Cinderella Castle – Photo inspired short story

Cinderella Castle

I’ve had a crazy couple of weeks, but I finally managed to carve some time to write and visit my online friends. The following story is inspired by the above photograph. It was taken by a friend, Jarno Willemarck, in the French part of Belgium (he’s not allowed to give exact location). He titled it Cinderella Castle, so I’ve used that (you know how I struggle with them anyway!) I hope you enjoy.

Cinderella Castle

Garrett timed his movements to the haunting whistle and wail of the breeze through a barren landscape. The old house was a ghost of her former self, the old girl about ready to collapse and spill her secrets.

Let’s raise a toast to our freedom.

The voice, floating to him on the wings of times past was followed by the remembered echo of breaking glass. Pausing from the pursuit to gain freedom from his bindings, Garrett’s gaze fell on the table he had carried into the room at Fiona’s request almost fifteen years ago.

He took in the solitary glass, its twin littering the ground by the exit after Fee’s explosive declaration.

Here’s to a taste of freedom and the chance to blow this godawful joint.

The words echoed around the room, ghosts pulling at his memories until she appeared beside the table, her unruly gold curls bouncing as she moved, her graceful body bowing as she raised her glass and hurled it at the closest wall.

The wine they had been drinking had splashed back at her laughing frame, droplets of crimson soaking into the simple cream tunic she wore.

Garrett’s muscles bunched in response to the memory and he saw glimpses of his former self rushing to lift her from harm’s way. His Fee rarely wore anything on her feet, and he had been possessed by a need to protect her from further pain, a need made sharper by the sight of the growing patterns on her dress. Patterns that reminded him of the times the dark rich colour had been evidence of the beatings she had taken.

Let’s do what we should have done years ago and cremate the bitch.

His eyes closed as the soft, vulnerable note to her voice. It wasn’t real, but here, where memories were being drudged up with the filth in the room, past and present merged.

To centre himself, Garrett pulled on the wrist attached to the radiator, and the scrape of metal on metal screeched in a pitch that rivalled the wind.

Fiona had been talking about the house, though neither of them had truly blamed the ancient walls for the atrocities that took place here.

Still, they had tried to burn Gillingworth Manor to the ground. The scent of petrol and red-hot flame rose up to scorch his nose, trapping him with the sounds of burning timber. This room had been among the few that had survived their wrath, and it hadn’t gone unscathed.

When he glanced around, he saw the scorch marks on the ceiling and the debris scattered across the floor like pieces of his past. The rough bite of fabric scratched across his bare chest as the heavy curtains shivered in the breeze. They were darker than they had been. Garrett remembered them blooming as green as the walls, before water had soaked into the fabric and sealed in the house’s weary screams.

It had once been an opulent space, the furnishings a mask for what true horror took place behind the scenes.

Garrett raised his free hand to wipe the sweat from his face. He flinched in pain as the grime from his fingers caught in the open cut on his left cheek. The opposite eye was swollen shut, perhaps the reason his vision was so hazy and his mind flickering between the then and now montage to showcase his predicament.

The bruises across his torso added insult to injury because he swore if he took a snapshot the they would be an exact replica of his first foray into the room.

As though pressing a button to play a soundtrack to his misery, the punch of flesh against flesh echoed around him. He might have dismissed the thud of a body hitting the floor as a painful memory if it hadn’t been for the vibration that shook his bones.

“Fee.” His voice came out on a rasping breath, like the fire had been real again and he’d inhaled too much smoke.

Fiona stepped into the room carrying twin batons and a frown that could make a hardened criminal search out his weapons. She wasn’t bare foot now. The ghost of the girl she had been evaporated in the presence of the fierce woman she had become.

Dressed in black, from her boots to the cap she wore to tame the curs, Fiona looked like a fallen angel. He was afraid he was hallucinating until she spoke.

“What did I tell you about taking side gigs. You never go anywhere without backup.”

Despite feeling repentant for his stubborn actions, Garrett grinned at her. The cut on his lip seared fire across the skin and he knew the fresh flow of blood must have made for a macabre smile, but he didn’t care. They had been searching for Gillingowrth Junior for five years and he was certain his Fee had just made mincemeat out of the sick fuck.

She would never have been taken unaware, as he had been, but then she had always been smarter than him. He’d always followed her. Into the army, the security firm, he would follow her into hell itself.

It took her less than a minute to free him and then she was pulling him to his feet. He swayed until she caught him, and again when she pressed her lips to his.

“Ouch,” he whispered, making no move to step back.

“Stop being a baby. It’s just a scratch.”

He laughed at the words, ones she had spoken many times as a nod to their past. There was little that compared to the wounds inflicted by Rory Gillingworth.

“Can you walk?” she asked in a more serious tone, her pale brown eyes showing the first hint of concern.

“I’ll aim for a hobble and go from there.”

Her musical laughter bathed the room in a soft playful light, banishing every dark corner.

Using Fee for support as he’d been doing most of his life, he let her guide him from the room, confident he provided the same – the security of home.

The house would never be that, not for them, but someday perhaps it would be restored and filled with the kind of joy they had found in each other.

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Alphabetti Spaghetti – A pasta free word game!


After reflecting on my A to Z challenge (I know, I know, I was supposed to provide evidence of those reflections…say in a post for example!). Ahem…anyway…

It occurred to me that I need to work on my writing muscles, since my exercise regime is somewhat lax at the moment (okay, fine…I’m not great at the whole exercise thing). So, with that in mind, I decided to get a little creative. It’s a writing game I can take part in each week, and invite others to play along, working through the alphabet and utilising a version of the 7x7x7 exercise. I will take a letter, choose seven random words (or readers can suggest them), each with seven letters, and a maximum word count of seven hundred words.

Since I’m starting with A, I used a random word generator to get the ball rolling. The results were interesting, since one of the words is obsolete, and another is questionable. Still, I went with it! If you decide to play, let me know how you get on.

The words used are; abandon, abdomen, abalone, abashed, abaser, abactor, and arrghh.


Abandoning Reality

“Abandon your post, Jefferson. That’s an order.”

Craig met the CO’s steely blues head on, communicating without words that he wasn’t going anywhere.

Amidst the sound of heavy artillery, the smell of gunpower and smoke, a pocket of silence closed in around them. The stubborn and the heroic. Craig held strong. He ignored the pain in his abdomen, the tension in his legs, and pretended he wasn’t swaying like a leaf in the breeze.

“You leave me no choice, son. I have-“

A loud explosion cut through whatever threat he intended to serve. It was followed by a visual Craig could live without – if he got to live – that being his CO’s body exploding into a cloud of matter so fine, the only blowback was akin to dust. The molecules brushed across his face, making him want to scrub at his flesh, abandon his post, and scream at the injustice simultaneously. He didn’t do any of those things.

No, he remained in position, staring now into a new set of eyes. These not human.

His enemy did not speak. Perhaps it couldn’t. The creature’s face was partially covered by a shell-like protrusion that started beneath its eyes and extended to a hooked chin. It was flat, with a slight spiral in the centre and holes along the outer edge. Bizarrely, it reminded Craig of an abalone. If only that was his strangest thought of the night. It wasn’t by a long shot. He’d been in a state of shock since the base came under attack by beasts who were impervious to their weapons.

“CJ. Heads up!”

Craig knew that voice, and his body acted on instinct. He dropped into a crouch, fighting off a wave of nausea when his brain caught up. It didn’t stop him from watching the show, this one worth seeing, as his buddy swung his kukri in a wide arc and cut their enemy down.

The bastard’s head made a satisfying thump, thump at his feet. One down, only about a dozen to go. They hadn’t been able to get close enough, until now. But they were learning.

“We need to fall back,” Jax said, twirling his blade as though the thing were hungry for more blood.

“No can do, buddy. Those things will have to go through me if they want to get into the bunker.” He realised how ridiculous he sounded. Their enemy didn’t need explosives to blow people up, and they didn’t leave a mess either.  Christ, but he missed home, where the only problem his family faced were castle rustlers, the avaricious abactors, as his grandfather liked to say.

“The bunker was evacuated twenty minutes ago. You need to stand down, soldier and fall the fuck back.”

Craig’s gut cramped at the words. He’d put his CO in harm’s way for nothing. Abashed, he hung his head. “Sorry, man. I thought-”

“Who gives a shit what you thought? You’re not paid to think, grunt.”

His head snapped back up. That wasn’t fair, nor was it right. Jax could be a prick, but he wasn’t an abaser. Besides, he fell beneath Craig on the food chain so, even in the height of battle, he’d show respect.

Don’t forget. They play to win, and they never play fair.

One of their allies had warned him about the tricks the enemy pulled, and the manpower they brought to a fight. That had to be it. He was being played.

“Aarrghh!” Anger exploded in his belly, obliterating the pain. He threw himself at whoever, or whatever was pretending to be Jax, and took him to the ground.

The instant they hit the dirt, the illusion dropped, and as he stared at the decapitated head of his CO, he feared nothing was as it seemed. He had no clue who to trust, or what to believe. The only thing he knew for sure was that he had a job to do. So, he would guard his post, and continue to do so until he was no longer standing.


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Worth the wait

I apologise for posting twice in one day (sort of – it’s after midnight here), and a largely unedited piece at that. I would have waited, but it seemed a good example to complement my A to Z posts. Sam has been in my head for the last two days, and has been driving me mad! 

Worth the wait

“Talk me through the risks again.”

Sam barely resisted the urge to roll her eyes as she turned to look at her best friend. “Talk you through it, huh?” Oh, what the hell. She let her eyes roll and watched Michael’s lips twitch. “Tell me…who’s having this operation?” she demanded, even as she swallowed down her own amusement. She couldn’t help it. His green eyes were dancing with devilment, despite the underlying concern.


“And who has considered every single angle when it comes to the procedure?”

“You,” Michael said, though he jabbed a thumb to indicate himself and pulled a laugh from her.

“Uh-huh. So, one more time, who should be freaking out about being put under the knife?”

“Nobody should be freaking out.”

They both turned at the reprimand, eyes to the door where Sam’s father stood with his arms crossed over his chest. “And don’t talk about Dr Conners like he’s a butcher. He wields a scalpel not a cleaver.”

“You two are as bad as each other,” Michael grumbled.

That earned one of her father’s grins; wide and unapologetic – just like the man. He walked over to the bed and placed a hand on her shoulder. “You’re going to be fine.” His voice held the kind of authority others feared, like his word was law.

So, when he placed his other hand on Michael’s shoulder, and said, “You too, Mikey,” her friend visibly relaxed. Or he did until a porter entered the room with a thick folder tucked beneath his arm and a harried look on his face.

“I’m here to escort you down to theatre,” he said, as though the operating rooms were situated in the bowels of hell. Hmm, she was more nervous than she thought.

Time to pull up your big girl panties. The thought made her snort out a laugh when it dawned on her she would need them soon enough.

“Okay, let’s do this,” she said, slipping out of bed, even as her father was slipping her robe around her shoulders.

“You’ve got this, kiddo,” he whispered.

Calm washed over her at the familiar words because, after everything she had endured, every treatment, the endless therapies, his reassurance had been the glue that kept her together. It was the reason she walked out of the room with her head held high.


Michael squirmed in the hard-backed chair, staring into his cold coffee so he didn’t have to meet David’s knowing gaze. Christ, but he wanted to pace. If he didn’t do something with the excess energy his emotions would strangle him.

The waiting was killing him, or perhaps it was the knowledge he would soon have everything he wanted – Sam.

It had been so easy in the beginning. She had asked for his patience, and he had given it to her. He loved her, so how could he not? But the longer they waited, the more their need grew until friendship wasn’t enough for either of them. Of course, Sam was strong one. She wouldn’t even kiss him. Not until after the surgery.

“You know,” David said, conversationally. “You have every right to be angry that she held out on you for so long.”

The laugh tore loose from his aching chest. He was shocked that he had it in him to laugh, though Sam’s father had a way of cutting to the heart of the matter. That, at least, wasn’t a surprise.

“I understand why she wants to wait,” he said, because it was the truth. This was about her, it had always been about her, and she gave him everything he needed. It wasn’t Sam’s fault that he was an impatient fool desperate to begin their life together.

“Thank you.” David’s large hand covered his own, and he looked up into watery brown eyes the colour of his daughter’s. The man never hid his emotions, yet in all the years Michael had known him, David had only cried once – at his wife’s funeral. “Thank you for always seeing her.”

He was too overwhelmed to reply. Thankfully, David took pity on him. He pulled his hand back and rose to his feet. “Why don’t we take a walk through the grounds. If nothing else, it will settle that nervous tick you seem to have developed.”

Michael looked down to where his leg was bouncing, and then back up. Like Sam, her father understood what he needed, and right now, he needed to move.

They had just left the cafeteria when David’s phone buzzed, thwarting their plans. Not that it mattered. The alert was from the nursing staff. Sam was in recovery.

“You’ve got this, kiddo,” David said, making him laugh again. It didn’t shock him this time. Not now the wait was over.


The moment Sam awoke, she was hit by a wave of pain so strong it took her breath. She knew she should hit the morphine button, but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. Not yet.

Instead, she concentrated on what was beneath the pain, a dual sensation she struggled to process. She certainly wouldn’t have been able to put it into words. She felt at once complete and empty, though the latter was more an absence of the weight between her legs. That heavy, awful appendage that seemed to pull on her soul. And really, wasn’t that the thing she couldn’t truly explain, the loathing she’d felt for something that formed part of her body. It hadn’t belonged. She might have been born with male genitalia, but she didn’t have to like it.

Now it was gone, and the knowledge made her breath hitch. It was finally over, and regardless of whether it made sense to anyone else, she could finally be who she was meant to be, without a physical reminder that there had been a mix up in the organ department.

“I can’t decide if that’s a smile or a grimace,” her father said, rising from the chair beside the bed. “Press the button, stubborn girl.”

Her finger moved to trigger the morphine into her system as she turned to look at him. When their eyes locked, her father smiled so wide it had to hurt. Her cheeks certainly did. “I’m okay, Pop.” Everything they felt passed silently between them – there was no need for further words.

Her father nodded, glancing briefly across the room before he turned to leave.

A second later, Michael was filling her field of vision. “Hi,” she whispered.

“Hi.” His smile lit the green of his irises. “How do you feel?”

Sam didn’t even need to think about it. “Whole. I feel whole.”

“I was hoping you’d say that,” he said, running a hand down her cheek. And then he kissed her. It was everything she had hoped it would be.

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Eternal Darkness

J. Sander over at ‘Don’t Delete Me’ shared a sentence starter for his Writing Prompt Wednesday. I couldn’t resist a quick detour, since an image sprang into my head and I had to go with it. I must warn you though, this is darker than anything I’ve ever written, so I apologise in advance at its disturbing nature!

Eternal Darkness

The knife he chose was his Mothers’ favourite. Ironic really, since he was going to end her life with it. He was done with the nagging, the whining, and the endless chatter about how much better her life would be without him. Christ, she was a pain in his ass. Her bitterness was like a disease; the only thing she was willing to share with him.

He would look into those hateful, pale blue eyes and watch the lights go out. Only then would he be free He doubted she would go to a better place. No, it was more likely she would bathe in hell’s eternal fire. Not that his life was any better.

The knife felt heavy in his hand, like he was channeling his hatred into it. He was surprised it didn’t burn a hole in his palm.

As he approached her room, a bead of sweat dripped off his brow and landed with a plop on the hard wooden floor. That was odd, wasn’t it? Come to think of it, all of his senses were off, or maybe on. It was dark in the hall yet he could see with a clarity he’d never experienced.

He took a huge lungful of air, wondering at the putrid odour which seared his lungs and made him think of his own despair. It was death. He was sure of it. But he hadn’t even killed her yet.

That was when he knew, he’d been here before, in the exact same spot. And what came next, was the stuff of his nightmares.

On cue his mother’s door flew open. Her eye sockets were caverns of blood and scar tissue and yet she looked directly into his soul. Her mouth was open, as if in a silent scream and her nostrils flared when she sensed him.

“My boy,” she said, in a singsong voice that peeled the flesh from his bones. “It’s time to play.”


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Coming Home – A short story based on the Write Now prompt




In response to the Write Now Prompt at Today’s Author.

(Sentence prompt highlighted in text).



It’s so hard to move on. That’s what I was thinking as I stood in the doorway of my home. The house that Jack built; my Jack.

We’d been barely eighteen when we married. Everyone said it wouldn’t last, including our parents. Our friends had bets on it. It wasn’t that they wanted us to fail, it was more to do with the fact we’d known each other for only three weeks.

It didn’t matter. I knew after three minutes, which was how long it took him to ask me out. He was so adorable. Not in the way a puppy is adorable, but he melted my heart just the same.

As he stood there; tall and wide and clumsy looking, he told me about his dream house and how, the moment he looked at me, he knew he had to build it. Sounds too cheesy to be true, doesn’t it, and on somebody else it wouldn’t have sat right. But Jack could get away with those things. When he spoke, people listened.

It could have been the disarming way he had; the contradictions to him. He looked uncomfortable in his own skin, but the moment he spoke; the strong timbre of his voice, the confidence he projected, it was hard to deny him anything.

I’ve loved him since the day we met, and will do long after we meet again. It might be hard to move on, but letting go would take me a lot longer to accomplish.

I didn’t want to let go of my husband, of our memories, our house, but I knew I had to.

After the car accident, and the realisation that Jack was gone, I don’t remember much at all. The only thing I can recall is the house. It cocooned me for a while, allowed me to hide from my new reality. But I couldn’t stay there forever. Though I felt close to him, so close I could feel his presence, I was stuck.

All these thoughts were circling through my mind as I hovered on the doorstep. I knew I was avoiding the final steps. I’d been avoiding it for far too long.

My eyes swept the room, checking for anything I’d missed and came to rest on the window ledge. The antique telephone, the one we’d bought on a whim, was the only thing left in an otherwise empty shell.

I started across the room towards it, and then stopped dead in my tracks. The phone rang, which was strange, since they had disconnected it weeks before. It continued to ring, long and loud in the silence and still I stood, staring at it in disbelief.

I’m not sure what got me moving again, or why I picked it up. But I did.

“Hi, sweetheart. It’s me.”

My heart froze when I heard the voice, a voice as familiar as my own.

“I know you can hear me. I know it.”

I said nothing, I was being bombarded with so many memories I could barely catch my breath.

“Speak to me, Em. I know you’re there. Please, I need you to speak to me.”





“She spoke to me. I don’t care what your results say, or the damn statistics. She spoke to me.”

Doctor Pearson put an arm on Jack’s shoulder and tried to reason with him. “I know you think…”

Jack shrugged out of his grasp. “You don’t believe me, but that doesn’t mean I’m crazy. I didn’t imagine it. She said my name.”

“We’ve seen no significant change since we brought her out of the coma. I’m sorry, Jack. I wish I had better news.”

“She’s in there, doc. You have to believe that.” Jack’s voice was hoarse with emotion. Since the accident almost three months before, he’d been living in fear. Fear that he’d lost her, that he’d never be able to tell her he was sorry.

It was his fault she’d had to drive. If he hadn’t had too many beers at the picnic, he would have been in the driver’s seat and he would have been the one fighting for his life.

He walked back over to her side and took her hand. She looked so small in the hospital bed, so lost and alone. It broke his heart.

From the moment he’d seen her fourteen years ago, he’d known they would spend the rest of their lives together. He wouldn’t allow her to leave him, not yet. He couldn’t survive without her.

“Talk to me, Em. I know you can do it. Just say my name. They don’t believe in us, sweetheart, they never believed. We have to make them see.”

The silence stretched on, broken only by the machines. Still Jack prayed. He closed his eyes and willed her to hear him, to show him a sign.


His heart soared when he heard her soft croak. “Yes, it’s me. I’m here. Come back to me, Em.”

He could barely see through his tears. They dripped onto her skin when he kissed her face, over and over again. “Come back to me, sweetheart.”

The heart monitor beeped in response and it was the most beautiful sound he’d ever heard.


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Only by controlling it can we banish the nightmare

treesOccasionally I like to take part in the daily prompt, brought to us by the WordPress Daily Post. This one is entitled ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)’ and I’m not exactly cheating by choosing to share with you a nightmare. For one, the prompt allows this deviation, and for another, it had a positive outcome.

When I was eighteen I was held up at knifepoint. I’ll spare you the details (so unlike me to skimp on the drama!). I was working in a video store at the time, and two men ambushed me so they could steal a mere £50.00 from the till. Okay, so I’d just cashed up, and had tucked the days takings securely in the safe, but I didn’t tell them I had a key – obviously.

Anyway… I was understandably shaken by the event, and though I adjusted quite well, considering what could have happened, I began to experience a reoccurring nightmare.

As the prompt calls for imagery, I’ve written the account from memory – the experience of actually living through them.


The forest closed in on either side of me, oppressive and strewn with shadows that wanted to devour everything in their path.

But that wasn’t why I was afraid. It wasn’t what had my blood pumping so fast it was all I could hear, or what kept my legs moving despite the fatigue. It was the thing behind me.

An indescribable thing, an inescapable thing.

It was tall and wide and threw shadows at the ground to rival those in the trees.

Ahead of me was a never-ending track. I had to have been running for hours,  yet nothing in my scenery changed. I chanced a look back to see the thing was gaining on me. A monster that wanted to peel the skin from my bones.

I knew it would catch me, it always did. It was a blur now, blocking out everything but the blinding terror pulsating through me.

Still I ran, panting now, desperate for a different fate, to find a way to out-run it.

Then a hand clamped on my shoulder, stopping me in my tracks. I was too afraid to turn around. I never turned around. It didn’t matter, I knew what was coming next.

In a practiced movement, the thing slit my throat with its sharp and lethal claws, before gripping my chin in its large hand and peeling my skin back; up and over my head. My flesh tore easily, like I’d been broiled for hours and was easy pickings.

That was the last thing I remember before everything went black.


This is the part where I woke up screaming, a cold sweat clinging to me as I tried to calm my racing heart. It had only been a dream, and yet it felt so real my throat was sore.

It go so bad that I hardly slept. I was too afraid to go to sleep – I couldn’t face the nightmare again.

Eventually I was referred to a sleep specialist, but as it turned out, I only had one session with the good doctor.

When I described the nightmares, he first commended me on my imagination; trying to hide the face I’d totally creeped him out. He then shared with me his expertise and introduced me to a technique called lucid dreaming. He suggested I take back control and, as I longed to do, change my dream fate.

I’ll admit to being a little sceptical, and knew that, even if it worked, it probably wouldn’t work the first time.

That night, as I closed my eyes and prepared myself to enter the dreamscape, I reluctantly summoned the nightmare and played it out, scene by scene. At the end, instead of skinning me, the thing pleaded with me to stop running. All it wanted was a chance to spend time with me.

I laughed at the absurdity, long and loud, and maybe I was delirious (sleep-deprived), but it relaxed me enough to sleep.

To my surprise, the dream had a completely different conclusion. Bizarrely, I was sat at a scarred and well-used kitchen table, beside an open fire, sipping tea with my thing!

I haven’t had the dream since, and it doesn’t take a specialist to understand it was a result of having a knife pressed to my throat. But still, controlling our dreams is a fascinating prospect. Thanks for letting me share my experience with you.



It's the beginning of things, in a roundabout way

365 Days of Writing Prompts

February 12th

All about you

Explain why you chose your blog’s title and what it means to you.

So, why Writing Room 101? Would it surprise you to know there are a multitude of reasons. To understand them, I should probably give you a little background.

For those familiar with my personal blog, you’ll know I took part in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in November 2013. This experience changed my ‘writing’ life. Suddenly I had an excuse to put my needs first. No more staying up until 2 or 3 am to sneak in a little writing time. I was writing all day, every day (almost). I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed writing so much. The experience was invaluable and I learnt many things during NaNoWriMo; not least of all discipline, structure, and an acceptance of my limitations.

I loved the collaboration, the familiarity, the community, and I didn’t want it to end. So I reached out to my fellow wrimo’s and met Laura.

We are both interested in the collaborative way in which writers work. At the same time we share a common curiosity about the craft, and are both keen to develop. In short, we wanted to keep the momentum going.

One of the reasons for a joint blog was to begin a co-authored piece, a tale written by us both, that we could share with you. It developed from there.

The title.

All writers like to experiment, and often, when we make a decision about something, the reasons can be convoluted! I like language in general, and particularly enjoy the various interpretations gained from a few simple words. It’s all about meaning, and how we look at the world differently.

If we look at the meaning of ‘101’, it usually relates to an introductory level of learning, and that’s certainly one of the reasons we established the blog – to learn from each other. But it’s more than that. Yes it’s about starting something from scratch, something a beginner in a particular field should know, but I also believe everything links back to the basics. Certainly, everything links back to writing for me. Take for example, Room 101. It is a torture chamber in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. I’m not intimating that we want to torture you with our words, but rather everything is game! If it links back to writing, at even a fundamental level, you will find it here (hopefully).

It’s the reason I named a radio station Music 101 in Addy’s Choice. Complex and Catchy – sounds like a song, right?

The term 101 can also be linked to rules, or a list of the things people should know (that sounds like a fun project!). It’s also interesting that in some traditional keyboards there are 101 keys. I like the fact 101 is a numeral palindrome (remaining the same whichever way you look at it).

But for me, it’s the low down, the place where anything goes, and the root of why we do what we do.

So there you have it, welcome to Writing Room 101. Come back soon!

Thanks for reading



Thanks to the wonderful editors at WordPress who developed the 365 Days of Writing Prompts.



Part 5 of the collaboration between Laura and I.

She awoke some time later to the welcome realisation she was alone.

The moonlight lit the bottom half of her bed, and her eyes were drawn to the window before she felt the cold.

At first she thought it was an illusion, the way her curtain danced along the ledge; stirred by the cool night air. Night, she thought now, she could see clearly through the open window.

A surge of hope shot through her veins, making her dizzy. It wasn’t enough to beat back the after effects of the drugs. Her body was still coated in lead.

She closed her eyes to hold back the tears. What new form of torture was this? To have a chance at freedom, only to be too weak to make her escape.

Another thought struck her then, and her eyes flew open as she searched the room. It had to be a trap.

The windows had been sealed shut months ago. If she was incapable of leaving her bed, there was only one other person capable of such a feat.

Her eyes darted back to the window again and the shadows at either side of the tall frame. She’d been mistaken before. She wasn’t alone.

A stranger was in the room with her. A stranger who looked so much like her it had to be a mirage.

As the figure moved further into the moonlight, the glow cast a haunting shadow. Looking at her was like looking into a mirror, and into the face of a younger, healthier version of herself.

For a moment they stared at one another. Then the ghostly figure stepped forward. She moved with elegance and grace. Her tread confident, yet mindful of her place.

April was too stunned to be afraid. The stranger knew exactly where to stand. The exact path April herself had taken many times, to ensure she didn’t make a sound.

She blinked up into the familiar face and felt her heart accelerate. She knew this woman, she just didn’t know how. The memory eluded her, taunted her with its severity.

The woman seemed to understand her dilemma and her eyes glowed with an understanding that brought fresh tears to April’s eyes.

Still her heart lurched when the woman held out a hand to display an object in her palm. It was a syringe.

‘It will counter-act the poison,’ she heard a soft whisper. Yet the stranger’s lips never moved.

So, she was dreaming, April thought, fighting off disappointment. Maybe there was something she was supposed to do, something her mind was trying desperately to impart.

Her lucid moments were fewer now, but at least the hallucinations had grown less intrusive. This wasn’t one of her drug induced nightmares. This was important. She understood that, and because she understood, she carefully rolled up the sleeve of her nightgown.

The task had beads of sweat springing up along her forehead. Even such minimal effort brought on a wave of dizziness that wanted to drag her back under.

Her heart hammered in her chest as she clung to the hope still blooming within her.

She felt the stranger’s touch, when it came, as soft and light as the feathery wings of a bird.

It calmed her, the contact. She had been alone for so long, denied comfort or affection too many years to count.

Even the slight pinch as the needle pierced her skin was a welcome alternative to the rough hands of her aunt.

For the longest time she felt nothing but the cold breeze, heard nothing but her own erratic pulse.

Then everything stilled and in that moment she saw and felt a dozen things at once.


Over to you, Laura. Have fun with it!


If you missed previous instalments, you can find them here;

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Thanks for reading 🙂

A Sweeping Glance

Daily Prompt: Those Dishes Won’t do Themselves (Unfortunately)

What’s the household task you most dislike doing? Why do you think that is — is it the task itself, or something more?

Cleaning toilets – definitely. I don’t need to analyse that too deeply to find the reason. I have an overactive imagination and it runs riot whenever I enter a bathroom armed with bleach, cleaning cloths, and detergent.

I’ve always wanted a maid, or here in the UK, a cleaner. As it turns out, that position was filled by me when I became a mother!

The sad truth is, I’m a scatterbrain. I don’t remember to do half of the things I’m supposed to, so putting the washing in, or ironing a pile of clothes is pretty low down on my list of priorities. Seriously, I’m in no danger of become Monica Geller. I just don’t have that much commitment to my chores. I have a cluttered brain, which is not the same as disorganised one (I know exactly where things are stored) and this translates to my living environment.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s clean. When I notice the dust (before I can write my name in it), I get out the polish and go crazy with a duster. I’m actually a good cleaner. I’m very thorough. Everything is dragged out to be buffed, cleaned and polished into submission, before its put back again. Granted not necessarily in the same place.

I found a quote that sums it up nicely;

I have sporadic OCD cleaning moments around the house. But then I get lazy and I’m cured. It’s a very inconsistent personality trait – Chris Hemsworth

Who needs consistency!

I enjoy to mix it up a little, so once I start something I see it through and, like my editing approach, I aim to improve whatever I’m working on. On those occasions I like to find a new place for things, to imitate order among chaos.

As long as my home is clean and relatively tidy, I’m happy. If I’ve had a hectic day (or two), and haven’t caught up on the jobs piling up in the house, this can affect my mood – beginning a vicious circle in which I beat myself with an ever increasing stick. That’s the real part I dislike about housework. The pressure we can sometimes put on ourselves. The feelings of inadequacy if we can’t fit everything in.

Or that could just be the excuse I use for neglecting my chores! Generally I view my surroundings with no more than a cursory glance. My head is usually too full of other things. As my Dad used to say ‘I’m away with the fairies!’

It reminds me of a greeting card I once received, which still tickles me today;

My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance – Erma Bombeck

There are some extremely entertaining quotes about housework. If you’re in the mood for a little research, or a pick me up when you really don’t want to tackle that pile of dishes, you should take a look.

One of my favourite quotes is related to children. I’m sure at one time or another I was better at picking up after my girls. Now I understand that I’d spend far too much time and energy following them around or asking them to put things away, that I’ve developed new tactics. Mostly that’s a middle ground; something I can live with since I’m not the tidiest person in the world. Of course then there’s the whole thing about teaching our children, being a good influence and arming them with skills for life. But that’s an entirely different post!

I’m sure you’ve read the quote before, but to me, it epitomises my thoughts on the subject.

Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shovelling the walk before it stops snowing – Phyllis Diller

I can’t end the piece without referring it back to writing in some form or another. Agatha Christie once said the best time to plan a book is while doing the dishes. I can see where she’s coming from. Ideas always come to me when I’m doing something else, usually driving. It’s nice to be able to do a menial task and let your mind wander. There are two benefits; one is clearly that the chore is done before you’ve even realised it, and the other is that you’ve got the perfect excuse to plan and create without interruption.

I’m sure you have a few favourite quotes, or even funny stories about avoiding those dreaded chores. Avoidance goes hand in hand with procrastination and we can all excel at that!

Thanks for reading.


The quotes are taken from www.psychologytoday.com – Article by Stephanie Sarkis (www.stephaniesarkis.com). Copyright 2012. Sarkis Media LLC.


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