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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Story: The Frog King Kisses Many – 20/08/19

The Frog King had kissed many princesses in his time. None were to his liking, his tastes, the flavour of human was too overwhelming. He had no idea why he was required to couple up with a human being, when of his own species he felt an overwhelming inkling, a great fondness of feeling. It had somehow been programmed into his royal family that he was to rule the Primitive Pond Kingdom with a regal lady, not his frog princesses that he witnessed each morning playing with tadpoles so merrily. He felt an inner angst when he walked by them, in the heart of the pond’s town, he was regal himself, majestic, well grown, he was strong enough to be firm with the rules, make them unfold. But he couldn’t go against the manners of his sovereign state, he knew he had to conform, lest the kingdom fall into ruin, saving it from mortification and embarrassment, it would be too late to relearn.

Every morning, he was required to parade to the Crossroads, where there was a chair, a small table, and a little umbrella, the frogs called it a Dating Brolly. Here he would sit, for hours on end, meeting human princess after human princess who would apply to be seated with him, but then – when they leaned in for the inevitable kiss, which should alter the right one into a hopeful Princess Frog or Queen, he could not help but pull away, disgusted of this practice he was, of this be assured. Leaning in closer, their lips made a smmmmack! And no transformation ever was there, this was a blatant fact. Now Frog King had to deal with saliva upon his lips, wiping away the remnants of their unwanted kisses, and then oh wait, would you look at the time, it was nine o’clock – or some such – he would claim he had another engagement at a quarter past nine! And toddle away with the brolly would he, wherever he desired to go, feeling the heavy breathing behind him of the human princesses who downright refused to go, they stalked him, they followed him, displeased with him, yet desiring him, they simply would not take the obvious hint. So with a great bounce and a hip-hip-hippity-hop Frog King would be gone, of their presence disappeared, completely flown.

Despite his high intelligence, Frog King didn’t seem to completely compute or accept that he could alter the rules of his neighbourhood, that he could rewrite the laws, make them plain and easy to see, that this current Frog King could decide to be single and no longer forced to mingle, he would not be required to kiss many who waited each morning in a desperate, heaving, heavy breathing crowd, for goodness sake’s he now realised that he had kissed some more than three times on consecutive days! It was difficult to keep track of the women when he was utterly bored and still lonely, their company was nothing of interest to him, for their human lives were tedious to hear of, and complete garbage, useless baloney! Even when the thought faintly crossed his mind that he could change the world, make it more positive for him, more divine, he dismissed the thought as soon as it appeared, he did not wish to displease his great uncle, who he most certainly feared.

Uncle Scott was large, he was robust, he was strong, and Frog King knew he wouldn’t hesitate to clip him across the face if he even breathed a word that was wrong. He claimed he was over protective of his nephew, but the truth of the matter was, he was decidedly jealous that Frog King was the King, and an uncle was all that he was. It was a terrible thought to have, to hold, that being the uncle of a wondrous being, disciplined frog was not good enough, that he was desperate for to provide him a serve, whenever he could justify this it would be done, and soon of this ultra disciplinary life Frog King wanted to run!

As he passed the tadpole area of the pond one day, dismayed at the upcoming events of his morning he was swayed toward a cute little group of youths, blue in nature and swimming consistently in their group, now one led the others, and follow did the rest, such a delightful view. Then Frog King noticed a little damsel dressed in a vintage dress, white, and cream with brocade lace, hem down there, and corset up to there, with cascading brunette curls framing her face. She looked delightful, so charming and when she opened her mouth to speak, to greet, she sounded so insightful and enticing, she was such a living dream. They stopped and chatted for a while, apparently she did not know of his ranking in the great kingdom of his world, and this he found utterly refreshing; she knew that he was simply a beautiful moment of truth in a first place sash, they could barely contain their excitement at their immediate connection that Frog King decided to do his dash. He would not hold himself liable to the throne’s rules anymore, he would take this damsel on a date, one that he actually wanted to partake in, be on, and they would have the most glorious time and then some more. And even if Uncle Scott would not approve of his new lady friend, he did not care, he would simply glare and stare, and take the physical serve.

But to King Frog’s great surprise, Uncle Scott was not upset at all, in fact he welcomed the damsel, named Lilac, into the family home.

“Come wine with us, come dine with us,” he welcomed her, and with a smile, he explained why he had been so hard on Frog King all the while. It was out of complete frustration at the rules dictated to him for his nephew left by the former king in his will, that would mean Frog King was forced to marry a human princess, even though she would be inclined to perhaps make of her king into a juicy, leggy meal. The former king had been of the incorrect understanding that a Frog King’s kiss would transform a lady into a royal froggy lady to be seen and heard the pond all over, and Steve couldn’t deviate from that formal will. The former king had been  misled by words whispered by human ladies as he had passed them in the marketplace, he had believed the things they’d said.  

As Frog King had discovered, none were transforming, not any, none of the others, and the fact the he had found an interest in this new lady friend made Uncle Scott so happy he wanted to call the world over, announcing the words to be transported upon the wind, in their clouds they would sail, there they would sing. But devious was Scott, he knew of a loophole in the will, if Frog King ended up with another native frog, Scott would reign true leader, just as he wished,his ambition would prevail. When it came to the throne or true love, months down the track, Frog King was willing, more than happy to give up his throne, for his damsel who was never, ever distressed.

King Scott ruled over the pond with a stern nature and a forcible fist, but the animals and frogs were allowed to live rather independently, and some even wished to continue to coexist. All became regimented and well until one afternoon a human princess attacked him, grabbed forth his face, and kissed him until he became violently unwell. When he came to, he opened his eyes to sternly glare and viciously seethe, but sitting there in front him was the most beautiful of froggy things. A lady, a real stunner, her eyelids flickering at him lazily, he could barely believe his eyes, here was his new, real life Froggy Queen.

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

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

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

“You go, ‘Bert!” called Lucy.

“Yeah, keep going!” cheered Brody.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Miss Veronica liked to look her best.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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