Sunday, May 22, 2016

~LITTLE WITCH~

Rose's story begins in Aysgarth, by the river.
 
 
 

 
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"Little Witch!" A slap always followed the malediction. "Dost thou stare?"
This was my father. He did not like children whose opinions showed in their eyes. Large dark eyes I had—my mother's eyes—and when I displeased him, he was not slow to punish the unbroken will he saw.
I was born at the village of Aysgarth in the house of a stark yeoman farmer, Master Whitby. He was not pleased when my mother gave him a daughter, and then another and another, as if by the force of her own contrary will.
Master Whitby acknowledged me, however, as he acknowledged my sisters. I was written down in the book at the Church of Our Lady as "Rosalba Whitby, legitimate, born to Master Raymond Whitby and his espoused wife, Roseanne."
When I was old enough to hear the tale, my mother very kindly let me know matters stood otherwise. To learn I had been conceived in liberty and was not the get of that humorless, ham-fisted tyrant fills me, to this day, with satisfaction.
Aysgarth lies on Wenslydale, north and west of the great Keep of Middleham. Here our peasant houses grew from the ground like mushrooms. The poorest were of turf, but the best homes, like the one in which I was born, rose upon a costly timber frame.
 
 
Those hard packed earthen floors! In the East Wind time, rain slanted through the central smoke hole and pelted the fire of our hearth. I remember huddling close, thinking how the flames were like serpents, lowering their fiery heads and hissing whenever the drops landed. During the worst weather, the entire family, including Master Whitby's curly-pelted white cattle, sheltered with us.
Our village was linked by a single, rutted path. Beyond the stone fences lay fields, wild water and wind. The river went down rapids and over the falls, on and on until it reached the stormy eastern sea through the Great Wash.


 
My mother kept a garden behind the house. Well-manured with the leavings of our animals, tended by my hands and those of my older half-brothers, it flourished. Here mother grew turnips, mangels, carrots, parsnips and greens, food for us and for our animals. In a raised patch, she also grew herbs, for she was Aysgarth's midwife...
~~
 
Juliet Waldron
 
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 ~~~~
 
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Sunday, May 15, 2016

BLACK MAGIC ~ Amazon Countdown Feature


War-weary soldier Goran von Hagen returns for the first time in years to the alpine estate where he was born. Here, although he does not suspect it, a strange destiny awaits.



"So much more than the garden-variety shapeshifter v. vampire story, as the hero engages with the day-to-day realities of his post-transformation self..." 
 
 
 
After an exchange of letters, Goran and Mina decided to make a summer journey to the neglected estate. This would be the best time to ride the place over and find out how things were in the fields and forests of their domain. Their younger siblings—all but Rupert—were still school boys, incapable of such duties.

            It was not, as his father had always said, a good thing to leave houses and property in the hands of servants for any extended period. Even the best bailiff and staff could lose their way. Herr Stocke, who had managed the place for so long, had grown frail, and the Graf had concerns about relying so heavily upon a man who long ago should have been comfortably retired. At the time, Goran believed he could face anything with Veronique on his arm. Now, his twin, Mina, would have to help him stay strong, but she, her little daughter, Charlize, and his youngest sister, Birgit, had not yet finished their journey from Passau.

***

            Being alone in the house was painful. As soon as he had finished a good splash in the basin, Goran abandoned the master bedroom. He’d often pictured Veronique there. She’d have teased him, no doubt, laughing mercilessly about the antique bed-curtains. They were embroidered with an erotic subject of nymphs and fauns--not at all to his, or to any modern--taste--but a work of art, nonetheless. They’d been purchased at great expense in pre-revolutionary France. Why his mother had never replaced these wicked bachelor relics he had never understood. Goran had heard stories that his father had been “a famous rake” before he’d settled down to become a dedicated family man.

             Damn Veronique!
 
             How often he’d imagined her here, standing before a mirror, letting down her heavy blonde hair. He’d have taken her in his arms, watched her lovely face flush with desire. They’d begin the prelude, as they had many times before, and this time—this time—it would happen, the fiery moment when she would allow him to enter her lush body!

             Instead, he was here, on the mountain--alone.
 
             Goran donned his knee-length riding coat. Habit caused him to check to be certain that his boot knives were snug in place. During the war, he’d learned never to trust to the safety of even the most familiar places.

            He departed in a hurry, for the bedroom seemed full of ghosts, banging his boots on the stairs. From the sideboard in foyer he seized a dusty, half-full bottle of brandy. He thought he’d walk—and drink. The house was worse than he’d thought. A sensation of loss and grief pervaded the familiar rooms where he’d spent a happy childhood.

             Not to mention the disorder in his bailiff's once tidy study!

             Goran could only imagine the hours of mind-numbing book work which waited—and right now, he didn’t want to dwell on it. He stalked through the small, overgrown ornamental garden some grandparent or other had created. It was set in view of the long study windows, and had several slate paths, now narrowed by encroaching flowerbeds. The whole place was overlooked by a lichen-spotted marble faun atop a pedestal. Balanced upon one cloven foot, his head thrown back in abandon, the creature cheerfully played a flute. Goran paused to study it, remembering how it had frightened Mina when they’d been children. She’d complained she had nightmares in which it chased her...  


 
 
~~Juliet Waldron
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Sunday, May 8, 2016

Butterfly Bride~~

Butterfly Bride
(Coming soon!)
 


“Oh, Sophie-Sophie-Sophie!”

“Elfrieda! My darling!”

Hearts pounding, the sisters embraced. They’d been separated for well over a year now, living on letters and hopes, but Sophie’s new husband had acted more quickly than anyone had ever hoped. Karl Wildbach had sent the money for passage from Bremen in Germany, and here Elfie was, on the porch of a lovely stone farmhouse overlooking a millrace and surrounded by tidy gardens and trees. It was exactly as beautiful as Sophie had written. Elfie had wanted to pinch herself ever since she’d left Hanover, with it’s sad memories, traveled through smoky, dark Bremen, and begun, with her big sister, ‘Lotte, the great adventure of their immigration to America.
 
Hand-me-Down Bride
Sophie's Story
http://amzn.to/1Nn8iOw
 

And now she was here—journey completed at last!

“Where have you been? And where’s Ilga?”

“Oh, ma’am,” Arthur said, “Miz Ilga decided she wanted to go straight up to the ‘Springs Hotel and I had to take her. That added on some miles.”

Sophie shook her head and looked knowing. “Oh, your Aunt!” she said to Elfie. “but poor Mr. Bullmaster! Hardly cold in his grave."

"She says life is for the living and that it is for the best that he passed so quickly. She said that the week he lived--although he might just as well have been dead for all he knew--was the worst of her life.”

 As the wagonette had approached, Elfie had first caught sight of her sister latching the gate to a garden  patch, a wicker basket overflowing with greens on her arm. Although the house was substantial, with four fine windows at the bottom and five across the top, and although the countryside on every side was endlessly green and growing, the way her sister looked was rather shocking. Elfie remembered her elder sister as statuesque and pale, but now, the face beneath a broad-brimmed straw hat was plump, rosy, and brown. The hands clasping hers were tanned, muscular and plant stained.
 
Instead of a genteel lady, a soft city dweller, her sister was now an American farmer’s wife. Sophie Wildbach was also very pregnant, belly high beneath a broad, dusty apron.  Inside Elfie’s embrace, she felt sweaty. Up close, after all this time, Elfie saw there were weary shadows under her eyes.

“And is dear Lotte feeling any better?” Sophie asked when Elfie released her.

“Yes, much. We’re all so glad. The doctor said another week and she should be ready to travel.” Her older sister had been intermittently ill on the sea voyage and had arrived in Philadelphia rather the worse for wear. It had not been the plan at all, as Lotte, the older, was supposed to be the one who would look after her little sister.  Fortunately, Aunt Ilga, though barely two  weeks into life as a widow, had met them at the boat, or Elfie was not sure how well she would have managed.

“Good to hear! I’ve been quite worried, ever since you wrote. Now, perhaps, we’ll be able to have Lotte here for a visit and to rest a little before she goes to work at Attorney Wert’s.  Oh, and here is Mrs. D.—Divine Daniels,” Sophie added, turning to introduce her to the black woman who’d just appeared in the doorway. Divine was busily wiping her hands on a dishcloth and her head tied up in a bright kerchief. She was dressed in a worn calico dress and white apron, like most other American kitchen help Elfie had seen.

“How do you do,” said Elfie. She wasn’t sure whether to curtsy or nod, but the woman said, “Guten tag, Fraulein” and stuck out her hand, so Elfie shook it. Aunt Ilga had black servants, but she treated them like inferiors, not like members of the household.  Sophie, in her letters, had always spoken of her relations with the helpful “Mrs. D” as if she was a sort of wise older friend.

“Well, well. Aren’t you jes the picture o’pretty, Mizz Elfrieda!” Divine looked her up and down, her dark eyes brightening. “Just like our dear Mizz Sophie has bin sayin’.” Before Elfie could think of anything to say beyond “thank-you” she added, “Dinner’s jus’ about ready, Mizz Sophie. And I see you got more a them good greens.”

“A whole new row leafed out real nice after that rain, and it’s a good thing too, the way everyone was eatin' them up.” As Sophie leaned to retrieve the basket again, Divine anticipated her.

“Here, Mizz.  Let me.” Divine, full basket in hand, gestured at the door.  “Go in, ladies. The ‘hands will be comin’ in a few minutes and then we’ll all sit down. Where’s Miz Ilga, then?”

Arthur spoke up. “Already hopped it to the ‘Springs Hotel, Mrs. D. She had me drive her up there before bringin’ Miss Elfrida to German’s Mill.”

Divine gave a little whoop. “But, do tell, Mr. Art!” She retreated a few steps down to touch the young man on the shoulder as he stood, ragged straw hat politely in hand. “And how’d you ever git all that luggage up on that wagon when you and Mr. Nathan both suffer from them skinny arms?”   

“Oh, Mr. Moonshine came by and gave us a hand. He was there seein’ his Aunt Essy home to Harrisburg.”

“Well, that was right kind of him.”

“And oh Sophie, Aunt Ilga was ever so rude to—uh--Mr. Moonshine. I was so embarrassed.” Elfie spoke up. She’d been curious about this man, so handsome, so strong and so silent. It pleased her that he’d again come into the conversation. She hoped to learn a little more about him. 
 
Something about those dark brown eyes regarding her!  Simply remembering brought on a small shiver of delight.

“Mr. Bullmaster’s manner has rubbed off, I guess, or maybe it’s Philadelphia ways, but you know, Schwester, I believe she was always a little brusk. Mama, remember, often said she was the brave one, you know, abenteurlich, when she reminisced about their younger days. I’m sure Mr. Sam wasn’t offended. He’s been out in the hard old world, hasn’t he, Divine?”

“Yes. He’s another one went away into that war far too young.”

“Mr. Moonshine's ‘bout the same age as my Karl, isn’t he?”

“Mr. Karl's always sayin' Sam Moonshine was a bigger a fool than he was, ‘cause he left a happy home behind to go to that terrible war.”

 This piqued Elfie’s interest, but no more on the subject was forthcoming. Sophie turned back to Arthur.

“Well, Art, that trunk’s too heavy for you to shift up those stairs by yourself, so don’t do anything ‘till Raymond can help.  Just leave the wagonette where it is and unhitch Duke and take him down to the barn. See if Freeman can rug him straight away. He's hot and in a lather.”
 
 Elfie watched while Arthur stepped down to collect the leads he’d slipped over the post. The horse had pulled hard during that journey down to the big hotel and back. The big red creature with the creamy mane had done the job willingly, but now he was clearly tired and wanted water.
Art was a lanky young American, whose conversation on the hour long drive back from Letort Springs had been minimal, although she’d thanked him several times. Elfie had a feeling talking would have been difficult in any case, because he appeared painfully shy.  He’d blushed like mad when he’d spoken with Aunt Ilga and then had blushed even more painfully every time he looked at Elfie  beside him.
There was a clink and chink while the horses were unhitched. Divine again held the door for Sophie and Elfie to go in, and took charge of the heavy carpet bag. Inside, curtains were open, and dapples fell into the room through the linden trees that long ago Wildbach had brought with him from the old country.

It was a warm day, so screens were set to catch the breeze. They entered a cool hallway and then Elfie followed her sister into a study with a square table, set with ledgers and paper, a long high-backed bench and several chairs. On one side a tall bookshelf stood, filled with leather tomes.

“Sit down, dear one. Would you like a glass of water or some tea?”  
 
When Elfie asked for water, Sophie said she’d just go out and bring it.
“I should be bringing that to you.” Elfie sent a meaningful look at her sister’s belly. 

“Tomorrow.” Sophie smiled. “After you figure out where things are.”
 
***
 

As she went into the kitchen, Sophie thought: Good Lord! Elfie has grown into a perfect stunner! She felt keenly how many things had changed in the last year. There was a flash of sadness for the elegant, soft-handed girl she had once been.
Then the baby moved heavily inside. Although she was bone-weary and her back ached, she’d never change a single thing about this new world that she’d, all alone, so bravely entered.

 
~~Juliet Waldron
 




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Saturday, April 30, 2016

For Flowery May Day, My Nanina


 

 
 I’ve always prided myself on careful research on the historical characters who star in my novels. I’ve certainly done so in Mozart’s Wife, and although there are those who don't like my characterizations, there aren’t many who can reasonably disparage the research. Interpretation of fact, when dealing with historical characters, is always tricky. We weren’t there and we’ll never know what exactly did happen. All we have are the documents, letters, diaries, newspapers and hearsay. From those, the historical writer does the best that he/she can.  Two hundred and fifty years (roughly) is a long time for “the truth” to survive.



 
My Mozart is another kind of story. While the characters are the same people who appear in Mozart’s Wife, they are viewed through another narrator’s eyes. As in Rashomon—or in many court cases—witnesses, even those with the best intentions, often tell conflicting stories. Back in the mid-eighties, when I wrote My Mozart, I was unable to discover much about the life of Anna Gottlieb. What there was in German and not translated or easily available here. As a result, I fictionalized my heroine. The historical Anna and the one I created are, in many ways, quite different.
 
Here is a brief outline of what I have since learned about the historical Anna Gottlieb. She was born into a theatrical family who worked for the National Theater, just as mine was, however, in real life, she was one of four daughters. Anna was five when she played her first noted role at the Burgtheater.  Aged twelve, she played Barbarina in Mozart’s Figaro. At fifteen she played ‘Amande’ in Wranitzky’s Oberon, King of The Elves. At seventeen, she was Mozart’s Pamina in The Magic Flute at The Theater Am Weiden, which would be the peak of her career.  According to Agnes Selby, author of the well-respected  Constanze, Mozart’s Beloved,  a much older Anna was to remember: "The immortal Mozart created Pamina for me, and the same voice which is now unpleasant to you, was the delight of the great master, and I was, proud as a queen, carried on the waves of applause." She also recalled his gift of a beautiful fan given her by Mozart in appreciation of her artistry.
After Mozart’s death, Anna “defected” to the Leopoldstadt Theater. In 1798 she played the part of ‘Hulda’ in The Nymph of the Danube. She was famous as a mimic, and she often parodied reigning prima donnas. According to Grove, during this time she was “a mainstay of the company.”

The Napoleonic Wars ruined the economy and disrupted the ancient social and patronage system. After a four year’s absence, occasioned by war, Anna returned to the Viennese stage in 1813. Sadly, her voice and looks were now in decline. As a result, she now played smaller roles in comedies and often played old women. In 1828, a new director of the theater, Steinkeller, dismissed her. Lacking a pension, she fell into poverty. She unsuccessfully petitioned the Emperor for a pension. In 1848, she contacted the newspaper editor L.V. Frankl, to describe her plight, and he organized a fundraising campaign which sent her to Salzburg to view the unveiling of the Mozart memorial, which she longed to see.  In one memoir concerning that day, Anna is thus described: “There entered a tall, thin and eccentric looking old woman…”  She was the last surviving singer who had actually worked with Mozart.

 
So it appears that My Mozart is more “historical fiction” than semi-biographical. In my defense, I’ll plead that I’d fallen in love with the composer. As anyone who has caught the all-consuming Amadeus bug knows, this isn’t a minor ailment, nor is it unusual among people who adore music.  The effect of a Mozart Possession is visceral, shattering, as I’d imagine a gigantic dose of Ecstasy. I was Mozart’s fan, body and soul, and I wanted to write a story which expressed my love, my longing, and, most of all, the physical pleasure which his music brought to me. To write such a story,  I needed a narrator, someone who could be that delirious, head-over-heels fan. One evening, while reading Otto Erich Deutsche’s Documentary Biography of Mozart , I came across this quote:

"Most painfully affected of all by Mozart's fatal illness was Fraulein Nanina Gottlieb..."

~~~From Joseph Deiner's Memoirs, related at Vienna, 1856

 That was when I knew who the heroine --the ultimate, passionate Mozart fan--must be!

There is another matter to consider, too, and to me it’s not a small thing. As a writer, I’ve created many characters, working from the rough outline in my mind, until these “playmates” begin to talk and walk on their own, to tell me their stories. Nanina was different. From the evening I saw Joseph Deiner’s remark, I was visited by a presence--graceful, feminine—and deeply anguished. She came in the dark hours and sent me to the computer to write for most of the night, write a story as I’ve written no novel since. Pictures would arrive; I’d hit those keys. As I worked with “her,” I typed ever faster, while a story of a perfect first-and-only-love, of loss and of madness poured out. There was very little editing done until much, much later.  

Call it “automatic writing” or whatever you want. I’m not a big fan of categorizing paranormal events, although I’ve had more than a few in the seventy years I’ve been on the planet.  Whatever this unique experience was, I felt honored to be the chosen channel for a sensitive, talented individual—perhaps a beautiful soul from a time in Vienna where, ever so briefly, lived and loved a matchless musical genius.

 --Juliet Waldron


 


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Sunday, April 24, 2016

William Shakespeare and Grandpa Liddle


Happy birthday to William Shakespeare—at least—as far as we know, the 23rd is his natal day. I was planning to write something about him this weekend for Possum Tracks, but other memories butted in, so I’ll try to combine the two.


 

I met The Bard early because my Grandfather Liddle was a professor of English.  Shakespeare, Milton and Chaucer were his specialties. The latter two (particularly Milton) have sunk in reputation and in student interest here at the end of the 21st Century. Milton's star, for various reasons has waned. Perhaps, (as I’ve heard Mrs. Milton complained) because he’s constantly lecturing.  In Chaucer’s case, it’s language that's the problem. Let's face it, the 1390’s were a far poke back into the mists of time. Therefore, if you try to read Chaucer just as he wrote it, luck and/or imagination will only get you so far. Sometimes, you’ll need help translating, which is not totally surprising when you realize that English and German had, just some 500 years earlier, parted company.
Anyhow, Grandpa was the one to introduce me to Shakespeare. He read Charles Lamb’s Tales From Shakespeare (1807) while sitting in his favorite corner chair in the good light from the living room windows.
 
 

By Published by D. McKay, Philadelphia - http://archive.org/details/talesfromshakesp00lamb3, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20164504

Grandpa taught at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. He’d arrived there in 1927 from Princeton, New Jersey, where he’d just finished his doctorate. He came with his wife and three daughters during August of that year. One of the girls wasn’t yet a year old, but because a house wasn't available, the family lived in a tent in the Glen near the Cascades, a pretty waterfall on the Little Miami.  Grandpa walked to the college most days.

Professorial colleagues, coming on horseback to welcome them to town sometimes missed both of them, even Grandma, as she and the girls were often down by the water while she did the laundry in the creek. When she returned, hauling the few things she took down every day—including—consider this, oh ye 21st Century Moms—diapers—she’d find calling cards pinned to the tent flap.  My grandparents lived in the glen till October and were very happy indeed to put an end to their extended camping experience and move into a fine four square house on Xenia Avenue. For the rest of his stay on earth, every day Grandpa walked the few blocks from that house to the college. At least in my imagination, this was the most idyllic existence a person could devise.

 
But I digress, thinking about home and family. Back to The Bard!  My grandparents took me to see Shakespeare performed at Antioch, in a summer theater under the stars. The stage was set up in front of the iconic main building.  The actors were a mix of professionals and members of the theater department.

The leading roles of the courtly lovers—Lysander and Helena, Demetrius and Hermia—were actors of just the right age, shining with youth and excitement.  My first Shakespeare play  was to be A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Twilight crept across the broad campus and pooled darkness beneath the grand maples. The stars emerged behind the Main building as the lights came up on stage. With those gothic towers for a backdrop--and accompanied by the proper Mendelsohn--I entered the poet's magical world.
Some years on, my grandparents (on one of grandpa's last sabbaticals) took my mother and me to Stratford-Upon-Avon. Even better than that, the play at the theater was Richard III! There’s a kind of dirty, underground thrill for a Ricardian* while sitting through that classic "Shake Scene" from the Tudor propaganda factory. Christopher Plummer, then 32, played Richard. One snag—the only performance I could see was that very afternoon.

However, I was fifteen and not faint of heart where anything "Richard" was involved. I joined a group of other school kids and got the tickets that allow you to stand in the back, which is what we did, leaning on the wall behind the last row of seats for the next three hours. I was so excited that I hardly noticed something that, 50+ years later, would cause a certain amount of suffering. I remember being close to ecstatic when I arrived back at the hotel where we were all staying and talking about the performance all through supper.






 
(My own Ricardian thing culminated in Roan Rose.)
 
 
A few years later, Grandfather would answer my questions about King Lear while I was facing my A levels. At least,  as much as he ever "answered", for he was, by temperament, a Socratic.  You often received another question instead of an answer, but it was always a good one, the kind that sent me and the rest of his students into further mental wrestlings.  And, believe me, at the same time I was horribly nervous and embarrassed to be entertaining Herr Doctor Professor with my own little-girl, borrowed-from-literary criticism notions.    


And so, perhaps a little weirdly, Grandpa Liddle and William Shakespeare are commingled in my imagination and in my memory, too. (I always thought they sort of looked alike.) Nowadays I'm older than Shakespeare was when he passed away, but I guess I'll never stop being amazed at what I can still learn from the characters he created and the stories he told.







~~Juliet Waldron
 
 

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*"Ricardians" meaning Richard III's fans and supporters, who, since Phillipa Gregory et al, are now legion. 
 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

NIGHT WANDERINGS, SENIOR STYLE


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"...the rich and fascinating life of this poor-boy-turned-statesman is entertaining
and vivid..."
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**************************************************

And now for more Possum Tracks stories:
 
 

Old folks wander in the night. We have a host of dark hours’ issues—bathroom visits caused by decrepit plumbing, early a.m. wakefulness, aches and pains which require a get-up-and-stretch or—perhaps—an analgesic and a cup of herbal tea. Snoring, wakefulness, illnesses and a whole host of things, a decade back, brought my husband and I to move into separate sleeping quarters, in an attempt to score the now mythical “good night’s sleep”. In our house, too, there are cats who multiply the night time Alarums and Excursions.

B0B is our tiger boy-from-the-hood /spy-who-came-in-from-the-cold. Old habits die hard, so he still keeps a paw in the local night-time goings on.  As spring arrives, there are bunnies, voles, and mice on the move again, more especially their feckless young, which make easy prey.   We wouldn’t know about that, of course, in our human cocoon, but B0B does. He’ll stand on my husband’s chest and meow if he wants to go out. 3 a.m. or 4, he really doesn’t care how you feel about this, especially if there is an enemy abroad, such as the young neighbor tom now leaving some sort of smart-ass gangsta tag on a nearby tree or trash can.



 
No! This Will Not Stand! As soon as it comes to his keen nose’s attention, B0B has to get out there to rectify the situation by adding his own p-mail counter message. If the other guy is still around, that can lead to a confrontation, resulting in Miau-geschrie as Mozart describes the sound, or Katzenmusik, as Google Translate does.

Another feature of nights in this house, I may be a grandma, but I confess I can still wake up screaming from a nightmare, a thing which exasperates everyone else who lives around here, from my husband to the cats. Some past life experience, or, maybe, some random programming from deep within the ancient brain stored at the top of my spine—a poor little shrew sort of critter, chased by a monstrous version of B0B—erupts into the classic night–terror.
OH NO... OH-NO-NO-NO! 
IT SEES ME!



On these occasions, I scream. That either wakes me up, or brings my husband in to shout, "For God's Sake, woman!!"  In that case, I’m the pain in the collective wanna-be-sleeping-ass.

The other night, however, I managed to wake myself up from a near-miss with one of these scream dreams. This particular one had been of the War of the Worlds variety, the kind where you are about to be sucked up onto a booming malevolence hovering overhead. Fortunately, on this occasion, before the mental crescendo of terror, I’d managed to come to by myself.

Still feeling jumpy, I eventually righted myself for a walk to the bathroom. Might as well do that, since I’m already awake. However, upon rounding a corner into a space nominally illuminated by a night-light, I encountered something I hadn’t expected, a moving silhouette, humanoid, the head round. The body was tall, very thin and the arms seemed to dangle in a loose and unmatched way, like something out of The Walking Dead.

 I shrieked.  It did too, so I hauled off and punched it in the chest as hard as I could. After all, the thing was bigger, but it didn’t appear all that steady on its feet.

Maybe, if I could knock it off balance, I could escape…

A thud and a warm breast bone crunched against my knuckles. The creature spoke.
“Ow!” and then “Hey! What the hell?”


As I said at the beginning of this, old folks wander in the night. As you might have expected, my husband and I had unexpectedly encountered one another in the half-dark, and both of us, still groggy, had had quite a scare. Hard on the heels of fear had come irritation, then embarrassment, at last resolving in the only possible way--with a laugh.

 

~~Juliet Waldron
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