Tuesday, 27 January 2015

BONFIRE AT TATA BEACH - 1000 word short story with a New Year's Eve theme



The moon disappeared behind dark clouds and the silver path that had stretched from the horizon to Ian’s feet, went with it. The night sky remained backlit by the moon but his view of the bay and the black rocks jutting out of the sea, faded. His eyes adjusted. The white ripples lapping at his feet marked the shoreline. He turned, walking back to the bonfire.

Following a New Year’s Eve tradition he’d lit it, his heart filled with foolish hope, trying to recapture the past. A way to remember the times they’d welcomed in the New Year; he, Phyllis and their three boys. Now all gone. Phyllis dead, the boys chasing careers overseas. He remained a silly old fool, stoking a bonfire and instead of being happy each log he threw on seemed to represent another lonely year stretching ahead.
  
e walked up the sand to the beach house, crossing the lawn, springy and coarse underfoot. Only kikuyu grass survived the salt wind and hot summer. His reflection in the glassed French doors showed he’d lost weight and his legs were beginning to bow. He smiled at his reflection, now the image of his father. Only his white hair, stiff, ridden with salt from his afternoon swim, was different.

From the old sideboard he poured a nip of whisky in a good sized glass. A relic of his marriage the cabinet was being held together by umpteen layers of paint. Underneath was probably an oak treasure but it would remain undiscovered until his children disposed of the family Bach.  Any time it rained, usually in the August holidays, he and Phyllis would get the boys to paint the sideboard as an indoor activity.  The present coat of apple green, now chipped on the corners, revealed the many layers.  He ran his hand over the smooth top picturing the boys wielding paint brushes; the newspapers spread over the linoleum to catch the drips; and he and Phyllis on the verandah, out of the rain, sipping iced tea.

He shook his head, sniffed and wiped the tip of his nose with the back of his hand. Clutching the glass and bottle he walked back to the bonfire and sat on the log, left by the last storm. He’d collected enough driftwood to keep the fire burning until well after midnight.

The moon rose above the cloudbank and its silver path returned, kissing wave tops across the bay. A sense of peace, like a warm blanket, settled over him. He sipped his whisky straight, like a true Scot. A lifetime ago he’d left those shores and his family. He’d never had a day of regret – until today. Loneliness was awful.
  
His neighbor Jonathan arrived carrying a drink, a silly hat perched sideways on his head and a wide smile of greeting. “Happy New Year, Ian. Can I share your bonfire?”

“My pleasure.” Ian patted the log. “Take a seat. Is the family coming down?”

“Later.” The young man sipped his drink. “Emma’s putting the littlies to bed. I thought I’d keep you company for a while. Nice night isn’t it? No wind, moon out.”  The neighbor gestured to the west. “There’s a lot of bonfires further round the bay.”

That’ll be the tourists.”

“How’s your year been, Ian? We haven’t seen you here during the holidays. Do you come here when we’re all at home?”

“No.” He had to look away. He eyes filled. “I love Tata Beach but I’m getting older. Driving over the Takaka hills isn’t for sissies. Phyllis used to whip the car around the corners as if it was a casual drive on a country road.  I’m more cautious.”  A cloud blocked the moonlight again. Jono’ wouldn’t see his tears.

“Any family coming for the holidays,” Jonathan asked?

“No, they’re all overseas, doing things.” He wiped his cheek and took a mouthful of whisky. It left a smoky after taste and warmed his gullet. The fire sparked as a breeze stirred the base. He shivered. Flames climbed the logs, crackling the salt. Smoke swirled and smelt of the sea. The heat toasted his front and face.  The whisky warmed him inside.

“Hey up! I can hear a car. Are you expecting visitors, Ian?”

“Nah. It’ll be someone lost and turning around in my driveway.” He didn’t bother to look.

Moments later a shout sounded from the bank and he turned to see the lights on in his house. Cheeky buggers. Wandering tourists had no shame. They’d walk into anyone’s home to ask directions.

He balanced his glass on the log and stood, facing his Bach. “Get out of my house you cheeky buggers. If you’re lost just go back the way you came.” His voice cracked. He wasn’t used to shouting, or talking much for that matter. “And don’t pinch anything either.” It was all old but it was his - and Phyllis’. The memories were worth more than the value of the furnishings.

The intruder, features shadowed by the house lights behind, stepped off the grass onto the soft sand. Persistent blighter. “Go back the way you came.  This is a dead end.”  He pointed toward the distance bonfires. “That way - is the way out.” Jono moved to stand by his side. The approaching figure stopped. Ian’s pulse increased. Perhaps he should be afraid?  He looked around for a piece of driftwood to pick up.

There was something familiar in the man’s stance.

“You silly old bugger,” the man said, approaching. ”I’ve come halfway around the world to spend New Year with you and you’re waving your arms about, telling me to go to another bonfire.”

The voice broke the spell. The moon came out from behind a cloud and lit his son’s face. The New Year suddenly promised hope and company. His eldest pointed to the clouds. “I’ve brought a tin of paint in case the weather breaks. I thought it was about time we gave the old sideboard another coat.  Sam and Josh will be here tomorrow.”
****

THANK YOU FOR VISITING. IF YOU ENJOYED THIS PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT - OR POP TO THE 'MY BOOKS' PAGE AND HAVE A LOOK AT MY PUBLISHED STORIES. CHEERS,  VIRGINNIA

Monday, 12 January 2015

EVERNIGHT TEENS BLOG HOP AND INTERVIEW WITH A TANIWHA!

Happy Birthday to EVERNIGHT TEEN!

I AM HOSTING DERYN PITTAR ON MY BLOG THIS WEEK AND FEATURING HER ACTION PACKED YOUNG ADULT. 

EVERNIGHT TEEN turns two this month and we’re having a huge party to celebrate! It may be EVERNIGHT TEEN’s birthday, but you get the presents. So, grab a piece of cake, hop from blog-to-blog and discover EVERNIGHT TEEN!

Be sure to visit every stop on the hop and answer each question. The more you blogs you hop, the more chances to win the GRAND PRIZE of an iPad Mini sponsored by EVERNIGHT TEEN (one entry per blog). Plus, hop each blog for a host of other fabulous prizes.

Have your TBR list handy because we have lots of new titles for you to add, including Deryn's featured book…
“A TASTE OF GOLD”



Enter for a chance to win EVERNIGHT TEEN’s GRAND PRIZE of an iPad Mini and my blog prize by answering this question (be sure to include your email address to be eligible to win):

What is the name of the Taniwha interviewed below. Answer correctly (with correct spelling) and go into the draw for a copy of this great Young Adult.
 

The birthday blog hop continues here:

INTERVIEW WITH A TANIWHA

After reading “A TASTE OF GOLD”  I sent our Reporter from the Te Puke Times, up into the hills behind Muir’s Reef to find and interview the Taniwha who lived there.
Our intrepid reporter eventually found the cave of the Taniwha and after a long wait and many sandwiches later, the creature erupted from the middle of the deep pool, showering our man with water and drenching his microphone. With his knees knocking together like castanets and his ears ringing from the combined hum coming from a lot of pebbles on a nearby ledge, our man quavered his first question.
“Hello Sir. I understand your name is Otanewainuku. How do you pronounce that?
“OH-TANNY-WHY-KNEW-KEW”
Our man realized the Taniwha voice was echoing in his head, not aloud. He dropped his microphone and took out his tablet to write down the answers.
“How long have you lived here?”
FOR MANY CENTURIES I HAVE LIVED HERE, BEFORE MAN ARRIVED AND BEGAN TO STEAL THE GOLD AND GEMS FROM OUR LAND.”
The huge beast, his emerald scales glistening wet, thrashed his tail and reached his forearm out to stroke the stones along the ledge, rolling them with his claws.
“THESE ARE MY GEMS. I CALL THEM HUMMING STONES.  THEY SING TO ME.” He stroked the wall with his tail following the wide yellow band that circled the cave’s walls, before it divided to cover a far ledge. “THIS IS MY GOLD. IT KEEPS ME WARM IN THE COLD SEASON.”
Our man digested the glorious sight of the widest band of gold he’d ever seen and presumed the pebbles to his left were masses of uncut diamonds. He scribbled before attempting another question.
“Could you explain what you do with your time, Sir?
“I CHECK THAT THE UNDERGROUND RIVERS AND STREAMS ARE FREE FLOWING. I HUNT FOR HUMMING STONES AND DIG FOR THEM WHEN I HEAR THEM SINGING. THEY GET LONELY ON THEIR OWN.” Again he rolled the pebbles along the ledge and our reporter’s ears ached. “ IF MAN DIGS FOR MY GOLD I FILL THEIR TUNNELS WITH WATER. I HAVE FOUND THAT STOPS THEM.”
Our reporter thought the beast grinned. Whatever he did seemed scary and his teeth look very sharp. Was this a lone Taniwha? The book had mentioned Kotuku, another Taniwha in Katikati.
“Do you have any relatives, Sir. You know cousins, mothers, and fathers – that sort of thing.”
“I HAVE FAMILY ALL OVER THIS ISLAND AND MANY IN POUNAMU, THE SOUTHERN ISLAND. MY COUSIN KOTUKU LIVES A GOOD SWIM AWAY. HE GUARDS THE GOLD IN THE COROMANDEL.”
“Do you see him often?”
“WHEN WE MEET WE PLAY GAMES THROUGH THE UNDERGROUND RIVERS AND THE GROUND SHAKES ABOVE US. MAN CALLS OUR GAMES ‘EARTHQUAKES’ – THEY SHOULD CALL THEM TANIWHA- SHAKES.” The Taniwha thrashed its tail, stirring the water into a whirlpool. I WILL GIVE YOU ONE HUMMING STONE. IT WILL TELL ME IF YOU LEAD OTHER PEOPLE HERE. I GAVE THREE TO THE TWIN-WHO-COULD-HEAR-MY-STONES.  I WILL KNOW EVERYTHING YOU DO.”
No entirely sure taking a ‘humming stone’ was a good idea our man began to back down the narrow tunnel. A long claw hooked into the front of his jacket and pulled him back to the edge of the pool. Fear ran up and down his spine like a trickle of ice water and his heart pounded so hard his throat tightened. He had trouble taking a breath.
“YOU CANNOT REFUSE MY OFFER. TO OFFEND A TANIWHA IS TO ASK FOR DEATH.’
“I certainly don’t want to offend you, Sir.  No way. Not at all.”
The large clawed foot dropped a small uncut diamond into our man’s palm with the gentleness of a kitten’s pat. Our man closed his fist over the stone and a hum warmed his body, calmed his pulse and sang in his mind. He had a friend for life – and couldn’t tell a soul he’d lost his heart to a stone.
“Thank you very much, Otanewainuku.” But he was speaking to an empty cave. The Taniwha had slipped back into the pool while our reporter’s brain and body had been held captive. All that remained were the widening ripples that lapped at the caves walls. Had he imagined it? He looked at the stone in his hand. Quite a big diamond. Perhaps he could have it cut and mounted on a ring?
“Noooooo,” sang the humming stone, and our man changed his mind about doing that. He even began to have second thoughts about writing an article about the Taniwha. After all who would believe him?
“Quiiiite riiiiight,” hummed the stone, warming his palm before he slipped it into his shirt pocket where it nestled close to his stolen heart.
******

YOU CAN POP OVER TO www.virginnia-departe-books.com AND SEE MY SCI.FI. ROMANCES PLUS LISTEN TO EXCERPTS FROM MY BOOKS. DERYN'S YA IS LISTED THERE ALSO.


Saturday, 10 January 2015

SECRET CRAVINGS 4TH ANNIVERSARY BLOG HOP



 



Welcome to all my visitors. Secret Cravings authors are blessed to have such professional and efficient editors, not to mention the wonderful artists who create the covers for our e-books.

I have five romances published with Secret Cravings. They are set in the future with a touch of Sci.Fi and adventure. Haven't read Sci.Fi. before? Now is the time to dip your toes in the water.  It's fun and love is the same no matter what year it is: B.C., Victorian/Regency Times or in the future. Believe me!
On another page (labelled at the top in red as MY BOOKS) are my five romances, and my latest novella S.I.N. (Safety in Numbers). This is not a romance, but a story of woman with multi-personalities and how she copes with life.  It's on Kindle Unlimited: free to library members or only 99 cents. Try this one if you don't want Sci Fi.



My latest romance is called "Romancing the Memory Collector".


Leave a comment about my books, and you can go into the draw for a copy of one of my published books - your choice which one.

Thank you for visiting. Please click on the link to return to Secret Cravings Blog hop and visit another author.