Story: Love Without Self Punishment – 03/09/19

With her eyes closed, she felt serene and free. Acceptance swirled within her like a welcoming mist, a self-love that had taken many years to grow, for herself to believe. Standing there with her curvaceous figure clad only in a bikini, she knew that years prior she wouldn’t have been comfortable in this size of clothing, wouldn’t dare to be seen. Now she felt a sense of quiet confidence. An accepting of who she was, what her image had become, so different from who she had once been. Unlike the yesterdays where she would shy away, embarrassed by a single stomach roll popping through her clothes, she had learned over time to simply appreciate and love herself. She had not always been so kind to herself, so many precious years had been wasted, pure happiness missed, completely wasted in the process.

She’d lived through years of feeling pressured to conform to society’s norms, to be toned and thin, wear revealing, tight clothes, they were not only the pressures of society but a decision she had also thrown upon herself. She’d control and obsessively count her calories, exercise excessively, measure the deficits, plan out every meal to each macro and calorie, all for the need to be beautiful to herself and all, because she knew of the attention she’d draw, and she essentially wanted to be seen. She had been invisible for too long in her life up until now, a quiet girl, a wallflower of a woman, barely noticed by the world.

But there came a time when she couldn’t control her world any longer, everything became far too difficult, she felt her mentality being somewhat snowed under. Her disordered thoughts and life became too tiring and too physically exhausting to keep up the effort and the pretenses, thus she allowed herself, reluctantly, to slip, and this did cause her much distress. But she couldn’t continue without risking breaking herself, in this life she had been abusing herself, and she knew that it was only a matter of time before her body broke internally, for the doctors with their worried expressions to shake their heads sadly.

Then came the slow weight gains, then faster as she binged to subconsciously make up for the restrictions, and faster still her body would grow until she had regained to her original size, original weight, and then some more as well. She was dismayed, heartbroken because of all her prior control and hard work, there was nothing anymore to show for it, her memories she might as well throw unwanted, useless into the welcoming dirt. Her photos which she’d taken of herself over time were like a collage, a catalogue of attractive to not, in her eyes, she couldn’t accept herself, because this shape, this new form, was something she wished to be rid of. She couldn’t muster the energy to recommence with the tactics of shrinking again though, her secrets, her techniques, it was as though they were meant to be leaving her, this was the correct thing to do, it must be so.

So, she carefully learned to love food again, she learned to enjoy every single bite. Not hating herself for wanting more, and reaching for the second serve, her body needed the vitamins, the sustenance, the help, to be healthy and alive. And no matter how many kilograms she was gaining and would gain, she understood that this was simply the course of Nature, and to not fixate upon the negatives, but the positives, such as improved health and happiness, this she would again and again. Sure, she was now classed as medically overweight but aside from a health factor what did this matter? As long as she had learned to be happy within herself, that was the feeling that mattered the most. It was a welcoming interior picture.

Because for the first time in years she could enjoy a glass of regular Coca Cola, not fearing that one sip that may lead to another and another, and she could eat a slice of pizza without concern or care, and she could dress herself in a bikini and parade around the shop where she was trying it on there. There was no sign of her wanting to hide within the change room, calling over her friend to view her while she was still enclosed in it, a closet view, she was able to stand outside, look in the communal mirror from which she used to, when previously gaining, shy away from and hide, and now she closed her eyes again, breathed in and out, a deep sighing. How far she’d come from those years of great starvation.

Never again would she punish her body, she would feed it whatever it so desired, she would provide it anything she wanted, without a single shred of guilt to be had. There was nothing to be self-conscious of, no matter whether her curved, bulging stomach was on show, in fact, this was a form of wondrous beauty in itself. In this bikini, her thick thighs and curvaceous hips were displayed, rather than hidden within a one-piece instead. And she somehow liked it this way, understanding in her heart that she must accept this was her body’s way of making her love what it had become, and to not alter herself again with any sense of unhealthy methods or desires or needs or wants. She didn’t care that her arms were now thicker, that her thighs rubbed against each other when she walked, pressing firmly together, that her chins were more prominent, because inner beauty was what she should prize the most.

And appreciate herself for her interior that she did, no more worrying about what others would think of her, how she’d be viewed, judged or seen. She loved every part of herself, even her two wonky side teeth, and that was the end of the tale for this little former wallflower who had finally bloomed so delightfully.

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


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Story: The Secret Mozzie Healer – 02/09/19

“She slurped blood here, she sourced blood from there, she took advantage of healing their injuries with great concern and care.”

McBuzzy McBuzz’s role in life was as a brave fighter pilot, she would attack the enemy with rapidity and due diligence. When she was not reigning bullets and bombs down upon the deserving rouge nations, she was honoured to transport her fellow servicemen and women. However, she was addicted to the metallic taste of blood, the iron platelets slipping down her throat, it made her want to gleefully rub her stomach, and find others to drain from. When she was in mid-air, she’d often place the jet on autopilot, so she could visit and speak with the injured soldiers, to see if she could benefit. Some would be asleep, some would be moaning with great pain, their injuries were healing, not quickly enough though, they needed more love and attention. McBuzzy McBuzz was able to feel their pain, empathise with them, and understand what they wanted and in return what she could gain, and in a transfer so very easy, she sucked the pain dry from their blood, a secret tactic that she had learned when she was just a little wee insect bub.

When she performed this action, often the soldiers’ eyes would widen, upright, stiffen, they would sit, their wings now glimmering and golden. “By goodness, what have you done?” they would asked, astounded, looking around with great numbness. “I feel perfectly fine now, and you only drained me of blood as I know it!” McBuzzy felt utterly pleased, a smile coming to her face, a crafty expression that, if it were to be witnessed, would not have gone to waste, because her actions allowed her to gain and the others to lose, and wasn’t this a perfect thing for them to experience and for others to view? It just so happened that McBuzzy would then return to the cockpit, to guide the jet down towards the runway, to deliver the cured servicemen to be used again in the trenches and pits.

Because this was the real reason why she had been raised to have this talent, her wartime family knew that it would come in handy, to have her cure men and women who might otherwise be of no further use to the military, during dangerous world events. If one could make right the injuries sustained, over and over, why, it was as though these soldiers and their skills were being healed again to be used in the battlefield seemingly forever. Then the country would never run out of its manpower, for there would always be McBuzzy the fighter pilot and secret healer to make certain that their soldiers were in tip top shape to continue fighting for the country’s rights, but what would happen if McBuzzy was in trouble, who would heal or save her?

There was no use in accommodating or entertaining such a thought, because this mozzie was able to look after herself. She could remove blood from any being, and never receive a negative transmission or a disease, not a thing. She also had the skill of purifying all received blood, it was like if one were given a murky solution, and they could separate the water from the mud. McBuzzy was such a top secret government individual that she needed to be on the lookout often, to protect herself the most, because she knew that due to her skill set, if others found out they might make use of her, take her away, suddenly kidnap: and put her to ill use.

However, aside from the government officials and herself, no one knew of her skill at all, let alone little, let alone the most. Even the soldiers who she cured couldn’t remember the procedure, for as soon as she left the interior of the jet, she emitted a natural gas that wiped the memories from their minds, no longer would they be saved. But there were beginning to be whispers, rumblings, of a certain talented mosquito, who resided in the war-torn countries as a pilot, and soon the bounty hunters were beginning their tracking, their know-hows.

The soldiers in the plane today didn’t look like the usual characters. Some had keen looks in their eyes, some were nervously darting around, some highly fidgeting. They didn’t have the war-torn expressions paining in their eyeballs, the way that the other, front line soldiers did, this group of soldiers seemed odd, as though they hadn’t experienced any negative war activity. They simply appeared either eager or nervous, for someone, or something. McBuzzy couldn’t quite put her finger on it, but she knew something was amiss.

She approached the most nervous looking soldier and asked if he wanted to feel calm.

“Yes… y…yes, of course,” he stammered, barely able to look her in her eyes,  let alone being comfortable with her touching his shaking arm.

“Allow me to rid yourself of your illness, of it I will suck you dry,” she whispered, and she plunged her feeder into his jugular vein, where there would be the most blood flow. He suddenly snapped to, he felt overwhelmingly awake, so refreshed he was amazed! Her talent, her skill, were something certainly to be captured and saved.

“How, what, why?” he asked, needing to understand what had just occurred.

“Never you mind,” she said with a smile, and moved onto the other male mosquitoes in the herd. She cured all five members, they were dutifully pleased, at how clever she was with blood-letting, and her ability to allow them to be free, of the minutia, of the delicateness of illnesses that they didn’t even believe they’d had, and now that they had received her treatment, they didn’t feel like taking her away for their rogue nations, to be analysed, stripped of her talent, and cast away without a care. Besides, she presently emitted her signature gassy scent, and there went their memories of the moments, that was that.

The plane full of bounty hunters presently forgot all about their mission.

McBuzzy slowly gained a huge following, online and in real life, because gradually, slowly but surely, she had allowed the healed others to continue on without having their memories wiped. She felt it was somehow important that they knew that she would be taking credit for the procedures she had performed and how she’d made their lives better as they would soon understand and know it. Because if she healed everyone the world over and they didn’t know who was behind it, wasn’t that slightly pointless, too selflessly altruistic? She also wanted to share her techniques with others, so she started a healing school, where she went through the biology of what her body was capable of, what it had been taught to do. There she taught adaptable techniques of how other mosquitoes could source blood while saving ill fated members of the world, it was incredibly holistic yet medical too.

Soon, there were mosquitoes everywhere, sucking the world dry all over, yet the point of this, the wisdom of the matter, was that they were saving others, not simply satiating their thirst for blood, they worked together. And with the cure being made obvious now, there was no need for warring, for fighting, for capturing other countries for their resources or wealth, no more need to fight for world power, domination, and such, when everyone could coexist peacefully together. It was amazing how from one little mozzie that peace could begin, occur in a special manner, a wondrous style, for her as a great being, and of McBuzzy McBuzz she would be known of as the world’s greatest healer, of her name they would all righteously sing.

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

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Story: The Most Easily Startled Shark You Would Ever Meet – 01/09/19

Spike was an easily startled shark, everything he saw caused him a sense of horror to be seen, he jumped at the sight of anything, even a malformed coral piece lurking deep within the sea. The shadowy darkness of a cavern would make him tremble just so, the privacy for him was no sense or heaven to want, need of or know. Better that he stayed away, glided off, swum away, into fresher waters before he bumped into a fish hook plied with a slimy worm which refused to be still, to stay, and the notion that he could be caught by a nasty human terrified him this day.

The worm upon the hook swayed, swayed this way and that, grinning to Spike seemingly, murmuring that it would be okay, to eat him, to taste, how delicious he would be, why, he only needed to have just a little taste, and then freedom from the sea Spike would be knowing, this was a fact! Because Spike disliked being in the depths, he wanted to free of the sights and scenes of the sea’s frightening views, and if that meant he had to throw himself out of the sea, that was what he was prepared to do. But now that Worm was presenting another way to escape this world, Spike was beginning to grow less suspicious, perhaps the hook would take him upward in a method that was safe to be known. He didn’t have to bite into it, cause the hook to puncture his mouth, his precious face, he could perhaps link himself onto it with his tail or his fins, that would hurt less, and would allow him a view like nothing else. 

As he would rise from the deep, he envisaged himself dangling with ease, looking down upon the shrinking seascape feeling so very pleased. He would see the passing whales, spouting out water from their blowholes, schools of fish in the pristine water so clever, swarming together, so fit. The image itself seemed to make Spike happy, it was a method of escaping, to be taken away, to a better place, where, once lifted high enough, he could detach himself and throw himself on land, then a new life he would find. It all made perfect sense to him, thus he then hooked his tail to the hook, not before having devoured the worm though, the living form of protein he knew would be wise to take from the hook.  

With a shake and a tug, he alerted to the humans up above that he was ready to be lifted up. Slowly they allowed his ascent, permitting him the view around the sea and above, just as he had thought, the views were just as he’d understood and were what the worm had explained to him, what he’d meant, and soon he was hanging from above a trawling ship, where large fish rested upon their deck such as huge specimens of marlin and tuna.

“MY!” called the fishermen. “WOULD YOU LOOK AT THAT??” A collective gasp as they view Spike the frightened shark as he approached them with an apparent gruesome intent. His teeth were bared wide with fright, although the humans misconstrued this as threatening, he swung this way and that, trying to free himself onto land, from the firm hook that was keeping him from escaping. It was not going along as planned, he wanted to be free of these gawking, threatening men, who surely only wanted to eat him later, moments before in which he’d surely be suffering.

Around and around Spike swung, he was barely avoiding the men with their grappling hands and violent bats. He didn’t know precisely what they wanted to do with them, but it seemed as though they wanted to hit him many times, this seemed an obvious fact. He wriggled about and wriggled some more, and slipped from the hook, onto the deck the humans were grinning, their desires almost assured. He slid this way to escape them, and then slid to the end of the ship some more, until he was heavy enough to weigh them down, a forty five degree angle the ship was now at large.

Spike knew that to get to the nearby land he would need to pop back into the sea, but he was reluctant to do so, because he had been so eager to leave. What if he couldn’t escape the sea again so easily, without the fisherman’s hook leverage, essentially he would have to bounce from here to there, with a type of cushioning to please. So instead he grabbed two humans, the ones who seemed most intent on having him of this world leave, and he sat upon them, allowing them to be buoyant, life saving devices for them now to be. They were frightened, startled beyond belief, at being attached to Spike, but he smiled to himself, grinned inside, and said, “Well, that’s what happens when you try to make me into oil, meat and hide!” They shook vigorously, their eyes widened and startled, their words begging for him to free them, but he wouldn’t, after all, he needed them, to escape their hunting world.

Splash, he re-entered his previous world, and bounce up and down, he did, with delight, the humans realised that they could also survive here, as long as their heads were kept above water, they would be able to remain alive. He swum towards the bank, the shore where he would live quietly and well, and once he’d used the humans for his benefits, he detached from them, waved them off, and said his fond farewells.

“Thanks for capturing me, I captured you in turn,” he said with a snide smile. “I am no longer frightened of you, this place, or my former world.” He was a shark of great bravery, for his travels he had learned, that there was nothing to be scared of, at least not in his new world. There were no brightly coloured corals to hurt himself upon, there were no murky caverns to explore and discover undesirables inside waiting to be known, and now upon land the only thing Spike needed to be worried of was remaining hydrated and having enough air to breathe in and out with precious appreciation and grateful love. He had overcome his fears, just by entering our reality, our world. Sometimes leaving behind what we do not wish to face can allow us to explore other exciting realms.

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

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Story: Carmella the Witch-In-Training and the Sparkling Night Sky – 01/09/19

The sky appeared, to her, so very dull and grey. With her wand presented, she shut her eyes, winced them closed tightly, her thoughts, whatever they might be, didn’t, by any means, come carelessly. Carefully, she wound the wand around and around, circling the dull sky, until brightness abounded. From the tip of the wooden device she expelled a cloud of softened material, a bubble, if you will, of her good intent and will. Now the skies were a beautiful light blue, with the night tapestries of stars laid out, a confusing juxtaposed view to behold, yet still, it was wondrous to be seen. Of her handiwork she knew, that before her training, she’d never have had the opportunity to perform this, and her mind and eyes would be ailing, at observing the plainness that was there to have been seen, although now that she was more skilled, she was able to alter certain things in the reality that she lived in.

Satisfied with her handiwork, she mentally prepared the stars, in differential arrangements, newer representations, that had more meaning to her. But the stars refused to move, so obstinately they wouldn’t, couldn’t, nothing at all to do, they wouldn’t be rearranged by a mere witch-in-training, they knew that their own organisations were perfect in themselves, and their constellations were worth saving.

Still, Carmella, witch-in-training, attempted to mold the stars with her mind. She didn’t realise that what she was doing was sacrilegious, these stars and their formations had been there since the dawn of time. Whether the Big Bang or God, they were placed here, by someone or something, for a reason, and to alter them really proved a certain sense of worldly treason. It was one thing to alter the colour and shade and hue of the skies, but an entirely different matter when one meddles with something that should not be altered, nor compromised. Carmella pointed her wand at the stars, in particular now, Gemini, and shrieked her most potent magical word, “Kamenlatra!!!” It was meant to be the ultimate spell to be cast, when others didn’t cause anything, not even a movement in stagnant dust motes. The world shuddered for a moment, a warping sound, take that as you will, and then Gemini was reversed and rearranged, Carmella grinned deeply still!

“Just wait until Sharon hears about this!” she giggled to herself. She understood that what she had done was entirely amazing, yet incredibly remiss. One of the first rules of being an Earth Witch was not to harm Mother Earth, yet here she was, celebrating her alteration of the Earth’s precious arrangement, the precocious twins of Gemini were now no longer at large. The world now seemed unbalanced, as though there were no childish laughs to be had, a breaking of the link between child-like wonder and still a sense of growing maturity, the atmosphere around now felt hollow, less than whole. It was an aching sensation in the pit of the stomach of everyone, a paining, a longing, and they didn’t understand this was so because someone had thoughtlessly rearranged something, two beings that had been perfect, just so. The world was now akimbo.

Carmella skipped to school that day. She’d had a wonderful night retraining the rest of the Zodiac to be different where they hung in the sky and where they laid. Their new, brighter repositioning caused brightness in her eyes, a clear sense of delight, why, she was now the Master, she had the ability to alter the source of the stars’ dying light. She would arrive in a few minutes to Route Sixteen, where her training school, Sharon’s Witchity School For Clever Girls was situated out of the way.

“Miss Sharon, Miss Sharon!” Carmella called to her, even before she’d reached the door. “Did you see what I’ve done? Have a look then look some more!” Miss Sharon swept into the room with her cape flourishing as she moved. Her beady little bespectacled eyes narrowed, as she sniffed out a sense of recklessness and stupidity within the room. Looking for the source of these, she could only lay her eyes upon her student Carmella, who was never, at all, stupid nor reckless, never had she been known to be these things.

“What are you speaking of, dear child?” she implored the excited being. Barely able to stand still, Carmella’s heart and sense of pride were abounding. “Look tonight, at the stars, at what I have done! I altered the constellations, each and every one.” Proudly, with her chest thrown forth, she grinned widely, she couldn’t help it, of course. What a silly little being that Carmella was being, didn’t she realise that what she had done would disrupt the lives of every single living being? For the stars told their stories, their ways and movements within the world, affecting how we operated, sharing secrets of life that were able to be unfurled. They spoke of courage, of lightness, of brightness and wisdom, beauty in the beholders, and now they were warped, strangely made versions of them.

“There is no reason to wait tonight to view the stars,” her teacher replied, and with a whoosh of her wand, she altered from day to night, and suddenly, feeling faint, she realised that this child was essentially at large. She’d be wanted by the Witch police for this, how could she think that this was the correct thing to do, of common sense, its target had sorely missed, Miss Sharon felt a wash of murky feeling, a deep, insidious blue. She pointed her wand at the stars to rectify the process but there was nothing, no change, because, Carmella had accidentally locked, with her magic skills, a secret code to never be entered, because even she did not know what it was. She’d scrambled the directions to rearrange and essentially added a coding that wouldn’t be remembered, unless one were startled enough or amazed.

“Right,” Miss Sharon said after getting over feeling horrified. “We must do something about this, before others will have the chance to notice this.” But Carmella didn’t understand what they could do, even her grand teacher Miss Sharon could not alter the method made to never be undone by their hands. Her teacher knew what she had to do, and she pulled out a large roll of blank paper, with markers, fine liners, Posca pens, and coloured pencils, too.

“Let’s get to work,” she said firmly, very seriously. Miss Sharon quickly switched the sky from night back to day, to allow them time to alter the mistakes that Carmella that previous night had made.

And so they drew the night sky from heart, tracing and plotting out the patterns, dotting the now darkened paper skies with flicks of brightness, correct, no longer ill wandering stars. They depicted the upper world as best as they knew, bold and lovely, it was something wondrous to view. Carmella grew more and more excited as time went on, for their creation was taking shape, and she realised now that her errors of the night could be undone. She shouldn’t feel bad anymore, because they were going to somehow rectify her process. And once completed, they laid the depiction of the sky up high, it was something perfect in itself to witness. With a certain technique to her movements, sharp, swift, yet with gracefulness to it, Miss Sharon weaved their sky to the altered one behind. With a quick, emboldened cutting of the stitches, she felt perfection in this replication as they knew it, others wouldn’t realise the duplication because Miss Sharon had made theirs a reality as the world would soon know it.

When night time befell, the whole world was in amazement and awe. They couldn’t understand how this had happened, how much brighter their nightscape world above had become, had it been by divine hands or simply the work of the stars? And when it came to whether Carmella had to face up to her star altering deeds to the Witch police, I’ll tell you this, she was incredibly lucky to have Miss Sharon as her teacher, because with the authorities she smoothed over her student’s behaviour with ease. She was a silver tongue as well, very skilled indeed.

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

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Story: The Catfish and the Gem – 31/08/19

There was a girl of nineteen years old, who had everything at her disposal, money and power flowing through her hands in her world. From the outside she was a type of a dictator, with her ordering around of others in her world, although inside she was warm and kind-hearted, she was a wonderful young girl. She needed to appear forceful and strong to those surrounding her, for they knew that it was a difficult task to be forever, fixed, in the world’s view. Her father was a great philanthropist, and did much for the world stage, and her exterior personality was the opposite of his personality to be viewed. Still, they enjoyed father-daughter time on the porch, with him in his rocking chair, and she perched precariously on her childhood rocking horse, and together they would share tales of their day, of what had been, together they smiled, giggled, commiserated, pondered on what the future day would bring.

This girl, her name was Gemma, named aptly so because she was such a gem to her parents’ world, was a curious girl, although she’d been brought up in a wealthy world, she hadn’t had much opportunity to associate with boys, only other girls. This was because she had attended an all-girls boarding school for the entirety of her schooling life, only returning home during holidays to visit Mama and Papa, and little Rovie, her puppy who loved his exploring life. Because she had not been exposed to what the opposite sex was like, she felt somewhat unsure, perhaps inept, in dealing with them in real life. But she was an avid internet user, she enjoyed getting on the chat rooms and speaking with young and old, her favourite room was for Secret Billionaires, this title gave her a laugh and a half because often the users in the room were clearly catfishes wanting to earn some money to unfold.

Their traits were fairly obvious: they’d only call out for older women or older men, because, presumably, these people were easier to trick into love, and fooling them into sharing their fortunes would be such a breeze. Another trait would be that the catfish would be very pushy in nature, wanting to exchange personal details so quickly, this could be viewable within the chatroom discourse, they didn’t give a damn if their motives were observed ever so freely. The talk of their being an illness in the family, of needing medicine, or money for continuing studies, other such things, these were the red flags, the warnings, that could be observable, too. The constant talk and chatter of how they loved the other, wanted to be with the other forever, that they just needed some time to get the money together, and would they help out? Because wasn’t that what love was all about? “Here’s my number for Western Union Transfer.”

Gemma would giggle when she spotted a catfish in the room, it would amuse her to no end, all day, to view their silly little games that were always one and the same. Unsuccessful mostly, but saddened Gemma was when they hit a target, causing a potential future heartache, for someone who only wanted another to chat with. She always kept her mouth shut though, she didn’t interfere with the chase, there was no point policing these people, for, her wise words would go to waste. She had tried to expose several catfish in their time, but to no avail, she couldn’t help that the victims – two middle aged women and an elderly man – didn’t want to know of the truth, their endings were sad tales to unwind.

So, Gemma had many online chat friends, mostly young men, her closest friends were Harry, George, Michael, Simon, and Steve, with her female friends being her close girls from her school, as well as acquaintances from the online world, they were Lucy, Abigail, and Maureen. They loved to have a general group chat online together, speaking of what it would be like, how great it would be if they all got together, had a pizza night and watched movies with great delight, and then outside, fell asleep looking at the stars, and rose warm from the risen sun. They enjoyed planning out activities they could do in reality, but in essence, these activities would never come to fruition with any ease. Because they all lived in different areas of the world, except for her girlfriends, and a couple of the online boys, their lives could potentially cross into Gemma’s real world.

Her favourite boy to chat with was Bryce, she kept him secret from the others, he was her desired other, the one who she dreamed of spending her days with, a night of playful delights. Where they would sip cocoa, hold hands and gaze into each other’s eyes, searching for something that they had already known to be so, a love growing, building, each day, with the tapping of their fingers in the chat window, her heart did so grow. He was charming, witty, had great discourse, and knew how to flatter – she always blushed with his many compliments.

He lived nearby to her, in the town over, but they had never crossed paths with each other, and before chatting, had never even heard of one another. This was rather strange, given that Gemma was well known, due to her father’s activities, and thus, her family name, but maybe Bryce led a sheltered life, and didn’t read any newspapers or magazines. She couldn’t, in essence, hold it against him that he didn’t know her name, that would be most arrogant to think that she should be perpetually heard of, known and seen. After all, she was simply a young girl, with a bossy exterior, who had a future bright and rich as could be. Simply speaking, this would be monetary, but she also was talented at many things.

She dreamed of Bryce often, daydreamed of his online picture, he only had one, but she didn’t mind, he’d said that he had accidentally dropped his phone one evening out of the window of the car. He had tried to film the moving scene and suddenly slip! It came away from his hand, no longer there, a has been, and since then he had only been allowed by his parents to use a very old mobile phone with a terrible amount of pixels that it wasn’t worth him taking more pictures for Gemma to fondly own. She believed him, of course, for if it were a lie, what a terribly rubbish one it would be, a useless method of explanatory discourse.

He didn’t have online social media accounts because he didn’t believe in following the trends, that wasn’t what Bryce was all about. He was about fluidity, anonymity, facelessness, freedom, he was an artist, his heart was overflowing, he wanted to capture the world in its essence and beauty, and Bryce said that Gemma was one of these, such a beautiful lovely thing. When she read these words, a smile flew upon her lips, a grinning, a delighting, a wondering at how he knew the words that she wanted to read. He seemed perfect to her, in every way, shape and manner, and she knew that soon, they would organise to meet each other.

Yet when she brought up the idea, he seemed to shy away. He was happy to promise that one day they would meet, soon, one day, but she needed to be patient, he was going through some things, and thus, in his town he needed to stay. Although Gemma had the feeling that she should not ask, she did so reluctantly, and he replied that it was indeed better to not ask. A few minutes later though, Bryce seemed to crumble. He told her everything that was happening in his world. 

His Auntie Lena was suffering from renal failure, they couldn’t afford the money for the thrice weekly visits to be worked on and monitored, they were trying to raise money online but to no avail, and it was terrible to have to ask others. He felt ashamed that he was begging others, mere strangers, to save her life, and this would be ongoing, the funding project would be continuing.

Then, his father was suffering from major depression, every now and then he would attempt to take his life, and they only ever just caught him in the nick of time. His mother could barely cope with the responsibilities of being the sole earner, and looking after an ill partner, and caring for her sister Lena, her life was stressing her out.

And here was young Bryce, in the middle of this hurricane, accepting the overwhelming emotions and pain that was what his life was currently about. In turn, Bryce now revealed that he suffered terrible anxiety at leaving the house at the best of times, in his late schooling years it had been so bad that he’d needed to be home schooled. Bryce was on the brink of a psychological melt-down, he could feel this happening to him, it was saddening to read, she really felt for him.

Gemma knew that she could offer him help in the form of donation money, but she didn’t think that this was what he was currently seeking. What he wanted from her was implicit understanding. Besides, he knew that she was wealthy, if he wanted her assistance all he had to do was ask her, she would kindly and willingly provide plenty.

With shock and sadness, Gemma had read his words, disbelieving at first, but then the reality started sinking in. How difficult it would be to be in Bryce’s shoes, in his world, when everything around him was crumbling? The instability of his life was quite obvious, and the ailing mental health of his immediate family was a struggle to absorbed by herself, she felt such pity for him, and what he was going through. She wanted to reach through the computer screen and hug him tightly, until he understood, until he knew, that she felt so deeply for him now, so much closer for sharing the intimate details of his life, it was appreciated, too. She wanted him to know she didn’t think badly of him at, despite what he was next to say.

“I’ll bet you don’t want to be involved with someone like me,” he typed, the tone was definitely sorrowfully. “I’ll understand if you want to leave me alone, I wouldn’t want to talk to someone with problems like me?”

“Not at all!” Gemma typed chirpily, bubbly, for she knew she needed to be upbeat for him. “This doesn’t change at all the way I think of you, in fact, I now feel closer to you instead.” He flashed five smiley faces upon the screen, it was their secret code, five was their favourite number, and his happiness was there to be known. They began to talk more frequently as he began to confide in her more often, then came the worst week, where he promised he would finally speak with her on the phone, and then when she rang, there was nobody there to speak.

It just rang and rang, the call then cancelling itself, she didn’t know what to do, she had been looking forward to it for many hours. He wasn’t available online either, which was odd, but she returned to her day tasks of pretending to dictate to others what they should do in their daily grind, though inside she could feel a breaking of her love. For she had grown so close to Bryce with every single confided word he shared, she felt a part of his life, nothing was too much to take on, she knew she must continue to dare. To dare to be the best support she could be, Lord knew he didn’t have any others, let alone many, and whenever she heard the message alert, she opened it, there and willing, to listen to what Bryce would say, whatever the content was, of sorts.    

Suddenly, her phone rang, private number. Curious this was, she never received blocked numbers. Yet she jumped up with a shock, grabbed the phone and answered, heavy breathing was obvious, within her she knew that it had to be Bryce, how could it not? But then a laughing in the background, growing louder and louder and louder: “We’ve got your number, we’ve got your details!” Her face contorted, she didn’t understand.

“What are you talking about?” she demanded.

“Ha ha,” they muttered, and then a click, no more. She placed the phone on the mantlepiece and desperately returned to the computer, needing to speak to Bryce now, he surely must be home.

“Check your bank account,” a text message proclaimed as it arrived. With trembling fingers, she signed into the app, with dismay in her chest, and despair in her eyes. As she watched the numbers drop from millions into cents, she wondered who could be so cruel to have done this to her, what did this mean, what was meant? Had Bryce betrayed her? Hers was after all, a very secure private number, and she hadn’t given it out to anyone who didn’t need it, in fact, only a few people held it. It seemed mighty strange that mere days after swapping numbers that this would happen, and now her fortune was dwindling, now, gone, completely away, and she had no one to talk with about it, to confide, of who or where, or what to say. Another text message arrived, and she dreaded to think what it enclosed.

“You’ve been catfished by the Almightiest of Catfish, the one and only Ghost. Nice knowing ya,” it rounded off, with five smiley faces, and now she understood, it was known. Aside from monetary, she knew not of “Bryce’s” other motives, whoever he really was, but it was with great sadness that she knew this would affect her ability to trust. What was the point in caring for others when it could all be a sham? She threw her laptop upon the concrete, smashing it into pieces, of her online life, she no longer gave a damn. She would live in the real world, she wold educate others of what can happen when you least expect it, and by goodness would she share her embarrassing story so others wouldn’t have to experience other versions of it. And when her father would ask about the activities of her days, how did they unfold? She would share, with great seriousness, that she had educated potential victims and made them learned of the dangers of the online world.

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

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Story: Gran’s Wise Words – 30/08/19

“Sometimes, in life, you have to cut some people off,” explained Gran, as we sat by the hearth of the warm winter’s fire. “I know it will hurt you, and the discomfort of the paining will be present probably for quite some time, but don’t ignore that yearning. For the sorrow that accumulates from the loss of that friendship, which needed to be ended, for whatever reason or reasons, you will experience it deeply, you will know it. Acknowledge and cherish your fond memories with that person or persons but know, inherently in your bones made you feel that this is right path to take, that it is so, they should be forgotten.”

“But what about if they attempt to make amends, to come running back to my arms?” I asked. “Surely I should think of forgiveness, allow them another chance?” Gran shook her head sadly and replied, “No, darling, no, these people have continually let you down in recent times, they’ve forgotten your worth, your liveliness, your place in their lives, only thinking of more important others, you don’t want to be a second fleeting choice. Everyone around you is building up, or has built up their lives, and it just so happens that you are no longer privy, no longer permissible, or worthy, to view what is in their lives now, their interiors, their insides. And don’t feel disappointed or saddened, this is simply a method of their thoughtless abandonment, and cannot be helped, others’ actions you cannot control.” I sat there, stroking my chin, thinking to myself, how wise is Gran, how much of the world she must have experienced and seen, because but minutes before I was sobbing into my cupped hands, wondering why it was that I was being cast aside by certain people in my life, who no longer seemed to care.

 “These people, your former friends – for that is what they’ve gone and labelled themselves as – may have been there for you in great times of distress. When your heart and mind were aching, needing support in many forms, they were there. They held your hand, they guided you, cared for you, but it was not one sided, so too were you there for them, too. You provided a capacity all of your own, maybe different in nature to their support but you were always there, willing to listen, of your positive intents the others had known.

But with time some friendships wear away, grow thin, like overworn fabric they become thinner and thinner still until you can view the weft, you can see the structure, and with gaps in places, the result is a saddening picture. Still, you can try to use this, this barren group of threads, but soon there will be a tear here, a tear there, then falling apart between your fingers will the weaves as you sadly stare. That’s much like a friendship falling apart, if I do say so myself, but really, try to cease your concerns, lessen your care, protect your heart.”

My bottom lip began to waver as I remembered a certain memory, of us sitting by a lake by the pond, as I consumed my skinny vanilla latte so freely. And with the other sitting by my side, we chatted about many things, this was my friend, so close to me, now far away, I’m ignored so obviously. What point was there in listening to the strings of my heart when they were aching, to think about my friend or friends when they were never contacting or calling, we have grown apart, I’ve been cast aside on the shelf, and there was nothing to do that would repair it to how we used to be, clever together, and birds of a feather. Now we were worlds apart, and I resented this, greatly so, it made me angered, and suddenly hot tears began to flow. I thrashed around, punching the carpet with my bare fists, hurting myself in the process, but Gran grabbed me and begged me to think.

“Do not hurt yourself, do not allow them, in their absence, to hurt you. There’s nothing further you can do, you’ve contacted them with no reply, not even a simply goodbye, a formal adieu. You weren’t even afforded the respect to have the friendships ended because, it’s easier for someone just to drift away, and think, ‘Well, we just grew apart, we’re all busy, blah, blah, just because.’”

I ceased my sobbing and became stronger, firmer, sat up straighter and made my eyes bright and alert.

“You are right, you have always been. This is my test, to be strong and not to feel hurt. I can allow myself to over feel, I allow myself to be affected negatively, but now I really must deal, these facts are blatant and true, they don’t want me as a friend, and neither do I want them, too. It’s good that I know how they feel, portrayed by their silences, fleeting methods of contact, or simply nothing for months, nothing at all. At least I know where I stand, and I choose to stand away from them, I will feel good this day and every day. They will not dampen my spirits or will.”

And so I pulled out my photo albums, going through the pages one by one, removing them from my visual memories, until they were neither here nor there, there wasn’t a remaining image, not a single one. In my heart and in my mind I decided to wipe the pains away, and lock the happy memories away, hide them behind a cast iron door where I couldn’t view them easily again, doing what they had done to me, easily casted me aside.

“You’ve done well, my darling,” my gran said, her hand rubbing my back, ever so calming. “You’ll know soon that you’ve made the right decision.”

“I already know so this second of the day. My will along with your know-how, has helped me greatly today.”

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

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Story: Graham the Muscle Man – 30/08/19

Graham the Muscle Man adored impressing the ladies.  Whether it was through his bulging, well defined physique, or his suave manner, when he murmured his sweet nothings to them, in a manner of eloquent speech, or his fetching red swimmers, known as red budgie smugglers, Graham was able to draw positive female attention wherever he went, women flocked to him, their feet pounding on the pavement.

Graham spent a large portion of his life at gym. To him, looking good was very important to him. It was nothing to do with having a healthy body and a healthy life; it was all a means to satisfy his desire to be viewed of as a delectable prize. You see, Graham was somewhat in love with his image and himself, his loving understanding of his life, unintelligent words about him would not suffice, for he knew he was clever, wise, attractive, well built, and most of all, kind.

Although he would always draw these women in, by standing on the beach, or in a park, subtle flexing his muscles so they could be greatly seen, he was also rather fond of impressing in the evening, the very dark mean streets. He always remained hydrated so he could take advantage of vascularity, when one’s superficial veins were so well hydrated that the muscles appeared to be further bulging. This meant more attention to his immodest self, this was what he wanted to be experience more and more then – with a shriek a group of women down the street called out, “There he is! Graham has been sighted, Graham of you I have seen!” The women rushed down from the brush and car park, and upon the sand they did now land. With a secret smirk, Graham knew he was famous to these women, that he was somehow well known to them.

“Can I have a hug??” one lady begged. “I don’t even care that I’ll get your fake tan upon me shirt and pants, I can change when I get home, I’d rather wear these stained with your vivacious shade of yours!”

“Why, of course,” he replied, now very modest. He needed to keep up a sense of pretence. Respectable and knowledgeable were separate things, but being narcissistic and in love with oneself was frowned upon by society, even though this is the way that most of us are operating, or at least how society itself is currently being portrayed, our visual media upbringing. It was as though it is a free for all, look after all features of your appearance: cosmetic, invasive, clothing short, sharp, snappy, the perfect job, life, pet, children, that everything is something to aspire to, can’t we always be happy with what we have, with what we already knew?

She grabbed him tightly, wrapped her clammy mitts upon his back. “I’m sorry for sweating, it’s a nervous reaction. I want to get it looked at,” she said, trailing off. “One of my best friends told me I’d never meet a man with my excessive sweating problem, yet here I am with you!” He noticed she wore  a brooch-pin with his face upon it with a large decorative button. He smiled at her dedication.

The other three women from the group, also giddy, wanted a hug, and a firm squeeze of his biceps, and potentially another all over look, because they knew they would never meet such an attractive man again, especially not one who graced the cover of many romance books. For Graham was a model, he enjoyed being on covers of much loved novels, read by many a woman and men, but mostly daydreaming women who loved the sense of escapism. Romance covers allowed him to meet other women and impress them with his well sculpted physique, and commence conversation with them in the hopes that once comfortable they’d like to grab something to eat. But the current view of the situation is this: they only wanted to be friends, for they felt that Graham was romantically interested in men, not women, and this was how their thought processes went. These thoughts were obviously incorrect, and incredibly remiss.

Just because he was a giggling gossip, a man who loved to look after his body, look utterly fantastic, what did it matter if he highlighted his effeminate, pixie-like features with a thin face of makeup, besides, he knew that inside he would find The One eventually though, his search need not be pressured or drastic. But if most of these women automatically assumed he wasn’t interested in them, how was he meant to find a lady of his own, on his own volition? It was like he was going through a sort of enforced human condition, where he had to prove himself to them, that he would be a willing member of a relationship, a loving participant.

But for now, he would draw the attentions and eyes of the women all around, perhaps he would change his attire, remove the makeup, smile more and lesser of his contemplative momentary frowns, and now that he was joyous always, he was able to draw the ongoing attentions of females in every way, something which he had wondered if he was able to do, be, or even say. With each random meeting, he knew love was closer to finding to him its way.

On the beach one day, he decided to roll and roll in the sand. He didn’t care that he was covered with tanning oil and lotion that would cause the grains to stick upon him in every way, not a thin layer, but thickly instead. He giggled to himself as he felt himself being coated as though a piece of crumbed chicken, laughing and laughing, he could feel his mood lifting. Why should it matter how many women he could and would and had impressed, there was nothing malleable to take from those experiences except that he was attractive and well wanted. It spoke of nothing of his character, zero point to his personality, and then he realised that what truly mattered was that he be himself, not worry about the superficial, there was nothing further left to ponder. Over loving yourself can be a terrible disease.

So, he returned to the gym, asked for a week and a half off from membership payments, then at work, handed in his notice of resignation. He had always hated this job, and now he absolutely loathed it, so despite being told never to quit until one had a newer position, he wanted to be free of obligation, so he made the decision, the choice, to become available to what life would determine.
“Throw at me what you will!” he dared the gusting breeze, the sun filtering through the trees, the clouds moving so slowly yet very, very freely. He enrolled in a yoga and meditation retreat, where they were not allowed to speak for ten days – the length of the retreat – and were only permitted to speak on the inside as though permanently introspective.

Here Graham found himself, his centre, his core, of who and what he truly was. He was not a showy being only intent of showing his body off. There was more to him than others viewed and this was important to be known, this information was never meant to be suppressed or misused, but he wanted to keep it carefully tucked away, upon a hidden message, stored at home. He didn’t want his true vulnerabilities to be shown, that he was an ostentatious man actually disguising a gentleness unknown to the women.

Now he operated in a manner so very modest, he was dressed well, his skin was scrubbed clean of fake tan, and his hair styled appropriately for the age group of 28-35, Graham was now an improved and less showy man. Now he was free to life his life, and perhaps, in a strange occurrence, he would meet his future wife. Who knows? Sometimes pigs could fly.

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

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Story: A Saddening Tale: This Way To Loveville – 29/08/19

Red-Sweetheart was blissfully ignorant, he thought their love tale was pleasantly unfurling, accompanied by joyous chords of major keys, independently bright, no sense of dissonance. There was no sense of unrectifiable yearning. Little did he know that his Fuchsia-Loveheart was secretly wearying of their love story, wishing she could escape the moment he passed her in the street, where he was off to his general company meeting after their lunchtime spent wining and tiresomely – for Fuchsia-Loveheart, of course – dining.

Why was she so sick and tired of her man, who provided her love, footed the many bills for them, always reached for her metaphorical hand – for their limbs were implied, they were there to lend a helping hand, a willing guide – but together their hearts were meant to beat together, content, and subtly amplified. Fuchsia-Loveheart had had enough of his bland personality, he was boring, he was useless, all did was talk about his company’s dreams. How he wished to expand into other cities, other countries, and continents in fact, he never once asked her if this was the life she wanted for them.

She knew there would much travelling, in and out of town, living out of a shoebox, or luggage case, nowhere to really call home, and this was not something which she aspired for, despite the money which would come rolling in. She knew her bore of a lover would simply listen haphazardly whilst she complained of this in the evenings, as he sipped his gin slowly, then slower again.

How could he be so selfish, thinking of only what would benefit the company, rather than appeasing the company of her, who he had chosen for his life, as his wife? Did he not think he needed to understand that there was more to life than becoming wealthy and famous, everywhere recognised where he was seen? All he seemed interested in was the superficial, it did not matter to her how much attention she was paid, for all she felt that Red-Sweetheart wanted from her was the ability to be seen with her, and essentially have the tabloids spread of them, a happy couple they apparently made. It could not be anything further from the truth, the sensations within made her squirm again and again. However, this ill thinking about Red-Sweetheart was incorrect, it was only part of Fuchsia-Loveheart’s thinking processes, inextricably unfounded upon their relationship’s open pages.

One evening, he came home from work at a quarter to two in the morning, she had been waiting up for him furiously muttering to herself, and now he would receive her verbose manner of speaking.

“How dare you keep me up, ignore my many calls! What were you doing, did you have a great time, which of your receptionist girls did you enthral?” Dumbfounded, he could not belief this method of reverse flattery, where he was being accused of something that had not even occurred recently, let alone this morning or evening. He was a loyal husband, this was something he prized himself on, he would never again cheat on his beautiful wife, his leading lady, his strong, firm hearted woman, and he struggled to pick his dropped jaw from the floor as he proceeded to defend himself.

“But no, my darling, I have brought something for you!” From behind his back, he pulled out a long arrow pointing to the right of the room, toward the exit, the doorway leading to the corridor of the hotel in which they owned and lived, and with a glorious smile, he announced, “This way to Loveville, you will never want to leave!” It was his ridiculous smile and grin that made Fuchsia-Loveheart explode with laughter, how could he think that outside they would enjoy themselves any more or less than the tiring times she experienced with her other? There was no romance left in their marriage, at least not from her perspective, but dutifully, she decided to give permission to his thoughts, to give his option a decent thinking.

“Okay, then, Red,” she said dubiously, and with a flourish of his hand toward the door, then grabbing her metaphorical hand, she allowed herself to be led, out to the corridor, up to the lift, then to the highest floor, the roof, where he had arranged a four course meal, with three waiters, and what appeared to be a closed off enclosure with a four poster bed.

“No way, no how,” Fuchsia-Loveheart said, furiously shaking her head. “There will be no romance of this sort, ever to enter our bed again.” Because she never really trusted him, since that night she caught him kissing that ugly blue hearted being, that thing, as she called it, who allowed and knew that he was cheating on Fuchsia-Loveheart by kissing him. She had a hidden agenda, the blue hued being who hated Fuchsia-Loveheart for being so wealthy due to her marriage, that she had seemingly decided to split them apart, but then, in that moment, a strange sense of jealousy had arisen, and she knew, at least for the sake of her lifestyle, that the marriage would be worth saving.

So now that we are aware of the shallowness of the Fuchsia-Loveheart, should we empathise more with the Red Sweetheart, who was trying to keep his marriage together, not allow it to fall apart? But how can we do so, when he had, for some reason, fallen prey to his lustful thoughts, or the seductive movements of the blue hued being, it seems that in each situation it takes two to tango, and that in both senses, each heart was partially guilty?

However, Fuchsia-Loveheart allowed herself to be wined and dined on that rooftop, it was an activity she knew how to behave within quite well, after all, it occurred basically every weekend and second weeknight, eating out somewhere special was not all that special to her at all. Yet her husband, Red, did the best that he could; he tried to be charming, well versed, complimenting her, everything that a wise man and heart should, but by the end of the evening, Fuchsia-Loveheart was widely yawning, she’d had enough of this forced form of entertaining and there was nothing that she wanted more than to be in that four poster bed sleeping.

She followed the arrow to Loveville, that she did, and would, and into the comforting, high threaded Egyptian count cotton sheets, she buried herself within, knowing that of her husband, now of his presence she could do without. She spread herself sideways along the mattress, to ensure that there was very little room for him, only for her, and snoring in a falsified manner, she made certain that now he would leave. Despondent, he had tried so hard for her tonight, to impress her, wooing her once more by the candle light. He had made not one mention, breathed not one word about his work nor his plans, and still, she didn’t want to lie there with him, even for gentle cuddles, it seemed that for him, she no longer and never would give a damn.

So, he laid upon the ground next to the bed, curling up beneath her feet, at least she was close to him in this manner, and then he began an emotional dream. Where she still loved him, trusted him, wanted him for her own, and then the sadness overwhelmed him, he simply wanted to return to the room that he called home. He crept quietly and carefully away, returning to the room where they usually stayed, and he slept on her side of the bed, breathing in her intoxicating scent that was perfumed everywhere on the area that she always laid.

He knew he could escape this unhappy marriage but he knew that it was also his fault, he should have never allowed that blue hued being to throw her lips upon him, my, what an unsightly trollop she was, a materialistic trout! He knew that she had only wanted him for his money, and he supposed that that was something he was used to, but at least from his wife he received some consistency, he would never ever leave him, from this marriage she would never voluntarily be removed. Besides, she seemed to like him at least on a superficial label, and that was better than having nobody to love, or hold, or talk to, or know just so.

He accepted that this was his life, and together their relationship would sadly, never grow. At least they were famous, or at least well known of in this world, and of their sham marriage, an unsteady family life could be grown.

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

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Story: Mariabella the Ice Cream Indulging Cow – 29/08/19

Mariabella was a clever little cow. She loved, loved, loved the taste of ice cream from Mister Stan from down the road. The reason why she was clever was because she was always able to swindle cones of soft serve from Mister Stan simply by causing him some guilt. Mister Stan was married to the great Missus Eaglemont, who refused to take on his surname as she preferred hers so much more – she felt it had a nicer ring to it – and she was the stronger of the two, she was emotionally bolder and physically built, but she enjoyed bolstering him up to feel the same.

Mister Stan and Missus Eaglemont would provide the animals various varieties of ice cream throughout their day, but Mister Stan was unfortunately unable to do anything more than give his cones away. When Mariabella projected her cutesy faces at him,  he would provide her a soft serve with sprinkles, she’d lick it up, then wink at him, then grin! His heart would properly be melted indeed.

“Don’t give her anymore, she’s lactose intolerant!” his wife would snap. “Don’t you understand?” But with a smile and a chew, Mariabella mooed and mooed, and once his wife toddled off, he became less independent and more malleable. This cow would manipulate Mister Stan into providing her with more and more soft serve, reluctantly provided by his unwilling hand, and then he would painfully watch her moan with satiated pleasure but later groan, from her lactose intolerance in her stomach, near her bulging udder.

How highly ironic that this cow was lactose intolerant! That the product that she natuarally created could cause her so much strife! The moans, aches, the gassiness, and the stomach pains that which occured shortly after the ice cream consumption were ridiculously unreasonable, but she couldn’t give up her addiction. She knew that Mister Stan was her ‘Provider’, that she was using him, despite the admonishments from his stern wife, the ‘Other’, yet she couldn’t give up her feelings of desire, for this milky goodness, a treat like no other.

It was as though she was compelled to slurp the sweetness, always beg for it, to ferociously eat, that she couldn’t stop herself, she was like a drunken mess, slurping rum from an almost empty bottle in the mean, darkened streets. And the desperation that she felt upon awakening, when she knew that the ice cream was far away, that it was only lunchtime that Mister Stan would be serving, she understood that she needed to relinquish this dairy product for something that made her feel great goodness, not overwhelming sickness.

Although it was not her fault that she was lactose intolerant, she was completely avoiding responsibility for taking care of her illness, and it was with this knowledge that Missus Eaglemont finally had enough, she put her foot down, and told her husband, “No more! That cow will have none!”

Mariabella had been ill throughout her infancy also, because she insisted on being fed by her mother, from the three working teats of her udder, sharing it with her siblings, also of three, with their great greedy rivalry just so, plain for all to see. They often took the teat more frequently than she, sucking for hours, until she was desperate, parched and hungry, and only a few droplets would be left for her, she could not understand why they would steal from her. Weren’t they meant to share, be considerate of each other’s needs? But even the few droplets made her sick, and she hadn’t even known why, her mother would never realise this, or even understand to speak, because lactose intolerance in cows really wasn’t a ‘thing’.

It had never been heard of before, and it was only with information overheard from the rabbits from the nearby warren down the hill that Mariabella was educated of the reason why lactose, milk, ice cream, made her ill. It was very simple, but she didn’t wish to accept it, it was something of which she did not wish to deal. The creamy soft serve was so sweet and delicious upon her lips, her wavering tongue, slurping here, there, upon the crispy cone, what a treat!

She would never give up her ice cream, even if Mister Stan stopped offering, she would find another way to satiate her needs! Besides, she knew there was another ice creamery down the street. It would be her next stop, that very night, when all the animals on the farm were asleep. She would enter the premises quietly, and see what treats there were, the makings of finery, the making of her dreams.

But she fell asleep that night, a deep slumber, and she was unable to rouse herself, when she had set the alarm to be beeping on and on. Instead, she hit snooze automatically, over and over again, and when she woke in the morning, she realised the error of her plan! She had unintentionally foiled her plan from even coming to fruition, simply because she was too sleepy to allow herself to be woken by the alarm. “Tomorrow, tomorrow,” she told herself, as she loudly slurped the soft serve from the offered cone from Mister Stan outside her favourite tree, this area she called her home.

And when she arrived the next night at the ice creamery, she knew she wanted to remain here, it was where she felt most alive. Choc mint, strawberry, apple berry, boysenberry, chocolate, caramel, pink lemonade, mango! All the flavours she’d never been exposed to, of such a rich brightness that she was lulled into a haze, and to the side of the regular ice cream, was a section of tubs with different, interesting names. She couldn’t read them, they were in some other language, strange to her eyes, undecipherable to her tongue, but when she gingerly tasted a few flavours, she realised there was no immediate ache in her tum!

To her great joy and amazement, she understood one word – gelato – she had heard of this before, from the rabbits, it was such a hopeful and an amazing word. Gelato had no dairy, these treats were utterly safe for her, and with a delight in her eye, a spring in her step, she realised there was no need to go! She would relocate to this farm, visit her friends in the other farm during the day, but return here for her morning, afternoon and evening treats, no need was there for Mister Stan to be admonished or guilt tripped, because here Mariabella could freely eat without dismay. All she needed was to create positive ties with the staff members here, because this was where she wanted to be. Her life would no longer be filled with happiness followed by deep aching and sorrow, a reluctance to accept that ice cream held no positives for her, only an uncomfortable mellow, but now she was free to do as pleased, she’d found her gelato land, a place of her abounding dreams.

Mister Stan and Missus Eaglemont were more than grateful that she’d solved the conundrum of her case, because they felt terrible every time she had grown sick, the joy of their ice cream had essentially gone to waste. Now they could attend to all the other animals on the farm, and allow Mariabella the happiness of being able to seek her own sense of freedom elsewhere, but still remain in contact with her friends, the other animals, and of this, everyone was wonderfully and duly amazed.

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

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Story: “It’s Not My Size!!!” – 27/08/19

“It’s not my size!!!” the joey shrieked. Her voice could be heard for miles, for thousands of feet. “I…DON’T…WANT…IT!” she enunciated, while for each syllable she stomped her feet, she was the most ungrateful marsupial the land had ever seen. She threw off the over-sized fuchsia sweater, and with definite difficulty she scurried over to her mother, and then hid inside the only warmth providing ‘garment’ that she could ever desire, the one and only pouch of her loving, accepting mother. For only a mother could love an animal so brat-like, she had been catered to far too often, during her young life her whims would never be cast aside by Mother or Father, never forgotten. Instead she received everything that she wished for, the worst time her father anticipated would be when she wanted to own her own car. But she was only five months old and that time was far off, and Mother had felt that, today, a spot of shopping would go down well. But in the sweater shop, where Mother was known to bound in, bounce around, quickly select something flattering and form fitting for herself, this time, the assistants would have a mission ahead of themselves.

Joey was picky, she wanted everything this way, her way, that way, and she wasn’t careful to hold her tone, whether snappy, selfish, or snide, she didn’t care at all, she had unfortunately not been taught manners, she was simply a terror to behold. Mother had thought it would be rather fetching if Joey were to have an oversized sweater, it would be cute, sloppy, and a play on words: Sloppy Joe! She thought Joey would appreciate this particular two toned jumper, with her favourite colours, fuchsia and amber. But no, when the assistants placed it over her head, the spoilt joey shrieked for them to get it off immediately, it was stuck around her head, and her arms would not reach, the sleeves were far too long, what idiocy was this??? she shrieked further, as she hopped up and down the change room corridors, when she didn’t wish to belong. She was a whirlwind of the utmost destruction now, she wanted to destroy everything in the store, bounding around and ruining the displays, teaching them all a thing or two about how to treat a privileged animal who should be wearing her own elaborate, exquisite crown.

There were two options here presented, of how dear Joey had reacted, which one do you think rings of truth? The more subdued reality, or the angered emotion of her truth? Sadly, I must inform you that it was the latter that was the correct unfolding.

“But, darrrrling,” her mother purred. “Come here, stop being destructive,” she said. “Hop into my pouch, where you can rest and hide.” Confused, Joey shook her head, stunned to come to reality herself, she thought she had already done so, she thought she was already nestled in, just so. With widened eyes she looked around, “What on earth, what have I done?” Her mind was a whirlwind, she tried to fixate her memories upon what had just unfolded, and then with a start, she understood she needed to ask her mum.

“What is going on with me?” she wailed. “I don’t know where to begin, how to think, where to start!”

“It’s okay,” her mother said, patting her little furry head. “Let us go to the cafe, I’ll explain to you there.” And slowly they hopped away, right after paying the register girl some money to fix the results of Joey’s one-kangaroo affray, and with a hop and a jump, they landed at Coffee O’Smiley’s, and this is what her mother had to say.

“My darling, you experience a wiping sensation of your memories. What occurs, only to you, is that you think you are performing an action, when in reality, it is another type of a move. You can be in two realities, one in truth, and the other in your mind, and the terrifying thing is that you don’t know always, even though the reality is to snap alert, to reveal what had occurred outside, and inside.” Joey didn’t seem to completely understand, though she did know that she was somehow disadvantaged, not everyone had a disorder such as this, whatever it was called it was the opposite of blind bliss. Why couldn’t she be like everyone else who had one thought pattern, one world? This was why she was such a spoiled rotten girl. Her family knew that she was different, and paining at this reality, that their poor daughter would often be suffering, they provided her with everything materialistic that she wanted, and endless food, treats, all the while, to provide her with something worth remembering.

Because if she had all these things at her disposal, at her whim, then maybe she would construct some happy memories to experience. Even if she didn’t, then surely she could tell, that once having come to, she would realise she was utterly loved by her parents, themselves. However, nothing could make up for this fact, that she was split in her realities, one leading forth, the other delving inside, confusion, never coming back, and it was with great sadness that Joey realised, her life now, was going to be hell, always. She wouldn’t remember what she had done, there would be times she’d think she performed the right actions, but then it was not right, it was wrong, and she’d be stunned. She decided to isolate herself from the world, and write, write, write, of her truths, as they unfurled.

Her style of writing proved very unique, she snapped back and forth from the present, the apparent future, the persuasive inner dreams, and it was with her own version of charming haikus and soliloquy, other forms of poetry, reams of it, she slept surrounded by piles of paper, churned from her dreams. I’d like to say something came of her writing, something beautiful was formed, created, but you’d have to see for yourselves, to view her scrawled notes, and read the empathy and touching sentimentality for yourselves.

What measure of success is there when the ability to write is present, when the desire to share one’s innermost thoughts succinctly, clearly, is the ultimate goal, to touch other’s hearts as they read your words, why, Joey learned of this desire and made it her truth, she had carefully learned, she knew what to do. With her life now focused, she didn’t spend time dwelling on her illness. It didn’t matter anyway, as long as she could project and promote a sense of inner wellness. Then surely through her art she would become well, and if not, at least she had nurtured her talent, and had expressed it in a manner she knew so well.

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

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