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: Will Steve the Super Thief ‘Come Good’? – 17/08/19

Steve was skilled, but he was questioning the morality of his practices…

Of his craft he was superbly skilled, Super Thief knew every emergency evacuation and drill. What would occur from the moment security was called, to cease the activities which Super Thief had honed since he was not so old. If the manager came racing to the safe, Super Thief knew which precautions to take. He was incredibly well trained when it came to avoiding the negatives of being held accountable for his tasks, but rarely did these occur anyway, because he was so calculated with his security wire cutting, his lock picking, his safe drilling, he performed these ever so fast. No one could barely breathe a breath of knowledge of his sneaky back views, he understood, even though his conscience occasionally pained him, asking himself if robbing was the correct thing to do.

Aside from his possessing his developed thieving tricks, Super Thief had not developed any positive life skills, nothing to add to his lifelong language, no little bricks of knowledge mortar to add to his foundations, his walls, to cement, to concrete his positive path in life, the way that his parents had always schooled him of doing, as he would grow from little to old. Those who knew him intimately, as former friends and such supposed it were not his fault, he had been surrounded by bandits after school, they were the company that he ultimately chose. From those one surrounds themselves with equates to how one could then become, and soon, the growing thief – we shall call him Steve, for now, his real name  – was filled with a burningly bright spark. He had listened to his friends boast of their nightly antics, and proud as punch were they, speaking of their gains ill gotten as so fantastic, and slowly, morally, Steve then proceeded to come undone, it happened slowly, day by day. He viewed his friends as people to look up to, after all, they were ‘cool’, they ruled the streets at night, and their ‘exploratory skills’, as Steve’s friends would call them, at the expense of others, aided them into gaining monetary and accumulative benefits.

The first time he went out with them at night was when he was twelve years old. He was much younger than the rest of them, who were upwards of fifteen plus years old. The seasoned crew broke into an empty home, and squatted there for the night, just to give Steve a taste, to keep him away from his exemplar parents and warm, loving home that night. The rush he felt when he entered the premise was nothing compared to when he first picked a lock to a cage of bantam hens, freeing them, releasing them back into nature, their world of wild, until out from the brush snapped a fox, and consumed one of them whole. Then the fox attacked the other, purely for sport. Dejected, Steve left the poor hen laying there, feathers strew about, he felt saddened this was caused by him, and that this second hen died not for food, but simply the fox’s thrill of the kill. And then he decided to lay down by the hen’s side, comforting the gasping animal as it slowly drained of life.

The cruel fate of nature, this occurrence which happened without any hint of reason or rhyme, the randomness of it all made Steve wonder at life. Why, if this fox could steal this hen’s life so easily, so powerfully, so freely, shouldn’t Steve so too look out for himself, before others stole from him, beings so utterly greedy? And what about those who had far too much, who weren’t concerned about sharing with others, at all, their greediness more than enough? They needed to be taken down a rung. Whoever they were, they should be prepared for Steve’s nightly antics and exploratory fun. While this reasoning made little sense, to a prepubescent Steve it did, and learn from his friends did he the tricks of their trade, but one by one they all began to leave. Some to juvenile detention, others punished and sent away by their mamma and pa, slowly, after Steve had learned all the skills, he was the only one left illegally driving in their hang-out car. How lonely he was, so he thrust himself into work, he picked this lock, he entered this safe, he did everything required to take the sadness away from his enslaved brain. All he could think of were his missing social connections, his dear mentors of his friends, until suddenly, an epiphany, it occurred to him, he was substituting this emptiness with this ‘work’, puttying his absence of happiness, the missing friendship borne spark. Never once had he been caught, and he supposed this was a miracle, but then again he was far too skilled to have that happen to him, but still, he realised he’d performed far too much ill, and taken from others, only justifying the steals for the thrill and implying that the victims could afford it, for he never stole from anyone singular any more, only companies and corporations that could afford to lose at least two or three mill.

Once home, he stripped himself of his thieving garb, removed the mask that had shaded around his eyes, dropped the burlap sack and the backpack, and with the knowledge that he was rich beyond belief, he needed to make this less of a strange immoral dream, and donate all the proceeds of his thievery to charity. His mama and his papa were shocked to see him without his garb, they knew of his practices but couldn’t stop him because, they were powerless, or so they felt, in every moment that they attempted to change their almost adult son into something better, something right, someone who created a legal profit, someone who knew better.

Formerly Super Thief Steve gathered all his belongings that he had procured from his many missions, and into piles he threw countless pieces of gold and diamonds, and silver, and platinum and cash and rare coins, and assigned a pile to one charity, a pile to the next, and so on and so forth until his efforts thereafter were well spent, the finality of the divisions he would firmly decide. He even decided that it was time to turn himself in, not in the manner though, that most people would view as appropriate, to be seen, but rather offer his services to the security officials and CEOs of the companies he had targeted over the years, and teach them of the vulnerabilities in their security systems, such appropriate knowledge he felt worthy of sharing. If he did so, they could improve their vulnerabilities, cease having individuals such as the negative former character that was he alter their apparently tight securities, and with Steve’s capacities out on show, his motives would be clear, his past then translucent, and wiped by those who would now know who he was and where he had gone to thieve out of principle and somewhat overthrow because they simply had too much.

Steve knew that his plan was correct and right, and he would proceed with implementing it in the morning, and for the first time in many years, he crawled into bed before nine in the evening and slept there, baby-like, until ten in the morning. No more would there be Steve’s Super Theiving.

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

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Story: A Hungry Little Mouse – 15/08/19

There was enough to feed three, two times around!

Open my eyes and what did I see? A glorious chunk of cheese hanging from a line, staring right back at me! I could not believe my luck, upon discovering this find, for I had been participating in a game of Mice: Three Blind. This involved myself and my two brothers wandering around the forest and its deserted road, with eyes firmly shut, only words could we form and to be told that this type of game was very dangerous, lest we walk into trees and animals looking for us to eat, above and beneath the forests’ surface. But this was exactly what I was looking for, not some victory in a silly childish game, where we would win by calling out repeatedly and determining one’s distance from another, essentially repetitively calling out the others’ names. I was too old for this, I was always hungry anyway, and discovering this jackpot of a prize would allow me much delight, I planned to disguise it and be on my way. Then I could eat it however I wished: raw, sliced, fried, filleted, diced, and such delight I would garner from this, my unexpected prize.

I admit I had cheated, by opening my eyes, but I could not help it, my nose had sniffed strongly, detected a tasty treat so wholly. And with a quick peek then a startled wide eyed awakening, I had realised that the cheese surely needed saving! I mean, who allows cheese to hang from a string? It is rather macabre, a sight to be viewed in a Hollywood Halloween film. The death of a cheese from hanging from a noose, how horrid a sight, I must assist it, of this image it must be vamoosed. And delicately, though with great excitement, I did attempt to disentangle, my prize winning portion, of the black type vintage, but the technique required me to be faster, much more nimble. Although, in doing so, I could risk breaking my portion apart, spreading upon the ground in dirty inedible chunks, this would not be right, I would not allow it so, I quickly and succinctly broke the string into fraying pieces, and now the cheese was upon my hands, not broken on the ground.

With utter glory, I placed one corner into my mouth, it tasted wonderful, I allowed a chunk down south. And another little nibble, and then there were three – “Brother, brother, what have you found us??” a sibling called out to me with glee. I groaned inwardly, exhaled loudly, visibly, “How could you sneak up on me when you weren’t calling me, and when you were not meant to see?” My brother Hank shrugged, and Bert to the right of him smiled for a while, and said, “Wherever you are, we will always sneakily be.”

My two brothers explained how they’d initially discovered the cheese chunk, but uncertain were they of removing it without damaging it, this motion they had not been able to ascertain, to allow the cheese’s shape to last. So, they hid around the corner, waited for me to stumble upon the scene, and watch carefully as I would dismantle their current edible dream. I thought it ridiculous that they had assumed that there was a high chance I would stumble upon them so soon. But then the truth of the matter is that I did in fact arrive, despite the jungle and deserted road being so large, and of my brothers usually being extremely difficult for me to discover whilst they would hide.

So, reluctantly, I decided to share with my lunch and cheese dinner, it was large enough of a portion for us to enjoy as three lunches and dinners. However the question remains as to who left this portion of food, hanging upon a tree for us as though a trap, though with nothing to capture us, how strange was this fact? Perhaps it was another kind animal who knew that of our game Mice: Three Blind that we played often throughout our day, that he or she provided a little cheeky sneaky treat for us to all enjoy. Maybe one day the provider will show his or her face, and together we can dance around a wheel of cheese, celebratory, a great prance for the day.

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

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Story: The Zombie’s Bride – 14/08/19

She was resplendent in her green haired glamour.

They had met through a pen pal service, known as Lovers World Wide, Ply Ltd. Daniella was an alternative sort of a girl, with green hair and a purposeful pasty complexion, normally she was slightly tanned, but she disliked being so, as she attracted the attentions of a nearby unwanted man. This man was Darcy, from down the road, nearby he lived and obsessed was he with the colours green and brown. For some strange reason, they switched a light on inside of him, somehow, thus Daniella painted her face with much lighter foundation to avoid being visibly attractive beneath Darcy’s stellar eyes and his prying nose. With her foundation on, she was obscured from the sight of this creepy, obsessive man.

Back to her current love affair, we find ourselves watching as Daniella is in great command of operating her calligraphy pen, the object of which she constructed her love letters to the current man, and former pen pal men. At one point, she had been corresponding with three in one go: Julius, Joseph, and Jason, the three J’s she called them, but now she had reduced them all to nothing, having found a man of her life-long calling. This man was sweet, kind, clever, unexpected, provided her laughs and made her feel so very alive. His name was Bernard, and he was the most epic being that she had ever had the chance of viewing, the man who she wanted continually of her to be perpetually pursuing.

Even though they had been dating through the mail for the past four months, he still sent her special bundles of gifts, and bunches of flowers, to simply let her know that his love would always last. In turn she sent drawings and pictures of herself pouting and smiling, other expressions, in various poses, it seemed a fair trade off, and as love cultivates, how love grows, it happens.

Bernard was extremely attractive, he had a curled moustache of which he tamed the ends with pomade, he had a lovely haircut from an expensive barber, with a subtle fade, and every month he returned to have it maintained. His sparkling crystalline blue eyes caught the sight of everyone else’s, and locked and loaded would the connection grow, if talented and charismatic Bernard allowed it.

For what, or who, Bernard was, was something interesting, something from afar, he possessed the skill to manipulate thought, to draw others near, closer, from far. And while they would be just within his grasp, he would grab them, hold them tightly within his grip, and then suddenly attack, in a manner so matter a fact, for he was a secret zombie, and he rarely revealed this fact. Because, Bernard was a zombie-human hybrid, he did not need to feast upon humans for substance, as his food, it was only when he was lacking energy, feeling less lively, that he pretended to attack them after meeting a ‘victim’ so soon.

Daniella knew of her pen pal lover’s heritage, as we shall call it. That his mother was the zombie, and his father was a man who had fallen for her charms and processes. His father was an incredibly brave individual for deciding to pursue a zombie, but he was bold, he was clever, and he knew how to win a strong woman over. And with time, his future wife had begun to trust him, with each intimate word that he did speak she allowed him a closer distance, and a year after their marriage Bernard was born, their immense joy and ecstatic feelings did ultimately grow.

So this time the tables had turned, Bernard was the zombie man, he knew he had won over Daniella and obtained her trust, cementing it again and again, and he knew that she and he to one another would be loyal, of their love they would forever be filled with strength and truth, the only thing left in the process was would be to meet at the altar, this would be their final relationship proof.

Daniella had always been one to throw caution to the wind, and so too did Bernard feel that this could be, for him it would reflect the spontaneous method in which he lived, he knew more about Daniella than most who were in her circle of friends and family – it was as though together they had already joined and lived. As Daniella walked down toward the altar, her green hair styled nicely, her skin complexion now free of makeup, free to breathe, her hands clasped around a bouquet of a fake human brain, a little clever joke between her and her man.

Bernard turned and his eyes lit up with such emotion, here was his cleverpot, his ecstatic dream, his wonderful life explosion. The woman he wanted to live with forevermore, who had accepted him even though inside he felt a slight failure and mediocre, she wanted something from him, only love, and this made his heart swell more and more. She was beautiful, she knew his truths, she understood that sometimes he had to attack slightly, but this was a cover too. It was not even a true attack, when he held himself off, after the fact, and now, his mind became swimmingly buoyant as they locked eyes together. He could barely wait as he clasped her hands at the altar, the feeling of finally touching her, oh, how sweet, and how it made him suffer, for they had held off meeting for so very long, that it seemed a punishment of sorts to be touching her soft skin finally, he wanted more and more.

And wed were they, hybrid zombie and woman that day, life for them turned out grand, even if the town discovered Bernard’s secret – as he had moved in with her – but of this, they did not give a damn. Then three little children had they with zombie lineage, zombie blood, and intermingle with the other children of the town in its hub.

Then to their surprise, others revealed that they too possessed zombie traits, apparently this was not uncommon, but it had been hidden for many generations, years, thousands of days. There was actually nothing to be embarrassed about, because the genetics meant that when mixed with certain human blood types the aggression of zombies would go, be gone, without, and left was simply a differential type of gene, something that slowly the world all over was experiencing and seeing.

So in peace their family lived, with their little cherub children, perfection in the moment of their sharing of their life dreams. Bernard and Daniella, how beautiful they were with their three, their family of five, grateful for their differences, and happily being free and alive.

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

                                 

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Story: Sammi the Beautiful Girl With Two Missing Teeth – 14/08/19

Sammi was a beautiful girl, inside and out. Her hair and skin glowed, shone throughout. Her effervescent personality made others joyous and gay, she was a bubbly, vivacious girl, and she loved to make others happy and keep them entertained. However, Sammi had a personal nightmare, it was evident when she grinned, she always hid behind her open hand, because missing were her two of her teeth. She was ashamed to grin like the other children, to show her remaining pearly whites to the world, she was always told that beauty came from within, but within her mouth was where her exterior beauty ended, she believed, it was the torment of her inner world. She was scared of being judged, frightened of being viewed of as uncool, she knew she had beautiful characteristics and traits, but she wished her teeth had never been taken so soon.

That moment when she had toppled, so happily hanging from the monkey bars, when her teeth made impact with her shins, despite this being in the past, the memories of the pain, as they hit against each other, the ‘crack’ heard inside her brain, made her wish she had not been so careless. If she’d fallen slightly differently, the dentist had said, her teeth could have been saved, instead she was left with unsightly gaps, and pain within her that was always there, within her memories never going away. Instead they had shattered, unable to be retrieved, her baby teeth gone, never to be again seen. And cry and cry all that day, and into the next did she, poor little Sammi, her beauty compromised, her dream of being a beauty queen seemingly gone, her sorrow spread quite freely. And the times when she accidentally burst into a giggle or a guffaw, and unintentionally she showed her teeth, she became chilli red and frightfully embarrassed, for, she wanted nothing more than to hide in her bed, trying to ward off her fiercely warm complexion as though it were a contagious disease about her face, her head.   

For now, Sammi’s dreams of being on show, walking down the runway with teenage model beauties from all over the world were scrapped now, her dreams once a whirlwind, an utter whirl, were now apparently unattainable for this unfortunate little girl. She had planned to grow into the industry, continuing her weekend beauty shows, but now, her best friend Susan scorned her, saying she was no longer the best in show.

“I’m telling you the truth, now,” she said firmly, “Not wanting to hurt you one bit, but those gaps in your mouth, they should be covered or filled, fix them with false teeth.” Her heart fell the most heavily at Susan’s sharpened words, for she was the closest friend in Sammi’s world, she could not understand why she was being such a nasty girl, was she suddenly cruel, no longer caring, had she fallen under a strange spell? Surely she understood that Sammi could smile without her teeth being shown wide, she could walk the runway and wave with delicateness, with glamorous pride, and there was no need for anyone to know that she was missing her teeth, she would train her mouth to disguise the apparent flaws, this uniqueness that she held within.

“I will still enter Miss Terrific Teenage World,” she vowed, from the age of still a little girl. “I will take on all the beauties, I will experience all there is to be seen and told.” And at that, she felt confident, that she could do this, despite her insecurities, despite her feelings that she was inadequate for simply missing two teeth. Although her mother and father had reassured her that her teeth would grow back, Sammi was dubious, their assertion did not seem a fact. She was certain that the two specific teeth she had lost were adult teeth, not baby ones, and that the dentist had simply gotten his facts wrong, and that of dentistry he possibly had much more to learn. After all, she had to prepare herself for the truth, that if she was not receiving any replacement teeth, she would perform the most, her utmost, at adaption; this was what she would do. And practised in the mirror, smiling and talking, while surreptitiously disguising her pearly whites at every minute free of her day and night, finally she gained great skill at deception, so she would not give even the most unsuspecting passerby a sudden fright.

As she grew, the time for Miss Terrific Teenage World finally arrived. She was flown to New Mexico, where all the other contestants were nervously biting their nails, drinking sugar free caffeine drinks, and others were with bright eyes, running on adrenaline, utterly alive. By this stage of her youth, Sammi had the art of speaking eloquently and with deception of her missing teeth down to a fine art, no one could tell, no one even knew, that she was different from the start. All they saw was her lovely face, her styled dress, her flamboyant nails and hair – the dress selected was a bit risque, but with the finery detailed upon the jewelled strapless garment to match her glittery, bejewelled necklace, she felt both at peace and excited beyond belief, she understood that her message to be shared with the world was heaven sent.

And when it came time for her to address the world, in the capacity that she knew of so well, she spoke of freedom, and false alliances to be broken, and strength in numbers, and holding self worth and confidence, that when she was greeted by an almighty audience cheer, a standing ovation far and near, she burst into a widened grin, no longer uncertain that she should hide herself anymore, she knew to shine from the outside and within. She wept tears of happiness when she was awarded first prize, the first teenage beauty to win with a couple of teeth missing beneath her rosy cheeks, beneath her expressive eyes. It didn’t matter whether they were there or not, for the truth be finally told, she was an amazing individual, whose stunted adult teeth would finally, eventually, in one single year, grow.

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

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Story: Sylvie the Punk Who Knew Too Much – 13/08/19

Sylvie the Punk lived a careful, quiet life. Despite her appearance, she was an introverted individual, preferring to stay home and read, by herself, rather than entertaining others outside. Although she had her nose and eyebrow pierced, these were not for mere show value to impress, they were simply the look that she was going for, they were for herself, nobody else, herself, no less. Her favourite pastime was absorbing the knowledge of the greatest writers having walked the earth, she fed upon their words like sticky rice pearls, absorbing their wholesome nutrition as though she was starving, and their words were the first things her eyes had fallen upon.

However, one day, in her grandmother’s library, where she was permitted whenever, daily or nightly, she came across an ancient looking relic, it was a leather-bound book, with embossed name D. D. Derek. Intrigued, and curious while also amazed, she carefully opened the book to the first page, and then, upon the title page, declared there was this book as “My Secrets. Read at your own peril”, and that was that.

“Strange,” she thought to herself. She’d never come across a book like this before. Furiously flipping the pages to satisfy her curious hunger for what had seemingly been held behind for ages, her eyes fell upon a singular page, “Join here with the Masses”. It was a step by step guide on how to hypnotise a crowd, lulling them into a false sense of security until they would do anything you wished them to, even mooing while on one foot, or clapping, stamping and meowing!

“Interesting, interesting,” Sylvie muttered under her breath. “We must test how this works upon the public, but I’m scared of them, this is a test.” Sylvia suffered from a phobia of leaving the house without any accompaniment; she always needed someone there by her side, with her. Usually she took her grandmother, but today she was somewhat poorly and sickly, her mother was at Bible Study, thank goodness she hadn’t been taken along there to listen and see. For, if she had, she would never have made this discovery, this apparent diary filled with spells upon spells of magickry and manipulation of others so freely. She knew this book was wrong, that she had best hide it again, better still, throw it away, but she could not bear the thought, she needed to test out this hypnotic spell today.

The second problem, after her phobia, was that she knew her appearance was somewhat off-putting, her earrings of large safety pins, the piercings in her face, her unique hair cut, her love of wearing an outer clothing layer of lace, created an unwelcoming vibe from the crowds. But why would it matter, if she had hypnotised them? Then again, she needed to lure them in first to have them listen, their newly directed attention span. And hesitantly, she left the room, glancing backwards wistfully as the freedom of being herself she was knowingly leaving alone, and deep breaths, and deep breaths, as she passed out into the sunlight, in actual fact, the air was quite pleasant, perhaps this outing wasn’t going to be of a negative scent.    

Upon the train – it was a fifty five minute ride into town – her eyes devoured the words and scrawling of the spells which she had found at her home. She was so glad that her grandma allowed her to live there, for all her days she could spend reading and researching without a care. The books calmed her, detracted from her life fears.

Now, at the main town mall, she called around, gathered, called, gathered all, until she had attracted a fairly large crowd, and then she sat down and proceeded to do as the spell had told. Soon, all the members of the crowd were cackling, then clucking, then bouncing on one foot, then maniacally laughing. Sylvie joined in along with them, she was so joyous that the spell had worked, that she continued her session within the town into the night, until ten o’clock.

News of her proficiency in magic spread across the land, rapidly, swiftly, with each touch type of a journalists’ command, and when the truth came down to it, Sylvie had procured some enemies, who were jealous beyond doubt of her talented skills she had honed with ease and now permanently had. Apparently she knew too much, needed to be taken down a peg, until she was a normal as normal could be person again.

She was seemingly not permitted to be successful, from her studious work, in her own right, and with the assistance of Mr. Derek, no, she was meant to be stuck at home, afraid of going out, of the world, forever being sick, battling her inner frights. She would not take this kind of attitude, nor would she admit defeat, she would not acknowledge these kinds of people who wished for her skills and opinions to never speak.

Sylvie honed her skills even further, became a master of this type of style, and isn’t it well that this ended well, the news of her skills were still looked upon with great admiration of her wiles.

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

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Story: The Angry Donut – 12/08/19

For most of his life, Donut had experienced overwhelming negativity. It was always ‘donut this’, and ‘donut that’, or ‘do not touch this’, or ‘do not go there’. It was so frustrating and overwhelming, it made Donut into a kind of aggressive tasty treat. His glistening icing which was so enticing did not match the flavour within.

Additionally, all through secondary school, he and his donut friends had been repeatedly pinched on the arm, the leg, the bum, as others walked past, for they wanted to have a taste of their deliciousness, their tastebuds must of them be reminded or learned of. And how insulting that they’d lose a piece of their bodies, surely their stiffened body stance when attacked said, “Don’t you bloody well touch me! Donut you even dare! Stay away from me!”?

Donut and his crew became frightful of school, they no longer wished to attend. If skipping school meant retaining their mass then they would perform this desertion good and well, no matter whether absence was deemed bad. Besides, who would know, their parents were too busy working their day jobs to listen – Donut’s parents’ voicemail at home in all truth and actuality said: “You’ve reached the Donut Family. Donut bother leaving a message. We donut want to talk to you.” And how antisocial was that?

So Donut and his crew were free to wander about the town, actually, more of a city it was, but in this sleepy city it was known as a town. It was a term more fitting for the slower pace and relaxation taken by this type of society, for this town’s residents encompassed many sweetened and savoury treats, as well as humans, a mixed variety. Donut though, was the one most unfairly taken and eaten. He thought to himself, “Wouldn’t it be wise to contemplate talking to the Croissants, they are able to avoid those pesky hungry and famished buzzards, circling above, above our very eyes?”

When all of a sudden, a whoooooooooosh of a speedy object came past, and a great pinching pain Donut felt in his left side, the beginning of a rupture, he knew this was the start. Whoever had been on that wretched and fast bike should surely score some karma points, Donut hoped the rider fell into the path of some large, approaching, moving lights.

It may have been a harsh thought, but Donut was in agony, several of his blood vessels had been ripped, squeezed or burst, with the greatest of the rider’s ease. Disgusted at this thievery, this violent, apprehensive act, Donut decided to do something, and with his friends, of this town and its insolence he would combat.

They scrawled all over every available town wall that there was a protest tomorrow at noon, to come forth, gather round, where all could speak their truths. Of the pain they were suffering, the irritation they were experiencing, the changes they wished to receive, to be given, the list could go on and on, this was a given!

So at 1145 hours the next day, Donut arrived with his knapsack filled with bravery and courage, and all that he could gather to commend. Strapped to his back – he needed to avoid his sticky delicious front – was a large sign, that said “Do not touch me!” For this was his main problem, the source of his misery, that others felt – no, had decided – that he was available as a public tasty treat. This was wrong, this was rude, he had felt the need to leave his education, his expensive boys’ grammar school, and the fees for it were still being paid, because his parents had no idea that his days of skipping school were occurring, in order for his dough to be saved. Dough spent unwittingly for dough to be saved, what an ironic thought to cherish for the day.

Unfortunately for Donut, it seemed he was the only protesting participant, and while he shouted and screamed his message fair and loud, there was not an audience nearby, no passing members of the society, the town, to reap his message, understand his frustrated knowledge, and after an hour of screaming at the top of his lungs, Donut decided to go.

“It’s okay,” he said to himself soothingly, “It does not matter, you will find a way to increase your manoeuvrability. To avoid those pesky pinchers, who are not even truly hungry, but just steal because, they believe they can, and this is wrong.” Suddenly, a bright idea inside, a spark of a light.

The very next day Donut arrived back at school, strutting through the school gates with pride.

“Wow!” one girl gushed.

“Look at him!” a boy expressed.

And a croissant: “What a fashionable donut we have before us!”  

Donut was decked head to toe in shiny aluminium foil, which gave the illusion of mirror wealth to them all, but its actual use was to block the evil thieves – vamoose! – and successful he was that day and always in his tin foil truth. He shared his knowledge and tailoring skills with his all friends and they all eventually returned safely to school again.

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

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Story: The Boom Box and the Grape – 11/08/19

They grooved together as no other two could.

The Boom Box sat above the hotel, on the top of the roof, thinking, “Well, goodness, this is utterly boring!” No one to play for, no one to entertain, nothing worth sharing, the tunes from his brain. The rooftop was deserted, there was nothing but air conditioning vents, and an entrance to the stairwell. This was the place where Boom Box often came to vent.

Despite the illusion that a boom box’s existence was happy, jolly, bombastic, Boom Box actually suffered from moment of deep sadness, when he realised his presence and tunes were unappreciated. After all, he played songs from a cassette recorded in the 1980’s, and while the many tunes were pleasing and repetitive to him, others wanted something more modern to dance away the night with their hands filled with glasses of rum, scotch, whisky or gin. Their tastes were very specific, this crowd that I speak of, a refined understanding, a niche listening style, a charismatic knowledge. Unfortunately for Boom Box, he had been assigned to this crowd, whom gathered at midnight every Friday in the ballroom five stories below. He was tired of being something that he was not, he wanted to revel and sing, to provide his 1980’s tunes and be appreciated for the songs he held within.

So, one evening, on a Friday night when he was meant to otherwise be occupied, he snuck into the pool room, where there was being held a party, at a quarter to nine. The pool was filled with inflatable toys, the room decorated in a celebratory style, a lone swimmer clasping a pool noodle smiled at him and said, “Hey Boom Box! Give me some music, play me something until it gets well into my head!” He picked his favourite song, and away the sound did blast, the person in the pool decided to jump out onto the concrete and he proceeded to fervently dance. He seemed to love the tune, it was everything he had been hoping for, a sound that came to him and so very soon would there be more revellers accompanying this ecstatic dancer.

Then, all of a sudden,  Boom Box was swept up from the ground, thrown upwards, almost seemingly to the heavens, and placed within a tight grip of a purple hand upon a shoulder, a perfect spot for this contraption. The hand adjusted the knobs, bass and treble, volume pumped loud, and away the tunes would go! Boom Box looked down at his holder, and with a giggle of great delight, he realised he had been swept up by an excitable, bouncy Grape, who seemed funky now, her style and mood would never truly abate, her aura seemed so alive and alight.

She grooved with the mood, sung along to the love songs, the power ballads, the crooning, the dancing music, the tunes, it was all so damned fantastic! The revellers greatly appreciated the Grape’s efforts, and wind back and play and wind back and play, repeatedly, would Boom Box of his tunes, that he thought, “Stuff it, I will not bother with the people in the ballroom.” This was his place now, his room of his ultimate forte, he would remain here every Friday, ignoring the ballroom always. After all, it wasn’t as though they appreciated him up there, and the music he was forced to play them was stuffy and of it he did not hold one iota of care. And when the hotel staff came looking for him at a quarter past one, he simply silenced himself, pretended to be dead and faulty, and away for a boom box replacement did the hotel staff run.

Grape proved a great partner, she was such a warm, sweetened and talented ball of fruit, Boom Box wondered whether she had been sent from afar to save him from the bathroom’s continued metaphorical noose. Grape was the groove master who knew how to speed things faster, and slow them right down, to create a mood-like roller coaster. Now he was relaxed, with her, in her presence, it seemed together they would go far, but even if only for the night, their collaboration meant much to him, for it also meant he had not gone down without a fight. The ballroom members could be completely forgotten for all he cared, memories erased that very night, his efforts no longer forced to be shared.

Grape and Boom Box, the epic new duo, the talented pair, they ended up travelling far and wide everywhere. A continent wide tour, and then one of the world, they entertained crowds upon crowds, of men, women, boys, and girls. Their tunes reached and touched the hearts of generations, for the recordings that Boom Box held there was only one of this compilation, and when it came to alterations, Grape leaped forth and performed her dee-jaying skills to recreate that roller coaster ride’s rapidly fluctuating moods.

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

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Story: Iced Chai Latte and Hot Choc: Who Will Reign Supreme? – 10/08/19

The Iced Chai Latte knew she was rich. Her thickened fluid crept down the throats of many, her recipe slid down for sure, it quelled the need for an iced beverage, satisfying and scratching that irritating itch. She was utterly delicious and gorgeous, she was made for a relative and worthy cause. For every Iced Chai Latte that was made within the cafe down the street, half of its price was donated to the charity of the Homeless Family Dream. Needless to say, the price of the latte was inflated to make certain, to be sure, that the Homeless Family Dream received and reaped the most benefits that could be grasped and seen. Over the past month, two thousand and twenty five dollars were gleaned, from thirsty sippers who wanted their parched mouths satiated, and their hearts warmed, their desire to be altruistic a living, real life dream.

But what say you to the humble Hot Choc, who sat next to Iced Chai Latte, no one looking at her? Was she now commonplace, was she uncool, was she unworthy of being in the room? Why was the Iced Chai Latte all the rage, just because she was newer and of this world was upon a charity’s visual page? Hot Choc was classic, Hot Choc was nice, Hot Choc was everything that you’d ever want in a hot vice.

And why was she being snubbed, for being traditional, why, even her once appealing marshmallows were being utterly ignored! Sadness upon this day, damned be you now, if all that you are hoping for is to wear a facade of a crown. To pretend that you do not like the Hot Choc, why, what has she done to you at all, has she performed you ill, you used to like her so much, when you pranced all over town! You once glorified her, you once could not wait for that sugary, chocolately goodness to slip into your mouth, and now your eyes are wayward, they are too far north, they do not wish for the Hot Choc to enter and go down south.

Iced Chai L atte may be in style, but while the appeal is heightened somewhat by the charity drive, we cannot forget how glorious she tastes, we must understand this always. In comparison to the classic, Hot Choc, she is bombastic, but Hot Choc will always have a place, in our hearts, for she is fundamentally fantastic. And so ends the drive of who wins, who is the superior of them all, we cannot, and should not be made to decide, for the taste of both enthrals. Better still to order one of both, then down the hatch, down south where we will enjoy them the most.

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

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Story: Dismayed Donkey – 08/08/19

He was dismayed to discover even more labour.

Donkey was as sad as sad could be. For the past two years he had been working night and day at the quarry, transporting boulders up and down the mountain tops, navigating nasty, dangerous rocky paths and shelves with surprising ease. His back ached from the hard labour each and every day, he barely had an  hour or two to rest until he had to rise again. The slave drivers of the quarry cared not for Donkey and his friends, for their health there was no concern, for, if one were to falter –  goodness! From exhaustion topple and then, it would be the end for them, off to the glue factory, where they’d be recycled into something which to them was utterly foreign.

Although Donkey had a strict and firm work ethic, he still needed time to wind down, and become himself again. Even if that meant a more morose, dismayed Donkey, this was the way he was, this was his personality. He tried to find the good in things, but often could not do so, and when this occurred he changed his mind set, and tried to become more gungho. It did not work though, not at all.  

With his friends working the quarry, they decided to arrange a strike, to be operated at 1000 hours, not a second before or a second too late. The sounding of the kazoos from their lips would alert all that they were now in command, no more slave drivers to force their hand, work long hours when of their workers health they did not give a damn.

Donkey arrived for his evening shift, promptly, as he was known to do, and worked the eight hours, grumbling through and through. Tonight the bags of rocks were far too heavy, overloaded with sprawling boulders and pebbles which flowed onto the mountain so freely, making his nerves wavering, his hooves unsteady. He scorned the slave driver assigned to him, who whipped at him and beat him, yelling at him freely.

Oh, how the shame, there was so much dismay for Donkey to have, to experience this ownership from a man who was not even a true decent man. And when it came for the strike Donkey looked down and saw an enormous bag of boulders and pebbles, just innocently waiting there to be viewed. With an air of a smirk about him, the slave driver presented the bag with a flourish of his hand, as though to say,

“Take that, we know of your plans, perform this task or I’ll strike you instead.”

Donkey’s back was breaking, his eyes were tearfully watering, he wanted nothing more than to return to the stable and rest. He could no longer be bothered with this strike, it had been discovered, this was not at all nice, and being punished was he for wanting to put up somewhat of a fight. He didn’t have time for this, not at all, he needed to rest after that last bag of rocks, he needed to relax for the night. And all the more painful this trip up the mountain was, for the bag of rocks wasn’t equally weighted on both sides, perhaps this was something the man had cruelly decided to made sure.

And then Donkey lost his footing, he tumbled close to the edge! His left front leg was bleeding profusely, having been caught on a boulder laying on the path, and then, the slave driver spotted him, rushed forth to his aid? Or was he getting ready to send him to the glue makers, where into his hand money would be paid? All Donkey knew was that he was losing light, his brightness inside was faltering, deep down inside. And blackness occurred, the paining now a daydream, nothing more was there for Donkey as it may seem.  

After what felt like an age, his eyes flickered, his eyes were opened, his surrounding taken in and saved. To his right were his friends who had been injured over the years, hurriedly sent away to be dealt with in the night. Here they lounged on sun chairs, rocking horses, lounge suites, sipping Bacardi and Coke, while champagne seemed to be the preference for some.

“Where am I?” he asked in wonderment, amazed.

“This is the ‘Glue Factory‘,” one replied with a laugh, “It was all a farce, here we are actually saved.” But Donkey didn’t understand how this could have become, how it occurred, who ensured the saving in a relaxing paradise was done. The replying donkey explained that the Glue Maker’s wife was in love with animals and for every horse or donkey sent to the factory she bought them from her husband with her own dollars. Then she saved them in this hidden place, a gem tucked away from the world, and wasn’t she a wonderful woman, a sterling example she was setting for her and her husband’s little girl.

“Thank goodness for this woman, our saviour,” Donkey exhaled and with brightened eyes, said, “We must remain here in luxury for the rest of our lives. Thanks be to her for saving us from becoming glue. One day we will repay her kind actions, she will feel the same gratitude too.”

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

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