Some Happiness

So it’s a bit early for anything Christmas-related, but I’ve already started making my Christmas cards. I always try and make them by hand, since I really enjoy the process, and I feel that a nice card becomes a present in itself.

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Most of my cards will probably be Jerry -inspired. I swear I’m not a crazy cat lady.

Last year I wasn’t in the best of places due to stress and work, so I barely made any. I regretted it as I gave my Christmas gifts. I felt that something was missing.

This year I’m in a much better place. And it shows through the fact that I’m already working on cards and that I’m so excited (rather than daunted) to make them all!

I definitely have been busy, especially with the wedding coming up in just a couple months, but I’m still finding time to work on my projects. It’s a great feeling. And starting early will give me enough time to make them all (hopefully).

I wish for positivity and happiness for all of you. And if you don’t have it right now, I hope it comes to you soon.

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Drag

No waste, no waste. Every breath counts.

Inhale exhale inhale.

No waste, can’t waste. Don’t let it burn up unused. It’s such a luxury.

A few minutes and then it’s gone. A few moments of warmth in the lungs. A few moments of warmth against the cold of the world.

What a waste. I’ll miss it when it’s gone.

Mondays Mean

Mondays mean breathing in the new week, stepping into its embrace. No matter how tired, how reluctant.

Mondays are sleepy days for me. And as I sit at my desk, I find myself seeking ways to open my mind creatively.

christine fichtner painting palette

Colours to brighten my day.

It normally starts with a quick sketch. Something simple to ease myself into practice.

Then I pick up my paintbrushes, and delve into colours. Bright ones, today.

The sun filters through the leaves outside. The air picks them up, and they murmur. This I mirror with my brush upon the paper.

Mondays can be difficult. But finding enjoyment in splashes of paint is not.

Devour

“Whatever it takes,” he nodded to himself. “Can’t be weighed down with concerns about others. Won’t get anywhere like that.” His eyes strayed to the golden shimmer that was splayed next to the red counter. It was a number larger than anyone had ever had. But not enough. It was never enough. He always needed more. Because stopping meant losing. Stopping meant someone would catch up.

   There was a chime. The number flickered. Six billion nine hundred million ninety-nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine. His smile widened. The golden number ticked upwards. He glanced back at the red numbers. He had done it. No one would ever be as rich as he was. He was the ultimate. He had everything. The freedom to do whatever he wanted, the power to control the world.

   Almost. The numbers leered. There was more. There was still more he could do. His movements stilled. He stared at the golden numbers that beamed his pride and obsession. Almost.

—-

A small excerpt of a flash fiction I am working on. Exploring the depths of greed.

Her Skin Held Time

I could feel time in her skin.

It was soft and dry and thin like the skeleton of a leaf half decayed.

It told me of days and months and years that had all passed. It told me that more had passed than would come.

It told me to hold her close and treasure her.

Her Constant Companion

It sludged, black, from behind. Unseen until she felt the cold press at the back of her neck. She stiffened, eyes widening, lips pursed in denial.

Go away.

But it didn’t. Instead it loomed, reaching. Dark trails curling around her mind.

Her breath quickened, her throat tightened. She made a small sound, a hedgehog crying out into the darkness.

Her hands trembled. A young sapling standing up to the howling winds. There was little she could do as it raged within her thoughts, drawing up everything she had tried to forget.

Her head jerked to the side as she felt a tear escape. Her hand reached up to cover her eyes, as if it could block out the sight of things that now only remained within her mind.

Let me go.

But it refused to leave, bringing up memories she never wished to revisit.

She was used to it by now, though, this darkness that always lurked, always waiting. And as tears warmed her hands, she thought with resignation that it was perhaps her only constant companion.

Running Water

Small rivulets splashed eagerly down the trail, gliding around rocks and over logs. Droplets went flying as small, translucent bodies swept the water along. They slipped alongside the small streams, giggling around pebbles.

Their eyes glittered as they swept past me. One patted my leg in encouragement as she passed by. Another peered through the threads of my shoes. My toes shivered and she leapt back with a tinkle, leaving behind a damp imprint.

Cool hands smoothed my cheeks as my breath made clouds. White teeth sparkled and wings fluttered, brushing through my hair as they went. Incorporeal walls of minuscule bodies dove towards me and around. A misty trail lingered as they soared away.

The residual droplets created a ripple of shivers that spread across my body. My teeth clack their protest, and I surged onwards, eager for the fiery comfort of the lodge.

The Shoes that Changed a Man’s Life

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Blue, green, and white, they smiled at the world from the ground up. They were slammed, dragged, and kicked, and yet they continued to shine.

They tied and untied, they clicked and clacked.

And they spoke to people when they walked by.

“Hello,” they’d say. “We are happy shoes.” Then they’d laugh. “Don’t be shy, come say hello!”

Sometimes they were ignored, and sometimes people took notice.

“What character they have!” Delighted the listeners, and the shoes would redden at the praise.

But their most fulfilling day was one that was sunny and bright. They were waiting for the bus, alongside some subdued fellows.

And the man beside them, he listened, then he replied. “I had never before looked that closely at shoes until now” he said, “I didn’t realize what a difference they made.”

And through their stammering blush, the bright shoes beamed.

True story. Don’t be ashamed of being unique.

When you finally spring to life

It’s the breeze that first tells you that today you won’t freeze. It caresses soft whispers into your ear. No longer does it bite your chin when you walk away, nor crawl under your clothes to thief away your warmth.

Suddenly your steps are lighter, quicker. The ends of your lips curl infinitesimally upwards. Deep within your eyes, hope flares to life.

Already the memories of past discomfort are fading. Of frozen toes and red-tipped noses. Of chunks of frozen hair lost with a careless gesture. Of hands permanently stuck in coat pockets, and shoulders hunched forward, defensively, resignedly.

Already you envision your winter coat hung up in the closet. Your thick socks rolled up at the back of the drawer. Your woolen sweaters guarded by mothballs.

You look up as the sound of a small bird’s chirp prods your soul. The tree’s branches are still bare, but that will change soon. Though the bird blends in well, your eager eye is quick to spot it. You reluctantly move on, aware that, should you linger too long, your boss will not be pleased. Alas, not everyone is cheered by the lively hints of spring.

You stare wistfully at the deceptive, blue sky.

A particularly strong gust of wind sneaks down the back of your coat. You shiver.

Soon the wind croons.

Soon. Not quite yet, but soon.

Actually, walls have eyes and feelings too

The walls inched away nervously as the dragon opened his mouth to yawn. They were well used to his habits now, and knew to expect the uncomfortably hot flames that cannoned from his mouth.

But that didn’t mean they had to like it.

In fact, from time to time, they got so fed up that they’d shake for a while in rage, throwing rocks and shifting angrily, trying to drive out the dragon.

Most of them bore telltale signs of abuse from the intruder. Sections had been partially melted, there were numerous unnatural grooves, and running stone had hardened partway down, looking rather like an unfortunate accident. How embarrassing.

The walls knew that it could have been worse. The dragon that had taken up residence within their tunnels was inconsiderate, of that there was no doubt, but he wasn’t cruel. When he raged, he generally did it upwards, and the walls weren’t particularly worried about the ceiling. It was much higher up, and was always grumbling anyway. It got boring listening to it complaining all day. When the dragon got angry, the walls bounced his roars upwards, and the ceiling got the worst of it.

Occasionally the ceiling would pelt stones at the dragon in vengeance and with no small amount of frustration, but it was all in vain. The giant lizard was not about to leave the crystals that seduced with flirty winks.

Really, dragons were such thieves.

The walls had created and guarded the treasure for so long, and then he came along and claimed it for his own. He fancied himself a fearsome guardian, but the walls knew better. Without them surrounding the crystals, the dragon would have a hard time keeping it for himself.

The walls were much wiser than the young, foolish dragon. They were always awake, always watching. They knew of the humans that got lost in their winding halls, doomed from the start in the sinuous caverns. The fools. Did they think they could win against age old stone? A rockfall here, a sudden cliff there, and they were no longer a threat.

The walls were there to stay. One day the dragon would grow old and die, leaving behind the treasure. But the walls would still be there, long after bones turned to dust.

And then humans invented dynamite. Boom!

Actually didn’t intend to write it from this point of view, but it just turned out this way. And it ended up amusing me too much to change it.

Beautiful Cafes

Standard Cafe

Standard Cafe

I come to this place often enough that they smile in slight recognition as I enter. And they speak to me using as much English as they can, because they know that I don’t speak the local language.

It’s warm inside, very warm. My glasses fog instantly. I shiver once as residual cold air kisses my skin farewell.

I order in broken Korean. They smile patiently.

It takes too long to translate the cost in my head, so I just hand them a large bill. The change I get back looks about right.

It’s a cozy cafe. The floor is dark, but the multi-coloured glitter embedded in the tiles makes the light dance. Rustic chairs and tables occupy the walls, surrounding the island bar.

Self-serve water and a chalkboard menu waves to me from the right. A raised platform of tables greets me from the left. I choose a window seat so that I can see the cloudless sky. I prefer summertime when I can sit outside.

Finally I am warm enough to remove my scarf and jacket. I settle down comfortably, and open my laptop. I love how fast the internet is here.

My order takes a while; they’re meticulous with their drinks. But when it arrives, it’s beautifully designed. A soft thank-you passes my lips. Any louder and I worry that they’ll be able to pick out even more mistakes in my pronunciation.

It’s a little bit more expensive than the other cafes around here, but I come here anyway. I like it here, though I’m not quite sure why I prefer it. Maybe it’s the good memories, maybe it’s the atmosphere. Or maybe it’s just the fruit and ice cream waffles.

—-

I love cafes. I love relaxing and writing, or reading, or studying, while sipping a delicious drink. Cafes here also tend to have amazing desserts, such as waffles or thick toast.

I was debating whether to post this here or in my Creative Writing blog, but in the end I decided that it fit better here.

 

新年快乐!Reflecting on the Year of the Snake

It’s quiet as it slithers closer, tongue darting out to test the air. Cautious. It stays low to the ground, the grass barely stirring as it moves. The sibilant noises it makes are easily mistaken for the wind, and quickly drowned out by your recent resolutions so desperately chanted. Though dying in intensity, it is still enough to mask the soft hissing.

It’s so quick to sneak up that you don’t even notice it until you turn around, and find it gazing contemplatively at you. You stare back, willing your legs not to tremble. Would it attack? Strike at you? Would it bite you and leave you to slowly succumb to its poison?

It approaches a little bit faster this time. It’s audible now, though just barely. You want to take a step backwards, but you’re frozen. You begin to sweat, just a little bit. Your palms are clammy. Your lips are cracked and dry. You suddenly notice that your hair is too long. It’s falling into your eyes, making you blink rapidly. Your clothes now feel too tight, too restrictive. You should have worn a looser shirt. Not that you can even move at the moment.

Somewhere in your mouth, a tooth is throbbing. One of your muscles spasms slightly, twitching an odd beat against your skin. Your throat itches. You remember that you haven’t had enough water to drink today. It has also been a while since your last meal. Was it really that long ago? It felt like only a couple of hours… but it has been almost half a day. You scold yourself for losing track of time.

And then before you can blink, it’s in front of you, slowly rising up, swaying, staring you in the eye. Its tongue flicks out, breathing you in, and you can’t escape.

Slowly it winds its way around you, securing you in its cool, smooth embrace. You tense up, unsure, scared. But it does not squeeze, nor does it bite. It hisses soothingly in your ear. Murmurs of things to come. Of changes, of success, of new opportunities. And around your shoulder it settles down, a constant companion, until the next one comes trotting in.

—-

How do you feel when a new year approaches you, catches you by surprise? What things come to mind? On what do you reflect? What does the new year look like as it comes ever closer?

My reflections on the new year.

Happy New Year!

A Challenge Worthy of a Fool

I can feel the burn of their taunting eyes. The slow drag of tongues over lips betrays their anticipation as I swallow. My smile emerges as a grimace. Strange. I was pretty sure that I was grinning just a moment ago as I put the chopsticks to my mouth. Odd. Everything is a little bit blurry, but I can’t figure out why. My recollection of the events leading up to this seems to be as fuzzy as my vision. What had I done?  Ah yes, a few minutes ago I had boasted that I could conquer any food. What a fool I was to take this food. And to eat it, that vegetable gleaming so innocently red.

My gasp only drags the agony downwards. Yes, now I know why my lips refuse to turn upwards, and why my eyes are drowning.

My cutlery clatters as my hand claps over my mouth. It burns.  Little imps with thorny feet are summoning a demon on my tongue.

I should have known better, but I really am too easily fooled. It was sweet at first, caressing my tongue with its smooth outside, sliding reassuringly past my lips. Encouraged, I bit down. Fire exploded, sending molten sensations throughout my mouth. Like an angry firebird it spread its wings, consuming all until only flames were left, encasing my tongue in its wretched dance. It screeches whenever I breathe and caws its horrible laughter when I attempt to soothe its fiery wrath.

Water falls, abandoning me along with my ego, along with my trust.

My other hand flounders, searching desperately as my mind screams obscenities. I must have looked comical, with a face as red as the source of my agony. So powerful it was to have taken over my body so quickly, so easily. Sweat trickles down my neck, and I can only dream of the soothing embrace of the Northern winds.

I can hear their laughter, as agonizing as the little imps sashaying across my tongue. Into a jester they had made me. What I thought was bravery was naught but foolishness.

Salty droplets flee for the safety of my shirt. Proof of my failed conquest. My hand lights upon a small white package, and I grin again. Or was it grimace? I manage to wrestle my other hand away long enough to open it and pour the content into my mouth in sweet, sweet relief.

—-
This is a piece that I wrote a while ago, and then finally decided to edit and post. Based off of the prompt of writing about one of the five senses.