River Mist Tales: The Bridge

Come in, come in, the mist is rising from the river, but here you’ll find some warmth, some tales, so make yourself comfortable. There’s tea in the pot, or perchance, you brought some wee dram of your own.

The chairs by the window give the best view, allow the best hearing. Ignore the cats, no matter what they say, and don’t open the window for the tapping crows.

I’ll be working at the table in the corner, if you have any need, or she knocks upon the door. And until you stop by again, may your wonderings be bold and your imaginings be wise.

Until your next visit, until the next photograph, the next 12-line story, good fortune and safe wanderings.

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The Bridge

“I knew you would come, dad always said you would come if ever we asked.

It’s a changed river way you see, changed during this past February when heavy rains and melting snow swelled the river, pushing tree trunks and branches, anything in the river’s path, pushing it all hard against the support columns.

Not the heavy old railroad bridge itself, no, the trunks hit the boardwalk, on this side, pushing out a pair of pylons, creating a hole, severing the only safe way across the river.

On either side of the breach, fences were erected to keep folks from walking out onto what was left of the foot boards, from falling into the river.

That’s the official story, what you’ll find written up in the newspapers, hear from most folks you meet on the path.

There are plans to repair the boardwalk, close that gaping hole, reopen the path connecting the east and west sides of the river.

But that’s not why I asked for help, you see a doorway was opened, through that broken hole in the boardwalk, and it’s still open.

Some strange folks have been visiting the village, you may have seen a few yourself.

Then there’s the disappearance of thirteen people, including my sister, Elspeth.

I’ve been watching the boardwalk, been watching the visitors and I’ve decided tonight, with all that silver moon light, I’m going around this fence and through that open doorway.

That’s why I asked you here, asked you to arrive by today, I’m hoping you’ll come with me, cause I need your help if I’m gonna bring Elspeth home.”

The tall, silver haired man raised a hand as if waving towards the gaping hole, turning back towards Declan he said, “Don’t worry about Elspeth, her lineage will keep her safe until we arrive.”

River Mist Tales: Ducks

Come in, come in, the mist is rising from the river, but here you’ll find some warmth, some tales, so make yourself comfortable. There’s tea in the pot, or perchance, you brought some wee dram of your own.

The chairs by the window give the best view, allow the best hearing. Ignore the cats, no matter what they say, and don’t open the window for the tapping crows.

I’ll be working at the table in the corner, if you have any need, or she knocks upon the door. And until you stop by again, may your wonderings be bold and your imaginings be wise.

Until your next visit, until the next photograph, the next 12-line story, good fortune and safe wanderings.

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Ducks

Emmi pulled her dependable, if aging, Jeep close to the curb, around a swooping corner, just behind the shop lined Main Street.

“Are you sure you want to do this?”

“Sorry Emmi, I know you don’t understand, not really, but he won’t stop, Ronson won’t return, not until those ducks are freed,” said Donal Fionnlagh ignoring his companion’s low voice, her swinging glance moving up and down the street, Emmi’s tight grip on the steering wheel.

“All you need to do Emmi, is drive,” said Donal as he stepped away from the Jeep, disappearing into the moonless black mist swallowing what little electric light flowed down upon the village center.

Since she was five years old, Emmi had been entangled with the mysterious, some would say strange, though Emmi claimed magical, shenanigans of the unconventional Fionnlagh family.

And each time she thought she had discovered the truth about the Fionnlaghs, Emmi’s memories would become muddied, until she doubted there had been any unusual activity, until she had accepted the story Donal wove around his family, their secrets, Emmi’s very human interaction.

But the ducks, they were an obsession surely, Emmi thought, as she watched Donal disappear into the ghostly scene, a black hole of an cool summer’s night.

If only Ronson, Donal’s younger brother were here, he’d talk sense into Donal, he’d keep his brother from behaving too irrationally, allowing bitter emotions decisive and reckless prominence.

But Ronson, the the seventh of nine sons, was missing, and had been missing for six months with no viable lead as to where he was, or if he was safe, at least no leads the family would discuss in front of Emmi, although she knew Donal had plenty of theories, many of them fantastic, most just plain impossible.

Emmi had watched as her best friend grew thin and pale, hatred growing inside Donal, frustration and anger festering as he watched a collection of whimsically dressed ducks, one wearing a baseball cap favored by the missing Ronson, grow in number, displayed row upon row in the window of a Main Street shop, until the ducks became a tourist attraction unto themselves.

Alone in the wandering mist, Emmi worried what the temperamental shop keeper, Mr. Fitzhenry, who had already banned Donal from entering the shop during business hours, would do if he caught Donal breaking into the shop in the middle of the night.

As a loud crack tumbled through the inky murk of midnight, followed by the electronic blare of a booming alarm and the thud of heavy footsteps, Emmi burst into action, keeping the lights off she moved the Jeep into the middle of the road, she pulled into the entryway of the parking lot of St. Stephen’s Church, pointing the Jeep towards the shortcut through the old park, then counting the seconds as instructed, Emmi waited, briefly, as the passenger door opened wide, and with gulping breaths, pulling a dazed Ronson behind him, Donal shouted, “Go, go, go!”

River Mist Tales: The Bottle Garden

Come in, come in, the mist is rising from the river, but here you’ll find some warmth, some tales, so make yourself comfortable. There’s tea in the pot, or perchance, you brought some wee dram of your own.

The chairs by the window give the best view, allow the best hearing. Ignore the cats, no matter what they say, and don’t open the window for the tapping crows.

I’ll be working at the table in the corner, if you have any need, or she knocks upon the door. And until you stop by again, may your wonderings be bold and your imaginings be wise.

Until your next visit, until the next photograph, the next 12-line story, good fortune and safe wanderings.

bottlegarden_cwm

The Bottle Garden

“Why won’t you just admit it, you placed them there didn’t you?”

“I didn’t do it.”

“Where did you get the bottles?”

“I’ve told you, I didn’t do it.”

“It’s brilliant you know, the bottles will act as tiny greenhouses, catching the sunlight, holding it inside, and keep the wind out. So don’t think you did something wrong.”

“I didn’t do it, even if it’s a good idea, but I think I know who did,” said Brinnon.

“Not that again, there are no such creatures as elves, or brownies, or whatever that old man told you he was,” said Miranda turning away, shaking her head.

“A helper, a gardener, anyway he called himself Old Stump, says he always helps folks with their gardening chores. Says he likes helping folks grow vegetables, flowers and especially trees.”

“Next time the old guy shows up, come get me, I want to meet him,” said Miranda stooping, pulling up a solitary tuft of weed.

“Can’t do that, he’ll decide whether or not he’ll meet you, anyway I didn’t invite him in the first place, Old Stump just showed up one morning, asked questions, then he spoke to the garden, now he’s brought the bottles,” explained Brinnon, turning, leaving his unbelieving sister alone among the bottles planted in the garden.

Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoyed this River Mist Tale.

 

 

River Mist Tales: Island Camp

Come in, come in, the mist is rising from the river, but here you’ll find some warmth, some tales, so make yourself comfortable. There’s tea in the pot, or perchance, you brought some wee dram of your own.

The chairs by the window give the best view, allow the best hearing. Ignore the cats, no matter what they say, and don’t open the window for the tapping crows.

I’ll be working at the table in the corner, if you have any need, or she knocks upon the door. And until you stop by again, may your wonderings be bold and your imaginings be wise.

Until your next visit, until the next photograph, the next 12-line story, good fortune and safe wanderings.

camp_cwm

Island Camp

Alana Brown stooped low picking up a small packet of folded paper, edges damp, flattened as it mostly hid under the small pile of stones.

Before she unfolded the blue paper, Alana glanced back towards her younger daughter Aine walking along the shore path, then gave her full attention to the silent camp sitting on the rocky island, only a short canoe ride from the shore.

She knew the two girls, her eldest daughter Orla and her friend, Marlyn, would paddle to the far side of the island, they would find the cove, land upon the sandy bit of beach before taking the path leading up towards the camp.

As Alana undid the second fold of the note, a west wind rose, slapping water against shore, wrapping the island with a blanket of fog, hiding the tree tops, and the camp from view.

As she opened the note fully, Alana lost sight of the island as the shroud of fog enveloped it complete.

“Dear Mom,” the note began.

“The island has finally appeared.

“We have the notebooks, all of your instructions, all of dad’s warnings and yes, the sachets of herbs and the shards of iron.

“Marlyn is impatient, she hides her doubts better than I do.

“No, I don’t regret the decision, this is where I want to go, what I want to do.

“Til next year, take care of dad and Aine, love…”

Slipping the note into her coat pocket, closing her eyes, Alana whispered a blessing in a melodious tongue, sending it out across the water, remembering time spent among her family, and knowing when she opened her eyes, the island, the camp and her eldest daughter would have vanished from sight.