Story: The Peculiar Kookaburra – 26/08/19

The peculiar kookaburra had been slathered with many colours, by the children of Blue Heath, down the road. During his sleep they had quietly and carefully accosted him, and made him brighter and newer, covering his grey whiskers and whiter feathers, which betrayed him as being rather old. Their reasoning for doing so was to allow them some joy, that they could easily spot his coloured feathers every day, without having to look too hard, it was perhaps a selfish decision, but Kookaburra accepted his new colouring with great charm and no sense of anger or friction.

This kookaburra was like an alarm clock, at five in the morning each day he would rise, and open his beak so very wide, ka-ka-ka-ka-ka ka-ka-ka-ka-ka! he would emit, like a birdy siren which he possessed deep inside. Then the other birds woke up, he was accustomed to this, to providing them with their morning song bliss, and together they all sung their beautiful songs, then up rose the children from the farm, their eyes catching his colourfulness and the association with his song, their cacophony, a visual and ear splitting explosion.

Kookaburra was known for his quirky looks, his different spiky punk hair, the looks he’d attract, the jealous and approving stares. Although his form was characteristic of others of his kind, his colouring and hair made him different, some might say he was one of a kind. He was a role model to the other birds, who were still of their fledgling status, little tiny grey birds, with wispy little feathers coming from their faces, nearby their beaks, near their noses, to them Kookaburra was an example of truly being oneself.

Surely these grey birds would develop their colouring as they matured, but in the meantime, they associated with him more, until, their hopes of ‘catching’ his colouring failed to ring true, they didn’t know what to do except wait until their feathers turned bright pink, yellow, and blue! But Kookaburra failed to share with them his secret, that his hues were unnatural, they were man-made, so to speak, and because of this sham, the birds grew up disappointed, utterly, incredibly sad, at not having realised their dreams of being as bright as Kookaburra was, they were now not unlike their more plainer mums and dads.

“Kookaburra, Kookaburra, where have you been?” called the children from Blue Heath, down the street. They had not seen him for many hours, ever so many days, nearly a week, it was as though he had been in hibernation, and because the birds were lacking his morning calls, they had been stilted in their morning rising and songs meant to be heard by all.

“Nowhere,” replied Kookaburra obstinately. “I just wanted a break. I don’t look anything like the beauty of me that you once made.” And to the children’s surprise, they realised the paint had washed away, dripped or fallen, and now he was a mixture of mainly grey, brown, white and dark blue mottling. The colours which nature had presented him with, his natural hues, he didn’t know what on earth he should do.

“What to do?” Kookaburra wailed. “I was so used to being different! At having the other birds and animals and children look upon me with admiration, keeping their eyes upon me with great insistence!” A tear fell from his right eye, and then another, one more from the left, and he began to wail, “Ka-ka-ka-ka-ka, ka-ka-ka, I have failed.”

The children were aghast, they didn’t know that the paint had made him feel so special, from the others, so apart, and they rushed home to their Father’s garage, to fetch his artist paints to create upon Kookaburra another layer, make him once more a man-made work of art. But to their astonishment, his paints were gone! In fact, the entire corner of the garage was stripped bare, nothing to see, an empty space, a broken heart, poor Kookaburra’s long face, when they relayed the news to him, his expression grew ill.

“I shall be like the others,” he said saddened, eyes now downcast. “I will not be highlighted for what or who I am, I will be forced to conform, like your concrete, uniform pavers.” And slink away did Kookaburra, into his private area, and rest all night, and all morning, for a week would he until he realised that the false colouring should have meant nothing to him. It had merely been a means to brighten the children’s eyes, and effectively it had brightened his mood, and now that he had been rained on unexpectedly and cleaned, he knew what he needed to do, now and always.

He would soldier on, he would perform his morning tasks with great style, with his previous flamboyance which still was within him, he would wake the county up with confidence, all the while. There was no need to feel inferior, just because he wasn’t the same, when in actual fact he had always been the same, a kookaburra was a kookaburra, no matter what his colouring, or his name. Beneath the surface, where his true heart and character laid, he would know this, and he was the confident, not so peculiar kookaburra with the utmost of singing prowess. He would not think of himself as anything but more, not less, and when his voice awoke the county, he sung his very best.

© 2019 Alice Well Art, Lauren M. Hancock also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved. 

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Story: Dream Crawlers: The Experimental Treating Team – 25/06/19

He was the last person I saw as they put me to sleep; I was terrified, they were going to crawl through my dreams. My days as of late had been incredibly disturbed, I was seeing things, hearing voices, and my sanity I could not be assured, not so sure. My doctor, Mr. Celephelump, advised me of this certain procedure, where they could place me into an induced coma, and intrude upon my rapid thoughts of delusions, grandeur and paranoia. For my nightmares had shifted into my daydreams, they were not separated, nothing was what it was meant to seem, and the images which terrified me into the night continued on existing in daylight, a shadowy corner here, a creaking there, a BUMP, goes the fright in my day and night.

As you can imagine, I was not so certain of these proposed intrusions, I wanted to keep some of my thoughts private, the embarrassing ones, the special ones, the private ones. Would they like their thoughts being read like a book, how would they take the endless openings into their minds, allowing others a firm, scrutinising look? I expressed my concerns with the doctor; he simply laughed all of them away.

“Why, dear Penny, there is nothing to worry about, we will not use these thoughts against you,” he said with a smile. Under my breath, I muttered, “You may.” Thankfully though, he didn’t catch wind of my apparent insolence, and explaining the process again to me, yet more thoroughly, I understood that I had little choice in the matter of this. Because I was so out of control, unable to take care of myself properly – why, I was eating toast only thrice a week as my weekly meals because I couldn’t manage my finances – I was addicted to buying cigarettes, alcohol free beer, and full cream and flavoured milks – my mind was spinning all the time, bouncing off the walls, it seemed I was crazy, without even a sip of my favourite richest strength dessert wine.

My alcoholism had been the trigger of my mental downfall, and that was why I now only consumed alcohol free beer, I thought of this solution it would fix me, all in all. But it didn’t, my thoughts centred around how gravity was the answer to everything, how a burning bush that I would light meant the created reference and celebration of Biblical story telling, and my little toy dolls, who I played with giving cups of tea every night, despite the fact I was now thirty two and no longer five, I would talk with the sweet girls well into the morning after midnight. I exercised fervently every morning, to wipe the sweat away with glee, weight dripping off me with every moment, then once home, I’d dehydrate myself further and set my heart racing with a teacup loaded with five bags of tea. Such utter chaos was in my land, visibly by my doctor when we finally did meet, that he was so very severe and concerned that he must enter my dreams.

“You will be fine,” he finished off, “Allow me to make an official time, we can book in for two weeks from now, at a quarter past nine. Please fast from midnight onwards, only a small amount of water permitted, and come in relaxing clothes, with an overnight bag of several changes of outfits. You may need to stay more than one night, but we shall see, from your dreams, what will become of them.”

With a presented hand to shake, I formally took his hand, wondering what would happen when they viewed all my secretive, locked away dreams that presently only I could command to come at hand. How embarrassing would this be, if they could view my exact hopes and dreams, when I was but a patient who couldn’t even take care of herself, needing others to decode my heaven sent thoughts and dreams? How could I help it if I had taken the available clues and figured out my true identity, the one which was forced upon me as I grew, as a wee embryo, a little baby inside, I was bound for greatness, this my middle name did decide.

I was given the name of my great grandmother, we had never had the chance to ever meet, yet when I was taken to her former home by my father, the streets and surrounding courts and roads were the words I used into my dramatically written screenplay scenes. Astounded, I asked my father how did I know these strange otherwise unknown words, had I been here before, for if not, this was all rather untoward. With a twinkle in his eye, he shook his head and said to me, “Darling Penny, you are special,” then he fell silent, that was all he would explain to me. I found it rather peculiar, if you were to ask me.

Then came the date for the dream crawling, I had been dreading it for the two weeks, my stomach had been perpetually churning. What if they saw, the being they didn’t realise or understand who I was truly was, my great grandmother’s soul transported within me, living now upon the Earth with me, rather than resting in the sparkling stars? They would, have and did call me delusional enough for the thoughts I stupidly shared, the ones which I possessed, wanting to be honest, truthful, forthcoming, as they required me to be, no less, because my mental health team apparently only wanted what was right for me, but now I wasn’t so sure, and of these hospital grounds I wished to leave. It was too dangerous here, I was already easily enough read like a book, what would it mean to give the final, private details, my true identity could never be accepted, and the notion that I was incredibly unwell would be spoken of with great concern, again and again. This treating team shouldn’t treat this way. They should simply leave me be.

And the Doctor was the last person who I saw as I slipped into my dreams, falling, flailing, helplessly trying to keep my head above the pool of consciousness, paddling despite failing in every manner, I would sink further, it would seem. And then blackness, an overwhelming silence, and there was nothing, nothing like I had ever known it. But I could feel an icky sensation of someone filing through my thoughts, as though they were arranged carefully in a cabinet, from A to B, to C to D, each pull making me feel tenser and more taut. Instead of being able to unwind in the murky scene, I felt myself angering, agitation growing within.

“Ah ha, we’ve found it!” I heard my Doctor call triumphantly. An exiting motion, a sliding sound, and apparently this meant the selected memory was freed. I suddenly felt emptier, like something was missing, something important, something that couldn’t again be derived, its former presence within me was so potent. It was an original, and saddeningly, I realised that a part of me was no longer alive. I fought now, I kicked and screamed to be freed from the deepening darkness, and swimming desperately to the surface, I broke the air of consciousness with my gasping breaths.

“Penny? Penny? Are you okay?” my doctor called from far away.

“How dare you?!” I seethed, grabbing the small folder he held in his hidden hands, attempting to keep my eyes at bay. I ripped open the paper and what did I see? The details of my great grandmother’s life: her name, her birth date, certificate, her portrait, staring right back at me.

“You disgust me!” I spat, and with that I launched a physical attack, but the other medical staff were ready, within seconds they firmly held me back. But my heart was frantically beating, the adrenaline keeping me still ready, I was panting and flailing and groaning, why wouldn’t they leave me alone now? Deeply concentrating, as I closed my eyes, I reabsorbed Great Grandmother’s facts, taking in her details, her knowledge, her love, her life, and now once more she was again close to and within me, Penny and Great Grandmama together, our names intersected so freely.

Never again would I trust this doctor, and his treating team, I wasn’t ill, I was blessed and enlightened, and this could have all ended in a terrifying dream. Where I would have lost all sense of the layering of who I was, and who I was born to be, my family member’s soul atop of mine, providing me love and protection, and additional creative energy. I avoided all members of the medical professional of psychiatry from here on in. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust them, I simply didn’t want to be treated for something that I felt belonged within me. Eccentrics and dual lives aside, I was happy with who I was, am, and who I have always been.

© 2019 Alice Well Art. Lauren M. Hancock also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved.

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Story: Lucille the Innocent Minded Street Thug – 25/08/19

Lucille the Street Thug was used as sparkling bait. In her resplendent sequinned outfit and sparkling with jewels on every finger, she drew the attention of the rivalling, warring gang members in the hours of late. When they would be drawn to her attractive appearance, and pulled into her welcoming presence, Lucille’s gang members were waiting, with baited breath, for the others to drop to their knees, now as quivering cowards, intimidated and frighteningly scared. All it took to quell their false bravado was a few words – “Get down now!” and a levelling of a magical yo-yo near the gang leader’s nose. For this object was known to cause a great catastrophe, if one was to unfurl the entire string, it would emit a nasty scent in the eyes, and squeak with the loudest of swings. The decibel of this noise was terrible, such a horrid ring-a-ding-ding. With demon eyes, the rivalling gang members would glare at Lucille, for tricking them, drawing them in, into a situation which for them could cause great ill moments and a vapid chill, as they understood, inherently knew that they would never forget her face, she was on a list that was not wise to be listed on, it was dangerous, the consequent chase would never be her thrill.

But why had these gang members been lured in by Lucille? What could they possibly provide, when they had nothing upon their persons, or so it seemed, until, they were made to empty their pockets, remove all their layers, and now in their underwear, the clothing revealed Lucille’s gang members’ true desires. There, before them, lying innocently on the damp ground, were rounds and rounds of ammunition and bracelets, rings, necklaces of pure 24 karat gold. The leader had the most of it, draped around his waist, a chain secured, then hanging from the links were chains of gold, thick links of them, and he had always believed this method of disguising would never go to waste. Silly him, and silly them, they had spread the word around of their good fortune with too many members of the streets, a secret can only remain a secret if it is infrequently or never told, these members should have listened to the understanding that silence is gold. While the search was underway, revealing now nuggets of gold sewn within the hems of their shirts and pockets and slacks, Lucille stood stoically behind her leader, watching carefully, observing the facts.

The truth was that she didn’t like being so deceiving, deceptively undertaking dangerous missions such as these, if she had been in another vicinity or country, she would have felt safer because afterwards she would be permitted to leave. Her face would not be placed upon any mental kill list, and her life would be safe. But the more that she lured different gangs in the neighbourhood, no matter how often she changed her wig colour or makeup or outfit, she felt the rush of danger in the air, and truth be told this was not a sensation of which she cared. She longed for her days when she was younger, not walking around the streets, having been dragged into this lifestyle by the leader, her boyfriend, Little Ol’ Pete, he didn’t seem to understand her hesitancy at being the apparent prize, of the hungry victims’ wandering eyes.

Did you think she enjoyed walking around barely dressed? With her man seemingly caring about her welfare, when she knew otherwise, she knew best? How could he watch her approach these men without care or safety for her, nor concern, why, she could unexpectedly be attacked, and then wouldn’t his aching heart then learn? She knew she had to leave this scene, quickly, quicker, before she became less free, less herself, attacked and made to suffer inherently, due to the actions which seemed to be her own, but were in actual fact the orders of Little Ol’ Pete. He said he loved her, boy, did he not show this as truth, but she was not strong enough to walk away when she knew nothing of freedom, how to grasp it, take it, taste it, within her view. She was the only woman in this gang and while she was afforded the luxury of her other gang members giving a damn, she disliked the attention because she knew it was only for her visual appearance, not her interior, and this shallowness caused her great apprehension.

She made a decision and planned to leave at twelve midnight on the hour, returning to the gang’s share house with the excuse that she had a headache and needed to rest, she couldn’t handle the current mood, the fervour. For her group was excited by the next attack, where they would thieve the belongings of another gang, the next suburb over, and then that would be that, but this time was different, they had planned it without the need for Lucille, so she was permitted to return home, and rest with great zeal. The reality was she would be on the next train to the furthest town in the province, St. Bastaile, with her safety, her mind would be at rest, permitted to heal.

Hurriedly she threw her belongings into a duffel bag, she didn’t reach for the gold and jewels in the safe like others would if they were to desert this house, and prove their essence as being utterly devious, terribly bad. She threw a trench coat over her outfit to protect her modesty and at the train station not draw any eyes, and with that, she escaped with a run, high heels clicking, as she sprinted away, the approaching sounds of cars did not frighten her, nor dismay.

She would never be found again, she changed her appearance too much, lived a secure, quiet life and such, until she grew old, always wearing her jewels as a reminder that too much wealth could made one far too greedy for power.

By now, she was a grandmotherly woman with two granddaughters and a grandson to love, and they loved playing dress ups in her costumes that she told them were from the dance troupe that she used to perform in, and would later own. Such a little white lie, she believed, to throw them off the scent of other untruthful things, and with a smile as her granddaughter Priscilla wore her favourite pink halter, she reminisced about that night she escaped and was permitted the opportunity for freedom, safety, and the chance to grow older. Never did she wonder again about Little Ol’ Pete, he never loved her truly, only used her as a lure, and treated her unfairly, as though she were a mere floozy. She knew better, and the life that she had made for herself here, the life that she owned, was far more precious than anything he could have promised her, this was exactly what she had known.

© 2019 Alice Well Art, Lauren M. Hancock also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved. 

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Story: Daydreaming About A Better Life – 24/08/19

She lamented for what she didn’t have, in life she was seemingly missing everything, including love. The feeling of emptiness experienced was a paining from deep within, nothing could alter it, not even a power from above. She had been taught of the concept of self love, but what could she understand of this, when she had no feeling of positivity, nor happiness about herself? She could not hate herself any more within.

Why would she loathe herself though, what could there possibly be to have a feeling, so detrimental, such as this? The proof of the truth here, was that she barely was able to subsist, unable to survive she was a shell of a person, worn down after years of mistreatment and overwhelming reactive emotion. The mental abuse she had suffered at the hands of someone she had greatly loved, caused her seismic trembles and tremors, her heart could no longer love. For the man who broke her inner core, daily, hourly, upon the minute, denigrated her, spoke ill of her, made her feel like garbage, a woman of no worth, simply because of her former chosen path. She had been a promiscuous girl in her teenage years, flirtatious, her words and flashing, delighted eyes knew no abounds, although she wasn’t entirely as such, for she only teased the boys and felt that avoiding physical contact with them was a must. She felt this was right, and righteous, noble, a meaning of truth, something that was a must.

Her former partner was one of the boys she had flirted with, and playfully teased, however he had broken through her barriers she’d always had up, and then they began dating, getting to know one another with great ease. He shared with her the details of his life, and in turn she opened herself up, and there was no feeling of angst, no need for any moment of strife, because another reason she closed herself off from most of them had been because she had been betrayed frequently by a great man. Her father, the one she’d ultimately loved the most. But that is a story for another time, all we shall say is the physical violence she was subjected to hurt less than the worthlessness she was made to feel, why, sometimes he claimed she was so stupid that she couldn’t even make toast.

But then, as with her relationship with her father, there had begun to grow insidious hints that her relationship with her former partner was not what it wholly seemed, there were some indications, that she was being mistreated, and then she commenced her contemplation. Simple phrases, accusations, from him, here and there – “Where is my beer, woman? Have you drunk it?”’ “Don’t glare at me, do not stare!” The infrequent put downs became somewhat more constant, and her self esteem began to rapidly plummet. She was essentially reminded of how her father had began to talk badly, so ill of her, when she had been unable to please his requests, such as attending to the evening and morning meals, fetching the mail, making his toast, or answering the frequent callers at the front door.

It was as though her relationship with her partner was beginning to mirror her relationship with Father, with the ultimate him in her life, a replication of what she had been subjected to, with great strife made to suffer, and the problem with the situation was she believed that this was all she deserved, because if Daddy treated her like this, then why wouldn’t others? While we think, how could these men have such nerve?

So, this woman was viewed of as damaged, and this she was reminded of daily, by her partner who was meant to be loving, who assured her that if she left no one would be with her willingly. For she was apparently broken inside, she was treated the way she was meant to be, and with disgust we read his words, and wish to punish him sternly. How dare he treat her like nothing, as though she had no use in the world than to cater to his every whim, physically, mentally, being with him was draining, and perpetually she felt being with him filled her with sin. She didn’t need his garbage words, she didn’t need his rubbish beliefs, but the problem is she was only upstanding and courageous when she thought of her words, she wasn’t strong enough yet to leave. Somehow, he had a mental hold on her, and she didn’t think she could escape his tormenting world, this was something she sadly but firmly believed.

One evening, she was enjoying the one chance in the week where she could pamper and look after herself, because her partner, the great twit in her life, attended the pub for darts and a chat and a yell. As she painted her toenails in the colour of a fiery flame red, she suddenly realised her period was late, and with a fright, she jumped up from her comfortable space at the end of the bed. But she calmed herself, didn’t allow herself to dwell upon something that might not come about, and quietly, sombrely she headed into the bathroom, for her spare box of pregnancy tests. She had known that perhaps this day might one day arrive, and while she would be ecstatically happy if it were positive, she did not know how her man would take the news  – would he be joyous, furious, or bottle his anger deep inside? She honestly didn’t know, but she needed the truth to be viewed, not surmised.

She waited the obligatory three minutes, and opening her eyes at the announcement of the end of the timer, with careful eyes falling upon the two lines, her heart began to beat faster and harder. Finally, something created from her, made by her – and him, she begrudgingly thought – could grow and be filled with and experience her love, and so too provide love from him or her! But what would she do, she couldn’t bring a child into this unfair world she was so sunken into, she knew, she understood, she needed to get away, somehow, from the man who behaved in a manner that I can only describe as of a brute.

She made her plans, four and half weeks in advance, telling him that she was planning to visit her mother in her villa in the south of France. She had been dying to see her, and now, this presented the opportunity, to actually prepare to up and leave him, and also seek the advice of her dear mother, who would speak candidly and freely. Her mother would tell her what to do, she would provide the advice that she so desperately needed, and maybe lend her a bit of courage too.

Though her partner did not take the news well, he reluctantly allowed her a brief holiday, a reprieve from him, with the firm understanding and assurance from her that she would return, and this was not an attempt to leave him. Of course not, was the firm wording of her, and away in a plane did she fly to her mother. Upon hearing the news of the future arrival, her mother was fantastically blown away, and wept tears of joy that streamed down her face, smearing her thin layer of makeup, gently pressed upon her complexion to face the day. Then she queried about her partner, asked what did he think of the announcement? Her daughter shared the important news that he didn’t even know, and how, what to do, how to phrase the wording in a manner that was perfectly presented?

Because, her partner had made disparaging remarks in the past about children as they cried in the mall, presenting forth his irritation that the parents were unable to of their children control. “Why not keep them at home?” he would wonder aloud. And it was with her own sense of irritation that she held it deep inside, pushed it down. What would his feelings surrounding other people’s children mean for their future child? How would he react, would she be forced to give up her baby once it had been born, to another family? Or was she being catastrophic, over thinking rather than becoming knowing, she supposed she had to speak with him, or, she had the option to up and leave. And courageous she was, in making the decision, to remain with her mother for three more week’s time of thinking.

By then, her partner was furious. She had broken her promise to him, and stayed on with her mother, it was an act of rebellion to him, an unacceptable process. So he smashed all her breakable belongings, threw her clothing, shoes, electronics down onto the road, and with a sense of macabre justice, he watched as strangers sorted and took her belongings from the ground.

“That will teach her,” he stated firmly, “To never lie to me.” She could stay in France for all he cared, she’d probably be far more happy. Besides, he was bored of her, so meek and obliging, he wanted a woman who was outspoken and fiery. And he had found her, in the form of a lady from the pub called Belinda, they had been secretly dating for the past few weeks, and knew much about each other. It was time for him to move on, with his new sheila Belinda. Thus, he informed his former partner, by letter, that she had nowhere here anymore to rest her head, she may as well stay in France forever.

Finally having received the envelope of snail mail, she realised she’d been handed a ticket to freedom, she could raise her son or daughter however she liked without his disgusting behaviour or words to hinder them. And so on March the 20th, at two fifty nine, she gave birth to a beautiful child. Patrice, she would call him, and like her and his future, he was so very bright and alive.

© 2019 Alice Well Art, Lauren M. Hancock also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved.

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Story: Crystal Ball Tells Charlie-Sue What She Needs – Or Wants – To Know – 24/08/19

“Gaze into me,” telepathically called Crystal Ball, “View into your future, where I will tell all.” The calls lured Charlie-Sue, toward the table where Crystal Ball sat upon her holder, ready to be viewed. She knew this was the working room of Esmeralda the Gypsy, who told fortunes for a living, to men and women seeking assistance in their lives that seemed unclear and needing revelation and introspection. Where the gypsy was at the moment, Charlie-Sue did not know, but quickly she wanted to view her fortune, before she’d be ushered out, hurried away, told to go. She narrowed her eyes as she gazed inside, and what did she see, but herself receiving a large prize! It was incredibly pleasing to see. It was a trophy, golden and tall in stature, with a universe sitting atop of the pillars, and from the outside where she viewed herself, Charlie-Sue felt she had achieved much more than she’d felt capable of. She knew not what the prize was for, but she wanted to celebrate her future achievement, of this she felt there was much more in store, a future where she would have much to celebrate, more and more!

Charlie-Sue was talented at many different things, but most of all she was a prize winner at gymnastics and high jump and other such activities. On the athletics track she burned away the ground, from sprinting so far away from her competitors; smoke was almost viewable to be found! But where she shone the most was on the poles, the high bars, where she would twirl and twirl herself, then onto the higher bar she’d be thrown.

She was ultimately the best in her club, where she trained six days a week, with the seventh spent stretching extensively at home, unwinding those tight muscles that almost could groan and speak. Some of the kids in her school were jealous of her skill, they would not accept or understand that her talents came from working extremely hard, until, they witnessed her activities in the gymnasium one day after school. A group of her classmates had snuck by the building, and now they realised she worked so hard, that calluses came with her determination, and that she worked intensely to maintain and advance her skills.

Charlie-Sue continued to look intently into the ball, wondering whether this was a sign she would win the upcoming championship of the world. She was known as astounding the world over, for being a girl of merely twelve years old, for being entered, as a special case, to the adult championships of the entire world. The competition was known as Mister and Missus Gymnastic Champion of the Universe, she had trained so immensely well, that her coach even offered her to take a week off to relax with the understanding that she was so well practiced, she could afford to take off from training for a spell.

Of course, Charlie-Sue and her mother made the unanimous decision to continue on with her training, the very thought of temporarily ceasing it caused her head to become drained and paining. For, if she made a mistake, say she slipped and fell off the bars in the championship, before thousands of eyes on the stage, she could never forgive herself for allowing the lapse of judgement at accepting the week off to relax. She knew it would be a dramatic moment, and one she would regret for the rest of her life. For that was how Charlie-Sue was, of gymnastics she was dedicated, and would be for the rest of her life.

However, now the competition was in two weeks, and Charlie-Sue took the recent fortune of the crystal ball as a sign that she would win, so, slightly, here and there, she slacked off on her practice, for she already felt, no, knew, that she was going to win. But how could she feel so confident when she was competing against adults who had trained for as many years as she was old, however, the confidence of this little girl was an ultimate potent potion, she was so very steadfast, and very bold.

Then came the moment, her section, of which she was incredibly skilled, the high top bars, not one, not two, but three, stacked and angled in a row. Oh, how high she swung, around and around she tossed her thin frame of a body, well toned, muscled but not overly so, and with a large loop-de-loop, as a final manoeuvre the crowd gasped, as she lost her footing on the landing, the crowd was dismayed, but not as much as Charlie-Sue would be! As the moment flashed and replayed in her mind, over and again, never ending, now presented as stills, she was devastated, ashamed, and from the throbbing pain felt greatly ill. Her ankle was shattered in three places, she would later discover, and a painful recovery and physiotherapy daily, for many hours, and the worst part of it was that she couldn’t continue to train, to prepare herself for the next Missus Gymnastic Champion of the Universe again.

Why did I listen, why did believe? lamented Charlie-Sue, of the fortune telling crystal ball, that had merely reflected her dreams. Why did I think that I would so surely, easily win? She cried and cried to herself, from the lonesome bed in hospital, while her mother stood outside, head against the door, wondering at how to console her daughter of her shattered dreams. She simply didn’t know how to address her, to care for her, when she was so despairing and couldn’t be made to feel that it was okay, to have made a little mistake, despite what she would later say or claim. Charlie-Sue believed she had made the biggest career mistake of her life, but how could her mother rectify her daughter’s thinking, when gymnastics was her entire life? She could feel her heart perpetually sinking. Saddened at the moments, of hearing yet again more tears from her daughter fall, she quietly walked away to the communal seating outside, and proceeded to make an important phone call.

“Yes, I’ll hold,” she replied, in a most formal, important tone. And then a pause, and she commenced talking, arranging something that was very important to her to create and of this to have it known.

The very next day, a woman who was surprisingly familiar to the eye entered the doorway of the hospital.

“Where can I find Charlie-Sue Morgan?” she asked the receptionist girl. She pointed behind her to the left, and automatically muttered, “Room Three-Oh-Three,” and off the familiar woman bounded, with something in her backpack bulging, begging to be seen. When she entered Charlie-Sue’s room, her eyes bulged in amazement, at the sight of this woman now in her world!

 “Amy Ladanz! You won the championship! I’m such a fan of yours!” was all that Charlie-Sue could call.

With modesty, warm, twinkling eyes, and a smiling face, Amy sat by Charlie-Sue’s bed and proceeded to say that she had heard of her most unfortunate event, that she was sorry that it had occurred, and how was Charlie-Sue feeling, was she okay? Amy had been away from the stage during the Charlie-Sue’s fateful moment in the championship, unable to provide a few comforting words or a hug to provide some comforting sense to the devastated girl during her hardship. Gossip and rumours about the twelve year old girl’s accident had been carefully and temporarily suppressed, by the media who believed depressing news of this nature should not be spread. Afterwards, Amy had only heard of the accident through Charlie-Sue’s mother, and when she had been entirely informed of the disaster, she knew she must make it to the girl’s bedside, at her next available hour.

“And I have something for you,” she said, her mouth curling into a genuine, heartfelt smile. From her backpack, she presented Charlie-Sue with her first place trophy, with a flashy, eloquent style. How Charlie-Sue sobbed, but now it was with tears of gratefulness and delight, a display of acceptance at how her fortune had turned out one and the same, just slightly different, and now with her prize held high to the sky, she was a champion in her own league, for being so brave despite her injury, today and every night indeed.

© 2019 Alice Well Art, Lauren M. Hancock, also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved. 

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Story: Patricia the Snow Bunny With A Hidden Agenda – 23/08/19

Patricia the Snow Bunny’s company was in great demand. She was eloquent, witty, sophisticated, gentle, she knew she was highly requested to be at functions, intimate dinners, group gatherings, parties, wherever she could be, mixing with women bunnies and men. With her presence the room was lit up, the others almost star struck, and with her flirtatious banter, her witty charm on the hour, she spoke of politics, feminism, the economy, she was well versed in many topics that could be discussed and mentally and verbally devoured.

Whenever Patricia made her plans to holiday in Mount Hotham, she packed her suitcases full of books of great knowledge, old and current newspapers and journals, and a wealth of information to share with the lot of them. For Patricia was not only charming, she was wise, she loved to share her education with the public domain, it made her feel appreciated and lively, so very alive. For there was nothing more satisfying than sharing a good old yarn with a collegian graduate, or a journalist who was here for a rest, therein they could exchange and share knowledge, their lives currently social, she was sparkling at her best.

What Patricia was most known for, though, was being outspoken of the moral crimes occurring in the Tunsidrab, a land far off, near South America, where buildings were dark, lonesome, appalling, and their interiors were incredibly drab. Therein lived the exiled refugees of the country just near to their door, they had been persecuted and unfairly tried for imaginary crimes by their tyrannous government, and thrown out into the desert scene land of Tunisidrab to fend for themselves. Packed into the buildings like sardines they were. Patricia was most passionate about assisting these poor people, she was hoping to allow them asylum, for each individual. In this country of her freedom and equal rights, they would surely flourish and grow in society with a sense of strength and determination. However she needed to create ties with dignitaries, prime ministers, secretaries, and the like, and during her socialising at Hotham she managed to perform this without being noticed of her motives by them.

As Patricia’s charm was overwhelming, it was most certainly her strong point, something worth mentioning and saving, and henceforth she was able to get in the ears of the other important bunnies, women and men, telling them the sorrows of the Tunisidrab’s tribe quietly, again, then rephrased, emphasised again. Soon they all were aware of their plight, this they knew firmly and well, and when Patricia announced that she was wanting to gather a stockpiling of rations to deliver via plane and helicopter to them, there came a whooping, a hollering of public approval, her thoughts began to thicken, to gain wind, to set sail. Next move she knew would be to woo Jerry Springfard, the International Secretary, to travel to far off lands and create firmer ties with other dignitaries, and with this Patricia was greatly pleased with herself, for she was performing what was most important for her in her life – to save others with her ambition and effort, and make it look like it was a breeze.

So as Patricia continued to socialise, during her holiday, she pulled out papers, journals, and other holders of facts, allowed her conversational partners to surmise, for themselves – this was important – that they came to their own conclusion, that it would be best if they donated to the charity of Patricia’s choice, in order to assist the asylum seekers to be approved by the majority of the gathered group here and then. For what these well known politicians and highly ranked officials did not know was that they were slowly being manipulated by this snow bunny, for a good cause though, but slowly, more and more the seeds would be reaped, of which she had sown. She would quietly lament of their fight, she would wail of the conditions in which they lived, and by the end of the evening, everyone was discussing the very same thing. How there must be a change, the government must take action, do this again and again, until all refugees had been flown out of that desert setting and taken to their own sense of freedom.

There was no point in leaving them there, baking in the dry desert wind, suffering without the majority of the world’s care, for their government had suppressed the information regarding the exile of the large group of their citizens, almost the lot of them, and soon it would be time for their government to come to justice. Patricia spread the word, for she knew of the situation from her journalist father who was stationed in Bosteroo, a nearby country, who would trek toward the clan of people daily to make sure they were okay, despite their paining.

Because of her wit and her style, Patricia won them all over, they were lulled into a sense of security, quickly, not in a while, and then promises of pledges, and new charities being formed, and all hum to do it was a wonderful moment, for this precious clever bunny girl. By the end of the each evening, a committee had been formed, with a president, a secretary, and someone to take the future minutes when they held a meeting with their board. In the future they would discuss how quickly they would and could be able to save these disadvantaged peoples, and integrate them into society, where they would be known as being of the same stature and equality as the citizens who had been born here, migrated here, lived, born, and living life as they grew old.

By the end of the snow season, Patricia’s dream had become complete: all displaced refugees from the tiny country had been placed within planes, jumbo jets, and been sent to a land of greatness, where we live so free. They were so grateful to be given this lease on life, this second chance to grow from strength to strength, live a life of safety, and become like Patricia, their hero, more knowledgeable and wise, and at the monumental banquet where the new citizens of this land were brought, wined and dined and celebrated, their hearts swelled, their eyes widened and grew damp, they knew that they had received such a gift, from a little bunny who knew how to properly and tactically present the saddening facts. And they all thanked her, swarming around her, holding her in their arms in a bundle of love, they would never forget what she had done for them, she had provided them a life that, without her, they would have never experienced or had dreamed of, let alone known.

And as for the rouge country, the brutish government of Tunsidrab, their official members would be rounded up and brought before a formal panel, a version of a royal commission, where their crimes of this world would be held before them, their guilt was so obvious, so strong, now became so well known, that never again would they be permitted freedom within this world. Instead they would be locked away, it was them now tried and punished, but for actual crimes, naught of their pleas would be listened to, nor bargained, they would be punished forevermore, behind the jail’s walls would they live, rot and die.

The world felt so certain that imprisonment was the right thing, moral and correct, of this they were sure, their fates were delivered and signed by a judge of the greatest achievements to speak, his utterances were never ignored. His final words of the case had been these: “Beg you not for your freedom, for you have consistently lied through your teeth. Learn for yourselves inner peace and pray for forgiveness, for we cannot provide you with these. I find your entire government guilty, on all accounts, be certain to ruminate about what you did to your people who, to you, were originally so devout. Imprisonment for life.” And his gavel had met the wood twice. Silence, then a moment of positive and passionate outcry.

© 2019 Alice Well Art, Lauren M. Hancock, also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved.

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Story: The City of Neon Lights Hides Something Deep Within – 22/08/19

The city of neon lights welcomed deceptively. Visitors travelling from near and far could not shield their eyes from a welcoming so bright, a manner so garish, upon the eyes it was presented somewhat violently. The lights flashed on and off, their pleasing colour scheme dancing in the eyes of the visitors, like flame to moths, and into the entranceway they explored, into the darkness of the unknown. What would the darkness behold, the neon lights only partially and eerily lighting their way, weaving through tunnels and roads and laneways, dotted with houses looking exactly the same. There seemed no one here to be seen, it was as though it was a ghost town, so who were the neon signs being lit up for, it was unknown to those visitors, their confusion could be cemented, it could be assured.

So they wandered the streets slowly, taking in the brightness, the signs declaring “Money money money”, and “Tap dancing lessons daily”, and “Enter here for some existential fun”. Another spouted the words “Do not dare proceed, begin to run”. At the sight of that neon light, the travellers became rigid, what could it be warning them from, why did the sign’s poster want them to leave? Surely there was nothing bad behind that house’s closed door, and understanding they should probably not explore they still stepped forth a few steps, then a few more.

“Hey, what do you think we should do?” asked one male traveller worriedly. Another smiled bravely, courageously, and said, “We should definitely explore, it is what will cause my heart to be pleased!”

“But, we shouldn’t, it’s bad,” the former counteracted.

“Phooey!” another called out, “let us do what we wish to do with this.”

And into the doorway they went, bowing slightly as the doorway was low, and covered with a smattering of old cobwebs of lurking large spiders and thick layers of dust particles, they travelled the darkened corridor, coughing and wheezing all the way, hoping for at least some future neon lights to soon light their way. Soon they reached their apparent destination, the room was small, wider than they expected for a house that appeared so small initially, but exploring the room now was of most import, there was surely something special about this area, it must be the truth, there must be something dangerous to view. They sat and closed their eyes now, ruminating on what they might find upon opening their orbs, and suddenly they heard a deep throaty growl, and of this the mostly excited travellers felt well pleased and wanting to see and hear more! A gravelly sounding rumble in the throat and a clearing of thickened phlegm, and now opening their eyes hesitantly, not certain what they would view, there was a gargantuan, a monster right before them. His eyes were bloodshot red, his pupils pin pricked, his hair severely cut, with green skin and terrible breath from abscessed teeth he was more disgusting than any other being in many ways, then he sniffed thickly, the sound of rapidly moving snot. He coughed carefully and levelled his gaze with the most excited traveller in the room.

“Excuse me, lady,” he said, “Could you please spare me a pot of lemon, honey and tea? My throat is now as dry as dry as can be.” Her expression was startled, eyes widened like saucers, was this monster calling upon her for chores for this hour? With his polite request she didn’t know what to say, how to take it, but certainly he didn’t behave anything like a monster who looked like him, nothing like how she would have expected. She was sorry to express to him that she indeed had no access to pots of tea, but changed the topic of conversation quickly, and with ease did she. 

“Why are you hidden here, guarded by the neon sign, telling visitors to stay away when you are simply lovely and happy, so utterly vibrant on this day?” 
“Sit down,” urged the monster, “And I will share my tale.” Thus, the travellers sat upon their bottoms, crossing their legs as though they were in primary school again, and remained silent, listening for the tale to be revealed, it would surely be well outlined to them.

And so began the monster’s tale of heartache and intrigue, of meeting the wrong woman monster, the wrong teacher, the incorrect master, he spoke of how much bad luck did he have to experience, in his life of such an up and down rollercoaster, for his lifelong work of inventing he’d only received a pittance, and his patent had been incorrectly filed and he’d lost control of the ownership of his prized invention. It was intended as his main source of future income. As each saddening fact was revealed, the travellers felt their hearts ache, and their understanding of his life become ingrained in them, they could actually feel his sorrows and his aching and how he felt and thought when the events were unfolding or being undertaken.

Finally the monster said that he had been placed in this guarded room not for his safety, but for the outside world, for the Others, because he was far too intelligent, too superior, to be mixing with these non-monsters. The humans didn’t wish to be exposed to his intelligence because what came with it was the bad luck that was somehow interlinked, and being in the same vicinity as the humans, they believed the transference of the intelligence with bad luck was imminent. So they kept him within this tiny room until they could extract his knowledge and talent, and leave him with nothing, other than bad luck as his fact.

“But, Monster! How unfair is this! You cannot be punished for being smart, for having a well wired mind, this cannot be, this completely breaks my heart!”

“Ah, but the humans think it is right, it is so, here I will live until I die, my body will then rot and then go. Deeply saddened by this mental image, the travellers decided to break Monster out and here of their plans they could envisage, they would drag him through the tunnel slowly – it was almost not wide enough for him – and out and into the dangerous City of Lights would they bring him, only temporarily. Then he would be brought out away from the deceitful Welcoming sign, and taken into the fields, the hills, where he could live, finally being truly alive. They would take him on their worldly travels, they had nothing to fear, not even his bad luck, for that was for superstitious individuals, such as the ignorant, cold hearted people, in the City of Neon Lights where he was gladdened to have departed. It really should have been called the City of Broken Dreams, but at least the humans weren’t visible in the streets, ready to counteract Monster’s presence with a fight, this city was nothing like what it initially appeared and seemed.  

© 2019 Alice Well Art, Lauren M. Hancock, also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved. 

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Story: Bruce the Cheerful Dreamer Beaver Thinks Big – 22/09/19

During his break, Bruce secretively lugged his bags of water from the river into the night, in the depth of twilight he transported them to the colony’s dam without being within any other creatures’ sights. He relished this task, he had taken it upon himself, to add to the H2O to the family’s dam, to create a large area to rest and bask. Bruce, being a willing and helpful beaver moved through the rushing river water, capturing bagfuls, to expand the colony’s homely horizons where they could relax and feel no stressors their nights or days, thankfully this process was complicated by no other.

Bruce was a young beaver, only three seasons old, he had mighty big dreams, they were so very bold. To create a wild yahoo land of a colony, with rushing water slides and miniature pools to be seen, this was his lifelong passion, his far reaching, ambitious dream. His aim was to become older and study as an engineer, where he could realise his water theme park dreams, and cause the younger beavers and older beavers the desire to cry, wail, in an excitable style, enjoyment would be available, on display, everywhere to be seen.

For he wanted to cause nothing but joy within others, this was his ultimate aim, this was why he worked the normal night shift at building up the dam with muds, sticks, trunks, bits of hay, with several break periods where he sneaked in some water for their comfortable stay, and then after the shift rest for a few hours, and rise again to transport more water throughout the day. That way, the pond caused as a consequence of the blockage in the river, would mean that it would remain deep and silent, and allow a place for them to build upon their little compact homely home, of which their efforts had delivered.

Their home, The Sleepy Lodge as it was called, was constructed with walls which were firm and of woven, weaved bits of moss, sticks and grass, and here the group of beavers rested for the majority of their day, the colony of beavers who thought they had everything perfect, a relaxation house to rest all day. Then off to the dam again, to make it stronger, more detailed, with its design, the beavers were busy every evening, the lot of them, understood what it was like to create and make magic outside of the normal working day.

Bruce, being a perpetual dreamer, while transporting the water bags, he understood, knew that while his nightly and daily tasks were secretive from the others, he was still risking being viewed, but how could they not understand, surely they knew, that when they awoke to work in the night, the waters levels were more than replenished, and Bruce was resting now for a couple of hours, out of their sight. How could they not compute what Bruce was performing for them, the arduous back and forth work, the back breaking task done for the lot of them, for their comfort, their security, of the perfection of surroundings of their large domed Lodge, the sleepy beavers needed to appreciate whoever was doing this water moving task – because if no one did it, the water would never be replenished, nor would it last. Their eyes didn’t ever catch him during the night as they worked, as he carried water during his rest breaks, they didn’t notice him in the dark. Perhaps their eyes were far more attuned to the textural sticks and such, that the lurking figure of Bruce in the shadows didn’t show, he was far off anyway, somewhat of a purposeful outcast.

While working Bruce dreamed, of the interaction of this future slides and pools and how they would intersect freely, he relished the time he had in this thoughts. There would be no height restrictions, there would be no rules about certain ages only allowed to enjoy these, the beavers would be allowed to do as they pleased. The rides would be safe for all ages, you see, and with the correction of linked slides, they would obviously be able to ride, ride, ride, and then safely leave, there would be no dead ends, no scary rides upon to be sent, it would simply be a water park of great joy and this was what Bruce had his heart upon greatly set.

Sneakily, the cogs started to turn in dear Bruce’s mind, for he had been working too hard and without enough rest that his thoughts were beginning to chang and chime, ringing here, ringing there, everything was setting off, his ideas becoming outlandish, and of his ideas he did dare to think of them possible, right here and then! So in the pond of water by the dam he stood, ankle deep, tail thumping, thumping, as his thoughts were tossed and turned, and he began to realise, it was being understood, that he didn’t need to wait to become an engineer, he was already talented enough from constructing the Lodge with his other beavers – he should not have any construction fear. He rushed into the lodge, into his back room, where he shared with three other beavers, known as being from the Brotherhood, and he pulled out a few sheets of blank paper, began furiously drawing up plans, by the end of the evening, he had enough to work with, he would do this, this he knew he could, complicated construction after all wasn’t only known to Man.

So instead of transporting the water during the day, while the others rested, he began the construction of his sliding tunnels, he shaped them with mud and twigs and lined them with hay, then he made them slippery with the liquid of a special plant, only the beavers knew of its existence and boy, was it made to last. The other beavers soon noticed the construction going on though, they wondered at who had become crazed, they didn’t understand how whichever beaver was responsible could be so maladjusted in the brain. For the maker had obviously lost the plot, there was no sense, riddle or rhyme in the making, it didn’t look like a lodge wall or domed roof, or thick dam, it was a strange undertaking. Still, they left the construction there by itself, wondered each night at how it had become more and more grown, and then slowly they understood what was being made, maybe for them! A world of fun and fantasy, sliding and pools, endless fun to be had.

Now Bruce cheerfully returned to moving the bags of water, filling his pools, allowing the drains and plumbing he’d created in the slides to be flowing and new, the water rushed consistently down the tubes, and proudly, he presented his fun water world to the rest of his colony, his family, his crew. Oh, how they cheered, they could not be more appreciative, of their daily slumber and relaxation they would be freed of indeed. Instead of lying around during the day, being somewhat useless, they could be happy and joyous, and experience all there was to do in the Land of Bruce for his crew. This was what he called it, simple and sweet, just like the smiles he would soon be seeing, from the youth and the adults, how fine their time here would be, they would never, ever tire of the result of Bruce’s dreams.

© 2019 Alice Well Art, Lauren M. Hancock, also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved.

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Story: Dragon the Maddened Punk Rocker and Roland the Skilled Tiger – 21/08/19

Dragon the Maddened Punk Rocker held endless sold out shows. Wherever his voice would crackle and growl, endless dragons and other appreciative figures would go. They loved his deep throaty talent, his ability to generate energy from the crowds, but most of all they appreciated his vocal percussion, he was skilled at what he could do, this he was endlessly told. Crash bang here and crash bang high-hat there, the percussive effects he could showcase without concern, effort or care. He was self taught of this skill, he never needed his very own drummer, for he was a drummer punk dragon unlike any other.

However, what Dragon was also equally known for was his ability to rock, he’d thrash and throw himself around the stage, throwing his segmented Mohawk hairstyle to and then fro, he was such a lively entertainer, a great performer, he could generate the very essence of what was deemed as punk rock. Despite him having styled his Mohawk to within an inch of its life with basically hair superglue, it was still movable, and this he despised, he wanted a hair stylist who would know what to do. Basically, he had been doing his hair and makeup all on his own, and one day he realised, to himself, that he could afford to have his own stylist and makeup artist, all for his own. He was a millionaire many times over, why was he doing his own styling, it was outrageous, it was crazy, it was simply embarrassing.

So he placed an advertisement in the paper, as Dragons are wont to do, calling forth a stylist and a makeup artist for a client who he simply described as “well to do”. He knew not to use his real name, nor to make mention of his own occupation at all, because he didn’t want to attract those wanting fame from his presence, he wanted those humble, and willing to perform the best of their work. He found three potentials: one called Amy, a shy lizard who had a great hairdressing portfolio, then Sandy, who was more focussed on making him endless coffees and providing compliments that made him roll his eyes and want to send her away with her little famous dreams, scurrying off home, and finally, the perfect candidate of them all, Roland, the tiger who was skilled with makeup and hair, who seemed to know it all.

During the interviewing process he had had bad feelings, of course, about Sandy, she was seemingly only interested greatly in the job now that she had met Dragon and knew how famous was he – and potentially how famous she could be, Amy was rather bland in her personality, she lacked the fierceness he wished his staff to have, but Roland was perfect, they chatted about music, percussion, hair gel and styling mousse, and everything from here to there. They actually got on like a house on fire, and of this Dragon was forced to admit, that Roland was everything he could want and expect to prepare him for his nightly shows, making his image into that of a punk dragon king. He asked Roland to style him as a test, and perfectly made up was his segmented Mohawk, it was presented as its very, utmost best, and then and there he was hired, the others would be called by his secretary, informing them of their negative news of that hour.

So now Dragon was free to rock, never bothering his head about whether his hair was falling side to side nor splitting apart, he could expressively percussively sing, throaty rumbles, clever rhymes, tunes, and Roland, of him, he was taken everywhere around the world where he loved to experience the cities outside of the borders and then within. On the tours that Dragon would like to take, he found out more about Roland’s habits, his dreams, his soaring feelings about punk rock, and other things, such as his dislike of dried fruits, especially dates. For they stuck in his teeth, and made him feel greatly at unease, but this information is useless to most people, it does not inform of much, nor please.

So we move on to discover that Roland was a talented singer, he was classically trained, most especially in opera. He had been trying to find his feet, his way, in the classical world, whilst chasing his other dream of hairstyling and makeup artistry and it so happened that the ad to him had called, the simply written advertisement calling for someone of his skill set, to showcase his talents, techniques he knew best. Then it seemed fate that he was paired, working for, rather, a dragon of immense fame and incredible skill, it didn’t matter that he was of a different singing style, what mattered was that he was within the right ilk. He could practice his arts and so too learn from Dragon, from observing his own unique style of art, his music he soaked up every night from the side of the stage again and again.

And finally one day he admitted to Dragon that he was highly skilled at vocals, being classically trained. With shock, a startled Dragon said, “Let me hear your voice, it must be showcased!” And with great nervousness, Roland opened his mouth, and out came a melody so delicious and skilled, the surrounding beings’ hearts melted, their minds screaming for more, of his voice they became devout. The listeners wanted more and more, and with each vibrato, trill, turn, arpeggio he would sing, oh, how the surrounding world shivered and shuddered, he was that amazing. Dragon made certain to incorporate Roland somehow in the show, his talent would not be wasted, no, he would not allowed it to be breathy, breathed out, he would not let this tiger go. When it came to Roland’s debut night, Roland understood that he could not allow anything to cause him a fright.

“Just calm yourself,” he said, “Allow yourself to think pleasant thoughts in your head.” With a beating  chest he thrust himself forth on the stage, and percussive mixed with operatic style was then presented for the listener’s minds to be heard, interpreted, and saved. How they whooped and hollered, they had never heard of anything so innovative, so amazing, so different this was from what Dragon usually presented, his normal sound, it was like two musical lines were clashing but weaving, and so eloquently the differences were as they were being presented deeply and shrilly. One melodic, the other crash-clash, and an operatic finish, from tenor to falsetto, Roland had performed his best. Dragon the Punk Rocker was over the moon, their duet should be featured every concert from then on, Roland was now known of as incredible, amazing, he would famous so very soon.

But he shied away from the crowd, felt it too overwhelming and cumbersome, perhaps he would sing behind a curtain, this is what he had decided, until he could grow less awkward, of being ogled and stared at. He was a shy young thing, and he wasn’t used to the raucous environment, from the sidelines he was happy to have his time spent. So Roland had had his few minutes of fame, perhaps one day he would grow courageous again. But for now, he was happy to be behind the scenes and tend to Dragon’s makeup and hairstyling, this was enough of his chosen talents that the world would be seeing. Occasionally though, he sung the duet with Dragon, from the sidelines though, he was an unknown tiger to the lot of them. To the concert goers that had viewed his debut, they remembered him fondly, but never knew of which way he had decided to go, to pursue his chosen truths.

© 2019 Alice Well Art, Lauren M. Hancock, also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved.

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Story: When I Was A Toddler (Fiction) – 20/08/19

When I was a toddler, I had the greatest friend there could ever be, her name was Delilah, she loved me, and never ever betrayed me. We would have fun before and after playgroup swinging on the monkey bars, we would take turns riding to playgroup and other places in each other’s parents’ cars. She was kind and friendly, and surprisingly always full of energy, there was nothing that could stop her when she was in this powerful, energetic mood, she moved and thought so frenetically. We liked to run laps of the nearby local dam, and huffing and puffing we would giggle, then breathless, upon the ground we’d rest, utterly spent.

Delilah was always there for me, she lived but two houses down the road, often we’d sneak outside of our windows at night and lay on the grass, wondering at the moon and the stars. She often spoke of meteors and shooting stars, planets and things, I wondered to myself where she’d procured all this information, such a clever girl she was to be seen. But poor Delilah had a side to her that others could not, would not be allowed to be seen. She was saddened beyond belief at certain things she’d read about the world, depressing these occurrences were, events that had been. She could not speak of them, not at all could she disclose of them, for her father was a journalist who dealt with information classified by the highest security force in the world, we dared not even name them. In this sense, she was too curious for her own good, and during her alone times, she would contemplate the events that she couldn’t speak of, not even to me, let alone the neighbourhood, and troubled she became, each layer building, building, becoming more painful, then the same, until she had to release them, she wrote of the information in her journal, and dreamed of them in her daydreams.

If there was any doubt as to how Delilah, as a toddler, could absorb such intelligence written, complicatedly through the reports throughout, she was far beyond in understanding of certain things of the past and today. Her parents had read to her since she was but three days old, and upon having heard of this, my parents had done so too, copying their friendly neighbours from the fold. For we were born mere days apart, this is why I call her my best friend and twin, and of life, we had together started. But now a problem presented, and I must make mention of this fact, stressed beyond belief at holding the information back, she began to share it with me, in snippets here and there, and then, I was becoming stressed, I could not hold my frustration in again and again! Now, I knew what danger that there was in knowing this information, I urged her to keep quiet, to cease reading the reports, and quell her stressors with contemplation, but Delilah giggled her typical laugh, and said not to be ridiculous, that knowledge was a key to the present, future, and past.

“But ‘Lilah,” I said, sounding rather pained, “You’re risking your life for being informed, do you want me to be forced to do the same? Please don’t share your facts with me, and please of them stop reading, it is the best for us, for you and for me.” Shaking her head, she would not be convinced otherwise, she toddled off to the other house down the street, with her unbalanced toddler gait, knowing she could do as she pleased, hide and fervently read. If only Mister Garter, her intellectual journalist of a father, could know of what his daughter was doing, the dangers she was risking, the dangers into which she’d been thrown. And there was only one thing I could do, one thing that would make me lose my friend, I had to inform Mister Garter, because no one else knew of her antics, and besides, if they did, they would not inform him instead.

For the sake of my friend, for her protection now and in the future, my little twin best friend and sister, I was willing to lose her. If it meant they were required to move across the world, to avoid consequences, of her being known of as privy to the information only meant for a certain fold, then so be it, she may hate me forevermore, but at least she would be safe, and that would be a godsend for me, simply because. I loved her dearly, and I hoped she would understand, there was nothing underhanded or reeking of betrayal about this, but I felt so terrible, so sad. She would never speak to me again, but this was the way it had to be, my sister, my heart, my truth, gone would she be, flown the coup.

And I still remember to her to this very day, as I write of her, in my current day and age, I wish that I could find her, but surely she is married by now, different surname, perhaps an exciting life, I will never ever know. I knew I had performed the right action when official looking vehicles and men came looking for them, about three weeks after the family had suddenly upped and left in the middle of the night. These men asked around the townspeople, knocking on residents’ door for hours, trying to reckon of where or what had occurred in this scene. And smiling to myself as I remember how she was saved, perhaps she recalls my memories fondly, I hope that her father provided her a proper explanation the departure day, but in my heart she’ll always ring true, Delilah, my best friend, who had to leave because of what she knew.

© 2019 Alice Well Art, Lauren M. Hancock, also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved.

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