathe to embrace,
slumber our transfiguration.



In the rear view mirror she saw the light. There was a flash and then total black. At a count of five, just like she was told, a wave rolled across the car shaking it from somewhere deep inside. So deep that the atoms it was formed by might have re-arranged themselves.

Mags took a deep breath and thought about the sleeping pill, the good one, resting on the scarlet velvet lining in the small silver filigreed box zippered inside the breast pocket of her jacket.

The antique box had been passed down several generations or more. She could never remember how many. But was annoyingly reminded of the exact number by her leech of a brother every time she lifted the tiny latch to find her way to numbness.

Gace would always remind Mags how lucky she was to be the one to whom it was gifted. More than once she told him to shove it. She never asked for the box. She never did anything notable to deserve the box.

She just happened to be the oldest of the living grand daughters of the right and honorable Madame Enid Constance Margaret Crone. Besides carrying one of her names, all Mags did was to be born, not by her own choosing, but by the heat of passion between her mother and a stranger in the Spring of the Fire Moon. That was it.

She felt conspicuous in the open field. He told her she had nothing to worry about. The field was bordered on one side by a row of mountains and three quarters by a stand of old pine trees. There was a road, if you knew where to look, that would take her through the stand and back to safety. But she needed to be far enough away from the trees in case any of them tumbled from the force of the explosion.

Then she saw it. The flames. Actually, it began as a red glow on the outside of the trees behind her. It was the direction she entered the forest to get to the open field. It was the edge of town that was now engulfed, flames dancing high into the air.

It was the last part of the ceremony to commence. And she would complete it by removing herself without notice. She pressed the button and the car started. Electric cars were quiet, silent. She wouldn’t be heard. And the car was small enough that it would leave hardly a trace of its presence once it disappeared between the long legs of the green giants.

She didn’t even need to turn on the lights. The moon was full and the sky was a void of black so deep that the stars seemed like a shaker of salt had spread it contents across a black granite tabletop.

Mags rolled down the windows to smell the burn. She loved fire. That’s why fire was always her job. She knew how tricky it was. It could be a hot lover licking lightly at your face or turn on a dime to devour you crisp and black without a second thought.

She often questioned her demise. Would she prefer a joyful blue and yellow flame dancing in the wind accidentally touching the fringe of her scarf running up her chest, around her neck, scorching her with its playfulness? Or did she want to be the diva tied to a stake robed in flowing silk teasing the blaze to engulf her in a passionate caress until she was mad with heat and flame, singed to nothing but ash?

In the end, it wouldn’t really matter. Mags knew fire would be the main player in her finale.

As she pulled into the forest, the sirens began to drown out the lyrical crackle of her

“Bastards. Let it burn.”

She wanted, just once, for them to let the fire burn itself out. Leave behind what only what was vital. And that would be nothing.

To start anew. That’s what this was all about.

Mags reached inside her jacket to check that the zipper was closed. Then she tapped the pocket to be sure the precious box was still safe.

She learned her lesson once. She left the zipper open. She thought the box would be safe just tucked inside the pocket. But after touching the match to the fuel marinated twine, she tripped during her exit.

She didn’t notice the large stone. Unexpected cloud cover made it darker than she liked to work in and she didn’t just see the stone. She tripped as the line of fire raced towards the tall pile of leaves carefully arranged near the low overhang of the roof.

Mags picked herself up and continued on her way. As she was brushing herself off, she didn’t feel the box right above her left breast where it usually rested perfectly inside the jacket pocket. She turned and in the light of the now blazing pile she could see the glint reflecting in the pyre’s light.

Mags’ stomach knotted. She knew she couldn’t leave it. Not only because they could trace her to it, Madame’s initials were gracefully etched into it and everyone for miles knew what those initials meant. But she needed the pill. The pill was her reward and she would sleep, finally, for at least a day and part of a night. That was what she deserved, not the fucking box.

She was out of control. The plan wasn’t going her way and when she lost control, she couldn’t think straight. She also had less control of her body. Her chest tightened. She couldn’t take a deep breath and that meant there was less oxygen in her brain to help it work. Just like fire needing oxygen to burn, she needed a clear head to make smart decisions. She stumbled and fell again just as she reached the box. Luckily she gathered herself and made a clean getaway. That’s why tonight the pill was carefully zipped into the pocket of her jacket.

Mags stepped on the gas and was swallowed by the giants. Half way through the woods, Mags turned on the headlights, just as planned. Without a moment to think otherwise, she slammed on the breaks just in time. He was standing directly in front of the car. It was a miracle she didn’t hit him.

Pulling on the emergency break, Mags pushed herself out of the car like a wildfire
chasing down a hill.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

She slammed the door shut.

“If I hadn’t turned on the lights I would have never seen you standing there.” A big smile crossed her face. “You bastard!”

Mags jumped up wrapping her arms around the man’s neck and her legs around his middle. He grabbed her and they fell to the ground enjoying one other’s company and one another’s passion. She didn’t know if it was the heat of the fire or just her fire for him, but she thought of the diva at the stake and surrendered.

When he was finally able to pull Mags off him, he sat up and smiled at his protege. She rolled onto her back and stared at what sky she could see through the trees. They didn’t need to be quiet. The fire and the sirens and the crackle of falling buildings filled the air with their favorite music. They breathed deeply to be filled with the smoke of their night’s work.

They knew they would be safe inside the woods. The woods would be the first protected. The people understood the power of the woods, the medicine it provided, the shelter it gave to their food source, the shade, the beauty, the safety from the Bray. The woods would be protected first.

It was the man made structures that caused the pain, the hurt, the poverty. That’s why Mags and Rice did what they did. They were a team. One of the best. In the beginning there had been a few missteps. Ones that happen when people first start working together. But soon they found their rhythm. They understood one another. They could guess each other’s moves without asking, or even planning at times. And no one ever questioned them.

“We better get back before we’re missed.” Rice buttoned Mags shirt. He did that the first time and since then she purposely left it undone for him.

“I was good. Wasn’t I?”

“Yeah. It’s a great fire. You were quick and clean. I’m proud of you.”

He kissed her one more time and she was ready to sleep.

“Do you want me to drive?” Rice held his hand out to help her up.

This was one thing she didn’t like. She wasn’t a lady. She didn’t need to be coddled. She could take care of herself.

“Yeah. You drive.” And Mags stood without help and started to move to the car.

“Take it now.” Rice grabbed her elbow.

“I’ll take it when I’m ready.” She hated when he wanted to control her.

“Now. You know what happens when you wait too long.”

Mags also knew when he was right. She turned to look at him and he was holding a water bottle.


She unzipped the pocket, opened the box, popped the pill, and grabbed the water bottle. There was just enough for one small swallow. He must have worked hard getting back to her. He looked tired, too.

“Thanks.” She handed the bottle back to him and smiled.

He turned and got into the drivers seat. Mags closed her eyes and sighed. She realized that he wasn’t trying to control her. He just wanted what was good for her. She got into the car.

As soon as she buckled the seat belt, her head rested against the seat, and a deep sleep overtook her. The moon, blood red from the rising flames, lighted the way back to the manor of the small electric car and the two Firestarters.




Author’s Note:

Day 5 of National Novel Writing Month. And today’s prompt is form the website of Bonnie Neubauer and her Story Spinner:

in an open field

In the rear view mirror…

sleeping pill

Previous entries for NaNoWriMo:

November 4: Airstream.2
November 3: Airstream
ovember 2: Tea and Rosemary

Tay’s Wings

While her brother, the good son, the proper child, was studying arithmetic, she gently placed her wings by the kitchen door. She didn’t want them to get in the way. They never did, however. No one ever really noticed them. The others were too busy admiring Eric’s halo to notice Tay’s wings.

Tay loved this time of night after dinner, especially in mid-October when it was getting darker earlier. Eric was, as usual, self-absorbed. And Mother and Father were always absorbed with Eric.

So when the rain began and Mother pulled the drapes so the cold wouldn’t bother her precious son, Tay slipped down the hall to the kitchen, onto the enclosed back porch, and stepped into the wet autumn night.

She raised her face to the sky letting the rain fall across her face like tears. Only these tears weren’t the hot salty ones that carried grief from her soul to water the soil with the hope of growing something beautiful. No these cold tears rained down her face, cooling her fire. She could feel their journey down her neck and between her breasts stopping just short of her naval.

Tay walked towards the little white gate that led to the forest. When Eric was born, Mother insisted Father build a white picket fence so Eric wouldn’t wander into the forest behind their house. Father did everything Mother wanted. Tay decided it wasn’t because Father loved Mother. She knew that wasn’t true. Father spent too much time away from Mother to love her. Father did everything Mother demanded, not because of the money they would inherit someday when Grandmother finally passed, but Tay knew it had to be because the family name was to be passed on by Eric. Tay never understood why this was so important. But it was. And life in the household bowed to Eric.

The little gate to the white picket fence that was only high enough to keep out uninterested wildlife never interested Eric. He never left for the forest. As a matter of fact, he never went further than the back porch with its windows looking out over the green grass and dark forest beyond. He always sat in the same place staring, never moving. He would get his notebook and write equations for hours on end, occasionally looking out the windows.

However, the little gate always fascinated Tay. Rather, the forest beyond called her from the first time Mother set her in the grass and returned to the porch to sit with Eric. Tay learned quickly how to work the gate clasp.

The first time she got out, she was about two years old. She remembered hearing Mother call to her, but no one ever came to get her. Tay wandered for hours in the field between the house and the forest, afraid to venture into the dark.

Later, when Father returned home, Tay was retrieved and spanked for being a bad girl. It was then Tay decided she would someday leave for the forest.

But it wasn’t as big a deal as she thought it might be. Soon her parents were totally ignoring her and she was free to explore as far and as long as she wished. As the years passed she would bring trinkets and blankets and extra clothes to leave behind.

She found a perfect cove where she placed some books and a few snacks she kept in Tupperware bowls with lids so the animals couldn’t get into them. Leaves and ferns decorated her forest room. Animals would pass by as she read or recited poetry or painted. They would pause and she would welcome them and they would go on their way.

Tonight the rain was falling with a fury she didn’t understand. As she walked, she kept her face to the sky. She didn’t need to see the path. She knew the way by heart. The rain left a sheen flowing down her body. Her clothes became heavy, soaked with tears from the sky.

Tay knew there was going to be sadness soon, a deep sadness that would engulf her. She could feel it. But she wasn’t afraid. She knew she had a safe place to ride out the storm. Her cove would be almost free from tears falling from the grey autumn sky. She would wait and listen. She would know what to do. Something would tell her.

After she changed into dry clothes, she settled into the cove lighting a lantern she stole from the garden house. Father looked for it for weeks after she took it and Mother laughed at his forgetfulness. Mother was sure he had thrown it away or left it at some campground hoping for an excuse to get a new one.

Tay loved the lantern because it belonged to her Gramps. It was rusty, just like he was. But it gave beautiful light, just like he did. She missed him, especially on rainy nights like this one when he would make her hot chocolate and read her poems from Whitman and Dickinson and stories from the bible.

Tay was a bit cold and wrapped herself in one of the blankets. She was opening her book of Emily Dickinson poems in honor of her Gramps when she heard it.

First, two quick pops. A pause. Then one more.

It was unmistakable. Father practiced every week and she would hide in her cove with earplugs not to hear the crisp fire-cracker snaps of his pistol. He was an expert shot and he never missed.