When Moxie Poxie had been a little girl, she had been a bit of a hell cat.
She had rebelled against her rich parents. One of the founding families of the town of Kilcades Dare, the Poxie’s had founded the town and had been prosperous; were still prosperous. As one of their descendents, Moxie had been expected to behave in a certain way.
Instead, Moxie had told everyone to go fuck themselves.
She had been known under a few names in her previous life: Roxie, Foxie, Cleo, Firecracker. There were a few unkinder ones, but she chose not to remember those. Her younger years held, she thought, the trueness of herself.
Instead of falling under family obligation, she had shunned her family, had broken away from them. She had lived in a loft with other hippies, smoked pot, had sex with random people.
It was when her family had driven by her, while she had been pan handling on the street, that her family had stepped in and taken her home. In thanks for their graciousness, and for not mentioning her past, Moxie was expected to tow the line. She was expected to be the trophy, the shining example of a family matriarch.
She was educated, intelligent, sleek, toned, blond and beautiful. She had a gorgeous house, a beautiful son, a loving staff and a crazy husband who talked to himself and was in love with another woman.
Moxie was completely miserable.
Longing for a bit of her old life, she clicked in her high heels down the hallway to her bedroom. She took off her high heels (sleek purple Jimmy Choos) and put on her slippers (white high heels with a ruffle of white feathers across the toes and clear heels) and put on her house coat.
She went into the kitchen and put on a pot of coffee. She could hear Tort talking to himself upstairs. Wackjob, she thought. Total freaking wackjob. She laughed “Welcome to the story of my life.” She said.
Why could she never find a normal man? Why did she have to stay married to a lunatic? Why didn’t she really love her son? It wasn’t anything wrong with him, of course. He was a very lovely boy. He was intelligent and endearing.
In the end, Moxie wondered if she had any emotion left for anyone these days. She waited for the coffee to finish perking and looked out the window. She wondered when she lost her centre, her focus.
She figured it was around the time of her confinement into her family prison. That had been when her life had changed for ever. And she had let it happen, in the end. In one way she was happy to bow to her families wishes. She had been happy to receive comfort.
Only later did she realize that she had traded her voice.
Sighing, she poured a cup of coffee and doctored it with a bit of cream and sugar. Taking a sip, she sighed again, but this time in contentment. Oh, thank you Goddess Caffina, she thought.
Enjoying the first coffee buzz of the morning, Moxie was shocked out of her reverie by a loud, muffled sound. “Who the fuck could that be?” She said out loud. The front desk didn’t radio to alert her to a visitor.
It was only afterwards that she realized the sound was coming from the back door. When she turned and looked out the back window, she saw a half naked man lying on the patio stones.
“Oh my God!” Moxie slammed her coffee cup down and ran to the back sliding doors. Throwing them open, she leaned down to look at the man. He was still breathing. Blood pooled around him from a variety of cuts and lacerations. He looked up at her with glassy eyes.
“I’m sorry lady.” He said. “I’ll be out of here in a moment.” His voice was muffled by the grass that grew in between the patio stones. His breath came in short, quick bursts. “I just needed to rest for a moment.”
“Don’t be silly!” Moxie said. “I’ll take you in until you can get better. Where did you come from? Who did this to you?”
“Client.” He breathed. “At Dark Moon Rising.” Each word was punctuated by a breath. Moxie didn’t hear any wetness, so that was good. It meant that his lungs were fine or at least not terribly hurt.
There was dried blood that flowed from his nose. It had dried as it ran down his mouth. To Moxie, he almost looked like he was screaming. When she reached out and touched him, he jerked.
“I won’t hurt you.” She said.
His back was covered in a series of interlocking criss crosses. If she didn’t know any better (and she did) she would say that these were whip markings. Whoever had done this had gone beyond simple punishment and had instead progressed to blind, terrible rage.
She ran a hand over the man’s buzzed hair. “You’re a kid at Dark Moon?” She asked
“Yeah.” He breathed. “You know it?”
Moxie nodded. “I used to work there.”
“Huh.” He said. “Isn’t that a coincidence?”
She smiled and then frowned. “Who did this to you?”
“A man with a cloud that followed him.” The man said. “It was frightening to see him, to hear him, but not to see him.” He coughed and there was little blood, another good sign.
She felt a shiver and knew who the man meant. She was frightened of him too; they all were. “What’s you’re name?” Moxie asked.
“Bluegrass.” The man said.
“What’s your real name?”
He breathed deeply and sighed when she touched his back. “Roger Perrywinkle.”
Moxie let out a little laugh. “Bluegrass is a better name.” She said.
He let out a choked laugh. “I know.”
Moxie rubbed his head again, letting her hand trail through his stubbly hair in small strokes. “Nice to meet you Roger.” She said. “I’m Moxie.”
It’s an odd time right now. We are all socially isolated in our homes and boredom is already setting in after a weeks time.
To counteract the boredom, I’m offering a large selection of my ebooks for free. These books will be free for five days from 22-03-2020 to 26-03-2020. There is quite the selection here: short stories, memoir, poems, novellas, novels, poetry and even a play and a children’s book.
I wanted to do something to help and to give back to everyone. If you download anything, I’d appreciate a review if possible.
Enjoy the reading material. There should be enough here to keep you going for a little while.
They are my gift to all of you during this tough time. I hope my words bring you joy.
Once upon a time, in the village of Inglewood Hamlet, there was magic afoot.
This was nothing new. The village was vast and there were a great many magical things that took place on a daily basis. The witches often got together to talk about new spells and talk about cures they had created for various ailments. Shape shifters and skin walkers often got in trouble for impersonating other people. There were also Scribes, the most magical of all beings. The magic that they created with their words would often fill the cobblestone streets with wonders of renown.
However, none of this helped the Unicorn.
He wandered the grasslands that surrounded the small kingdom of Inglewood Hamlet and would look up at the castle walls. He would wonder what went on within the walls and what kind of magic the King and Queen could make. This would make the Unicorn sad.
Almost every person, animal or being in Inglewood Hamlet could do something in the way of magic. The Unicorn’s great shame was that he couldn’t produce any kind of magic. His human often rubbed his nose when he got like this to calm him down.
“Cheer up!” Candice said. “It’s not all that bad.” She said soothingly.
The Unicorn looked at her lovingly. She had hair that was a beautiful purple hue that fell past her shoulders that reminded the Unicorn of the lavender that grew in the garden that Candice grew. When the wind blew, the Unicorn could smell lavender and it would make him think of her. She also had wonderful blue eyes that made the Unicorn think of the sky when the sun was rising, and the world was full of colour.
Candice had found him when he was just a young foal, barley able to walk. He had been wandering the forest alone and she had brought him home, knowing that he was hers. Now he was a Unicorn three moons old. He was full grown and had shed the brown coat and the small horn that he had been born with. He now stood tall and brilliantly white, his horn long and tinted in golds and oranges and reds. It looked like he had been touched by fire.
The Unicorn let out a sigh. “It’s just that most Unicorn’s have powers before now. Some have the ability to heal others, some can fly and carry their human long distances. There are others that are so strong, they can defend a whole town! I have heard tales where the Unicorn was able to do magic and create wonders!”
“Silly Unicorn.” Candice said, smiling at him. “Don’t you know that you are made of magic? You don’t have to do anything. You can simply be the wonder that you are.”
The Unicorn hung his head. “You don’t understand. Having a magical power is part of being a Unicorn. Did you know that some can sing and calm others or see the future? I’ve heard tell of a Unicorn that could see through the sands of time. A Unicorn always discovers its secret power by it’s second year, when it’s true horn begins to grow in.”
The Unicorn stuck its hoof at the ground in frustration. “I don’t have anything special powers.” He said sulkily.
“Of course you do.” Candice said. “You help children believe in magic and you are filled with so much love that when people are around you, they can’t help but remember their lost loves or think on the one they truly love!” She patted him softly. “Love is the greatest magic that there is.”
The Unicorn snorted. “Candice, all Unicorns can do that.”
“Are you sure? I think that’s pretty special.”
“It is special, but not to me. It’s like you said, Unicorn’s are made of magic. Mortals can’t help but think of the person they love most when they are around us. Magic is joy, so they think of what brings them the most happiness.”
“That’s doesn’t happen to me.”
“Yeah, well, you already live with your true love.” The Unicorn observed.
A particularly strong gust of wind blew around them and the Unicorn could smell the lavender, but also lilacs and roses. It was a heady scent. The wind must have come from far away because Candice only grew lavender. He loved the scent of the lavender that Candice grew for the witches spells, but the scent of roses always made him sneeze.
He let out a loud sneeze, turning his head away so that he did not sneeze on Candice. He sneezed three more time and was unprepared for when he let out a little bit of flatulence. He was so shocked that he let out three more small flatulence’s!
The Unicorn was so shocked that he tried to splutter an apology to Candice, but when he looked at her closely, she was looking at him with wonder, not disdain. “I’m sorry Candice! I really am. It won’t happen again!”
“I certainly hope it does. Look!”
She went behind him and when she returned her palms were filled with glitter. Her face was filled with joy when she looked up at him. “Why didn’t you tell me about this?” She asked.
“About what? My…flatulence problem?” He could feel the blush reddening his fur.
“No,” she said, “This! Do you realise what this is?”
The Unicorn blushed deeper. “I’m sorry, Candice. I’ll clean it up, I promise.”
“Silly Unicorn, do you not know what this is?” She asked. “Why, it’s magic in its purest form! Watch!”
She spotted a flower that had shrivelled on the ground in front of her. She let a little of the magic sparkling dust fall onto the shriveled flower and the Unicorn’s eyes widened when the flower began to grow healthy once more. It even managed to re-root itself right where Candice had spotted it. In a matter of seconds, it was a beautiful lilac blossom again.
“How did that happen?” The Unicorn asked.
“How do you think, silly?” Candice asked with glee. She had taken out a small bag and had placed the glitter into the bag. The wind took some small grains of the shiny material and wherever it fell, new flowers bloomed.
“Why are you putting my flatulence’s in a bag?” the Unicorn said with confusion.
“I’m going to take it to the witches.” Candice said with a gentle pat on his snout. “They can use this in their spells. One of them told me the other day that they had run out of sparkle magic and without a supply, they wouldn’t be able to do their most powerful spells.”
The Unicorn let out another snort, this one mixed with laughter. He knew that more of his flatulence had flown into the air because Candice had gotten out another bag from the pocket of her dress. “I don’t believe you.” He said.
“It’s true! Here, let’s go down to the village square and I’ll show you.” She said, putting the glitter into the second cloth bag. It shone even through the cloth.
“Well, all right.” The Unicorn said, letting Candice mount and seat herself on his back. “Why are you collecting a second bag?” He asked. “Why didn’t you just leave my flatulence’s there?”
“I’m going to give it to the Scribes.” Candice said, holding on to the Unicorn gently as he cantered down to the village square. “Their magic comes from within, but sometimes, their pens need help when they are unable to tell a story. They evoke powerful magic, just like the witches. These sparkles will be most beneficial to them.”
She sounded so happy that the Unicorn didn’t bother uttering a reply. When they got to the village, they went right away to one of the coven houses of the Witches. The Unicorn knew that this was the coven of the hills. They lived in amongst the hills that formed one of the borders of Inglewood Hamlet. They were skilled at breeding livestock and wonderful gardeners and they grew some of the most exotic fruits and vegetables.
When the Unicorn stopped, Candice got off and knocked on the front door of the one of the houses grouped along the border. It had been marked with a horn of plenty, so the Unicorn knew that this was where the leader of the coven lived. There was the sound of bells from behind the door and a woman came out. She was dressed in a thick purple cloak with gorgeous silver fasteners. There were moons and stars embroidered within the fabric. She had dark hair cut short and a beautiful smile made her face shine.
She bowed her head when she saw Candice. “Good morning Lady Candice! To what do we owe the pleasure of your company?”
Candice embraced the woman. “Lauren, it’s so good to see you!” Candice gave the woman a small curtsey. “I have something for you, Lauren! You’re going to be so happy!” Candice pulled out the two bags of sparkles and held them out to Lauren.
Looking at the bags, Lauren approached them with reverence. “Where did you get this? It’s powerful magic! We haven’t had any sparkles or glitter in so very long. This is worth a large fortune! It’s such powerful magic!”
“It was a gift from my Unicorn.” Candice said looking at him with a smile.
“Is that so?” Lauren said softly. She came towards the Unicorn and looked up at him. Then she surprised the Unicorn when she bowed her heads towards him with one hand held over her heart. The Unicorn knew that this was how the witches greeted very important people.
“Dear Unicorn. Thank you for this gift. You have no idea how much this will help us and what this means to us. You have my gratitude for this gift.” The Unicorn lowered his head out of respect and was surprised when Lauren kissed him. Soft warmth bloomed from the magic in that kiss.
Lauren turned to Candice. “There is too much here for our use. A few sprinkles of this magic will do us for months. I will take what I need and you should go see the southern coven. They are having difficulties with creatures from the badlands. Tell Shaheen I sent you.” Lauren took out a small cloth bag and took what she needed. As they rode towards the south border of Inglewood Hamlet, Lauren bowed to them.
As rode toward the southern border, the Unicorn was feeling unsettled. “I don’t understand it. How could she treat my flatulence’s with such reverence?”
Candice stroked his head between his ears as they rode. “You’ve proved that sometimes even the most common thing can contain magic,” Candice said. The Unicorn snorted in embarrassment and more sparkles erupted into the air. Flowers bloomed into the air where the glitter had fallen. The Unicorn sighed but felt better when Candice ran her fingers through his mane to calm him down.
They arrived at the southern border and the difference from the coven of the hills. The coven of the badlands was a small grouping of houses made not of wood but of rock and stone, the better able to stand against the sandstorms that would rise up in the badlands from time to time. Candice got off of the Unicorn and approached a door marked with a pentagram that had been etched within the stone, each point marked with a different gemstone.
She knocked upon it and when the door opened, a man stood in front of them. He was of slim build and was wearing a high collared white shirt and a long cream coloured cloak made out of linen. There were suns woven into the fabric. As he walked towards them, a smile broke out on his face.
“Candice, how lovely to see you.” He embraced her. “How can I be of service?” Shaheen asked.
“I am actually here to be of service to you. Lauren bid me to come and give you aid against the creatures of the badlands.”
“I don’t see how you can do that. The creatures have been horrible. They grow restless and we have no way of protecting ourselves. Our magics are spent.” Shaheen said.
“Well then, I have a gift for you.” She held the bag out to him.
Shaheen stared at the bag with wide eyes. He raised a hand to take the bag, almost as if he didn’t believe that it was real. “Where did you get such magic?” He asked. “We could defend ourselves for a year with only a handful of this magic.”
“It’s from my Unicorn. He didn’t want the magic to go to waste.”
Approaching the Unicorn, Shaheen placed a hand at his forehead where his third eye was located and bowed. When he was upright again, Shaheen placed a hand on the Unicorn. A cool breeze seemed to make its way through the Unicorn from the man’s touch.
“I can’t thank you enough for this gift. You’ve made sure that every time night falls, my people will be safe. I can’t take all of this, though. Go and see the college of bards and scribes. They would appreciate some of this magic to help them in their tales. They work a magic beyond what any of us are capable of.”
He bowed to them as they rode away. The Unicorn shook his head. “I don’t understand it.” He said. “How can I be capable of such amazing magic? I’ve never been able to do anything before.”
“You’ve proven that great magic comes from within.” Candice said. “That’s amazing and you should be very proud of yourself.” Candice gave him a little pat between his ears and the Unicorn blushed with happiness.
When they came to the college of bards and scribes, the Unicorn knew it was the right place because a quill and an inkpot had been etched into the front door. Candice slipped off of the Unicorn and knocked on the wooden door. A man answered. He was tall with kind eyes and wore gold spectacles. He wore weatherworn clothes and a scarf that had been painted with birds in bright colours. He smiled at the both of them and gave them a small bow.
“Welcome to where the magic happens!” He held his hand out to Candice and they saw that it was stained with ink. The smell of paper came from him and the Unicorn thought he had never smelled such a wonderful scent. “My name is Bruce! I’m one of the scribes here. I’m working on a very gripping tale right now about a mountain goat that learns to walk and talk like a mortal and pass himself off as a musician! Would you like to hear it?”
“Some other time, fair sir.” Candice said, giving Bruce a brilliant smile. “We came to give you a gift.” She pulled out the last of the glitter. “It’s a present from my Unicorn.”
Bruce looked at the bag, his mouth dropping open. “Surely you jest! That can’t be sparkles?” He asked. He took the bag and when he opened it, his eyes widened. “Oh my goodness! There is enough here for the whole college and more! Think of how much more amazing our stories will be, how beautiful our poems and sonnets?”
When he turned to face the Unicorn, there were tears of happiness in Bruce’s eyes. “Thank you, Unicorn. You have done us an incredible kindness. Would you mind if I offered you my thanks by writing a story about you?”
The Unicorn blushed. “I would be honoured.”
“Consider it done, my friend. I wish you both well on your way!”
As they rode back to Candice’s home, the Unicorn let out a snort sigh. Candice spoke gently into the Unicorn’s ear. “What’s the matter? Aren’t you thrilled to know about the difference that you are making in the lives of others?”
“Oh, I am, but I still don’t know what my magical power is!” The Unicorn said. “I don’t think I will ever know!”
“Silly Unicorn! Haven’t you figured it out yet? It’s your sparkles! Look at the joy and the magic that your gift gave to others.”
“Are you telling me that my magic power is my flatulence’s?” The Unicorn said in shocked. “How can such a thing be possible? How is that a magical power?”
They had arrived home and Candice slid from the Unicorn. Taking his face in both hands, Candice looked at the Unicorn and smiled at him, her eyes full of light. “Don’t you know that sometimes, magic comes from the most unlikely of places?”
The Unicorn started to laugh. As he laughed, he let out several deep belly laughs…and several flatulence’s. Sparkles flew from the Unicorn and covered the land. All throughout the village of Inglewood Hamlet that day, there were tales of magic and might, of impossible things that defied description. Wishes were granted and magic was made and there were many tales told by the bards.
And the Unicorn realized that he did not have to find his magic. It had been within him all along.
So the story goes…
My new novel is out now!
The Scent of Desire: Star Boy Book Two picks up right where The Color of Love left off. Here’s a bit about the book:
Alexander and Troy venture down from the fire watchtower with Starboy’s help to meet the people that have taken refuge in the forest.
They have escaped with their lives, but they will have to fight to keep them. They will get help from Cassandra, Sophie, and Miriam—three woman who see more than should be possible—and Riley, a man who holds many secrets.
Together, they will have to prepare. There is a war coming; which side will they be on?
You can get your copy here from Cobblestone Press:
I’m so excited for you all to read this book!
He had held love in his hands and he had let it go.
It was dark inside his room. He thought of it as his tomb, really. He had encased himself in. He had hidden himself from the world he had let slip through his fingers and shatter. Really, the only way to be happy was to keep himself away from everyone.
He was safer this way. He brought pain to others. Tortoculis Rosebude thought daily of Valetta and the daughter he had let go. They had both been married to others, or at least intending to be. The scandal would have ripped both of their families apart.
In the end, they had let each other go and gone back to their lives. They had given Penelope up for adoption, they had walked away from each other. But he still loved her. All these years later, he still held a flame for her. The fire he held for Penelope was strong, as if someone had lit a firework inside of him.
That flame feuled his work. He had covered the available wall space in his room in words. When he had run out of room on the walls, he had written on the bookshelves. He had written on any available space after that. Table tops, the sides of his stereo, on the packages of food that he had delivered; he would rip open the cartons and write on the back of them.
He thought of himself as an environmentalist. He also had a wife he couldn’t stand to talk to or look at and a son that he was vaguely fond of, but not really more than that. He had never really loved his son. It’s not that Yhestin was a bad kid. He just wasn’t her.
When he ran out of room (this happened occasionally) he would write on himself. Sometimes in ink, sometimes in dust. These words would eventually fade away, but in that he was satisfied. He didn’t want to maim himself; he wasn’t fucking crazy for god sake. But the words could fade away, or he could absorb them.
Then Tortocullis could be a blank canvass once more.
Sometimes, when he was feeling down, he would write what he wanted to be on his skin, in hopes that, by absorbing his wishes into his skin, that he would wake in the morning to a new destiny.
This never happened of course. But he did remain hopeful. He turned when the bed springs sounded behind him. Turning, he saw who sat there and grimaced. The girl was back. He remembered her this way. It was the last time he had seen Penelope, the last time he had seen the daughter, and the woman, that he truly loved.
“I really don’t understand why you do this to yourself.” The girl said. “I mean, this isn’t healthy. Like, when was the last time you opened a window?” She huffed and took a slim cigarette case out of the front pocket of her dress.
Tort was affronted when she lit up a cigarette. “You’re too young to smoke.” He said.
His young daughter regarded him with raised eyebrows. “Hey, don’t look at me. You’re conjuring me up this way. This is your memory.” The girl took a drag off of her cigarette. “But I can’t deny I enjoy their minty flavour and smooth, additive free taste.” The girl laughed.
Smiling, Tort sat down in the chair opposite the bed. “You always did have an odd sense of humour.” He said.
The girl nodded. “So did you.” She flicked the ash from her cigarette into the ash tray on the table. It was large and made from a dark purple crystal. It had not been there before. “What happened?” She asked. “When did you get stuck in like a god damn freak? What happened to you?”
Her voice was full of concern. “When I lost you.” He said. “My world just fell apart. Valetta was married to that awful Ignatious.”
The girl shivered. “He gives me the creeps.” She flicked a bit of ash into the ash tray. “All that awful smoke around his head.”
Tort nodded and rubbed his eyes. “I never wanted this.”
“This.” Tort motioned around his room. “I never wanted to be a shut in. I never wanted to just let go.”
“Well then go out there and do something about it.” His daughter said. “You can’t change your life by just dreaming about it. Go out there. Find the woman you love and tell her you love her.”
“But she’s still married to Ignatious.”
The girl rolled her eyes. “Um, hello? People do get divorces and have mad passionate affairs nowadays you know. We are in the more civilized and sexual times.” She motioned with her hand, a flick of the wrist. “It’s not like when you were born. Who cares if she’s married? If you still love each other, isn’t it worth finding out what she thinks of you?”
Tortoculis Rosebude regarded his daughter as she took another drag off her cigarette and flicked some more ash into the ash tray. He scratched his head and reached for a cigarette of his own. “You know, you’re pretty sophisticated for a twelve year old girl.”
She grinned at him. “I had good parents.” She said. Smoke trailed away from her to the door of his room. It seemed to float around it, framing the wooden doorjamb like a welcoming cloud.
“So what do you say?” The girl asked. “Do you want to go out?”