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Thread: Short fiction thread

  1. #16
    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
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    There are loses that occur. I think you are reading it as I would have expected you to giving the fact that I didn't say much about what was unbelievable. I plan to keep adding to the story including some fictional sections but hopefully getting to the unbelievable, but true, part at the end. The story has been on my mind for decades. The events happened when I was in my twenties.

    The idea of "unconscious choices" is how I view choice in general. Our awareness isn't specifically for the purpose of making choices, but for the enjoyment and guidance of the choices we make by acting them out. It is a way to remove determinism (and chance) from the idea of choosing.

    Regarding images in writing, I don't actually believe writing contains images. Pictures do, but not words. It contains ideas or meaning that we understand through sound not through sight. That would be where I disagree with Pound (and his source, Fenollosa). He seemed to think the ideograms were a purer form of writing when it was only more different than what he was used to. Chinese poetry is still about sound and meaning just like English or Portuguese.

  2. #17
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Well, yes I´m reading the haicu according to my expectations, which might or might not be confirmed. As there isn´t anything unbelivable in them I think there must be something different from what I am expecting. Anyway you are getting me more and more curious. I remembered now a text of Cortazar, where he says that a short story kind of took hold of him and he had to write it down to get rid of it.

    For me there is a difference between conscious and unconscious choices. When you make an unconscious choice you don´t quite know why you made it. For example, you might have chosen another haicu for your story but you chose this one.

    "Regarding images in writing, I don't actually believe writing contains images". I don´t quite follow you there.For me some kinds of literary texts like poems and poetical prose but also simple prose usually contain images and not only visual ones. For me the idiogram is a simple image. But I am going to see if the essay of Fenollosa is available in the internet. As I don´t know Chinese my possibility of discussing ideograms is very limited,
    "You can always find something better than death."
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  3. #18
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    I am aware that the idea of looking for "images" in texts, whether poetry or not, is what people expect to be experiencing when they read, but I only experience sounds and meaning. Even visually reading texts converts those images to sounds in my mind, at least, that is how I talk to myself or read.

    I sort of agree about conscious and unconscious choices. Some of our choices we are more aware of and even make plans to perform. Those could be viewed as the "conscious" choices. Others such as taking the next step when we walk or writing the next sentence just happen. They are influenced by habitual behavior. I tend to give credit for unconscious choices to a more or less external "muse" although I take personal responsibility for them.

  4. #19
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    Aurora

    I don’t know what Fred was looking at, but the Aurora Borealis shining over the path was holding my attention one evening as we sat on the porch of my cabin. I pointed Fred’s head in the direction of the lights. He didn’t seem interested. He was to get his own dog house, a fancy one, since I had spare lumber. He would also get the required chain to make sure he didn’t chase my neighbor’s sheep when he grew up. I would eventually learn that Fred had as much interest in those sheep as he did in the aurora, but my neighbor’s purebred puppy, Princess, still too young to breed, was on his mind.

    How do I know she was on his mind? Well, I don’t, and I would like to think he was still too young to be thinking about her, but he wasn’t interested in the aurora. He wasn’t interested in those sheep and she was barking in the distance. Civilized people normally introduce their dogs while walking through some nice park, but with my neighbor worrying about his sheep and what Fred might do to Princess, we never introduced them. “You should have that dog neutered,” he once advised. He was right, but I package my mistakes in boxes of reason and wrap them with brightly colored righteousness expecting only joy. I thought to myself that I wouldn’t want someone doing that to me, but I did, eventually, build that dog house and chain Fred. Thinking back on that peaceful evening with the aurora dancing in the sky, I suspect Fred knew everything he needed to know about Princess and she was, at least for the moment, glad I wasn’t going to neuter him.


    FLUFFY WHITE FROSTING
    CLINGING WET TO LEAFLESS TREES
    BERRIES STILL BRIGHT RED

  5. #20
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YesNo View Post
    I am aware that the idea of looking for "images" in texts, whether poetry or not, is what people expect to be experiencing when they read, but I only experience sounds and meaning. Even visually reading texts converts those images to sounds in my mind, at least, that is how I talk to myself or read.

    I sort of agree about conscious and unconscious choices. Some of our choices we are more aware of and even make plans to perform. Those could be viewed as the "conscious" choices. Others such as taking the next step when we walk or writing the next sentence just happen. They are influenced by habitual behavior. I tend to give credit for unconscious choices to a more or less external "muse" although I take personal responsibility for them.
    Sorry, Yes/No, again I missed one post of this thread. As this happened before to me and you I´m thinking of changing the name of the thread, if that is still possible, to: "Fiction Laboratory" to distinguish it better from the "Short Story" thread. What do you think?

    Maybe your own memory is more acustic than visual. And some poets use more images than others. I suppose also that your mind had a logical training because of your mathematical studies. I don´t know if that influences your approach to poetry.
    Last edited by Danik 2016; 12-14-2016 at 12:07 PM.
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  6. #21
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YesNo View Post
    I don’t know what Fred was looking at, but the Aurora Borealis shining over the path was holding my attention one evening as we sat on the porch of my cabin. I pointed Fred’s head in the direction of the lights. He didn’t seem interested. He was to get his own dog house, a fancy one, since I had spare lumber. He would also get the required chain to make sure he didn’t chase my neighbor’s sheep when he grew up. I would eventually learn that Fred had as much interest in those sheep as he did in the aurora, but my neighbor’s purebred puppy, Princess, still too young to breed, was on his mind.

    How do I know she was on his mind? Well, I don’t, and I would like to think he was still too young to be thinking about her, but he wasn’t interested in the aurora. He wasn’t interested in those sheep and she was barking in the distance. Civilized people normally introduce their dogs while walking through some nice park, but with my neighbor worrying about his sheep and what Fred might do to Princess, we never introduced them. “You should have that dog neutered,” he once advised. He was right, but I package my mistakes in boxes of reason and wrap them with brightly colored righteousness expecting only joy. I thought to myself that I wouldn’t want someone doing that to me, but I did, eventually, build that dog house and chain Fred. Thinking back on that peaceful evening with the aurora dancing in the sky, I suspect Fred knew everything he needed to know about Princess and she was, at least for the moment, glad I wasn’t going to neuter him.


    FLUFFY WHITE FROSTING
    CLINGING WET TO LEAFLESS TREES
    BERRIES STILL BRIGHT RED
    A cute humorous chapter with I/narrator looking at Aurora and Fred not. If he was inspired by a real dog, you must have liked this dog very much. He wasn´t such a small bred to need an own house and chain. Certainly not a lapdog.
    Anyway: BERRIES STILL BRIGHT RED
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

  7. #22
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    Fred was a mixed breed with some Doberman in him. He was too big for a lapdog. These stories about him are true, but they happened decades ago. I did like the dog.

  8. #23
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    Chicken Problem

    I waste resources taking precautions against what I fear and nothing happens. It is what I don’t anticipate that messes me up. For example, while walking Fred that half mile we usually take through the forest I stay within view of the path so I won’t get lost. I don’t think about the problems Fred has been having with those chickens whom I allow to range freely near the cabin and who torment him chained to his doghouse. So when I unchain Fred, out of kindness, because we are buddies and all, and I see him turn back up the path briefly looking at me with scorn, I realize that I’m an idiot.

    By the time I get back, Fred’s anger resolved his chicken problem. He is gnawing on one of them when he sees me and begins part two of his plan for domination. He rushes into the cabin defending his castle growling and baring his teeth. At this point I guess I felt fear, but mainly it was anger which is what fear turns into when it doesn’t care any more. I kneel down bracing for his charge with the chain in one hand and the forefinger of my other hand touching the floor beside me, “Get your *** over here.”

    Fred is smarter than most animals I’ve met including myself. He bowed his head and submissively accepted the chain.

    FOLLOW FORREST TRAIL
    TREES PREPARE FOR NEW SPRING GROWTH
    WINTER DYING’S PAST
    Last edited by YesNo; 04-30-2017 at 11:35 PM.

  9. #24
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    I think this is the right thread for the story as it is a sequel to both the segments that are already there. That is the part of the story when everything happens.Maybe you would like to put it into the same format as both the other threads.

    As for the content it was good that you regained the control of the dog. Maybe the problem at the time was that you wanted to be kind to the cchicken leaving them free, and kind to the dog.
    "You can always find something better than death."
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  10. #25
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    Thanks, Danik. I put in the haiku I originally had there to make the format the same, as you suggested. You're right about why everything went wrong. I was trying to be kind to both the chickens and the dog. That backfired.

  11. #26
    Registered User Steven Hunley's Avatar
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    From The Death Head's Moth

    THE Death's Head Moth


    Robert Henry Forester sat at his antique oak desk writing and drinking. Both were what he did best. He’d always like writing. It had been his passion. Dipping his pen in India ink, swirling his Cognac for maximum effect, then measuring out the best words. Behind him, the tall dark shelves of his library were stuffed will all sorts of books by all sorts of authors, and on one special shelf, a glittering assortment of his best-sellers. They deserved to be apart from the rest.

    Like him, they were special and precious. Special and precious and privileged. He finished an especially good line.

    “This line is a superior line,” he thought. “Let’s celebrate.”

    He reached into the drawer and took out a cigar. He cut it, lit it, and puffed, blowing a billowing cloud of smoke into the Cognac, took a sip and savored the taste. Re-reading the words, he savored the line.

    “This line is so good,” he mused, “It will keep them reading the entire paragraph.”

    He chuckled aloud, “Perhaps the entire page!”

    The fire hissed and crackled and sputtered. Wind drove rain against the panes of the tall French windows. A fierce winter storm lashed the rocks of the hard Cornish coast just as the clock on the mantle struck twelve. Robert heard none of it, he was too busy writing.

    He coughed a consumptive cough, and continued his chapter. Another book, another pound sterling. One more page, one more cigar, one more drink, and finally one more cough, and he was off to bed. Although he slept alone, this night he slept soundly without a care in the world. He’d traded his passion for glory long ago and suffered no regrets. He was aware the devil was his unfelt bedfellow, and it didn’t bother him one whit.

    Forrester was good at attracting things, at getting their attention too. Good at getting what he wanted, scads of money, fame, social butterflies, the whole lot. Sometimes he didn’t know what to do with them.

    One such example was Lady Bonacieux, daughter of the Duke and Dutchess. Tall, blond and fair, short-sighted, live-for-the-moment kind of girl. He’d attracted her one afternoon at a tea for bored socialites during a reading of his latest novel, Undercover of Darkness, the Adventures of Sin Cargo.
    Soon after the reading, in a light-blue flower-patterned dress she spoke up and snared his eyes with her own.

    “Oh, Mister Forester, I have poetic ambitions. I’ve written hundreds of poems.”

    Eyes rather doe-like, soft spoken, young woman, well-mannered, good-looking.

    His eyes moved from hers and fell quickly down her cleavage like Alice down the rabbit hole.

    “You write too, do you? We have something in common.”

    Sometimes course, sometimes plotting, the cad, the man, sensuous to a fault.

    “We should go somewhere quiet,” he continued, “and discuss our styles.”

    Her face, as fresh a spring day in its clearness, shot straight with beauty through and through. Her eyes spoke nothing but adoration.

    “You’d be surprised, I agree. Although we seem different in our styles, we undoubtedly have something in common. I’m sure you can teach me something. Let’s meet next Tuesday at the Pony and Rider, shall we? Could you bring a manuscript to discuss?”

    “Of course.”

    “We can go somewhere quiet.”

    “In the shade of the oaks if it’s warm and sunny,” he suggested.

    “We can stay at the inn if it takes all night, or if it’s raining,” she countered.

    Both knew it was November. Always rained like the Devil in November.

    Warm fires, comfortable lodgings, two half-filled whiskey glasses on the dressing table. White fluffy Egyptian cotton pillows on a pillow-topped mattress. Lady Bonacieux’s hair streamed down over the pillow and onto the bed. Forester’s pupils dilated as he regarded the twin curves of her breasts. Sheets and blankets piled up in strategic positions. Wet spots scattered here and there. Lady Bonacieux wrapped herself in a sheet, took the white cotton curtains embroidered with pink and blue flowers, pulled them to the sides of the windows, and tied them back in a bow.

    “Now we can just cuddle and watch the rain. We don’t have to say anything.”

    ‘That would be fine with me. I like to cuddle.” "What were we going to talk about anyway." he considered. "The weather ?"

    He was relieved. In fact there was nothing to say. Forrester had run out of small talk some time ago, and whispering sweet nothings just wasn’t his style. After each of these encounters it was always the same. After satisfying their sexual appetites they would notice they had nothing in common. The girl’s thoughts would return to her young man, the one who worked as a gardener on her father’s estate, or the one in class that sat behind her and tried to dip her fair hair in the inkwell.


    His nights were a terror. The deaths of Mimi in Puccini’s La Boheme and Satine in Moulin Rouge were portrayed as romantic, even tragic events. Not to his way of thinking. There was no romance in night sweats and chills, and bloody coughing that never ceased. Blood-stained handkerchiefs littered his laundry and no matter how much he ate, gradual wasting away kept him in trim. In trim for the devil’s new red suit.

    When the symptoms subsided he seemed almost normal. When the coughing started and he knew he was in for a spell. He changed his appointments and canceled still others. The state of his health was a well-kept secret. When Brehmer opened an in-patient hospital in Gorbersdorf, Forrester left England in secret to be surrounded by mountains with ragged horizons of fir trees and clean mountain air. He ate like a king and for a few months it worked.

    Eventually he returned home and relapsed. M. tuberculosis came and went in his life at irregular intervals, leaving him hopeful at one stage and despondent at another. His health was a maelstrom. No telling how many debutantes with literary aspirations were infected with his poisonous breath.

    His good days could be good. Seeing and sketching a new and rare species. Following up with the watercolors later like Aoki, or Tasuke, on fine Strathmore paper with the best Kolinsky sable brushes.

    Then, on a potato flower, landed a moth. Forrester knew nothing of moths. It stood on the flower like a sentinel surveying his grounds. Looked like a tiny statue of a moth with a weathered patina, grey and black and white. Stood looking like a delivery boy with a package waiting for a tip.

    Like lightning, Forrester made his way to the table and took up his tablet and pencil. Skilled movements here, touches of pencil there, lines of graphite and clay marked out the magnificent moth, complete with a notch on its antennae. On the lip of his glass of lemonade it modeled. The creature regarded Forrester like Michelangelo’s David. Like a small thing about to bring down something much larger in the same way the M. Tubercular bacillus regards a man. Then, somewhere between having his eyes on the moth and then on his paper, it was gone. He labeled it Luna. It was a hardly a hanging offence.

    Forrester suddenly took chill and started to cough. An Armada of grey clouds whipped in from the south. Bent over, now stumbling, Robert Henry Forester made his way to the French windows and passed through, then collapsed in the arms of Planchet on the edge of the Persian carpet. For two days he was assigned to his bed.

    Rain and storm started in earnest. The house grew cold and damp. Wind and water made such a racket the first knocks on the door could hardly be heard. The lightning cracked, startling Neville, who opened the door with a jerk.

    A woman in a raincoat stood dripping.

    “Come in Miss. You’ll catch your death.”

    “Me? Not likely,” she answered matter-of-factly.

    Stepping in, she placed her umbrella in the elephant’s foot.

    “I’m Miriam Nightingale, come to see Mr. Forrester and have him sign my book.”

    Her hair? Wet and wild at this moment, but tameable later. Her eyes? Brown and too sure of themselves for comfort. Her voice? Rest assured, it was sweeter than organic honey.

    Forrester could hear them downstairs, but with the storm only barely, and misinterpreted the whole thing. He gets upset first and mad later, and begins to talk to himself.

    “Probably that floozy from the inn coming for a midnight rendezvous with my man Planchet!”

    Despite the fact he was still half-asleep and wholly under the influence of the bacillus he bounded from the bed and threw on his dressing gown and assaulted Planchet with the question,

    “Where is the woman anyway?”

    “In the study drying off by the fire, your lordship.”

    “Damn you Planchet, you impudent and disrespectful servant! I am not, and will never be your lordship! I’ll take care of this!”

    He flew to the stairway like a comet on fire.

    On the top of the stairs he muttered, “Tart.”

    Half-way down it turned to, “Trollope.”

    At the bottom it had grown to, “Woman of Questionable Morals.”

    Robert Henry Forrester opened the door to the study. A figure, now back-lit by the fire, turned to regard him, and looked rather angelic. Angel of what or whom he had no idea.

    “I’m Miriam Nightingale,” it stated. “I’ve come all the way from San Francisco to have you sign my first edition. It looks as if…” she gestured to a pile of unopened letters on the desk, “you didn’t expect me.”

    “My God, it’s you!” he stammered, and then noticing the puddle her shoes made on the floor, regained his aplomb immediately.

    “Please, allow me to remove your wet things and sit here by the fire.”

    During introductions and explanations his hand touched her shoulder while making a point. While laughing at his witty remark she touched his chest lightly with the tips of her fingers inscribing the shape of a heart by way of explanation. Things couldn’t have been more magnetic.

    Then the bacillus decided to remind Forrester of his place in the scheme of things. Beads of perspiration formed on his forehead. Chaos entered the room. He collapsed again. Forrester is practiced at collapsing.
    Within minutes he was back in his bed and Miriam found herself in a room facing her image in the dressing table mirror.

    “He wasn’t ready. I don’t know why I thought he was ready!”

    She tapped on the face of her watch with her fingernails. The hands were stuck fast. It was a technical mistake, a mechanical failure, an interruption of the cosmic wheel hanging on her delicate wrist by an alligator watch-band with a gold clasp. Her brows furrowed as she grew cross with herself.

    “I hate return trips. But sometimes it can’t be helped.”

    In his fevered state Forrester dreams of Dumas. In one of his lucid moments he decided to study Dumas for his style. The two men’s styles mated. Every writer is only a refection of what he reads, even if it’s through the glass darkly, so Forrester dreams of Twenty Years After.

    ‘The morning was beautiful, and in this early springtime the birds sang on the trees and the sunbeams shone through the misty glades, like curtains of golden gauze.
    In other parts of the forest the light could scarcely penetrate through the foliage, and the stems of two old oak trees, the refuge of the squirrel, startled by the travelers, were in deep shadow.
    There came up from all nature in the dawn of day a perfume of herbs, flowers and leaves, which delighted the heart. D'Artagnan, sick of the closeness of Paris, thought that when a man had three names of his different estates joined one to another, he ought to be very happy in such a paradise; then he shook his head, saying, "If I were Porthos and D'Artagnan came to make me such a proposition as I am going to make to him, I know what I should say to it.’
    A. Dumas—Twenty Years After

    When his fever finally broke, Forrester opened his eyes and went to the balcony. The scene wasn’t France, it was Cornwall, and in its own way just as pretty.

    Meadow larks sang endless cantatas while a Kawarimono Koi glittered and jumped in the pond near the lotus pads. Grey thundering clouds from the day before were replaced overnight with white wooly cumulus silently racing over fields of endless azure. Red and white Herefordshire cattle grazed peacefully on green pastures marked by well-tended fences. There was only one thing wrong with the picture.

    The woman was missing.

    ©StevenHunley2013

    https://youtu.be/GwFySKGgG6M Hunting Girl Jethro Tull
    Last edited by Steven Hunley; 05-01-2017 at 12:16 AM.

  12. #27
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YesNo View Post
    Thanks, Danik. I put in the haiku I originally had there to make the format the same, as you suggested. You're right about why everything went wrong. I was trying to be kind to both the chickens and the dog. That backfired.
    The format is the same now, but I still feel that the change of the moment when you and Fred watch the aurora peacefully to the segment "Chicken Problem" is a bit too abrupt. Maybe you could bridge it a bit relating how the nuisance started (just a suggestion there are surely other ways to bridge it)
    "You can always find something better than death."
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  13. #28
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Hunley View Post
    THE Death's Head Moth


    Robert Henry Forester sat at his antique oak desk writing and drinking. Both were what he did best. He’d always like writing. It had been his passion. Dipping his pen in India ink, swirling his Cognac for maximum effect, then measuring out the best words. Behind him, the tall dark shelves of his library were stuffed will all sorts of books by all sorts of authors, and on one special shelf, a glittering assortment of his best-sellers. They deserved to be apart from the rest.

    Like him, they were special and precious. Special and precious and privileged. He finished an especially good line.

    “This line is a superior line,” he thought. “Let’s celebrate.”

    He reached into the drawer and took out a cigar. He cut it, lit it, and puffed, blowing a billowing cloud of smoke into the Cognac, took a sip and savored the taste. Re-reading the words, he savored the line.

    “This line is so good,” he mused, “It will keep them reading the entire paragraph.”

    He chuckled aloud, “Perhaps the entire page!”

    The fire hissed and crackled and sputtered. Wind drove rain against the panes of the tall French windows. A fierce winter storm lashed the rocks of the hard Cornish coast just as the clock on the mantle struck twelve. Robert heard none of it, he was too busy writing.

    He coughed a consumptive cough, and continued his chapter. Another book, another pound sterling. One more page, one more cigar, one more drink, and finally one more cough, and he was off to bed. Although he slept alone, this night he slept soundly without a care in the world. He’d traded his passion for glory long ago and suffered no regrets. He was aware the devil was his unfelt bedfellow, and it didn’t bother him one whit.

    Forrester was good at attracting things, at getting their attention too. Good at getting what he wanted, scads of money, fame, social butterflies, the whole lot. Sometimes he didn’t know what to do with them.

    One such example was Lady Bonacieux, daughter of the Duke and Dutchess. Tall, blond and fair, short-sighted, live-for-the-moment kind of girl. He’d attracted her one afternoon at a tea for bored socialites during a reading of his latest novel, Undercover of Darkness, the Adventures of Sin Cargo.
    Soon after the reading, in a light-blue flower-patterned dress she spoke up and snared his eyes with her own.

    “Oh, Mister Forester, I have poetic ambitions. I’ve written hundreds of poems.”

    Eyes rather doe-like, soft spoken, young woman, well-mannered, good-looking.

    His eyes moved from hers and fell quickly down her cleavage like Alice down the rabbit hole.

    “You write too, do you? We have something in common.”

    Sometimes course, sometimes plotting, the cad, the man, sensuous to a fault.

    “We should go somewhere quiet,” he continued, “and discuss our styles.”

    Her face, as fresh a spring day in its clearness, shot straight with beauty through and through. Her eyes spoke nothing but adoration.

    “You’d be surprised, I agree. Although we seem different in our styles, we undoubtedly have something in common. I’m sure you can teach me something. Let’s meet next Tuesday at the Pony and Rider, shall we? Could you bring a manuscript to discuss?”

    “Of course.”

    “We can go somewhere quiet.”

    “In the shade of the oaks if it’s warm and sunny,” he suggested.

    “We can stay at the inn if it takes all night, or if it’s raining,” she countered.

    Both knew it was November. Always rained like the Devil in November.

    Warm fires, comfortable lodgings, two half-filled whiskey glasses on the dressing table. White fluffy Egyptian cotton pillows on a pillow-topped mattress. Lady Bonacieux’s hair streamed down over the pillow and onto the bed. Forester’s pupils dilated as he regarded the twin curves of her breasts. Sheets and blankets piled up in strategic positions. Wet spots scattered here and there. Lady Bonacieux wrapped herself in a sheet, took the white cotton curtains embroidered with pink and blue flowers, pulled them to the sides of the windows, and tied them back in a bow.

    “Now we can just cuddle and watch the rain. We don’t have to say anything.”

    ‘That would be fine with me. I like to cuddle.” "What were we going to talk about anyway." he considered. "The weather ?"

    He was relieved. In fact there was nothing to say. Forrester had run out of small talk some time ago, and whispering sweet nothings just wasn’t his style. After each of these encounters it was always the same. After satisfying their sexual appetites they would notice they had nothing in common. The girl’s thoughts would return to her young man, the one who worked as a gardener on her father’s estate, or the one in class that sat behind her and tried to dip her fair hair in the inkwell.


    His nights were a terror. The deaths of Mimi in Puccini’s La Boheme and Satine in Moulin Rouge were portrayed as romantic, even tragic events. Not to his way of thinking. There was no romance in night sweats and chills, and bloody coughing that never ceased. Blood-stained handkerchiefs littered his laundry and no matter how much he ate, gradual wasting away kept him in trim. In trim for the devil’s new red suit.

    When the symptoms subsided he seemed almost normal. When the coughing started and he knew he was in for a spell. He changed his appointments and canceled still others. The state of his health was a well-kept secret. When Brehmer opened an in-patient hospital in Gorbersdorf, Forrester left England in secret to be surrounded by mountains with ragged horizons of fir trees and clean mountain air. He ate like a king and for a few months it worked.

    Eventually he returned home and relapsed. M. tuberculosis came and went in his life at irregular intervals, leaving him hopeful at one stage and despondent at another. His health was a maelstrom. No telling how many debutantes with literary aspirations were infected with his poisonous breath.

    His good days could be good. Seeing and sketching a new and rare species. Following up with the watercolors later like Aoki, or Tasuke, on fine Strathmore paper with the best Kolinsky sable brushes.

    Then, on a potato flower, landed a moth. Forrester knew nothing of moths. It stood on the flower like a sentinel surveying his grounds. Looked like a tiny statue of a moth with a weathered patina, grey and black and white. Stood looking like a delivery boy with a package waiting for a tip.

    Like lightning, Forrester made his way to the table and took up his tablet and pencil. Skilled movements here, touches of pencil there, lines of graphite and clay marked out the magnificent moth, complete with a notch on its antennae. On the lip of his glass of lemonade it modeled. The creature regarded Forrester like Michelangelo’s David. Like a small thing about to bring down something much larger in the same way the M. Tubercular bacillus regards a man. Then, somewhere between having his eyes on the moth and then on his paper, it was gone. He labeled it Luna. It was a hardly a hanging offence.

    Forrester suddenly took chill and started to cough. An Armada of grey clouds whipped in from the south. Bent over, now stumbling, Robert Henry Forester made his way to the French windows and passed through, then collapsed in the arms of Planchet on the edge of the Persian carpet. For two days he was assigned to his bed.

    Rain and storm started in earnest. The house grew cold and damp. Wind and water made such a racket the first knocks on the door could hardly be heard. The lightning cracked, startling Neville, who opened the door with a jerk.

    A woman in a raincoat stood dripping.

    “Come in Miss. You’ll catch your death.”

    “Me? Not likely,” she answered matter-of-factly.

    Stepping in, she placed her umbrella in the elephant’s foot.

    “I’m Miriam Nightingale, come to see Mr. Forrester and have him sign my book.”

    Her hair? Wet and wild at this moment, but tameable later. Her eyes? Brown and too sure of themselves for comfort. Her voice? Rest assured, it was sweeter than organic honey.

    Forrester could hear them downstairs, but with the storm only barely, and misinterpreted the whole thing. He gets upset first and mad later, and begins to talk to himself.

    “Probably that floozy from the inn coming for a midnight rendezvous with my man Planchet!”

    Despite the fact he was still half-asleep and wholly under the influence of the bacillus he bounded from the bed and threw on his dressing gown and assaulted Planchet with the question,

    “Where is the woman anyway?”

    “In the study drying off by the fire, your lordship.”

    “Damn you Planchet, you impudent and disrespectful servant! I am not, and will never be your lordship! I’ll take care of this!”

    He flew to the stairway like a comet on fire.

    On the top of the stairs he muttered, “Tart.”

    Half-way down it turned to, “Trollope.”

    At the bottom it had grown to, “Woman of Questionable Morals.”

    Robert Henry Forrester opened the door to the study. A figure, now back-lit by the fire, turned to regard him, and looked rather angelic. Angel of what or whom he had no idea.

    “I’m Miriam Nightingale,” it stated. “I’ve come all the way from San Francisco to have you sign my first edition. It looks as if…” she gestured to a pile of unopened letters on the desk, “you didn’t expect me.”

    “My God, it’s you!” he stammered, and then noticing the puddle her shoes made on the floor, regained his aplomb immediately.

    “Please, allow me to remove your wet things and sit here by the fire.”

    During introductions and explanations his hand touched her shoulder while making a point. While laughing at his witty remark she touched his chest lightly with the tips of her fingers inscribing the shape of a heart by way of explanation. Things couldn’t have been more magnetic.

    Then the bacillus decided to remind Forrester of his place in the scheme of things. Beads of perspiration formed on his forehead. Chaos entered the room. He collapsed again. Forrester is practiced at collapsing.
    Within minutes he was back in his bed and Miriam found herself in a room facing her image in the dressing table mirror.

    “He wasn’t ready. I don’t know why I thought he was ready!”

    She tapped on the face of her watch with her fingernails. The hands were stuck fast. It was a technical mistake, a mechanical failure, an interruption of the cosmic wheel hanging on her delicate wrist by an alligator watch-band with a gold clasp. Her brows furrowed as she grew cross with herself.

    “I hate return trips. But sometimes it can’t be helped.”

    In his fevered state Forrester dreams of Dumas. In one of his lucid moments he decided to study Dumas for his style. The two men’s styles mated. Every writer is only a refection of what he reads, even if it’s through the glass darkly, so Forrester dreams of Twenty Years After.

    ‘The morning was beautiful, and in this early springtime the birds sang on the trees and the sunbeams shone through the misty glades, like curtains of golden gauze.
    In other parts of the forest the light could scarcely penetrate through the foliage, and the stems of two old oak trees, the refuge of the squirrel, startled by the travelers, were in deep shadow.
    There came up from all nature in the dawn of day a perfume of herbs, flowers and leaves, which delighted the heart. D'Artagnan, sick of the closeness of Paris, thought that when a man had three names of his different estates joined one to another, he ought to be very happy in such a paradise; then he shook his head, saying, "If I were Porthos and D'Artagnan came to make me such a proposition as I am going to make to him, I know what I should say to it.’
    A. Dumas—Twenty Years After

    When his fever finally broke, Forrester opened his eyes and went to the balcony. The scene wasn’t France, it was Cornwall, and in its own way just as pretty.

    Meadow larks sang endless cantatas while a Kawarimono Koi glittered and jumped in the pond near the lotus pads. Grey thundering clouds from the day before were replaced overnight with white wooly cumulus silently racing over fields of endless azure. Red and white Herefordshire cattle grazed peacefully on green pastures marked by well-tended fences. There was only one thing wrong with the picture.

    The woman was missing.

    ©StevenHunley2013

    https://youtu.be/GwFySKGgG6M Hunting Girl Jethro Tull
    Enjoyed reading this story very much, the dark humour, the parody, all the references some very sly ones( Undercover of Darkness, the Adventures of Sin Cargo, Thomas Mann)
    I read most of your stories but I ceased to comment them, because I was under the impression that you didn´t read the comments.
    Hope you are well!
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

  14. #29
    Registered User Steven Hunley's Avatar
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    I ALWAYS read the comments. The problem is, even with hundreds of reads, there's no comments. I have to tell you about another site called Scribophile. To post there you have to have "karma" points. To get 'em, you have to do critiques. When you get so many karma points you can post a story. It gets so many critiques. Of course, many of these people you don't know, so who cares what they think? Especially if they've got no skills, either as a reader or writer.

    Some however, you befriend because you like their work. So when your stuff comes under the "spot light" they can critique it first.


    All this is free, but over all, I prefer the format here. It's best for the written word but if you want words AND pictures you have to go to my blog. For some reason and for some time I haven't been able to add pictures here.

    Of course, there are copyright issues. And why would anyone pay for something they can get free?

    So many read and not many at all comment. At one time I posted stories on a now defunct site called Short Fiction UK. Found out later it was a site most aimed at the Erotica Set. Found out when I noticed many of my titles got read more than others. It was ones that could be mistaken for Erotica, (like Gentle Persuasion) LOL.

    Last time I did a count, I had 50 or so stories and over 160,000 reads between them. Didn't mean poo poo. Once a person clicks on something, he or she may decide it's not their cup of tea and give it up early. It all counts as a read, whether or not anyone completely reads it or not. Number don't say poop. Comments are everything. Even negative comments can be instructive.

  15. #30
    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danik 2016 View Post
    The format is the same now, but I still feel that the change of the moment when you and Fred watch the aurora peacefully to the segment "Chicken Problem" is a bit too abrupt. Maybe you could bridge it a bit relating how the nuisance started (just a suggestion there are surely other ways to bridge it)
    There are other haibun that I haven't added yet. This one sort of jumps ahead of the story. I write these haibun based on dVerse poets pub prompts. Each would have to stand alone. There are other events. How Fred became a father and how those chickens tormented Fred are each worth a haibun.

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