Colleen’s #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge Recap No. 108, “Afraid & Grave”, #SynonymsOnly

JOIN US EVERY TUESDAY

Welcome to the Tanka Tuesday Poetry Recap featuring the work of poets from around the globe. If you would like to participate in this challenge, you can learn the rules on the menu item called Colleen’s Weekly Tanka Tuesday Guidelines.

PLEASE NOTE: Don’t forget to count your syllables. Use this site: howmanysyllables.com. Click on the workshop tab. Then, copy and paste your poem into the box, and click “count syllables” at the bottom.

What a fabulous collection of poetry this week. We had horror, humor, romance and plain old Autumn magic! Thanks for celebrating Halloween with me. I can’t wait until we can do it all over again! ❤

howling at the moon

Each week, I like to highlight a poet who I call the Poet of the Week, who has shared an exceptional message, or shown an impassioned creativity through words or form. Poetry is all about perception, so don’t be shocked if you don’t feel the same way about a poem that I do. ❤

Poetoftheweek new

This week, I’ve chosen D. G. Kaye (aka Debby Gies) and her poem, All Hallows Eve, as the Poet of the Week.

She embraced the Double Etheree form by building on the syllables and words with her definition of Halloween. I love the rhythm and the way her words flowed through to the end. The challenge in writing a Double Etheree is to convey some special meaning with the words. I think Debby hit on the meaning of Halloween in a couple of different ways.

The Etheree format has proven to be one of the favorites of this challenge. ❤

 

Halloween

It’s

That time

Of year when

Spirits unleashed

Rising from their crypts

Making their presence felt

Witches celebrate Samhain

As the veil thins – some find this day

Ominous while ignoring the spirits

Of the dead – decked out in ghoulish attire

More focused on the trick and the treat

Petrified by looming spirits

But eager to fill their bags

Children in for the hunt

Costumes made to scare

Witches unite

Halloween

Sacred

Night

Happy Halloween

© 2018 D. G. Kaye

“Poetry should surprise by a fine excess and not by singularity—it should strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost a remembrance.” — John Keats, from On Axioms and the Surprise of Poetry. (Mentalfloss.com)

 

HERE’S WHO JOINED US LAST WEEK FOR OUR 108th POETRY CHALLENGE USING SYNONYMS FOR THE WORDS: “Grave & Afraid”

Afraid & Grave | Bob Fairfield.org

Colleen’s Weekly Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 108, “Afraid & Grave,” #SynonymsOnly | willowdot21

#Tanka Tuesday: Afraid & Grave – Jane Dougherty Writes

A Halloween Adventure #haibun #tanka | Trent’s World (the Blog)

Colleen’s Weekly Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge… #Etheree | anita dawes and jaye marie 

Absolution | Dorinda Duclos

Colleen’s Weekly Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge Afraid & Grave | Annette Rochelle Aben 

Haiku Tomb Explorer | The Dark Netizen

Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka Challenge #108 – Afraid & Grave #MicroPoetry #Etheree | But I Smile Anyway…

The Undead | Willow Poetry

Once Upon a Halloween Horror: a #TankaTuesday #TankaProse – Frank J. Tassone

Dying To Be Alone (Etheree Poem) – ethan dale eagar

#Halloween #Poetry Challenge #Tanka Tuesday – Trick or treat

Lies Silent – #Tanka – Let Me Tell You the Story of…

Folly | Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo

Dream – Yesterday and today: Merril’s historical musings

Black Midnight Sky – Charmed Chaos

Smorgasbord Poetry – #Tanka for Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 108, “Afraid & Grave,” #SynonymsOnly | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Nothing to Fear (Tanka) | Darkness of His Dreams

Colleen’s Poetry Challenge – Afraid & Grave | The Showers of Blessings

Halloween | Mucky Boots and Flawless Paws

“A Norse Halloween,” A #Tanka – Colleen Chesebro ~ The Faery Whisperer

Friday Fun Poetry Challenge: Afraid and Grave (Synonyms Only) | Abbie’s Corner of the World

Tanka Tuesday – choice | Twenty Four

Afraid & Grave | Roberta Writes

Solemn Moment | Stuff and what if…

Calling on (Better) Angels | like mercury colliding…

COLLEEN’S WEEKLY #TANKA TUESDAY NO. 108, “AFRAID & GRAVE,” – The Secret Letters to Timbo

Poetry Friday ~ Afraid & Grave | The Writer Next Door|Vashti Q

Possibilities | method two madness

Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday: AFRAID and GRAVE – Afterwards

Vita – Aweni 

Future – thehouseofbailey

All Hallows Eve | D. G. Kaye, Writer

coldIt’s cold here in Colorado… how about where you are? STAY warm and read some great poetry! DON’T FORGET – Tanka Tuesday fires off with a new challenge tomorrow! See you there! ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smorgasbord invites you to a #Halloween Fancy Dress Party on Wednesday 31st October –

Sally Cronin is having a #Halloween Party! Join in and let’s have some fun. I have a new hat and I know you’ll want to see that. 😀

Click the link below… and remember – We get to dress up!

Good Evening

 

 

via Smorgasbord invites you to a Halloween Fancy Dress Party on Wednesday 31st October –

Happy Samhain Blessings & Happy Halloween

I’m celebrating Samhain a day early because I have something special planned for tomorrow, so make sure to stop by.

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday of the year. I don’t know if it was the idea that for one day out of the year, I could be whoever or whatever I wanted, or that I just loved the revelry and beauty of the autumn season. Those reasons are all tied up together like a gift with a huge bow.

My happiest childhood memories always occurred during the fall. My parents were avid photographers (stereo), and I remember traipsing around the state of Wisconsin gazing at fall color, walking in the woods, and posing for photos. To this day, I have never seen fall color that rivaled those days long ago.

Image Credit: Facebook.com/TheWhiteWitchParlour

I consider myself to be a Pagan Buddhist which involved my departure from the traditional Christian holidays and traditions. My spiritual journey has allowed me to become comfortable with who I have evolved into. What a great place to be.

Did you know that Halloween derived from the pagan holiday, Samhain (pronounced Sow-in, “Irish”)? The roots of the holiday are based on the Gaelic festival of the harvest and the beginning of winter.

Wikipedia shares:

“This is about halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice. It is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals, along with ImbolcBealtaine, and Lughnasadh. Historically, it was widely observed throughout IrelandScotland and the Isle of Man. Similar festivals are held at the same time of year in other Celtic lands; for example the Brythonic Calan Gaeaf (in Wales), Kalan Gwav (in Cornwall), Kalan Goañv (in Brittany), and Samaín (in Galicia).”

Image Credit: Pinterest.com

Samhain is much more than trick-or-treating, although if I still had little ones, I would be right there leading the pack of kids down the street. The weather will be too cold to sit outside and hand out candy this year. I will miss that.

This will be the second year that my husband and I will celebrate Samhain. Homemade chili and gluten-free cornbread are on the menu. I have prayers planned for our deceased ancestors and will make sure to recharge my crystals in the moonlight if possible. I’ll raise a glass of ginger rum and toast the changing of the seasons. Won’t you join me?

Image Credit: Witchywords.blogstpot.com

NOW – You know I can’t stray far from the myths of the fairies… especially on Samhain!

Image Credit: Jasmoonbutterly.blogspot.com

It has been rumored that Samhain Eve is when the veil lifts between our two worlds (Earthly and the Otherworld) and the fairies and other immortals freely roam the earth. Only the bravest of men ventured out on Samhain Eve. The possibility of meeting one of these lost souls or “scary fairies,” was just too high! Many folks stayed safe inside their homes.

La Dia de Los Muertos, the day of the dead, sprang forth from this belief that the dead walked the earth on Samhain Eve. Sugar skulls are made to commemorate the event to this day.

sugar-skulls-1528767_1920

Speaking of “scary fairies…” On Saturday, October 28th, I shared a post called, “Six True Magical Encounters With Real Fairies: (True Fairy Encounter Series).” I revealed my fairy encounter (which happened in early November 2014), and I asked readers to share their experiences too.

Here is what they said:

D.G. Kaye reminded me of a photo she shared on Facebook. At the bottom, near her feet was a fairy orb. She had never seen one before and was amazed that the wee ones had made contact with her. Sometimes we don’t know they’re there.

Image used with Permission ©Debby Gies

Ksbeth said: “I always teach my kinders about the fairies and try to get them to keep an open mind to them.”

Liz H, From the Valley of the Trolls, shared this post: Tag You’re It. Yup, she’s had troll sightings! You’ll want to read this!

AutismPsychologySpirituality said: “Wow! I’ve never had encounters with fairies but loved reading your encounter. I’ve been seeing orbs, animals, colors, and rainbows. I’m always seeing fire rainbows. Rainbows around the sun, rainbows everywhere.”


I’m convinced that fairies and rainbows are connected, and I incorporated that belief into my debut novel, The Heart Stone Chronicles: The Swamp Fairy. A rainbow is a natural gift from the elemental world. When we see one, we believe in magic, if even for a little while.

I’ve seen fairy orbs also. I wrote about fairy orbs HERE and made a video:

DO YOU BELIEVE?

Have a safe and Happy Halloween! ❤

A Halloween Encounter

horse-hole

The yellow smudge of a setting sun slipped behind the trees leaving a warm glow to the field.  Nightbirds scattered, roosting in the trees while insects droned on in a constant monotony. The air felt cooler after the heat of the day. Ground fog swirled around the grasses casting eerie shadows on the ground. The evening gloom was rapidly approaching. I shivered in anticipation.

Not far off in the field, our two neighbor horses steadily crunched grass, their teeth reflecting bone-white in the rays of the setting sun.  It was Halloween night – All Hallows Eve.  Children would soon fill the neighborhood with the sounds of laughter, as they went from house to house showing off their costumes and collecting treats.

2014-12-25-13-30-03

My eyes drifted toward the horse hole which was visible in the fading light.  The horses visited me daily looking for handouts of carrots or even an occasional apple. They hung their necks through the opening, all the while munching, as I rubbed their velvety noses.  They were the best neighbors.

I was ready this time. Last Halloween I ran out of candy early. This year I made sure I had plenty of treats to hand out to the kids. My pumpkins were lit, and the decorations spread around the front porch were inviting – not too scary for the little kids. I made myself comfortable in a chair and sipped a glass of wine, enjoying the descending darkness.

The kids came from every corner of the neighborhood, dressed as fairy princesses with dainty shoes, green colored Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, skeletons, Count Dracula’s, monsters of every variety you could imagine. Babies were dressed up as bugs, teddy bears, and even a vampire baby stopped at my door to receive a treat.

The darkness filled the neighborhood. The street lights were lit, and a warm glow cast long shadows on the road. The children ran ahead of their parents, filled with excitement.  Parents milled about in small groups watching their kids, always near. I smiled at the sounds of laughter which completed the friendly Halloween atmosphere. I couldn’t help but marvel at how cute the kids were, enjoying the banter they exchanged with their friends.

By late evening, most of the children and parents were finished with Trick or Treat and were heading home. A few crying fairies stomped their way behind their parents, mad because the great adventure was over for another year.

I cleaned up the porch and put away the decorations in the storage bin.  It was a lovely Monday night, unusual for this time of year. I refilled my glass and walked out back to the patio which overlooked the field where the neighbor horses grazed.

scotland-1719084_1920

The view was amazing. Stars lightly sprinkled the sky spread out like a mantle overhead. The warmth of the day had dissipated, and I could feel the coolness creep in between the folds of my sweater. I sipped my wine and appreciated the spectacular beauty of the night sky.

Suddenly, the most obnoxious odor seemed to waft, thick like a fog, drifting in the air around the horse hole. Far in the distance, I could hear the neighbor horses running as their thundering hooves hit the ground. They ran hard, and their frightened cries filled the field. I was rooted to the spot, unable to move. My heart leaped into my throat, and I couldn’t breathe.

It was then, in the inky blackness of the field that I saw him – the Headless Horseman! His profile glowed in the shimmery darkness of the horse hole! A large orange head burned with an intensity that scared me deep into my bones. I felt the wine glass fall from my hand and shatter on the ground. Shards of glass flew into the air, spraying bits of glass into my hair.

headless-horseman

(Image Credit: Telltale Games)

The horseman’s black steed snorted flashes of lightning through his muzzle, and his blood-red eyes glared at me.  The creature balanced a glowing Jack-o-lantern in his right hand. I could see him clearly, and there was NO head. The apparition was so lifelike that I could make out the buttons on his coat which were visible in the light from the glowing pumpkin.

I swallowed hard and felt my eyes popping out of my head. I stared transfixed at the horse hole for what seemed like hours but was only, in reality, a few seconds. The Headless Horseman whirled about on his black steed and disappeared into the blackness. The fog churned in great billows and drifted about the field in his wake.

Slowly, the smell faded. The fog grew thicker, and moisture dripped from the leaves on the trees. I trembled uncontrollably. All around me, I heard no sounds. My breaths came in great gasps. I whirled around, trying to catch my breath. I stopped to gaze once again at the horse hole. It was dark – just swirling fog and an eerie quiet which lingered, jangling my nerves.

He was gone. I felt my heart pound a quick staccato in my chest. With great effort, I relaxed my tightened muscles and walked toward the horse hole for one last look. My shoes crunched in the ruins of the wine glass beneath my feet. Behind me, inside the house, a light came on in the kitchen which illuminated the patio outside.

“Colleen, it’s getting late. Come inside,” my husband, Ron called out to me.

“On my way.” I surveyed the area one last time. I took my time walking toward the back door. My thoughts milled about in my head. How could I tell him what had just happened without him laughing at me?

Maybe I better keep this encounter to myself, I thought. Too much wine and a tad too much chocolate could be the answer to my vision. I shook my head at the broken wine glass on the patio, realizing that red wine would stain the concrete. The stain had already spread, and a dark patch of discoloration was visible beneath my feet. With a shrug, I turned and walked away.

I traipsed into the house, locked the door, and turned off the light.That was enough Halloween for this year.

 

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed my scary encounter from when we lived in Florida! ❤ True story! 😀

happy-halloween

Samhain, Fairies, and Symbolism in Your Writing

With the Samhain (Halloween) celebration just around the corner, I wanted to gaze back into the past to see how this ancient festival evolved and became the holiday we celebrate today. Besides, if you write fairy fantasy, you’ll want to incorporate some of the ancient myths and other such symbolism into your work. It is important to make a connection to our ancient past and long held beliefs. It gives your work a realistic touch.

Samhain (pronounced: “sowin”) is from the Gaelic for “Sam,” which meant “summer,” and “fuin,” which meant “end,” giving us the definition of “summer’s end.”

mysticalmind.com also shares the fact that the Irish separated the year into two halves to represent the seasons. Summer occurred from May 1st – November 1st, while Winter was from November 1st – May 1st. Samhain marked the beginning of Winter. Samhain Eve, (Halloween) became the night to celebrate before the first day of winter began.

So what does Samhain have to do with fairies? Plenty. The Irish believed that during the celebration of Samhain Eve, the portals into the Otherworld swung open allowing the fairies and supernatural beings to roam the earth. Now, it is easy to make the connection as to how our Halloween traditions evolved into what they are today. I came to the conclusion that Halloween was invented by the Irish!

Even more interesting is how the Irish interpreted what the fairies were. There was a belief that the fairies were angels who were not good enough to be saved nor bad enough to be lost. mysticalmind.com also shares: “The ancient Irish Book of Armagh calls them, the gods of the earth.”

Magickalenenchantments.blogspot.com shares:

“Possessing the power to bewitch or bedevil humans with their illusions, known as glamours, fairies gradually found their way into the myth and folklore of many European cultures.”

“Glamours,” used in the sentence above was a new definition for me, and I had to look it up!

Glamour originally was a term applied to a magical-occult spell that was cast on somebody to make them see something the spell-caster wished them to see when in fact it was not what it seemed to be.” Glamour-wikipedia.com

Even more interesting, was the widely held belief that on Samhain night, when the fairies freely roamed the earth, they grabbed unsuspecting humans and placed them under a permanently enchanted status. This bewitching was said to cause people to go mad, or to die from some strange incurable illness. I couldn’t help but think what a great way that was to explain a medical condition that didn’t have a cure.

The legend also specified that every seven years the fairy beings captured babies or small children which they would then sacrifice to their god.

The number seven is significant in early folklore and Christianity. Seven was creatively used in many myths and fairy stories.

The Seed of Life, mysticalnumbers.com

Seven circles intertwine to form the symbol called “The Seed of Life.” The Seed of Life symbolizes the six days of creation. The central circle symbolizes the day of rest.

Seven also represents the seven colors of the rainbow. Isaac Newton classified the seven colors of the rainbow as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. (ROYGBIV).

My research has played a huge part in the writing of my book, The Heart Stone Chronicles – The Swamp Fairy. I believe that sharing some of the old myths in new ways in our writing gives our story credence, even though it is a fantasy.

The use of symbolism in our writing gives our readers a way to relate to our story by creating a deeper meaning to our words.

WritersHelpingWriters has an excellent article entitled, “Five Important Ways to Use Symbolism in Your Story.” Click the highlighted link to the site above to read the blog post.

So tell me all you fantasy writers out there. How do you incorporate symbolism into your novel writing? Do you look to holiday celebrations for inspiration? Inquiring minds what to know!

 TO SEE YOU ALL. Thanks for stopping by. ❤

Consumed: A Short Story

halloween cupcake

Happy Halloween, everyone. I convinced Colleen to let me post a spooky story today, and hope you all enjoy it. Whatever you’re doing; spending time with friends, attending a party, travelling across the country (we’re thinking of you, Colleen), working, relaxing – have a great day and stay safe.


Matthew

I pressed my hand over Cindy’s mouth and shook my head. Her big, tortured blue eyes were bright with tears. I didn’t need to read the fear; I could feel it. It pressed all around us, battling my own. The tiny closet was suffocating. It was a vacuum, sucking out all hope of salvation and bleeding us dry.

At the pounding on the bedroom door, my body jerked; drawing my attention. The door was holding strong, mainly due to all the furniture we’d pushed up against it. It would not hold forever.

When the barrier collapsed and he came into the room, he would see the balcony window wide open. This was part of my plan; to convince him we’d made a run for it. He had to believe we were desperate enough. I’d left other clues; a knotted bed sheet tied to the railing, one of the mattresses on the ground below.

It was a risk. If any part of him remained, he would see right through the ploy. Even desperate I would never lead my sister into a nightmare. What was out there – it was worse than the hell we were already living. Unless he found us.

I felt my hand spasm in response to a loud crack and almost lost it when Cindy’s head shot back. It struck the wall of the closet, the sound impossibly loud in the tight space. The silence that followed prickled along my skin.

I knew what it meant. He had found a way in, this monster who used to be our brother.

Cindy drew my attention when I felt her draw in breath; a scream building in her throat. I knew it, and was powerless to stop it. I tried anyway, my eyes pleading with hers to keep it together.

‘Please,’ I mouthed, our gazes locked.

I felt tears burn when I saw her shoulders relax, and Cindy nodded against my hand. She had my back. I let the tears fall; the only response I was able to give. I didn’t make a sound, I didn’t move. I stared into my sister’s eyes and, in doing so, gave her what I always gave her. My promise that I would keep her safe.

After a long, tense moment, I turned my head and peered through the slats in the door. Seeing the monstrosity that was our brother almost broke me. So I turned back to Cindy, snapping my eyes shut and squeezing them tight in a nonverbal command. She complied immediately, which lifted some of the weight from my chest. Cindy did not need to see the thing crawling over our barricade into the bedroom.

I had no choice but to face it, and what I saw extinguished all hope we would ever get our brother back. The virus had eaten away at his humanity until there was nothing left. Jerry’s jaw hung slack and foam frothed at the corners of his mouth. His eyes were bloodshot, his body twitching with barely contained violence. The pain of seeing him that way seared through me until it was all I could feel.

When those eyes honed in on the closet, I fought the urge to scoot back. He knew. My plan had failed, and now we were cornered.

Jerry moved slow, drawing it out; red eyes narrowed on target. The reality of what would happen; the loss, the fear. It exploded in my head and something snapped.

I didn’t think. I moved. I grabbed the first heavy object I could put my hand on, which turned out to be a dumbbell and surged out of the closet.

Jerry’s expression showed no surprise as I tackled him and we fell to the thick, carpeted floor. There was only death in his eyes.

No. No. No. No.

I struck the monster who used to be my brother over and over; feeling the anger and injustice burn through me. I saw nothing, felt nothing, but the uncontrollable need to be free of this nightmare.

***

Cindy

I moved on shaky legs to the edge of the closet, trying to pry my eyes away from the horror in front of me. We had lost Jerry to a vicious disease and the unfairness of that was hard to live with.

It hit us all hard but, Matthew, my sweet, protective older brother – it almost destroyed him. It was eating at him, even now.

“Matt,” I whispered, terrified of what might happen if I lost him too. If I couldn’t bring him back from the edge.

I took another step toward him; the scene burning itself into my retinas. Matthew battled with a monster only he appeared to understand. I wanted to know what he saw; why the thought of losing me drove him into darkness when there should be so much light. He loved me, so much his protective streak could be suffocating. Yet there was beauty in it too.

“Matty?”

He didn’t respond to my call. He didn’t respond to anything until the lights went out. Then I felt him move. Matthew dropped the dumbbell and scrambled backwards. I saw his outline, thanks to a trickle of moonlight, and instinctively I responded to his fear. I scooted back into the closet and curled myself into a ball. I just wanted it to be over.

***

Matthew

As I shot into the closet, slamming the doors closed, I questioned the logic of shutting us back in our prison. There was blood all over my face. My brother’s blood. No, a monster’s blood; diseased and possibly contagious. What if I hurt my sister? The thought of it was so huge there was no room for anything else. It didn’t even register when the lights flicked back on. But it did register when I saw my mom.

“Mom,” I whispered, pushing open the doors. I felt only relief in her presence, knowing she would protect Cindy. I had to relinquish the job. I was contaminated. I could feel it; squirming in my blood like a poisonous snake.

“You have to take Cindy, mom,” I said, unable to look at my sister. “I’m infected.” I swiped at my face, but it was too late now. It was too late to save myself.

“That’s why I’m here, baby,” she whispered, dropping to her knees. “There’s a cure. We can fight this.” One hand gripped my chin, forcing my head up. “Everything’s going to be okay.”

I wanted to believe her. So much I fell into her arms and buried myself against her.

***

Cindy

“He’ll be okay now, sweetheart,” mom said, stepping away from the bed.

I nodded, and climbed up to lay beside Matthew. He was asleep. Finally. He hadn’t even protested when mom gave him the treatment.

“I wonder what he saw,” I whispered, smoothing the hair from his forehead.

“I don’t know, honey. But he’ll be okay. I promise. We’ll get through this.”

Again I nodded. It wasn’t easy, but I pushed away my doubts. I had to be strong for Matthew. His delusions were getting worse, and had been since Jerry died. This was a side effect of grief.

“Don’t worry,” I said, leaning to kiss his temple. “I’ll protect you. We’ll beat those monsters together, Matty. You’re not alone.” Then I curled an arm around him and held on.

***

Thanks for reading.

Mel

The Spider’s Lair–A Halloween Poem and Scary Tale

2014-07-11 06.39.15

My world is woven from a desire to create a reality.

Silken threads intertwine and twist in the moisture laden air,

all the while I wait and ponder the divinity I seek.

* * *

The darkness of the swamp engulfs and challenges this veracity.

Bottle green leaves and vines encircle my retreat,

drawing wisdom from the primordial ooze beneath my feet.

* * *

Patiently I crouch and wait, silent in my lair,

as gossamer strands of silken lace play upon her hair.

The dankness of the mire, the stillness of the day,

This I know is my actuality, my dominion I shall keep.

2014 © Copyright-All rights reserved www.silverthreading.com

2014-07-11 06.41.23

Miss Pensie Taylor walked down the dirt road toward the tiny house behind the swamp where she had been born many years ago. Her walk was slower these days as the arthritis had settled in her old bones. Her dress flapped forlornly around her thin legs as the humid sea air blew in from the Gulf of Mexico. Thick trunked oak trees with massive limbs creaked in the breeze, as she walked by.

She shifted her bag of groceries to her other hand to ease the cramp in her hand. She was almost to the swamp when she noticed billowing storm clouds building in the southern sky. The air was heavy and dank around the swamp. Frogs croaked in the murky water. Birds scattered and flew in different directions between the dark trees, as if they were getting ready for the approaching storm by looking for shelter.

St. Michael’s cemetery was across the street from the swamp a ways up on higher ground. Years ago, Miss Pensie’s father had been the caretaker of the burial grounds. Miss Pensie had followed him around as a child, while he read the names of the Confederate soldiers buried there out loud to her.

The cemetery was an old place and had been there for many years. Miss Pensie was used to it and not afraid of living so close to a graveyard. After all the King of Spain was buried there in 1807! It was just the history of folks you would find there. The stories of people who lived long ago could still be felt if you walked around looking at the names of the dead.

The large ornate tombs of white stone surrounded by elaborate wrought iron fences showed up brightly against the many trees scattered throughout the graveyard. Lightening pierced the dark clouds with jagged bursts of fury. Miss Pensie hurried as she leaned into the wind. Quickly she rounded the edge of the swamp that was part of the backyard of her property. Sharp lightning flashes reflected in the windows of her house, startling her.

She opened the back door with a shaky hand and walked into the kitchen to switch on the lights. She flipped the switch a couple of times. Damn, she thought. The power is out already. The storm is not even here yet and there is no electricity, she fumed.

Rain and thunder storms were a part of life in Pensacola, Florida. You never knew when one would blow up. Sometimes they lasted hours, some only minutes before moving on to the next location. Miss Pensie got out the candles and matches from the kitchen drawer where she always kept them. She lit a candle, placed it in the holder then set it on the table. The candle’s flickering light made the room feel welcome.

Hurrying to the old stove, she struck a match and lit the gas. A welcoming flame burst from the burner filling the room with an eerie blue light. Miss Pensie filled the kettle and set it on the flame. A cup of tea sounds good right now, she mused. Maybe this storm will blow over quickly, she thought. It was hot in the kitchen and she wiped sweat from her brow.

Outside the small house, the storm began to build. The wind and rain whipped up into a fury beating against the windows with so much noise Miss Pensie could hardly hear herself think. She looked out the kitchen window although all she could see was the rain blurring and distorting her vision as it struck the glass. Strange dark tree shadows blurred by the rain moved outside in the yard.

Thunder rumbled deeply and shook the walls of her little house. Miss Pensie made a cup of tea and waited for the storm to abate. The wind howled, thunder boomed, and the rain tore at the house for almost an hour.

Miss Pensie sat patiently waiting for the storm to be over with. As quickly as it had begun it was finished. The quiet was almost as deafening as the storm had been. Suddenly, the lights flashed to life as the electricity was restored. Miss Pensie jumped at the harsh glare from the overhead kitchen light. It almost blinded her.

Glancing at the clock on the wall, she realized it was well after suppertime and time to fix a bite to eat. Miss Pensie made a sandwich and sat at the kitchen table in front of the bay window to eat her dinner.

She watched the gathering gloom descend around her tiny house. The swamp was especially beautiful in the dim light. She could see the stark contrast of the bottle green leaves of the river birch rubbing against the deep forest green leaves of the magnolia trees. Water drops glistened on the leaves and seemed to twinkle in the twilight. Crickets chirped and lazy dragon flies perched on the bamboo sticks in her garden.

2014-05-25 07.08.55

As the darkness rapidly descended Miss Pensie noticed something out of the corner of her eye. There seemed to be a green mist hovering in the cemetery across from the swamp. It looked like a green fog as it spread and thickened – then dissipated, and was gone. White orbs suddenly appeared and bobbed up and down between the grave stones. The lights moved round and round, as they circled some of the gravestones. Then they were gone too!

“Well what could that be?” she said out loud. That was the strangest thing she had ever seen. 80 years living in these parts and she never saw a green mist with white orbs of light hovering over the cemetery before. She sat for a while more pondering the strange sight she had witnessed.

Finally, she decided that she would investigate and see what could have caused that fog and those lights. Miss Pensie grabbed her large flashlight and went outside. The storm was long gone and stars sparkled overhead in the night sky. The grass was wet and squeaked when she walked on it. A stray toad croaked as she made her way past the swamp to the front gates of the St. Michael’s Cemetery.

The gates were left open at night now since the company that managed the cemetery did not like to send someone out at night to lock up. Most people did not come here at night anyway. They thought it was spooky. Too many lost souls floating about. Miss Pensie did not mind though. The cemetery made her think of her Pa. She was not afraid.

Once through the black wrought iron gates, she shone the flash light around to see if the green mist or the white orbs were lurking about in the depths of the darkness. Nothing. There was absolutely nothing there except the grave stones lit up brightly by the flashlight beam in her hand.

“Humph!” replied Miss Pensie. “Got me out here at night looking for nothing,” she said with irritation in her voice. I must be losing it, she thought. One more look around with the flashlight revealed nothing once again. Miss Pensie turned and walked back outside of St. Michael’s cemetery. She turned and headed back home.

At the edge of the swamp closest to her backyard, Miss Pensie stumbled against a tree trunk that was jutting out into the grass. She felt something on her arm, and there in the beam of the flashlight was the largest spider she had ever seen! She got tangled up in the silky strands of the spider’s web as she tried to regain her footing. No, cemeteries did not scare her, but big HUGE spiders terrified her!

Miss Pensie broke loose from the web, grabbed the flashlight that had tumbled to the ground in the altercation with the spider, and ran. She ran as hard as she could for her back door. Bursting through the door, she tumbled into the kitchen and plopped down into a kitchen chair! It took almost 10 minutes for her breathing to calm down and for her heart to stop beating as if it would burst inside her chest. She was still shaking and sweating profusely.

She drank her now cold tea and looked out the window again. There in the distance, she could see the white orbs dancing around the tomb stones again. It was as if they were taunting her! Shaking her head in wonder, she knew what she would do. She was going to call Sam Pritchard, the County Sheriff. He could handle it. Her hands still shaking, she picked up the phone and called Sam.

Sam Pritchard took Miss Pensie’s call and came out to investigate himself. He knew she was getting on in years and wanted to make sure that she was alright. He had never heard of a green mist or fog with dancing lights in the cemetery before either. This was a new one. He had to see this himself.

Sam pulled up in Miss Pensie’s driveway in his old pickup truck. He knocked at her back door. Her lights were on however, she did not answer his knock. He called out Miss Pensie’s name, but there still was no answer. He walked around the yard a bit and looked across the street at the cemetery. He did not see any lights or mist. Where was Miss Pensie, he wondered.

He opened the back door and then he saw her! She was lying on her side, the phone clutched in her hand. Her mouth was open and a look of astonishment was captured on her face. Poor thing, Sam thought. It looks like she had a heart attack right after she called me. She must have been really scared of whatever she saw tonight.

Miss Pensie was buried in the St. Michael’s Cemetery right next to her Pa, with her Ma on the other side of her. It was a short ceremony because not many people knew who she was because of her age. Her favorite flowers, gardenias were laid upon her burial mound. The white gardenias filled the air with their heady fragrance.

That night, the green mist and the dancing orbs surrounded the hallowed ground where Miss Pensie laid for her eternal rest. Sam Pritchard saw the lights as he drove by the cemetery that night. Many people in town said that they started seeing them too. They figured it was Miss Pensie’s Ma and Pa showing her the way to her eternal sleep. Nobody really knew that it was that damn spider that scared Miss Pensie to an early death!

Nevertheless, if you drive by the St. Michael’s Cemetery in Pensacola, Florida any night of the year, you just might see those dancing orbs of light surrounded by a green fog! I know that people still see them because I have too!

2014 © Copyright-All rights reserved www.silverthreading.com

St Michael's cemetary

I hope you enjoyed this bit of Pensacola, Florida lore. The St. Michaels’s cemetery is real, although I did change the location to go with my story. If you want to learn about the cemetery click here.  The lights in the cemetery are considered to be real too.  I found this information on Haunted Places in Pensacola Florida.  Enjoy!

Happy Halloween!  Thanks for visiting,

Silver Threading

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween

Have a couple of adult beverages (or not) be safe, and enjoy the celebration of autumn and another successful harvest!

Cookie-Monster-Halloween-Cocktail-Recipe-Card-photo-copyright-Cheri-Loughlin

bloody_bud_drink_recipe_mousepad-d1445961755178383437pdd_500

Have fun Trick-or Treating!  Thanks for popping in!

Silver Threading

The Horse Hole–A Halloween Tale

 

clip_image002

The sun slowly slipped behind the trees leaving a warm glow to the field. Night birds scattered in the branches of the trees while insects droned on in monotony. The air felt cooler now. Ground fog swirled around the grasses casting eerie shadows on the ground. The evening gloom was rapidly approaching. I shivered in anticipation.

Not far off in the field, our two neighbor horses steadily crunched grass, their teeth reflecting bone-white in the rays of the setting sun. It was Halloween night – All Hallows Eve. Trick-or-Treating kids would soon fill the neighborhood with the sounds of laughter, as they went from house to house showing off their costumes and collecting treats.

clip_image004

The horse hole was visible in the fading light. The horses visited me daily looking for handouts of carrots or even an occasional apple. They would hang their enormous necks through the opening, all the while munching, as I rubbed their velvety noses. They were the best neighbors.

I was ready this time. Last Halloween I ran out of candy early. This year I made sure I had plenty of candy to hand out to the kids. My pumpkins were lit and my decorations spread around the front porch were inviting – not too scary for the little kids. I made myself comfortable in a chair and sipped my glass of wine, enjoying the descending darkness.

The kids came from every corner of the neighborhood, dressed as fairy princesses with dainty shoes, green colored Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, skeletons, Count Dracula’s, monsters of every variety you could imagine. Babies dressed up as bugs, teddy bears, and even a vampire baby stopped at my door to receive a treat.

clip_image006

The darkness filled the neighborhood. The street lights were lit and an orange glow cast long shadows on the street. The children ran ahead of their parents, laughing with their friends. Parents milled about in small groups watching their children, always near. The sounds of laughter completed the friendly Halloween atmosphere. I watched and smiled at how cute the kids were, enjoying their banter.

By 8:30 p.m. most of the children and parents were finished with Trick or Treat and were heading home. A few crying fairies stomped their way behind their parents, mad because the great adventure was over for another year.

I cleaned up the porch, and put away the decorations in the bin I stored them in. It was such a lovely night, and a Friday night too. I refilled my wine glass and went out back to my patio that overlooked the field where the neighbor horses grazed.

It was a marvelous night. Stars lightly sprinkled the night sky and were spread out like a mantle overhead. The warmth of the day barely lingered and I could feel the coolness creep in between the folds of my sweater. I sipped my wine and appreciated the view of the night sky.

Suddenly, I smelled the most obnoxious odor. It seemed to waft, thick like fog from the horse hole in the fence. Far in the distance, I could hear the neighbor horses running as their thundering hooves hit the ground. They seemed frightened as their cries filled the vicinity of the field. I was rooted to my chair, unable to move.

There he was – the Headless Horseman! His profile was etched in the inky darkness of the horse hole! I heard my wine glass fall and shatter to the ground as shards of glass flew all around me.

clip_image008

(Image credit: Telltale Games)

The horseman’s black steed snorted flashes of lightning through his muzzle, as his blood-red eyes glared at me! He balanced a glowing Jack-o-lantern in his right arm. I could see him clearly and there was NO head! The buttons on his coat were visible in the light from the pumpkin.

I swallowed hard and felt like my eyes were popping out of my head. I stared transfixed at the horse hole. The Headless Horseman whirled about and was gone! The fog churned in great billows and drifted about the field.

Slowly, the smell faded. The fog grew thicker and moisture dripped from the remaining leaves left on the trees. I started trembling uncontrollably. All around me it was silent. My breaths came in great gasps. I shifted in my chair and looked around my back yard. I looked specifically at the horse hole. It was all dark – just swirling fog.

clip_image010

He was really gone! I could feel my heart pounding inside my chest. I relaxed my tightened muscles and gradually stood up. My shoes crunched in the ruins of the wine glass beneath my feet. Behind me, inside the house, a light came on in the kitchen which illuminated the patio outside.

My husband came to the back door and called out to me to come to bed as it was getting late. I told him I was just coming in and would be right there. Could I really tell him what had just happened without him laughing at me, I thought. No, I would keep this encounter to myself. Too much wine and a tad too much chocolate, I figured. I will just clean up this mess in the morning.

I went into the house, locked the door, and turned off the light. I had enough Halloween for one night.

2014 © Copyright-All rights reserved www.silverthreading.com

I hope you enjoyed my Halloween tale which was inspired from one of my favorite television shows, “Sleepy Hollow.”  Thanks for stopping by so I could scare see you!

Silver Threading

The Sun Bathers

petchallenge

2014-10-20 10.06.54

Sugar and Spice have been enjoying the sun on the patio this week.  It suddenly got warm and humid all over again so they like chilling out and relaxing before Halloween.  They get upset during Trick or Treat, so Mom hands out candy, and Dad stays inside with them watching T.V.

Have a safe TRICK OR TREAT and remember to watch out for your pets so that they don’t get into the candy!  Sugar and Spice ask that you visit puplife.com for some safety tips:

halloweensafety

(Image Credit:  Dog Halloween Safety Tips)

ghost-lightning-pumpkins

HAPPY HALLOWEEN FROM SUGAR & SPICE!

Thanks for visiting Sugar and Spice this week,

Silver Threading