He looked out the window, mesmerized as always.

The moon was right where it always was: nestled between the two mountains as it cascaded down as a waterfall right into the river below.

The river which was the lifeblood of his people. Without the moon and its light and its magic river, they were nothing.

And mesmerized by this glorious sight, he suddenly began wondering. Where does the moon get its power from? What is the…- no, no! He looked away and drew the curtains, shutting off the glow.

His heart thudded loudly in his chest and his breathe became shortened.

What had he almost done? He must not think this. Not at all!

Memories of stories came back to him now. Told in whispers in the shadows. Horrific tales of how fiercely such matters were dealt with.

These kinds of thoughts were not tolerated and they always found out. That was their sole job, to protect the lifeblood of this people. At all costs. With their lives if necessary and anyone else’s when required. And they were good at it.

Too good.

He closed his eyes and sank to his knees, leaning against the wall for support. There was a sudden metallic taste in his mouth – there was no place to hide.

From either the thoughts or them.

Guardian Angel

Sometimes, all she had to do was wish for it. Wish for it and think about it and it would happen.

Just look at Billy sprawled on the pavement near her. Thank you my guardian angel, she thought. Now he’d obviously think twice about yanking any little girl’s pigtails. If he ever got up again, that is.

For some reason, it looked to her as if Billy would now forever be asleep.

Oh, well. Good riddance. He had begun to annoy her a lot.

With that, she skipped on towards home, looking forward to her spaghetti supper that her mom had promised her.


I need you to understand something before I kill you…I need you to understand why!

 People make fun of me. And so what I really need right now is not to be laughed at. Like I’m a joke! Well, I am not and soon the world will know it. Once you’re dead, that is. Then they will have to take me seriously.

So all in all, you’re dying for a good cause. Really. And I…I need the practice as well. Farewell, “friend”. I’m sure you will be rewarded on the other side.

With these thoughts running in my head, I raised the slipper in my hand and brought it down with full force. Ha! Now my wife can’t laugh at me for screaming every time I see a cockroach!


“I see dead people,” he said.

This was the first time he had said it out loud. He just hoped she didn’t think he was crazy. But he didn’t think she would. He had only shared his deepest secret with her because he felt a connection with her; like he had never felt before.

She looked right into his eyes and took his hand, so that he could see – know – that she didn’t think him crazy. Not at all. In fact, she thought they were perfect for each other. She would just hold off telling him her secret for a little while longer, though.

And why not? After all, she had all the time of the afterlife.


The Princess and The Pea

Princess Amelia lay down to sleep, savoring the day.

She recalled the details with delight. And why wouldn’t she? It wasn’t everyday that one was crowned a princess!

She had been unable to sleep the night before. The small rectangle of light coming from the slightly-ajar door was comforting. As were the shadows that flitted across it a few times. She knew she was safe.

Yet, something disturbed her and she had kept tossing and turning all night.

The next morning, Madame Orth had loudly bustled into the room at the first hint of dawn, followed closely by the dainty Monsieur Befort. They both seemed very pleased as they called out to her to rise and shine. She could barely open her eyes and wasn’t able to suppress a yawn.

Both the adults beamed at her and told her all about how she was a princess!

They were sorry for her lack of rest but the night had been a small test. Her restlessness proved that she was the lost princess. They had been searching for her for years and now they had finally found her. They were so, so happy. What a good turn of fate! The gods were smiling on them for returning the true princess of the kingdom to them!

But they mustn’t dally. Oh no, there was no time. They had so much to do! Come on, up, up, up!

And before she could take another breathe, she was whisked off for a tour and an introduction to everyone and to bathe and have her hair done and her face made up and dress. She went up the stairs and she went down the stairs. She shook hands and she curtsied (after Madame showed her how it’s done). She held in her stomach as they tightened a corset around her waist. The soles of her feet hurt as she was made to try on dress after dress after dress and walk in heels as high as she was herself!

Madame finalized a mauve dress for her, offset with lots of pearls and diamonds. The clothes felt luxuriant against her skin and made up for how uncomfortable her hairdo and shoes were and the jewelry scratched her.

She was really grateful once the feast was underway. Now all she had to do was sit in the high chair in the middle of the room and observe the festivities.

Everything around her twinkled immaculately, including the guests. As Madame introduced them, they deferentially bowed to her. Raised their glasses and toasted the return of their princess.

Her heart had thudded really loudly in her chest when the time came for the crowning. The ceremony otherwise was boring, with lots of chanting. She barely heard a word; her eyes were riveted on the tiara sparkling in front of her.

Oh, that was her favorite part, the way it twinkled in the light! And she was sure she shone with it!

She sighed contentedly and settled deep into her soft bed, trying to find the perfect position.

First she turned to her right. No. It doesn’t feel right. So she shifted to her left. Nope.

Hmm. Maybe she should try lying straight on her back. Arms crossed on her chest. Or maybe arms up behind her head? She could just tilt her head a little. Okay, what about on her stomach?

But no matter what she did, Princess Amelia could not settle in.

She had been unable to sleep the night before. The door was closed today and no “comforting” rectangle of light reached her. No shadows flitted across the room. She knew she was safe.

At least, she felt safe.

But in her heart, she knew.

Tonight was also a test and something disturbed her but it was not the pea.

It was not the pea and she didn’t know what to do. It was simple, she had thought.

Only now she realized it wasn’t as simple as that. And now, it was too late…

So she kept tossing and turning all night.

The Princess and the Pea

Image Source:

The Queen

The young Queen surveyed her guests contentedly. The ball was well underway. The musicians had struck up a faster tune and the dancing party had increased. She could hear the tinkling laughter and the clinking chalices. Feet shuffled  daintily as their owners twirled their partners.

The Queen

Occasionally, they would look over at her and give a small bow. At this, she would smile back graciously and give a small nod in acknowledgement.

The merriment wouldn’t end until dinner was served and it was almost time for the feast to begin. She was waiting for the gong to sound to descend and take her place at the head of the table. Her guests would then follow suit according to their positions.

She suddenly noticed a movement in the far corner. Sir Alex! He was cutting through the throng and seemed to be headed straight towards her. Her heart skipped a beat. He was too handsome and the Queen was very fond of him.

“Now, what did we talk about, Quinn?” he asked her.

“Oh, but daddy. I want to join the party. Please?” she tried to plead with him once more.

“My princess, you may, but when you’re a bit older,” said he, while kissing the top of her forehead.

With that, he scooped Quinn in her arms and carried her upstairs to her room to put the Queen to bed.


Image Source: “Little Girl Looking Downstairs at Christmas Party”

McCall’s, December 1964; oil on board, 10 x 10 ½ in.; Collection of George Lucas

The Swing

Note: An old piece…

In my arms, she continued to squirm. So much so that it was difficult for me to hold on to her little wiggling form. She put her tiny hands against my shoulders and pushed backwards with such force that had I barely managed to maintain my grip on her so that she would not fall down on her head.

And she continued to cry. Not in a loud, bawling manner. It was a whimpering sound, small and muted, like a small animal in pain. All I could think of doing was making hushing and soothing noises, in an attempt to assure the little creature that I did not mean to harm her. It was just that she had been thrust upon me, to be given a ‘walk’ around the garden for the mother was currently ill and needed some rest. So, now, the duty to take care of the baby, for a short while, was entrusted to me.

But she would not stop fidgeting. She continued to try to get away. It was with great difficulty that I managed to cling on to her tiny being. She knew which door we had used to come out in the garden. She kept pointing back towards it, while making a burbling sound, as if to tell me that that is where she’d much rather be. Twisting and turning in my arms, she was not getting distracted by any of the things that I pointed out to her. No brightly coloured flower, not the gently rustling trees nor the squawking birds grabbed her attention. Apparently, all she needed was her mommy but I had strict instructions on that score. So, I tried to swing her around but all it resulted in was her howling at me and clawing at my neck for leverage. That was the time I found out babies actually have very sharp nails.

“You know, I’d much rather be doing something else, as well,” I said to her.

It was at the sound of my voice that she stopped crying, suddenly, and sniffed up at me, her eyes watery, thick tears clinging to her lashes.

“Yeah, that’s right. I’m talking to you, little missy.” I told her, my tone even more stern now. I was tired of walking around carrying her around with her not settling down. “I know you want to go back to your mommy but mommy needs a little down time. So, we are going to walk around the garden.”

As I said this, she blinked up at me as if she understood me. Slightly surprised, I silently thanked God for making my job easier and continued to walk. That is when we came to the garden swing and I thought she might like to try it. I tried to sit her down but every time she dug her toes firmly in the seat and refused to budge.

I tried to coax her in saying “It’s a swing dear…you’ll like it!” But it didn’t seem like she was very enthusiastic about it. She just wouldn’t sit and I stopped attempting. Sighing, I decided to sit in the swing myself and have her sit in my lap. That way, she’d know that she had nothing to be scared of and I was getting tired as well.

I put thought into action. She clung onto me, slightly hiccupping, digging her nails in, as if afraid that she’ll fall. I put my arms around her to try to reassure her. At this, she rested her head against my shoulder and snuggled. I smiled at her cuteness.

And then, while swinging, I started talking to her, nothing in particular, just randomly. About everything and anything that came to my mind. I told her about my hectic schedule and how I wished I could turn time back and be as old as her.

“Don’t be in any hurry to grow up,” I told her.

At this, she actually giggled and I couldn’t help laughing a little myself. Thus finding her calmed down, I continued to talk to her. In a little while, she actually sat down in my lap, with me holding on to her back so she didn’t fall backwards. And she looked up at me with big, brown, intelligent eyes that seemed to light up as I pointed out birds and flowers and told her some of the mischief I had gotten into while younger. And I continued to talk and she listened, avidly it seemed to me.

I told her about how hard it was to have to be responsible for things, especially being the oldest, how hard it is to live up to expectations, how hard it is to make certain decisions all on your own, and how difficult it is to maintain a balance in life. She nodded and giggled and frowned at all the right places in my story telling. If I ever paused to take a breath, she would start cooing and babbling, telling her own story to me. And meanwhile, as we continued to ‘talk’, both of us swayed with the rhythm of the swing, a light breeze ruffling our hair.

It was the best time ever. We sat there for a very long time, talking, singing and humming. And the baby – Maira her name was – keenly joined in. It was only when it began to grow dark and the sun was getting ready to set that I thought it prudent to go back inside.

As I handed her back to her slightly refreshed mother, I surprisingly felt a pang as she hugged her mother after being parted for so long. Yet, I was also happy for not only had I managed to be ‘succeed’ at the task handed out to me and pleased my mother, I also had a very good time.

And as Maira waved goodbye to me, I knew we would have other good moments – maybe even better – just like today, on the swing.