Describing her

You can feel the air buzz as she nears, as the very atmosphere shakes with the echo of her frenetic energy. You make the mistake of lifting your head from your desk, intrigued by this change in your external environment, and you catch her eye.

Next, you feel the jarring shock of her exuberance as she greets you with way too much energy for 9 a.m. in the morning, or really, at any time of the day.

Her eyes are open wide, a constant look of wonder and surprise keeping them this way for just a bit too long. Her long, thick, black locks either cascade wildly down her back, or are pulled tight into a bun at the top of her head, pulling her long features up and making her eyes and nose stand out more than is necessary.

The scent of cigarettes and stale perfume permeates the air around her, billowing out from the folds of her cheetah-print clothing.

She smiles at you, at your neighbour, at everyone, the sheer pleasure of being alive and in this place, this very office, at this desk, in your presence, exudes from every pore and attacks your own self, making you want to skirt away from her and end this discomfort.

Awkwardly, you smile and side step out of wherever she may have caught you, feeling guilty for wanting to be away, but also grateful that the place you now find yourself in is calmer, serene, and you take a deep breath in relief.

As you get to know her better, her quirkiness begins to grow on you, and you find yourself wondering at her ability to laugh when the inside of her head is a dull staccato thumping headache that keeps the rhythm all through the day, never missing a beat, or wondering at how she can smile and joke while her insides twist in cramps that would double you over. You find yourself wishing you had the ability to find joy while shit is hitting the fan. And, although she comes across as rough, she’s got a kinder heart than many of the fake-polite people you’ve run into in your life.


The man in the alley

Photo by Elti Meshau from Pexels

The night was cold and I quickened my steps home, wanting to put on warm pyjamas, wrap myself in a blanket and soothe the chill of the damp out of my bones. As I turned the corner into the alley, that’s when I saw him. He was a dark shape at the end of the alley, outlined against the night by a lone street light.

His silhouette suggested he was human, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on why that thought crossed my mind. What else would he possibly be? But, something wasn’t quite right. There was a crookedness about him, slight and barely perceptible. I felt dizzy as I looked at him, as though his posture tilted the way the world was oriented and somehow I was the one that wasn’t quite right.

He remained unmoving there, standing right next to the entrance to my apartment.

I took a deep breath, felt in my pocket for my keys and gripping them in fingers that felt like blocks of ice, readied them as a weapon. My heart pounded and I picked up feet that now felt like leaded anchors, taking slow laborious steps towards him. I saw the steam of his exhales mingling with the air as I got closer, and I became acutely aware of the sound of my boots hitting the pavement: the clop-clop of the heels echoing hollowly off the walls of the buildings around us, an intrusive noise in the otherwise unnatural silence.

He shifted suddenly. I stopped. That one move made me more uncertain of him. His stillness had become predictable, but now he’d changed the game and I no longer knew the rules. It was a game I didn’t want to lose.

“Hello?” I called.

This post was the result of a five-minute writing prompt—I’ve made some edits so it’s readable—from a workshop I recently attended, hosted by The Story Midwife. I’d highly recommend going to it if you’re:

  • struggling with writer’s block,
  • just starting out writing,
  • have never written before,
  • have been writing for a long time and want to connect with the writing community,
  • want to jumpstart into a creative life, 
  • ….and many more reasons.

Do you have a highly-effective writing prompt or method of practice that keeps you focused on the page? Please share!

What we leave behind


The abandoned market is a community of empty buildings: Paint-peeling, boarded up and decaying. Their cracked exteriors stand defiantly against the ravages of time.

The insides are gutted. Unstable floors hold onto what’s been left behind by the ghosts that passed through in earlier, happier years. They grip tight with tenacious hooks and refuse to let go.

Reverberating among the hollowed out shells of a petting zoo, photo booth and market stalls, are the echoes of children laughing and people haggling over the price of eggs. Their presence casts shadows, chilling those that visit this lonely space.

While some turn away from this place in fear, for others it is a haven. It is where the lost souls seek shelter and where the wild things gather.

I am creature.

I am creature; aspects of wildness are bound in my form.

I am owl; alive at night, watching and waiting for all things distant, unable to see what’s directly in front of me.
I am falcon; targeting what I want, I dive down after it. I become a whirlwind of primal hunger until I slam directly into it, destroying it with my intensity.
I am wolf; I am alpha-female, dominant, confident, strong. I howl my presence, my tone a single, sure, and steady note.
I am human; I am changeable, adaptable, unpredictable, indecisive. I am calm, steadfast, loyal, certain.

I am creature.

Old work, re-worked

As promised, I revamped the little blurb in my last blog post. But, I just did it now and am not editing it before posting. So, I guess it’s still a first draft.

Crashing through the forest, his hooves pounded hard on the ground, the noise echoing through the trees like thunder. Animals nearby scattered away from him. Occasionally he’d shake his head as branches, witches beard and twigs caught in his horns, which only served to tangle them further. Brushing at them in irritation he managed to keep them out of his eyes, but he carried on hurriedly; the minotaur had an appointment to keep and being late wouldn’t be acceptable to the Jubokko. Even in the humid heat that served to cover him in layers of sweat, the thought of the Jubokko’s wrath made him shiver.

Of course, it was known that the tree lived on the blood of those that died. As their blood seeps into the earth, the tree drinks deeply, its roots soaking in the last droplets of life of the dead men and women.  If you sat long enough during its feeding, you’d be able to see the tree grow, and although the tree was taller, looked younger. But, you didn’t want to be around watching it. The dead around it wouldn’t satisfy its hunger and it would capture anyone around to feed on. The minotaur had heard a story years ago about how a young man, mad with grief over the death of his brother, tried to cut the tree down. The tree wrapped its branches around the man, tightening until his bones broke and the jagged ends pushed through his skin, drawing blood. The tree continued to crush the man, absorbing all of his blood until there was none left, then it dropped him to the ground. The minotaur shuddered at the thought of such a violent death. Not wanting to test the Jubokko’s patience, he picked up his speed.

He slowed when he reached a clearing; the Jubokko tree stood tall in the centre encircled by a collection of seven flat-topped rocks. Perfect to sit on, both for comfort and protection. The minotaur didn’t think the tree could draw blood through the stone. He looked around in wariness but didn’t see or smell anyone else nearby. Sighing with relief that he wasn’t the last to arrive, he stepped forward and slowly plucked the remaining branches and moss off of his horns. He picked a rock and took a seat.

Soon he heard more rustling in the forest and watched as different creatures pushed through, all looking as sweaty and harried as he felt. A chimera was the first to come through the forest, followed by a cyclops. Next, a burst of fire signaled the arrival of the phoenix. The minotaur smelled the troll before he saw him and exhaled in relief when he saw it take a seat on the rock furthest away from him. A kitsune darted out and jumped onto the rock next to him. The forest stilled and each rock now had an occupant, with the exception of one.  The minotaur wondered where the banshee was when he heard her shrieking bouncing off the trees in the forest behind him. His irritation at the noise was quickly replaced with fear when he saw the Jubokko’s branches extend into the forest in the direction of her howls. Her shrieking changed to the most unnerving scream the minotaur had ever heard, followed by the crunching of bones and then silence. The tree grew a bit and the minotaur knew it had fed on her.

A face appeared in the bark of the tree and the minotaur swallowed hard. The meeting had begun.