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: 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: 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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Story: Egbert the Excitable Echidna Soars in Leaps and Bounds – 19/08/19

“Weeeee! Look at me!” called Egbert to his friends, one, two and three. He was spinning on his feet, pirouetting as elegantly as could be.

“You go, ‘Bert!” called Lucy.

“Yeah, keep going!” cheered Brody.

“Why do you always have to be so showy?” groaned Danni. Danni was the moodiest of the four, she didn’t want to join in to the cheering antics at all. She didn’t like encouraging her friends, only wanted to be miserable and moan, this was the life of Danni, who didn’t want to know anyone at all. In fact, the only reason she was there in the group was because the others had taken pity on her, her internal anger often lead her to self combust, and they wanted her to learn to be friendlier and trust. But here she was, as always, breathing heavily, sighing strongly, upset that she was not being attended to, and that Egbert was the one being observed in a manner very happily and lightly. What did she expect, being morose, how could others look upon her with joy, and most of all she needed to understand, that to be approachable one needed to be open and willing to share, speak well of others, and perhaps occasionally lend a helping hand.

“Never mind her,” Lucy muttered under her breath, and she continued calling, encouraging her friend Egbert as he performed the movements of his ballet scene’s choreography. He had been working on this for more than two months, every spare second, every spare minute, he was practicing, rehearsing energetically, his excitability calling, he would leap, prance, breathe deeply, gasp, for his ballet dancing took precedence in his world, to gain a place in the National Ballet Academy it was a dream he would work to make truth, to unfurl.

A slight problem with Egbert was that a lot of things made him excitable, and this had a tendency to take attention away from his goal, provide many distractions, such as that ladybug he found behind his ear, he would name her Philippa, and provide her a terrarium home, or the colours painted on the wall of the alleyway, he would stop to admire them for an hour on his way from secondary school to his home, or the blades of grass, so tufty and firm, he would play with them, giggling, with his claws pressing them to and fro so firmly – he was easily distracted, and this was a problem to him. He knew how to be focused, and he tried his utmost on being like this with his choreography, his routine so well developed and fantastic, but he had to draaaaag himself away from the distracters, in order to refocus.

It wasn’t his fault, he had been diagnosed with a condition years prior that deemed him as having problems with his attention, deficits from this, a disorder, but his mother wouldn’t provide the pharmaceutical medication as she wanted to heal him holistically. She provided him salves, natural tablets, herbs and all, to rectify the problem, and initially it proved to be useful to him, in every mental zone. His attention soared, his eyes were pin pricked focused, he could dance for hours and it wasn’t a problem.

But then something happened, his mother lost faith in her cause, to provide him natural remedies, she simply gave up, and upped and left the mission, hiding in her bedroom hole. Word flew around the community that she was suffering from depression, but she didn’t want to be seen, looked at, viewed by anyone, not even a doctor, she just wanted to rest and sleep, then wake, repeat, sleep, again. So Egbert was left to his own devices, he treated himself the best that he could, it turned out that his best wasn’t enough, he needed to educate himself of the remedies, and do this soon. Surprisingly, his friend Danni, showed an interest in this topic, it was strange, given that she was morose about basically everything she encountered, and together they set out, procuring all research they could possibly find, dumping the literature in a corner, they sat together, and began to furiously read, through the pages they dived.

“Hey, would you look at this?” uttered Egbert excitedly. “Look at this information, this plant, it’s a dandelion, perhaps it has a place for solving?” Then his eyes flittered to another page, darting left then right, then now to another fact!

“Egbert!” Danni exclaimed. “We need to focus!”

After reading solidly for three and a half hours, Egbert and Danni were far less wired, they had lost the focus they had previous harnessed, and now their eyes were becoming heavily lidded.

“Let me fetch you a drink,” she said slyly, and with a secretive smile, Danni darted out to the kitchen, to view was on offer, what was available. Not seeing the ingredients that she would need, she quickly darted out to the Australian natives in the backyard, gently waving in the breeze. Collecting what she needed, she prepared a herbal tea, and providing it, steaming hot, to Egbert, she carefully observed him. He sipped cautiously, carefully, so as not to spill it upon himself, and tried to ignore the strange taste it had to itself. He could not stay silent, he didn’t know what this was, but whatever it was, it wasn’t making him in any way, shape or form excitable, and he wanted to know, why, because!

“It’s a mixture I made, an antidote, a potion, from the information we’ve saved, and look now! Your eyes are focused again!” With happiness, he felt himself aligned, with everything he needed, he now wanted to dance for hours, to fly! But when he rose, he didn’t even want to try, he just wanted to focus on other things, for a while.

“Hmmm, this is in an interesting problem, an unforseen moment, with no explanation,” Danni said, stroking her chin. “We want you focused, but we want you about your dancing excited still to be!” And with this, she consulted the yellowing pages of one book, parchment paper, as old as could be, no one need know where the pages were from, where they have been taken, now free to be viewed, and to his tea she added a sparkle from her fingers, click, with a smile, and with a final sip, Egbert was excitable and focused, for all the while! Now with this antidote, his condition was controlled, he needed not pharmaceuticals, or the missing natural remedies his mother used to make for him when he was younger, and now that he was old, and wiser, and with Danni’s assistance, she guided him, medicated him, and their friendship became firmer and more consistent.

They saw each other more often than usual, they spent time together in his breaks from dancing in the stairwell at school, they confided in one another, and wouldn’t you believe it? Danni was miserable only with a group of others, but one on one she was confident, friendly and all knowing. She simply had had secret issues with being bullied in primary school, that she didn’t like being around more than one person at all. And now that both their problems, for Egbert and Danni were addressed and out in the open, they had the freedom to pursue their dreams.

Egbert obtained the place he most desperately wanted in the National Ballet Academy, in his audition he danced through the air, flitted so freely. No one could have believed that an echidna would careen so eloquently, and he had everything to prove to the panel members that his skill was there, beamingly, to be seen. Danni buckled down, and began studying incredibly hard, at understanding the principals of using vitamins and herbs, and other natural products, and she realised that she had a great passion for pursuing and researching these things.

She set her sights on becoming a natural doctor, she accomplished her dream of obtaining a place in a naturopathic college, and for the next three years she studied heavily. By the time the three years were up, Danni graduated with honours, presenting her thesis to the honoured animals and natural healers of the outback, and Egbert was known of by all, a household name, an elegant creature in the Natural World Ballet. Their other two friends had fallen by the wayside when Danni and Egbert had decided to knuckle down and become more studious, although still successful in their own right, their friendship group was no longer in sight. Danni and Egbert are married now, three kids with great minds, they live together, a natural healer and a ballet dancer who was more of an excitable flier, and of their lives, none in the outback can compare. All of this began from being a little more excitable than the others, and a female echidna who decided to try, to dare.

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

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Story: When The Wind Changes – 18/08/19

Nana playfully grabbed my nose as I made a cheeky face.

“You know, Alice, if you continue doing this, your face will stay the same when the wind will change!”

Nonsense,” I replied emphatically. “That is nothing of the truth. I’ve made faces for years now, and there is nothing to show that what you say is proof.” Nana shrugged now, with a wise expression in her eyes. “I don’t know how else to tell you this, but you’ll figure it out deep inside.” And returning to making her home made cabbage rolls did she, smiling to herself, occasionally grinning freely.

Nana was a trickster, she was hilarious and loved to prank. She gave me a mouse for my fifth birthday, presented in a box apparently procured from our local bank. I had been so excited, thinking I was set to receive a money box filled with coins, notes, and other treats, but open the box, and jumped out, what did I see? My future pet, Charles, in all his beautiful glistening capacity. I’ve had Charles for two years now, according to my morose brother Sturt he has not long left to live, the end of his life is not far off, soon he will go. When Sturt says such things, I scold him and make a prolonged mean face, I poke my tongue out, bulge my eyes, and wait until he does say, “Stop that, Sis, you scare me so!” and then upturned my mouth becomes, I have achieved my goal. Off I would trot to achieve another task, off to another task I would run.

I’d heard from others that when the wind changed your altered facial expression could stay the same, but I did not believe it, I welcomed the common sense telling me otherwise, the rationale in my mind, my intelligent brain. For why should I, would I, believe that some occurrence such as this was possible, I’d never seen or heard of anyone else who’d been frozen. This notion was surely impossible!

My favourite face was poking out my little tongue, like a clever happy gecko on his morning run, and then crossed my eyes as tightly as I could, I’d walk around the school yard and playground, bumping into things and people, feeling as happy as I could. It gave me great joy to be silly, and Nana, my darling Nanni, was surely only tricking, this was my understanding.

But then one day, I was pulling a grotesque face, mouth twisted into a snarling opening, eyes rolling here and there, searching for something, and then a gust of wind blew from behind me, near pushing me forward into a nearby tree, and it felt so beautiful, wonderful, that gust, that I went to laugh with great delight and glee. But there was a problem, I couldn’t move my face! It was as though I was frozen here upon an expression in a book, a certain page. I tried to mould my face smoother with my hands, wipe out the wrinkles that came with scrunching my face upon command, but nothing! Not even my eyes could stop rolling and searching, there was nothing I could do, despite me considering everything. Hopeless, hopeless, I felt, I wished I had listened to Nan, my dear loving Nana who was trying to obviously help the best that she could, and with her words floating in my mind, I travelled back to my home, to hide from the world, forevermore I would, never resurfacing ever, not even from time to time.

I stared into my reflection in the mirror. I was an abhorrent sight. I was grotesque, horrid, how had I allowed myself to permit this to occur, simply because I believed Nana’s words warranted no truths, and arrogantly I had pushed them aside. I pulled out book after book, frantically searching for an antidote, a reversal to my truth, and suddenly, after three hours of perusing, I knew what I could do. Apparently I needed to reverse the occurrence by wishing for something the opposite of abhorrence, something filled with beauty and that I could present with utter assurance, then entering a dream-state of mine, I became in the right frame of mind to be sure of this. I closed my rolling, now paining eyes, and heavily focussed on what I wanted to happen, the expression that I wanted to come undone, and thinking of Nana’s smiling face, I proceeded to let the process happen, a wishing, wishing from afar. I pulled out my electric fan and began to let it run, an artificial breeze, the air produced was a replacement for the natural breeze that made me look like this. I muttered special words under my breath, I chanted for change to occur, making these words, wishes,  stronger and stronger until I could believe, and then suddenly my face slackened, and I felt myself become me once more, with a great sigh of relief, I exhaustedly threw myself to the floor. One look in the mirror confirmed my delighted truth, I had returned to myself, my face was presented its usual view.

These days I listen to Nana’s advice now, no matter whether she playfully or seriously presents it forth to me, for she is much older, and far wiser, than I could at this age hope to be. I still poke my tongue out at her, don’t get me wrong, I haven’t ceased being a child, but I only perform my expressions for a second, I don’t allow them to remain long enough for a change in the wind or clouds. I have learned my lesson from the frightening event that had occurred, and as with all lessons in life, they needed to be appreciated as worthy moments, and in my memory the feelings and event are stored. I’ll be as wise as my Nan one day, and I’ll hopefully show my grandkids the way, but until then, I need just be myself, and listen to wise advice provided from trusted others, and nobody else.

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

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Story: Miss Veronica the Piggie Goes To Market – 17/08/19

Miss Veronica liked to look her best.

Miss Veronica was a showy piggie. She loved to dress up in ostentatious outfits, so pretty. Her little blue hat atop her porky head, her frilly neck collar around her neck, her dainty bow around her tail so curly, why, she was as gorgeous as she could be. With a slick of red lipstick upon her smackers, she was perfect to be presented to whomever she was pass by or wander. No one could ever imagine within was an introverted piggie who was trembling at the drawn attention. Her dress ups aided her in being more confident and self assured. Forcing herself into the limelight, she would squirm inwardly, slightly, but then bolstering herself in these moments, she hardened herself, and became stronger, an outer shell presented so protectively. And the more she wore her attention seeking garb, the more confident she felt, the garish outfits soon became a second skin, and she felt calmer, reposed, and appreciated within, a sense of personal growth throughout.

Miss Veronica the Piggie enjoyed going to the market on Wednesday, for it was her one day off, and there was much fresh produce, knick-knacks, jewellery, and foods on sale and display, for a pig, more than enough. She enjoyed walking along the aisles, taking in the feverish atmosphere that sometimes accompanied some stalls, the fervent scent of an imminent sale, as the seller and buyer called. She grinned to herself whenever the stall owners’ gaze would flicker to her, taking in her outfit, her confidence, heart and pride would swell more and more. Then she would move on, to enjoy other food or observe other knick-knack delights, she drew the attention of many others, but never caused a startle nor a fright.

Veronica’s favourite part of the market was where they deemed which animal was best in show. This was one of the other reasons why she dressed up, secretively, why she spent time upon her appearance the most. And the reason she went to the Wednesday shows was because she was only just beginning participating in such shows, the Saturday versions were much larger and of greater competition, and the thoughts of such a larger crowd and amount of competitors admittedly scared Miss Veronica, even though she was such a pretty sow. When she had commenced entering the competitions, she had been greatly lacking in her self confidence, but this had been fine, she was working on it through the Wednesday show system.

Firstly, the animals were lined up, presented forth to the crowd by name. Then they were weighed, and measured for girth and height, and allowed to perform up to two tasks or impressive tricks to the crowd to be seen. Miss Veronica only had one finely honed skill, and this was to hoola hoop around her portly hips, for over five minutes, this was her drill. Although the crowd was initially impressed, by the two minute mark they were lulled into boredom, but blessed was Veronica to be able to hoola hoop for so long. Instead of wasting the opportunity of presenting a second talent, as an impromptu, she took upon the stage and sung her favourite song by Pig Schneider, “Back in the Habit”.  

She didn’t win the talents round, and she didn’t win the show, but this was not worth mentioning other than in passing, for the show caused Veronica an outward glow. The ability to stand, being presented, on stage, when initially she was so embarrassed and shy and ashamed, now being here in her garb so unique, showing off her eccentric style, her goal was complete. And ready herself to depart the market and show, when a little piggie, tiny in stature, approached Veronica, so daintily.

“Excuse me, ma’am,” he emitted, for that was only what one could call it. His tiny little voice sounded like a tiny verbal beacon for an ant army. Veronica did not notice him and turned to walk away.

“Veronica? Miss Veronica?” he pressed more forcefully, tugging on her tail’s finery. Startled, she lowered her eyes to him.

“Yes?” she asked kindly. She was never approached at the market, never addressed, this was strange to her, a certain feeling caused an appreciative tingle within.

“I couldn’t help noticing you in the show,” he went on to say. “You were admirable, fabulous, I loved your song choice. Do you think I could take you out on a date?” His eyes shone with hope, and he wished his request had not been made too late. For he had seen the way the other members of the audience shone with admiration, and something else too, which he could not put his finger on, he would have to perform some research.

“Oh my!” Veronica said, placing a trotter, shocked, before her mouth. “Of course, I would love too, I’ll meet you tonight at the pub down south.” Little Piggie grinned a grateful smile, he would be seen with this beauty, for much of a while, and together they would eat, and sing, and hopefully dance, why what a glorious evening that was promised, perhaps they’d hold trotters as they pranced. As they parted ways in the crowd, each saying they greatly looked forward to meeting one another in the pub down south, near Vermouth’s Mouth, Little Piggie overheard a conversation between two farmers from the show’s crowd.

“That winner, mmm, I’m looking forward to that bovine for dinner,” one growled. The other chuckled in return. “These silly animals don’t know they are sending themselves in for assessment, why don’t we just make the process more obvious?”

“But then they wouldn’t come,” the other exclaimed. “And it would be less fun, at least we are allowing them a final moment to enjoy their Life’s run.” Then the men cackled together most evilly, and headed off to the van which provided hot drinks for a spot of peppermint tea.

Shocked, aghast, utterly horrified, Little Piggie rushed around the market trying to decipher what he’d heard and seen with his very ears and eyes. From what it sounded like, the show wasn’t an innocent play on the notion of a beauty pagent, it was instead a sinister means of procuring an animal victim for human consumption, a means of fooling the lot of them. He must spread the word now, it must be so, it must be done, and rushing forth to the marketplace’s microphone, he screamed this aloud:

“Fellow animals, LISTEN TO ME! Do not enter the human’s show ever again, unless you wish the chance to never again be seen. They are looking for victims, to grace their plates for lunch and tea! Now, come now, leave, leave, and never here again be seen!” With this came great confusion, animals running here, rushing there, here, there and everywhere, eyes bulging, obscenely frightened, a catastrophe, a cacophony, and then Little Piggie was swooped away by unseen arms, and taken to a darkened, damp holding room. He was held there initially for the night, then questioned harshly for three days and nights, and ultimately missed out on his evening date with Miss Veronica.

He could not contact her, he did not know what to do, all he could do was imagine her sitting sadly, eyes wistfully flickering to the doorway whenever movement could be seen. And then by the time the kitchen would close, he imagined her dejectedly leaving, her stooped shoulders a heavy pose, and returning home sob sorrowfully would she, whilst she removed her precious fineries.

But they would meet again, coincidentally passing by one another in the street, and Little Piggie would share his tale, and over coffee, many others, of his life’s goals and inner dreams, and the more that Little Piggie opened up to her, the stronger their connection did grow, appreciative at being trusted and her company wanted, Veronica’s heart now felt utterly replete, she was one joyous sow.

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

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