Short story

Abarta

I woke up last week on a Sunday, quite early, with a dream stuck in my head. It kept buzzing in my skull so loud, chanting ‘write me’, ‘write me!’. So I decided, ‘why not’. So this is the weird dream I had.

I named it ‘Abarta’ because the hero of the story reminded me of the mischievous God from old Irish tales.

I hope you enjoy reading it.

Ann’s fingers tapped impatiently on her desk.

As the clock slowly ticked every second for Ann seemed to expand into hours, then those hours seemed to expand into eternity until Ann felt that no time had passed at all. Her teacher yapped on and on.

Ann’s eyes wandered out the window, staring at the gorgeous sunny weather where the insects buzzed in heated frenzy and the sky seduced her with its gorgeous sapphire blue.

Ann found her feet tapping, our young lass couldn’t wait for the bell to ring, for her freedom to be given. With the ending of this class it would also signify the beginning of the Summer holidays. The start of relaxation, days of doing nothing but sun-bathing on the trampoline she had in her garden, eating creamy ice-cream or sucking flavoured popsicles to her hearts content. Ann couldn’t wait for Summer where she could lazily chatter with her friends, go shopping, be free to take matters at her own pace without the pressures of homework, studying or exams. Yes Summer, to Ann the very word itself gave off a refreshing scent that relaxed her. Ann wanted to grab her Summer by the coattails and jump into his welcoming embrace.

She looked away from the window towards her teacher, it seemed like his senseless speech was coming to an end. She could feel it, and not just herself, everyone in Ann’s class sensed it. Students sat up straighter, grabbing their bags, their legs positioning themselves to sprint towards the door. Their eyes inadvertently staring out the window with fervour. Ann felt the tension, it made her gulp. The sticky heat caused her long black hair to stick to her neck, her uniform wet with sweat. She began loosening her tie.

“It’s sad that this is the last day I’ll ever be teaching this class. I hope this has been a fun lesson for you all. Soon you will be moving on to bigger and better things, whether that will be employment, higher education, or an apprenticeship. No matter what you do I wish you all the best. I hope everyone has an amazing holiday and at the same time you are all safe and careful.” Babbled the teacher. “Now I’ll see most of you at the upcoming graduation but for some of you this is the last time. I wish you the best on results day. I want you all to know that it has been an honour to be your teacher…” Despite the tear-jerking and lovely speech being given all Ann heard was ‘blah blah blah’. Her eyes were focused on the clock. ‘Damn it’ she thought to herself, ‘only one more minute to the bell rings, can’t he just let us out early for crying out loud. I can already hear people running in the corridors, just let us go already!’

It was as she thought these exact words that her teacher, who was now crying, said, “Okay all of you just go.” A second after a shrill bell rang throughout the school and through Ann’s classroom. In that moment most of the students, including our protagonist, heartlessly ran out. She rushed through the corridors weaving between the chatting teens or pre-teens, straight into the overwhelming heat wave outside, and she continued running desperately until she was at the entrance of the school, near those black steel gates.

There she halted.

She stood next to the gates waiting. Stood there as rows upon rows of students walked past her or cars drove by. Ann stood there even as her friends called out to her, she refused to leave with them. Her eyes were continuously darting as she searched for someone, and then he came.

A male student walked out of the building surrounded by many other peers. There are a variety of characters all chatting and cheerful, yet among them he stood out. There’s this frivolous air about him. With a glance, you can tell he’s popular, especially with his tall height, and handsomely sculpted features. Nicholas, that is the name of the boy Ann waited for. He caused her heart to pound erratically, her eyes to light up, and her fists to clench. Step by step with his envoy of peers as he walked ever closer and closer towards her, Ann found her face becoming red. As he walked past the gate for two seconds his eyes connected with hers. For our Ann, these seconds pleasantly felt like hours, however in reality seconds are only seconds and quickly the moment passed and he was gone. Ann slumped and leaned against the gate.

“I blew my last chance… Yet again I couldn’t talk to him…I’m such an idiot. You’re such an idiot Ann…I’m such an idiot.” She said to herself over and over. Ann stood outside the gate for a longer period, even though she no longer had anyone to wait for. It was only when she saw the school caretakers with their large keys starting to lock up, did she move.

‘Right’ she thought to herself, ‘I was heading home.’ She pulled her rucksack closer to her body, and as bitter frustrated tears cascaded down her cheeks she turned out the gate onto the street beyond.

Our dear Ann walked down the mismatched pavement of which was all shades of grey, she found herself wandering aimlessly. There is a saying that home is where the heart is, perhaps that’s the reason why Ann could not find her way home while her heart was in disarray. You see Ann had a very common youthful worry. This worry is love. Since the day Ann had begun school, going back to her nursey days, there had always been one boy that she had kept her eyes on. He was Nicholas, he was beautiful, kind, intelligent and sporty and was the type of person that would always be surrounded by a crowd of people. Nicholas was someone that many people loved. In contrast Ann, although a very pretty girl; with clear soft skin, long silky black hair and large emerald eyes of whom had many secret admirers, was also a very shy and introverted individual. She wasn’t outgoing and only had a small set of close friends, her quiet nature prevented her from ever approaching Nicholas. For years she watched him from far away, admiring him, however now she could no longer do this. Summer signified the last day of Secondary school and the last day of her ever-seeing Nicholas. She had thought that today she could gain the confidence to finally approach him but instead all she could accomplish was looking at him from afar, as usual.

Drops of water began to fall on the ground, almost as if the heavens were crying in pity for Ann, the summer humidity turned into grey clouds and a damp nauseous smell permeated the air. Startled Ann quickly searched through her rucksack and pulled out her umbrella. As she opened it up and looked at her surroundings she suddenly realised she was lost. Somehow and at some point, she had ended up at a crossroads, the way behind and in front looked the same and there were no signs indicating her whereabouts.

‘Where on earth am I!!!’ she thought, slowly starting to panic.

“Do you need my help?” asked a deep and sultry voice. It was clear and loud and Ann heard it above the sound of the rain, almost as if it was whispered in her ear. She jumped in fright and looked left and right but she saw no one.

“Down here, love.”

Ann found herself glancing down. There she saw a young-looking man, he was sitting in the middle of the road getting soaked in the rain. When our dear Ann saw him, her heart couldn’t help but quicken slightly. For he was the most gorgeous person she had ever met, even more beautiful than Nicholas. His skin was so fair that he looked like snow, his hair was platinum in colour, he had long eyelashes and those eyelashes framed stunning almond eyes. His lips were plump and pink and all his features were perfectly symmetrical. Perhaps it was his hair or eyes but to Ann this man seemed almost celestial.

As their eyes met he gave her a wide smile. “Ann, do you need my help?” he asked.

Ann was so mesmerised by his appearance that it took her a few moments to realise that he said her name.

“You know me!?”

“Well of course, do you not know me Ann?”

Ann found herself at a loss, she could only shake her head in response and stare, she couldn’t remember ever meeting him and was certain that she would remember someone so stunning if she had.

He made a sad expression, his lips pursed and his brows furrowed with irritation. Then he sighed, “I guess that is only natural, most mortals never remember a trip to the otherworld on the night of Samhain.” As he said this he slowly got to his feet, as he stood all the rain magically stopped, as if he was controlling it.

He walked up to Ann and cupped her face in his hands and stroked her cheeks. “My beloved you have been crying.” He softly purred. “You shouldn’t cry.” He wrapped his arms around her and hugged her.

Ann was shocked, surprised, thoroughly taken aback. A man she had never met before was telling her nonsense and had hugged her. In this type of situation, she should have felt terrified and ran, for all she knew this man could be dangerous or had some perverse ulterior motives, however in his embrace Ann felt warm and comforted. She found tears spilling from her eyes and she held him tighter and hugged him closer.

Ann and the strange man held each other for a long time. It wasn’t until she heard a happy jingle from her pocket did she hastily withdraw from him. She rustled in her blazer and pulled out her mobile phone. It was her Mother.

“Why aren’t you home yet? Do you know it’s five ‘o’clock? I thought your school finished early today, why aren’t you home yet?”

Ann had to hold her phone away from her ear as her mother barraged her with questions, “Is it really five…sorry Mum. Mum. Mum! Calm down, I just got lost along the journey. I’ll be home soon. I stayed at school a bit longer…umm to talk to the teacher and then it was raining and I got a bit lost…Don’t worry about it. I’ll be home soon…Yes, I am hungry, so please leave dinner for me. Thanks Mum, cool I’ll see you soon.” Ann hung up the phone sighing.

“Pffft”, she heard a snigger, the strange man was laughing. “Your mother and yourself have a lovely relationship now, that is good.” He stated and continued to chuckle.

Ann blinked, she had never told a soul about her past issues with her Mother. When she was young she had told her Mum she could see fairies and had spoken to Gods. Her Mother had thought her crazy and in her younger years she was constantly put through therapy. After that she could never feel comfortable around her Mother or tell her honest feelings for a long time. Their relationship had gotten better though.

Ann felt scared because she had never told anyone about that. How did he know? She began to wonder if she actually had been close to this stranger.

He flashed her a mischievous grin and grabbed her hand. “I should re-introduce myself as we walk home together.”

“W-w-w-w-w-w-w-walk h-h-h-home t-t-t-together?” Ann stuttered, her face scarlet.

“I know the way.” He claimed and pulled her along with him as he confidently strolled in a random direction. Ann helplessly followed him, intrigued.

As Ann walked with the gorgeous stranger she noticed the sky transition into a purple hue, the clouds came lower until the ground itself was covered by a cooling mist. The streets transformed into a forest. Soon they were walking past trees heading up a steep mountain.

“My name is Abarta.” He whispered, his words were carried by the wind into her ear.

As Ann heard these words shock filled her eyes. “Abarta! You can’t be.”

“I told you I’d come back for you.”

His grip on her hand tightened.

“Forget your mortal worries, forget that boy Nicholas. Forget your mother. I am all you need”

A spell was cast each time he said forget. Ann could no longer remember Nicholas or Mother. Nothing mattered anymore. Ann felt herself becoming tired, her head heavy. Her phone dropped somewhere along the way.

As they walk deeper into the mist Abarta said, “Do not worry Ann, I will look after you. All of us have missed you so much.”

We did miss our dear Ann. As Abarta took her to the Otherworld, we watched her each step. We whispered to each other in joy. This time we will keep our Ann, we said to each other.

Forever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Flash Fiction, The adventures of Max

Trouble and Ghost.

“Why were you out so late.” She demanded, her arms crossed in an obviously angry posture. There were dark circles under her obsidian-like eyes and tears had smudged her mascara into oblivion. Her lips trembled as she stared at her son.

“I was so worried when you didn’t come home last night. I went out looking for you but all I found was little Meme running around the park by herself, her leash on the floor. I started assuming the absolute worst. I even called up the police, but those useless fools said they couldn’t do anything unless you had been missing for more than ten hours. How dumb is that! If you’d been missing for that long you could have been killed by someone. I screamed the police station down until they restrained me and an officer had to bring me home. I stayed up the entire night waiting for you and then you come waltsing into the house at 8am like nothing happened. You better explain yourself young man!!”

Max was in a daze, he nervously glanced at her, he felt his heart ache. His Mother only had him and he only had his Mother. In the entire world they could only rely on each other. He could understand why his Mother was so worried, she’d lost his Dad in a similiar way. One day when Max was only three his Father went out to buy some milk, but he never came back. He didn’t take anything with him so the police decided that it might be a kidnapping rather than running away but there was no evidence and no leads. His Mother had felt so nervous that they constantly moved from town to town until they finally settled in this small village area that was 3 hours away from the biggest city.

Max wanted to tell his Mother everything but he found that his tongue was stuck in his throat, the words he wanted to tell her just couldn’t come out. It was for obvious reasons though. Firstly there was no way at all that his Mother world believe him. I mean if Max told his Mother that he met a ghost, named Ghost in the park and that Ghost took him to a party where he had a drinking competition with elves and fairies he was a hundred percent certain that she would scream at him for lying, or worse she might think there’s something wrong with his head. Max didn’t want to be seen as crazy and he knew no one would believe what he had to say.

So instead he hung his head low and said, “I’m sorry Mother. I met a friend in the Park and he said there was a cool party going on. He convinced me to take a look and I did, but I had too much to drink and then before I knew it it was morning.” At least this wasn’t a complete lie.

Mrs Malis’s face turned a slight purple with anger. “You mean to tell me you went to some random party and got drunk. You’re not even 18 Max!” She shrieked, “I made a fool of myslef, probably the entire village knows I was running around looking for you last night whilst you were at a damn party. And I sent you hundreds of texts and you couldn’t reply to even one of them, eh?!!”

Max shuffled his feet. “I left my phone on my bed last night.” he mumbled.

“I bloody know that because I found it on your bed last night!!!”

“…” Max could only silently stare at the floor.

“You are grounded. You will only leave the house for school. You will have no phone, no computer, no internet acess no anything for a month. Only study and reflect on your actions!”

Max couldn’t even protest as he watched his Mother go upstairs, take all his electrical appliances, from his phone, laptop, Xbox, TV and then put them all into the cellar, locking the door. She placed the key in her breast pocket.

“I’m going to the police station to tell them it was a false alarm.” She Announced as she slipped on her shoes and angrily slammed the door behind her. Leaving Max sighing. This was so unfair, he thought. Everything had spiralled so rapidly out of control, how was he supposed to know any of that was going to happen.

“Geez that sucks.”

Max jumped out of his skin and saw Ghost leaning against his corridor wall, wearing his trademark orange jumpsuit.

“How long have you been there?” Max snapped at him grumpily.

“Long enough.” said Ghost. “If its any consolation I’ll keep you company.”

“Oh joy.”

“Honestly, I mean it.” Ghost was suddenly right in front of Max. “Let’s be friends. Max I want to show you a whole new world. ”

Max frowned in response. “Oh Joy.”

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Flash Fiction, The adventures of Max

Drinking games with fairies and elves.

“Eight, nine, ten!!!” They all counted in unison, screaming together as a stocky troll with mottled grey skin downed a barrel of beer. A gorgeous elf with long straight red hair, pointed ears and green eyes more sparkling than emeralds hugged the trolls waist in excitement, her high pitched voice shrieking so loud that Max held his ears and gritted his teeth in discomfort.

Loud chatter, laughter, and the music of hundreds of fireflies buzzing together in song permeated the area. Small pixies were dancing around the firelight, the white glow emitting from their bodies were like disco lights that in combination with the red glow of the fire made the forest area appear like some underground rave.

There were elves, both male and female, with glowing white hair wearing barely anything other than ivy green leaves and the petals of roses, tulips and sunflowers. They danced in these revealing outfits moving to every change in the melody that the fireflies sung. They were mesmerising, so much so that Max couldn’t move his eyes away from the enticing sight. Not until Ghosts hands covered them and physically turned him around to face him.

“Don’t stare too long, you may never be able to look away again. Also they may be cheerful and festive now but if you’re not careful and they realise you’re a living human they’ll kill you in seconds.”

“What…why would they do that!?” Max was horrified.

“Why?” Ghost shrugged “Just because you are Human. In their eyes you are a member of a lower sub-species that like to flaunt their non-existent superiority. No matter how many Humans they have slayed in the past or how many wars Humans waged against each other they still continue to multiply and breed like crazy. Humans are pests in their eyes, that’s why they live in separate realms and pockets of space. You being here is like a fly coming into your home, they’d just love to swat you.”

“Then why did you bring me here if you knew it was going to be this dangerous?” Max hissed.

“Well you looked bored and cold and here it’s exciting and warm.” Ghost replied flippantly.

“That was your reason! Omg!! I’m gonna get killed. Why did I follow you? Damn it”

“Oi Oi calm down,”Ghost whispered into his ear, “If you keep shoutin’ you’ll draw unnecessary attention.” Hearing him say that Max immediately went quiet.

“Don’t worry you’ll be safe as long as you’re with me. It’s not just in my name, I’m a ghost as well, you know that. As long as you stay near me they’ll think the same. They don’t bother with the likes of me. So just sit back and relax. Here take some Valeer and calm down.” He offered Max a small glass bottle that contained a swirling green liquid. Max looked at the bottle dubiously, “Don’t worry it’s harmless tonic, actually it’s really good for living Humans. One bottle of this can increase your lifespan by five years and it removes all the filth from your body. Drink enough of this and you could live to 500 and still look like you’re in your 20’s.” Ghost goaded Max.

Was this really so magical? Max was surprised and filled with wonder, so he put the warm bottle to his lips, only sipping a small amount, however he soon found himself tipping the entire thing down his throat. It was delicious. He felt it melt into his mouth and flow down into his stomach where it evaporated. He then felt the steam it transformed into infiltrating his bones and muscles. He felt energised like he’d been shot by electricity.  It was such a glorious taste that he drank until there wasn’t a drop left.

“I want more.” He panted, grabbing on to the collar of Ghosts orange jumpsuit and eagerly begging him.

Ghost chuckled at his reaction. “Whoa you are really becoming an addict. If you drink too much you’ll feel so sick tomorrow because of all the filth in your body being forcibly ejected. And 17 years of filth isn’t small, you’ll be on the toilet for a month.”

“I don’t care I want more.”

“Okay then. Well there are more barrels over there, right next to the trolls, if you’re desperate enough have a drinking match with them. If you’re man enough to do it, but just so you know if they smell your breathe they’ll end you.”

“I don’t care.” Max didn’t know why he was saying such brazen things but he felt like he couldn’t live without it. He saw an amused smile curl up on Ghosts face, and as he turned and ran towards those large barrels he heard Ghost mutter, “I didn’t think he’d have such a reaction, this is way too fun.”

Max wasn’t in the right mentality to care about Ghost’s words, he had already jumped onto a barrel and was glugging down the green drink. He felt his mind go blank.

The trolls, fairies, and elves around him got more excited at his actions. They spoke in words that he couldn’t understand but if he could make an educated guess they were probably saying, “Look at that Ghost go. Whoa he’s really going for it. He’s drinking so fast. Awesome!!!”

Max didn’t have time to revel in their shock and excitement, he’d already fully immersed himself in the barrel of Valeer. He had literally jumped into it head first, his clothes getting soaked. He felt that he’d drank ten times his natural limit. He was drowning in this unnatural drink. Max wanted to drink this until he burst and after finishing his second barrel he was about to move onto a third one when he felt someone pick him up and hoist him over their shoulder. It was Ghost.

Max screamed and beat his fists against his back in protest but it was like he was hitting a steel wall. Unable to resist Max was carried away from the festivities. As he looked up he saw the fire and the white lights dwindle in the distance and when he next looked up they were out of the forest and in the Park.

The sun was shining high in the sky.

 

 

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Flash Fiction, The adventures of Max

Max goes to the Park. pt.3 A Party in the park.

Max found himself going back and forth on the swing next to Mr.Ghost. He couldn’t help but wonder how he’d gotten himself into such a peculiar situation. Sitting in the park in the middle of the night with some stranger. If it wasn’t for the fact that Meme was enjoying herself so much, barking like crazy whilst chasing after her little tail, Max would have long ago hurried home.

“How old are you Max?” asked Mr. Ghost.

“Huh..ummm…”

“It’s not like I’m asking you a hard question, am I?”

“No it’s just asking someones age is a bit rude, right?”

“What? How?!… You are some weird kid, it’s not like I asked you what size your d*** is. Are you a girl? You’re not old? How on earth is asking your age rude?!” Mr.Ghost had an exasperated expression on his face and stared at Max as if he were crazy.

“I’m not a girl! I just…my Mum told me that it’s rude to ask someones age on a first meeting.”

“You’re not that bright are you Max?”

“Hey-”

“I’m just saying,” interrupted Mr.Ghost, “your Mum probably meant that it’s rude on a first meeting with a woman, and most likely a woman you want to date. Woman are sensitive about their age, more so than men. So for a good first impression not asking their age is better.”

“…” Max didn’t know how to respond.

“Max are you a woman?” asked Mr. Ghost.

“Nooo.” Max slowly said.

“Max do I look like I want to date you?”

“…” Max just blinked, not knowing how to respond.

“Since the answer to both is no, I think you can tell me your goddamn age.”

“…”

“Max how old are you?”

“17.”

“Well done.” Mr.Ghost purred, he reached his hand out and slowly patted Max on the head, stroking his hair like Max was his pet. “Well since you’re 17 that means your old enough to come to a fun little gathering with me.”

“A gathering! A party?” Max was surprised but also disinterested, he’d been invited to some but never went since he was naturally an introvert. The idea of a party seemed pointless to him.

“Yes a party.” said Mr Ghost, he jumped off the swing, his purple dyed hair rippling in the wind, his piercings jingling. He grabbed Max’s hands into his, “We’re going to a party right now.”

“Right now!”

“Yep.” Mr Ghost grinned at him and then pulled Max towards the forest area of the park where there were a multitude of trees and the white light of the lamps couldn’t reach.

Max felt startled and terrified. “You know what, actually Ghost, I’d rather not y-y-you know, I gotta take care of Meme and stuff and I guess it’s getting late.”

“Meme will be fine, and the night is still young.” Mr.Ghost placidly replied.

Max didn’t have time to respond as by this point they had already entered the forest. To his surprise as they walked in rather than darkness greeting them there was actually a red light that shined bright, illuminating the forest.

With every step closer Max heard the thrumming of instruments. As they walked closer to the source of this red light, Max  realised it was a huge fire, he saw smaller white lights dancing around the fire, then around these white lights there were people-like figures all dancing and singing around the fire.

As Max got even closer he saw that these white lights were actually very small people with wings. Fairies!!! “No way” Max whispered out loud. His surprise caused Mr.Ghost to smile.

“There aren’t just fairies. If you look closely there are Trolls, Dwarves, and Elves.” Mr.Ghost muttered lightly into Max’s ears. “You are the only living human to ever witness such a grand party Max, you should be excited.”

“I am.” Max breathed, his eyes filled with wonder his heart beating like crazy. “Wait aren’t you human too Mr.Ghost!?”

“I am.”

“Then-”

“But I’m not a living human Max.”

 

 

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Flash Fiction

An Encounter.

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As Aillil turned page after page of the old fables his grandfather had left him, he found himself entranced by the tales of Branwen, Cuchulainn, Tuatha de Danann, Arthur and his knights. He found himself wishing for the magic of the past to return to the present. He wondered why no one truly believed in these tales anymore, he wondered where the bards whom would slip into the Otherworlds, had disappeared to. He wistfully looked to the sky, day dreaming about Finn and his Fianna.

He wanted to prove these legends true. Aillil was frustrated. To him it felt as if the magic of the world, it’s pure quintessence was at the very tip of his fingertips but it was so very out of reach. Why was this? Why was it all so frustrating?

One evening in irritation, when the night was old and souls at rest, Aillil took his bike and pedalled into the mountains near his home. He reached out to the moon. It was so big in the sky, the stars so bright it felt like with just a simple grasping motion he could capture the heavens and join the heroes, gods, and goddesses in their paradises. Yet no matter how much Aillil pedalled it was fruitless. He was soon worn out, staring at his hands, lying on the grass of the mountain fields looking at the night.

“Why! I know you are real! Show yourselves, Show yourselves to me!!!” He yelled to no one in particular, by this point he’d already given up. He expected no response to his cry and was preparing to get back on his bike to ride home into the comfort of his bed and family.

Yet then he heard, “We hear your call.” It was a childish and faint voice that was carried by the wind to his ear.

“Join us.”

Aillil looked up and he saw the most bewitching fairies, it was like in the tales, as if they had just rode out of their underground palaces, they glowed with a celestial glint. They harboured treasures from Avalon and wore garments embroidered with the ethereal designs and jewels.

The male fairy extended his hand to Ailill, “Won’t you join us on this eve of Beltane?”

Aillil was shocked, he couldn’t believe this was actually happening. Filled with intrigue and excitement he grasped his hand. “Yes. Yes please!”

They giggled at him, and then he was pulled onto the back of the male fairy’s white and proud steed.

Aillil left with them into the unknown, and he never came back.

After I read a novel, watch an anime or read some of my favourite fables I find myself wondering about the truths of this world. I want to reach out and grasp the mysteries this realm has to offer. I want them to reach out to me. At the same time, unlike Aillil, I don’t think I would have the courage to accept that invitation and go into the unknown so brazenly.

Would you go with the fairies?

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