Story: Wide-Eyed Elven Pixie – 20/10/19

There was once a wide-eyed elven pixie. Let’s call her Hannah. Beneath the surface of something great, there lurked Hannah’s terror. Because underneath the façade of her perfectly manicured life, in the forest there dwelled something – a horror! – that would and could cause her much strife.

Hannah was an unlikely host to this being which attached itself to the one it fancied the most. This creature was shudder-inducing, this creature caused others to weep and wail, because this creature was abhorrently unpleasant and stank to high hell.

Upon Hannah’s back this creature was firmly attached, sucking, sucking the life from her. Because like a leech it drank from its victims, feeding more and more, this was the creature’s system.

The creature, Norbert, was a cruel thing to behold; he only thought of himself and how he could benefit from another’s pain and suffering twofold. He was selfish, uncaring, and manipulative as he rode on his host’s backs, and Hannah was suffering greatly from his presence, I cannot say anything less than that.

Oh, how she tried to remove Norbert, with a thick stick to poke and slide against his gooey form. Oh, how she grabbed at the awkward place he was situated, and tried to pull him off her aching back. And oh, how she managed to shift him just a little, with a shriek and a squeal Norbert know his days were likely limited.

Then Hannah had a wondrous idea! She leaned against a rough tree trunk. Holding the wood either side, hands behind her hips, she grated her vile pest against the surface’s bumps.

“Nooooooo!” Norbert wailed as he came away in pieces, like the innards of a bag of shredded three-cheese mix for Pizza night’s meal. Soon only the suckers with their strong suction remained, her lower back felt much better, perfectly lighter all the same. The pieces of Norbert tried to reform themselves into their former being of parasitic venom, but they would not be permitted, because Hannah decided to quickly eat the lot of them.  

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

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Story: The Lion Cub Who Knew He Could – 10/10/19

Lucius wasn’t like every other lion cub. While others simply wanted to roar and eat, he wanted to achieve a special dream.

Lucius wanted to soar into the clouds, heady as could be, and reach the moon, in a space-travelling machine. He wanted to be the greatest Lion cub astronaut the world had ever seen.

But how the others guffawed, how they cruelly laughed. “Lucius, don’t be silly, don’t be daft. You cannot achieve that!”

Their words harrowed him, despite him being a strong Lion cub in himself, he felt the trickling of tears come from the corner of his eyes, a salty wealth. They ran down his furry face and into his mouth, the salty taste a sign of defeat within themselves.

Lucius almost felt inclined to hide away in his mother’s den, but when he skulked to its entrance, she shooed him away, “Son, take time to yourself, under your shady Acacia tree, take leave of, here and then.” But when she noticed his damp tear-stained fur, her heart melted, for her son how it ached, “What has happened, my darling, what has occurred as of late?”

With a deep sigh he heaved himself onto the dusty ground, and began to expel his sufferings, of the cruel words of the neighbourhood bullies, in the Savannah in which they had surrounded him. How he was being mocked for his dream, even though many decidedly assumed it could not come true, and how he knew, that with the right amount of know-how, social connections and training, that his great desire to become a Lion-astronaut would almost certainly become truth.

His mother listened carefully, her ears cocked, her eyes contemplative and bright, and said, “We shall have to do something about these bullies, and this will happen tonight.” With widened eyes, Lucius wondered at her plan, but he said nothing, because he knew that his mother was ultimately secretive when it came to any cunning plan.

But he didn’t want to focus on revenge. He wanted to focus on achieving, being, flying, reaching the skies. He quietly left his mother’s den as she slept and wandered off into the sunset.

What to do, what to do? he pondered. “What to do?” he wailed, “why won’t the world hear me?” Suddenly, he had an idea. He gathered his necessary supplies from the deserted camping grounds that the humans who had visited years prior, selecting basically everything; for he would find some use for them.

He constructed a contraption – resembling as much as he could – a spaceship, with all the bells and whistles. He adorned himself with loose fabric, made a helmet from the remaining refuse of the humans, and there he was, at NASA, where he “needed his space”, he had reached the home ground.

It was all perfectly well and good to have made his own space station, but now he needed to show others, to have the word spread, to become an internet sensation. He could lord over his bullies, show them his hard work, and wait until the next safari exploring group attended his land to allow him to be viewed and at large.

With any hope, he would be photographed and videoed, swooned over by the crowds for being so adorable and innovative. He’d likely reach the media outlets online, and soon be seen by NASA itself, oh, what a dream.

Some might call this plan farfetched, but Lucius was being rational, and realistic. Because, after all, the safari troupes came in basically two by two groups every month, sometimes every two weeks.

He simply would have to wait and see.

Lucius knew that he could. Lucius knew that he would.

And Lucius achieved all he wanted, because:

Now he’s the first Lion cub astronaut, at least in his neighbourhood.

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

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Story: The Hot Air Balloon – 16/09/19

See this giant hot air balloon? my darling asked of me. It’s all yours for the morning, he smiled.

Me? What about us? I queried. He wanted me to enjoy myself wholly and without distraction.

But darling, you are not by any means a distraction, why, you are my star attraction.

He blushed deep crimson now, rarely was he used to receiving compliments, mainly playful little cute insults which he knew were full of love and meant nothing of which others would use them as.

Run along now, he urged me, run along and have some fun, enjoy yourself. I’d never been in a hot air balloon before. I had always come up with some excuse: too expensive, I would have to awaken too early, it would be too cold, what if the weather turned dreary? And other some such, or whatnot, excuses which masked the true reason: a fear of flying.

I’ll be right here, he reassured me, pointing to the grassy knoll by the evergreen trees. I’ll be reading and researching, it’s important I do so, but I’ll be watching out for you.” He reached forth, pulled me into his grasp, placed his lips full upon mine, passionately. Surprised at his action, I withdrew slightly, then warmed to his embrace. I melted into him because it was rare we expressed ourselves physically.

Thank you, my love, for thinking of me, I said and reluctantly extracted myself from his grasp.

The hot air balloon operator was incredibly kind. He could see I was tremble profusely, that my hands could barely hold onto the edge of the basket which held us as we ascended into the perfectly blue sky, tinged with coloured clouds that twinkled with differing shades in our eyes.

It’s okay, he said reassuringly. First trip in the air? he inquired with a warm smile.

First trip in the air in anything, I replied, I’ve not even been in a plane. What got me the most was the noise as we rose, I was frightened but I knew there was nothing to be afraid of. Balloon accidents were very rare, and this operator seemed to know his methods and flying to a tee. I glanced down at my love, he was reading on his phone, making notes in a pad to his right, his mind set upon certain equations and problematic formulas all of his own. I called to him, waving and attempting a false smile. He looked up, delighted that I was enjoying myself and fervently waved back.

Then, something seemed wrong, there was more strength from the flames which allowed us to rise, we were on an errant path, rocking from side to side. With horror I looked up and realised that the lower flames from the burner had extended far past where they were meant to be and were situated up near the exit hole of the balloon, exposing the likely flammable material to excessive heat, now what could I do? I was too high in the air to jump, but above it showed that we were going to fall anyway, what could I do but scream for my love, to tell him how I felt once more, before I might become gone, gone, gone, away my life would go, crushed or flown away.

I shrieked for him to hear above the burners that scolded the air for listening on its firm intent on destruction, I stared at his bowed head and willed him to raise it, to captured my attentions, but I could smell the acrid scent now, a certain plastic-like melting odour in the air, then a rapid whoosh, and away we dropped, into a group of sharp, gnarled bushes.

I heard him scream my name in the background of the silence which was the result of our inevitable, heard him breaking through the bracken of the bushes, clawing to see if I was alive, for himself. The operator and I were shocked beyond belief, he now was shaking, his hands trembling, telling me over and over,

This has never happened before, this has never happened under my attentions, it has never happened before.

My love finally reached us, I was not damaged, but I was frightened beyond repair.

Oh, my sweet, how did this happen on my watch, my choice, I’m so glad you are here, alive, I will never leave you again, remain by my side. I am so sorry, for this stupid, idiotic choice, in leaving you in there without me. I am glad this operator was there to guide the balloon down somewhat safely.

After helping out myself and the man from the wreckage, my love and I walked away from the scene which never would cease to amaze me. So thankful I am that he was there keeping watch, but never again shall I ride into the air, no matter within what contraption, not even under another expert’s watch.

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

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Story: Mrs Marmalade – 15th September 2019

Mrs Marmalade was known as such because she liked to have marmalade as the main ingredient for her lunch. Not only that, but it was the same for her tea, and breakfast might I add, of course, Mrs Marmalade would agree. She held a great love, a fondness for this condiment, jars and jars filled her cupboards, to fetch more was not required, stockpiled they were, of her house she hardly ever left!

My, was she ravenous, for this delightfully sweet and zesty treat, that in actual fact I will tell you the truth, the only ingredient was this sweet preserve for her meals. She didn’t mind only consuming the sweetness, never had she recalled missing savouries, because this woman only needed one item on her grocery list. Do you get the point, do you understand, that even though she was risking malnutrition she was adamant at only consuming this condiment similar to jam? She couldn’t help it, but she’d never admit it was an addiction, poor Mrs Marmalade didn’t understand that this was a dangerous predilection. Her teeth were nearly all rotten, she could barely chew the zest without experiencing overwhelming pain, yet she would not make an appointment with the dentist; last time she’d presented, he’d told her to throw all her jars of marmalade away!

“Preposterous!” she had yelled. “Why would I do such a thing?” He sadly told her if she continued eating only marmalade her teeth would soon need to be removed rather than replaced with fillings, and given dentures that were uncomfortable and wieldy. But she had not listened, and a pain was present basically in every single tooth, she couldn’t afford the dental service for dentures, but she knew what to do. When it came to having tooth aches, she knew that the first line of advice was to eat soft foods, and my goodness, didn’t she have that in excess: her marmalade was the best item to consume! How she laughed to herself as she continued to eat her favourite delicious item, her delectable treat. What would she do in the future though, who would hold her hand as her teeth either fell out or were yanked out by the dentist man? She didn’t care about the future, for now she was too happy to give a damn.

And so, she continued living only on the condiment, her teeth continued rotting away, she didn’t notice though, for she took pain killers to ease the growing pain. She continued to order her treats online, on the supermarket website. She didn’t need to leave the house at all, no judgement would anyone pass for the massive amounts of jars she had to have delivered by freight.

The potential ending of Mrs Marmalade’s tale is not all that sweet, in fact, it is fraught with disaster, because over time, quickly, her tooth ache peaked. The cavities and gums throbbed with great insistence, and soon there came a time where she couldn’t even chew the softened zest of her favourite treat. Saddened, she knew she must return to the dentist, where he was shocked, horrified, to see the damage she’d allowed to develop when she avoided seeing him regularly.

“You knew I asked you to return late last year, why didn’t you, Mrs Marmalade? Now I have to remove nearly all of your teeth, because you refused to e more aware.” He could talk to her in this tone because they were old family friends, but she didn’t’ appreciate being addressed in this manner, so she built up a wall of defence.

“If you don’t speak to me nicely, I’ll just leave and eat more marmalade!” she threatened.

“Please yourself,” he said with a shrug, “but I’d better remove your rotten teeth to save the few others while you’ve still got them.” Excruciating though the pain was, once they were removed, she felt so much lighter and less in pain. She thanked the dentist and went home again to do what? Exactly what she always did, and wasn’t this a crying shame. Some people never learn their lessons and Mrs Marmalade was a perfect example. Her addiction to this sickeningly sweet treat was her failing, and she felt no need for behavioural correction. 

Nowadays, Mrs Marmalade is the proud owner of a set of perfect dentures. The dentist felt sorrow for her and fund-raised until he’d had enough to aid her. Mrs Marmalade enjoys them because they’re perfect for appearance, but easy to remove when it comes time to eat. There is no worrying about whether her teeth with suffer, because, with the dentures out of her mouth, she can eat all day, throughout all meals, without any chance of decay, no need to suffer! She can consume her delights from morning to supper.

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

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Story: The Fantastical Court Jester – 14/09/19

The fantastical court jester had a multitude of skills. Though he felt that life and himself were a cruel joke, he still amused those in the court as he was willed to. He threw up a rabbit from a hat, danced with his feet flung up and down this way and that, he grabbed the sparkling stars and the moon from wherever he could, out of thin air, and then  he would throw them into the area where the King and Queen and Princess were watching with a great sense of enjoyment, yet the parents still projected an air of judgement. Because they couldn’t act too impressed, they needed the court jester to know that he always was required to up his game, as they do say. To perfect his show, better each time, with more elaborate skills and tricks, while the King and Queen quietly sipped their glasses of red wine.

The princess, though, utterly divine she was, was forever exuberant about his skills. Though, secretly, just between yourselves and I, the Princess had a great crush on this fantastical court jester who didn’t really appreciate his wretched life. And how could he, where he was hired as a mere spectacle, there to amuse and be laughed at, by beings in the court who he felt were buffoons who liked to belittle him. Princess never said a thing about her secret love for him because she knew that nothing could come of it, besides she was already promised to Lord Chive. She hated that obnoxious boy, yet her mother and father had picked him as her future husband because his family had much wealth hidden and also on display. They didn’t shy away from living the life of extroverted billionaires, and this fact made the King and Queen feel very pleased with their selection, of their daughter’s future man.

Still, Princess dreamed of her jester, his smiling face, his painted, decorated eyelids, his twinkling bells on his costumes that when heard, caused her tingles and shudders, in the only good constructionist way that was known how. A tingle here was enough to make her heart leap and bound, and cause an ache deep within her stomach that no food could appease. She needed to view his shows again, over and over, because he was her living drug, the thing she most desired. How much she hated that wretched Lord Chive for being promised as her man for the rest of her life, why, she was only nineteen, she had eyes, ears, a heart and mind, surely, she could select for herself. She would choose her ironic court jester, who had recently been catching her eyes.

The jester wondered whether there was something going on with the Princess, for she stared at him with such hunger and intent. It wasn’t as though he was undressing before her, to a tight bodysuit to showcase his pasty skin, but with bulging muscles and a well-built chest. Occasionally he caught her stares, when he dared to look at her beauty which he’d just realised was there, a wide-eyed glance into her brown docile eyes and slowly, over time, during his shows, he, too, began to fall in love. Before each show he would be nervous now, whereas before he couldn’t give a damn, prior to this, a show was just a show, but with a special audience who actually appreciated his skills, and perhaps more of him, he felt a warmth in his heart that made him fulfilled.

Then, one morning, when the court jester was ready to perform, he took a deep breath and walked before the King, Queen, and daughter. He was wearing a brand-new outfit, selected especially to please the princess, he wore hearts plastered all over his front and his back. And as he danced slowly, sensually, catching the princess’s eyes often, the King and Queen were outraged, they couldn’t believe this treason!

“What on earth is going on?” demanded the King. “I want to know right now!” Suddenly, the jester snapped to, what was he doing here in this love-suit? What on earth had possessed him to create and wear such a thing, when he knew that his feelings for Princess needed to remain hidden? He was just a mere jester, a slave of entertainment, nothing but a speck of dust in the eyes of someone as noble and wealthy as Prince Chive. Abashed, embarrassed and mortified, the jester hung his head, apologised profusely and walked off the stage, proceeding to cry. He wailed and wailed and wailed, knowing that he’d likely be dismissed, into their lands of the forest, where those who committed criminal acts against the royal family lived. The last time he would see his beloved princess had already occurred, it had passed, and her facial expression of confusion mixed with acceptance and love for his visual love proclamation would be what remained in his mind, forever there to be drawn upon and observed.

But, the jester was not banished to the forest, instead he was locked up in the dungeons. Which would be a worse ending? he wondered to himself. Still, at least he could see his princess; every morning she snuck into the chambers of prisoners, and fed him her elaborate and rich breakfasts which she’d refused herself. There she told him of her love, which had blossomed before he even realised, of how his irony at life and means of still projecting happiness were what drew her to him. He would then share his brightened realisations, the moments that he knew she loved him for him, and the moment that he decided to proclaim his true feelings with the heart-suit, before the Queen and King.

Eventually, the jester was freed, and was allowed to remain in the castle. Instead though, he was assigned a different role, and it was within the kitchen, deep in the mass of passageways, where King and Queen believed their daughter wouldn’t find him. The reason they kept him in the castle was a very simple fact: once he had received enough punishment for his behaviour, he could return to his jester role, because he was extremely talented at that.

Love still secretly blossomed though, and whispers of their emotional affair caught wind of Lord Chive’s ears. Mortified by Princess’s lack of loyalty, he withdrew from their arrangement for future husband and wife.

“If she cannot remain loyal, before we are even wed, why makes you think I’d like to bring her wholly into my life?” said Lord Chive to the King. Outraged at the scandal which had still unfolded beneath his very nose, he summoned his daughter and growled at her, with great anger, and he expelled her from the castle at once along with the traitorous jester. They could fend for themselves for some quite time. Of course, they would be allowed back, for not for a decent amount of time. Punishment needed to be observed firstly as something of a permanent kind. Instead of being desperate and feeling betrayed, the court jester and Princess were overjoyed at what had occurred, because now they were free, to love and be, without any need to hide from the eyes of her parents or the world.

The King desperately missed his daughter and soon realised the error of his ways. She was the light of his life, and he had simply flung her aside, because her heart wanted to know another, not the man he had deemed as the correct, wise choice. Who was he to decide who his daughter should love? Was it his role – no, never! – to force her into an alliance that would benefit the Crown, but not the girl? He felt ashamed of himself, and sent out troops to welcome her daughter and her new love back into the castle. Once found though, they didn’t wish to accept the invitation. The irony of the situation is, sometimes a forced freedom is exactly what one needs to realise their own slice of heaven.

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

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Story: A Morning in the Mind of Alice – 13/09/19

She wakes at two, or two thirty in the morning when she’s sometimes late to rise. She pads heavy-footed to the kitchen for a thirst-quenching drink, unfortunately in the refrigerator there are no hidden tasty surprises. Back to bed, where she’d inadvertently knock her head on the bed head, now there’s an aching inside her noggin. She took after her father, they are careless with their heads, knocking them upon doorways, objects in their way, the pain making them surly and sour. Just yesterday, Alice had spotted a large graze on her father’s pink bald skull when they’d had coffee together. She didn’t say anything, not wanting to embarrass or hurt his feelings by drawing attention to his error visible by practically everyone, even the laughing sun.

Back to sleep, until around five, when she inevitably rises to the chirps of the birds, excitable outside her window. She sits up, smiles warmly, and sits by her bed now, at her desk, staring at the computer keyboard longingly. She knows the words will come, she trusts, now hopes they do. Perhaps she needs to commence an illustration first? She’d been experiencing a loss of inspiration lately, not knowing what to write, create, or what to say. It was frustrating to say the least, but she refused to allow this blocking to cease her from creating in this still-darkened day.

Then, it comes to her, and she begins to frantically type, getting out all the information that’s within, now viewable inside. She needs to note it down, it rushes through her mind as though on a never-ending loop, but all the words and ideas and phrases are only written once. One time, one opportunity to collect them in her own way, her style, with her own sense of fire. Lighthearted though, as her style usually is. But today the words are different, they have a different tone, a deeper and sometimes darker meaning to them. They don’t ring with brightness and positivity, they speak of past inner darkness and pains experienced beneath the ever-changeable moon who watched over her, a formerly aching being who wanted nothing more than to feel love and acceptance. So too, a sense of acknowledgement.

But she doesn’t want to speak of these days. They are long gone, whittled away out of her brain as though a drill had purposefully hollowed them out, creating a free space for positive dreams, a loving space for focused, loyal beings, and fulfilling memories. What point is there in dredging up what used to be, this was not a form of wanted therapy, although one could call it art.

It’s all about how much she is willing to share with others, did they know she’d been far less strong than how she now presents? A once-broken being, upon her knees, begging for a chance at understanding? At being understood. That is all gone, wiped, useless history, and others need not bother with it. She takes the high road, there is no need to speak ill of others who treated her badly. They will receive their comeuppance when the forces deal with them. It is not necessary for her to meddle with this process.

Besides, why look back when she can aim to exist in the yonder?

Instead, she smiles, reverses the meddlesome, dark rhymes and meanings, makes of them positive feelings and dreaming. Of loyal creatures, animals with differing lives, of personified objects that would make her readers laugh and feel so alive. She wants to provide all this to them, to whoever happens to read her version of paper and pen. A joy in life she wishes to feel, and so too should others know, that contentedness in life comes from within, not from an overly flowery eloquent skill or style. Simplistic moments can make all the difference, just watch as she breathes in that perfumed, heady scent, the inspiration she has found she grows drunk upon.

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


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Poetry and Prose: A Flower From Her Love – 12/09/19

He rarely buys me flowers. It isn’t because he lacks sentimentality. It’s because I know, that, while pretty, their company will only last for a short while. But when he does, their perfume will romance me, I will breathe in their intoxicating scent, I will feel their colours bloom before me, a wondrous presence I have been given. Still, I ache at their loss, when they inevitably die away, although I know, that unlike the flowers which graced my world for a few days, that his love for me remains. It is here to stay.

This morning he steps into the kitchen with a cheeky, knowing expression on his face. His hands are behind his back, as though there is something obscured that he is so proud to hide from me. Something which he can’t wait to present, something exciting, perhaps. Something I’d love, with his intent so potent. I’m playful, my eyes dance, I know there’s something to expect from my love, something within his strong hands.

“What do you have there, darling?” I ask. With a flourish, he draws his arms from his back, presenting to me, before my delighted face, a beautiful bloom for me to have. Its colouring and perfume, so wondrous to accept, to breathe in and view. I smile, jump up and down, grasp it within my hands then hold his firmly, too.

“My darling, thank you so much, for being in my life.”

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

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Story: “See Ya!” – Simon the Sociable Sloth – 11/09/19

“See ya!” called Simon the ever-sociable sloth to his visitors. “I hope you thoroughly enjoyed yourselves. I urge you to come again soon,” and with that, he bowed deeply, for he was so glad that they had attended. Simon wasn’t like most sloths, who were solitary and shy, hiding behind trees and their leaves. No, Simon was an extrovert, and he socialised as much as pleased. However, after the dinner guests had left, he breathed a sigh of relief. It was difficult for him to remain on top of all of the conversations, and be charming, and most of all avoiding appearing meek. Because inside he would be fighting the urge to flee the scene. He was only recently teaching himself how to be sociable, to be as keen for company as he could be.

Sloths were known for sleeping the day away, so it suited Simon to have his social events at dinner time, with his friends with exuberant personalities, the dinners would be perfectly joyous and gay. Because, when he and his guests were all together, they ate, and laughed, and danced, and played after-dinner cards or board games. Everything was very merry, it was as though these types of dinner were planned perfectly, and their itineraries would be well thought out, and always ended in playing Uno, or on occasion, Monopoly. They would be entertained for hours, and sleepily they would leave only when the sunshine would show itself.

But who were Simon’s friends, how did they stay up into the wee hours of the night with him? Surely they couldn’t be other sloths, because somewhat antisocial they were known for being. No, his friends were the owls, the wolves, the animals that hooted or howled at the moon, away from the sun, and how he loved their company, they were unique and loyal, and terribly great fun. It didn’t matter all that much that Willy the Wolf had tried to bite him one time. Simon understood that was part of his instinct, his urges, to seek out delicious meats to eat. In fact, Simon took it as a compliment, that he was considered a delicacy by Wolf, it made him tingle inside with confidence. What a strange thought process Simon had regarding his friend Willy the Wolf.

One dinner, when Olivia the Owl and her family of six were present, along with Willy the Wolf and his new wife Mindy, Simon asked his guests to take their seats, because presently it was time for their tea. Carefully, for with his curved claws it was difficult to serve, Simon precariously balanced the first course – pumpkin soup – before his ravenous friendship herd. But the soup was secretly not to their liking. Willy and Mindy wanted the taste of meat! So too did Olivia and her troupe, they were hoping for servings of dead rats to be seen. After all, Simon knew of their delicacies and preferences, and they were unsure as to why he’d not catered to their specifications as he usually did.

It was as though he could read their minds. In reality, he’d read their disappointed body language.

“I’m trying a differing menu of sorts,” he said with a smile. With a flourish towards the kitchen, he explained, “I’m going to serve vegan for a while.”

“Vegan?” they all collectively gasped. “What about our need for protein, or red blood cells, their iron??” Mindy began bickering with her husband, forcing him to tell her why on earth she had allowed him to drag her here. Olivia and crew now were squawking among themselves, trying to work out how to politely leave this room. There was no politeness in this. Everyone could hear them, including a now despondent Simon. He had tried, really, he had, to make a positive change to his menu, for his community, and for the environment. He was happy enough to now only eat a strictly vegan menu, and he hadn’t known his friends would be so narrow-minded. He stalked over to the door and flung it open.

“See ya!!!” he yelled, and pointed out the exit of the door.

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

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Story: The Jolly Little Toadstool – 10/09/19

The Jolly Little Toastool

Everybody loved the jolly little toadstool, for he was as jolly as could be. He lived in rough grass that surrounded him, and he was perpetually available for a spot of morning tea. Together with the blades of grass accompanying him and his other red toadstool friends nearby, they sipped the morning quaintly away, having nibbles of scones which were set out elaborately, catching to the eye. Jeff, the jolly little toadstool, was a master of all trades. In his spare time, he liked to uproot himself, and work on his opening his family’s ancient safe. Here within this closed off contraption existed something grand; he did not know exactly what it was, but his mother had smiled knowingly years prior, when he presented it with her gnarled hands.

It was difficult for Jeff to attempt to open this contraption, simply due to the fact he had no arms or hands to assist with the opening action. But as he was a Master of all trades, we cannot be left disappointed, and the skills he’d learned for it to be saved were thus: he nibbled upon the combination lock! His tongue was so powerful, yet he’d feel the subtle clicks. There was nothing his tongue couldn’t do with this security dial. In fact, he’d tried many combinations, however, thus far, they were not the right mix. But as he turned the dial rapidly, hastily yet with great skill, he felt each combination drew him closer to the family’s treasure. The mere action of seeking the treasure was in itself a momentous thrill.

But there were days when he’d not be bothered with the treasure, he’d wished for something else to do. Something to express his jolliness to others, something that allowed him to share his positive point of view. In the afternoons, Jeff had a secret activity. He loved to sing along to the children’s television shows in the afternoon, for the tunes were so upbeat and uplifting. Each bouncing syllable and smile from the presenters would make his heart warm, and wish he was a wee toadstool again. Being young had presented only enjoyment for him, and these were the memories that he wished with others he could share. So, he sung along daily, after entertaining at his tea party, after the serious work of attempting to open the combination lock. This soon became the highlight of his day, and I most definitely, most certainly and assuredly would allow him to proclaim, that he wanted to be a children’s show presenter, known for his tunes and smiles each day.

But he felt stumped. How would he gain admission into this world? It seemed that it would be difficult to even be seen for an interview online. This type of employment seemed to be the sort that would attract many beings, and sadly, he felt, that there would be judgement upon him. He had never seen a presenter who was a toadstool such as himself, they were always people or animals, not fungi’s such as himself. It might not matter to them that he was an amusing, jolly character, nice guys finish last, they do say, and perhaps the same is said for those who were laughing and charming characters. Still, he would persist, in this mindset he would not exist, the depressing thoughts that he might not be good enough were not permitted to swim in his mind. Instead, he knew what to do! With a start he uprooted and collected himself, gathered all his toadstool friends, inviting them all for a cup of morning tea, where they could be of great assistance to him.

He spelled out the problems and allowed them to express their views.

“Surely you’ll not be avoided because you’re a mushroom!” one friend said, aghast. “You’d be given a look in because you’re different… Differences stand out.”

“Yeah, I agree,” another friend decreed. “Your differences, your bubbliness, your jolliness, are so worthy of this world, they must be shared.”

“How about your singing voice? What is it like?” Jeff broke into song and started singing a lilting lullaby. With the power of voice ringing in their ears, they all slowly became lethargic and fell asleep. With astonishment, the jolly toadstool knew how he would present his case, he would sing, instead of speak!

Hurriedly, he pulled out his spare journal, which had many pages free to write in. He composed an upbeat pop song with a children’s slant on it, which was a call to the human resources department of the television stations. He sung loud, true and proud, his melody resounded, as he recorded himself on camera, for the unknown faces to view him, and become acquainted with the likes of him.

“That. Was. Magnificent,” proclaimed and clapped his greatest fan, his closest friend named Dan. “They couldn’t turn away the likes of you. You are certainly amazing.” Jeff blushed red, feeling the warmth take to his complexion, as he modestly waved off Dan’s words himself. He couldn’t help though, at being quite chuffed, with the accompanying applause which now resounded from his tea friends. Perhaps his differences coupled with his talent would win him a place as a children’s television presenter, and he could place the combination lock work away for a while instead.

Days passed, weeks passed, even months, they flew, since Jeff had sent off his recording to the stations. His heart ached at the potential that this silence meant unspoken rejections, and only he could be the one who would intuitively know. He felt saddened beyond belief, that he was reduced to the combination lock work. So, instead he picked up another job to fill the day, he went to work with a head mechanic, at Bits and Bobs. He liked the work enough, it was something to make him feel useful, but he didn’t feel blessed. He wanted to entertain children with song and dance. Educate them with new concepts, teaching them brand new things. Instead he was stuck in front of and underneath cars in a garage, lit so dimly.

He supposed at least here he could freely sing. The other beings, Bob, the owner, two rabbits and a frog, secretly laughed at the method in which Jeff worked at Bits and Bobs, because, as he didn’t possess hands, he had to feel around the vehicles and take parts off and install them with his feisty teeth, of which he of course had great command. When he felt judged, he just sung and sung away. It wasn’t his fault he was born without any hands or arms to be seen, clutch with or sway. The songs he made up helped him through the day. He was even contemplating returning to working at home, to pass the time away. At least he wouldn’t be judged there. At least his heart wouldn’t ache.

One day, as Jeff was surfing the internet with his voice-activated computer, he was retrieving his emails, and decided to check the junk folder. To his amazement, what did he see but five emails of acceptance from all five television stations of which he’d applied! He couldn’t believe his eyes, how on earth had his email re-categorised them? They were dated for various times sent in the last three months precisely. It appeared he had the pick of whichever station he desired; they were all so pleased to have heard from him! They loved his song, the fact that it appealed to children and a larger audience, and the fact that he was a toadstool with no limbs was actually quite interesting to them. The most excited email he responded to immediately, telling his computer exactly what he wanted to respond to it. He apologised for the great delay between the producer sending it – for the producer had been so impressed he bypassed the human resources man – because he had only presently read it. He arranged for a potential day that he could come in to meet him, and with immense jolliness he sent his email off, to be read the next day.

“I’d like next Tuesday off work, please,” he requested from the owner of Bits and Bobs.

“No can do, there are no days off,” he replied with a smirk. “Unless you want your whole life off work.” Jeff gritted his teeth. This interview meant the world to him. He knew he couldn’t disclose it though, that would ruin the chances of having this backup job to return to. Then in a flighty breath, he realised he’d had enough. Of the mocking from the other workers, and now this, from arrogant Bob.
“Stuff your job,” he said, and packed up with his teeth all his tools. Stalking away from the ogling, wide-eyed workers, he knew he should have left this job sooner.

“Don’t care crawl back, you worthless toadstool. There’s nothing more you can do!” Bob called out. Jeff shook his head feeling saddened. What an uncouth boss he had turned out to be. Jeff was better off without.

The interview was a roaring success. He impressed the producer and owner, blew them away with his joyfulness and manner that was so infectious. He was hired on the spot, and he can be viewed each afternoon, with his co-host Angela, they teach and sing to children before the evening news. Each moment they sing in unison or harmony, their eyes sparkle, their hearts flow together, they knew they are making a difference with their work, they adore working with one another. They know their opportunity to teach the young is special and they are most grateful for their roles. Here Jeff the toadstool is accepted for who is he, not frowned upon for what he is lacking, for what he cannot do. Because, he is finally a Master of laughter and learning, of singing and dancing, and this means the entire world to him.

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

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Story: The Subjugating Sandcastle – 09/09/19

The Subjugating Sandcastle

The subjugating sandcastle was known for conquering all. He was self-righteous and known for growing enraged, becoming vile and temperamental when he didn’t immediately achieve the overpowering of hapless sandcastles, his overthrowing goals. But with time he would quash them, squeeze them into the rough sand dunes, never again to be formed, at least not very soon. For, their makers had long gone home, the destroyed sandcastles which had existed were nothing to cry over. They’d simply be tears over spilled milk, or salty tears into a saltier ocean’s water.

Each day, the emperor sandcastle – as he liked to call himself – who loved to subjugate and decimate, would select a new target, a fresh sandcastle made and now basking in the sun, to vanquish this new victim, for him it was terribly thrill-causing; in fact, it was outrageously fun. Because he would jump upon them, mash them into a pile of unformed grains, then kick them aside, and perform this all again. No one knew exactly why and what caused the emperor to become temperamental, but he was out of his mind when he destroyed innocent victims of the sandcastle kind. When it came to enraged destroying, this sandcastle was not afraid.

He was obsessed with power, wielding it all, dominations over the little men and sandcastle women. They had performed no wrong, nothing at all had they done, that would warrant the keen eye of the destroying emperor sandcastle he was. But still they were targeted and demolished, one after the other, each day. The sandscape would be reduced to a flattened scene, only showcasing the self-selected decimating “emperor” who ruined with ease. He needed to be overthrown. His ending needed to be on display.

One Saturday, there was a party held upon the emperor’s beach. At least fifteen children were in attendance, and as many castles were made before their creators would grow weary from the sun beating upon their eyes, when they would decide to leave. They left their sandcastle creations, decorated with seaweed pieces and little shells. One even had two little flags and a dead starfish, that was the feature piece of this constructed sandcastle, the most beautiful castle of them all. Her name was Marny, and boy, was her personality so sparkling, so effervescent, and downright funny! She was able to make jokes with the jocks, chat freely with the mathematic loving ‘nerds’. She could converse with the popular girls, and still be able to admit herself to conversation with every other boy sandcastle and sandcastle girl. In short, she was somewhat of a leader, though she was humble and didn’t acknowledge this herself. She was happy to be Marny; she was happy being herself.

But then whispers came among the grains of sand, on the flatness of this land. There apparently lurked and creeped a nasty individual, a power-hungry deluded sandcastle who thought he was an emperor, who desired to beat down every sandcastle that was here, near, and beyond there. His existence instilled into the group of sandcastles great and overwhelming fear. However, Marny laughed and pooh-poohed away this idea. Who had ever heard of a subjugating and decimating sandcastle who quashed other beings with no sense of conscience, no sense of fear? Certainly, she had not, not in her several hours of life upon this beach. She was an intelligent being, but she needed to learn to fear. Because here rounded Emperor now, crashing his sandy feet upon the land, stirring the grains here and there, into their eyes, cyclonic in fashion they traversed through the air.

The group of castles could not see anymore, they were terrified, what was in store? Still Marny called for calm, there was nothing to fear, they’d have to trust themselves and have confidence inside themselves, this they must learn. Because Marny wasn’t scared of death, or of being taken away or taken down. She knew that if this apparent enemy of theirs took over them all, she could escape, he would be the one next overthrown. Though, if he reduced her to nothing, then she could accept that, being broken in this life was a given. Especially so for a being made of sand, one cannot hope to forever exist on land.

“Come together, brothers and sisters, and hold each other’s hands!” she yelled. And join together they did. Their hearts beat frantically, hands shook terribly, because aside from feeling, they’d lost their sense of sight, and there was nothing to do except wait until their ending.

“I WILL CRUSH YOU ALL!” a dominating voice bellowed, and then some stamping upon the ground, and silence then came. “OR, I WILL BRING YOU UNDER MY CONTROL! WHAT IS IT YOU WOULD LIKE MOST OF ALL?” Confused shrieks of “control” and “crush” came from the mouths of them all. A shrill cackling and then: “OVERTHROW!” The emperor turned upon his side and commenced a deathly roll. Soon the sandcastles were in pieces, some sections still firm, hardened, the others collapsed into piles of saddened sand. But this was all a dream of theirs, perhaps they had been subjected to too much sun upon their heads.

With a collective shake of their befuddled heads, they opened their eyes once again. Everything was how they had left it, before they had closed their eyes. How could this be reality, how could fifteen sandcastles experience the same dream cycles? I cannot explain myself adequately but hark, what’s that sound? I can hear Emperor’s returning deadly roll. Now, Marny smiled to herself. She had recited to them the wrong bedtime story; her head was too full of imagination to remove her sense of committed glory. Because as the quiet, unannounced leader of the group, she had led them into a certain terrifying dream land. They would understand the significant of her power and the meaning of Emperor’s wish to overthrow others when they would grow older. She was really a wise soul: her consciousness had been around for almost forever.

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

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