My Writer Within

Dream Catcher . . . Story Weaver

VSS: Brutal

A very short story (vss) word prompt: BRUTAL

The Knot of Isis

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

Isis rises with the dawn, a feeling of unease in her stomach. She kneels before the sun until the skylark sings its wakening call and then bathes in a bath of incense and lavender. She recites her spells that she knows by heart but would never divulge except to those in need. Her long, thick jet-black hair, dressed with ointment, moves as one. She dresses in a simple silk wrap, tied at the waist. Her chest is bare, a long gold chain runs from neck to navel.

Isis moves with small footsteps, the skirt restricting her movement. She counts the steps as she enters the temple. She is aware of the daily crowd of people who gather, hoping for her help. It is not easy. There are choices, and some are not always the right one.

She lowers herself onto the stone throne and adjusts her tall headdress. It is heavy and unstable, and sometimes she wishes she could remove it. But that would not please the Gods, especially Horus. She fingers the knot hanging from a leather strap around her waist, seeking comfort. She knows that evil is around and always ready to catch her out.

Isis takes three long breaths and then nods to her chief priestess.

‘Isis, there are many who need your protection.’ The tall, young woman looks like a bird of prey as spans her arm across a sea of bowed heads. ‘Who shall be first?’

She does not hesitate, she always chooses the same position whether it be man, woman or child. Her gaze roams for a second across the room before settling on the fifth person to the right of her.

‘You,’ Isis commands. ‘What is it you require protection from?’

A tiny figure stands up slowly and raises his head. Isis takes a sharp intake of breath as the eyes of the child flash with red and orange. Demons. Not wanting to alarm the child, she beckons him forward, helped by his mother with a gentle push from behind.

‘We will need to retire to the inner chamber,’ she advises the priestess. This is not something she can perform in front of others. As the priestess turns to the crowd and bows low, a slow moan of regret rises from the floor.

‘Come child, do not be frightened.’ Isis takes his hand in hers. It is cold and heavy, like that of someone whose soul had left for another world.

‘What name do you go by?’ she asks as she leads him to her chamber.

‘Jabari.’ The child speaks to the floor.

Isis lifts his chin with a finger.

‘Ah, Jabari, you are brave then, like your name?’

He shakes his head, and Isis sees the opaqueness behind his eyes.

‘Have you been having dreams, Jabari?’

The boy nods and chews at his bottom lip.

‘Dreams that frighten you?’

Another nod.

‘Who have you told?’ Isis indicates to the priestess that she should leave and locks the door behind her. She opens a small rosewood box and whispers into it before moving within a circle of stones and waits.

‘I’ve told my mother a little, but not everything. She thinks I am lying and has brought me here to beg forgiveness.’

‘I know you tell the truth, Jabari. There is an evil presence within you.’ Isis puts her palms together and chants until the boy has fallen under her trance. She steps out of the stone ring and kneels in front of him.

It is difficult; the demon is strong, and the child reaches out clawing at her skin with long dirty fingernails and spits in her face. Isis continues to cast the spell, her voice becoming lower and lower as her powers fight with the evil. Isis knows that if she falters for a second, the demon would win and possess her. Calling on Horus for strength, she battles, closing her hands around the child’s neck as the demon forces her to squeeze. She does not stop, nor open her eyes even when the child whimpers and falls limp into her arms. She feels the chill wind leave, hears the snapping shut of her rosewood box and relaxes her grip.

The boy lies on the ground, his skin the colour of slate. She reaches for a glass phial from her belt and releases the stopper, wafting it under his nose. His hand twitches and he coughs, spluttering like a newborn baby. His eyelids flutter, then open.

Isis sees her smile reflected in the clear brown eyes of Jabari.

Angels of War

Image by AD_Images from Pixabay

I’ve been dreading this day ever since you left. Visiting St Symphorien seemed at the time a very fitting and honourable journey to make. But that was then, when life was whole, instead of being torn to shreds and scattered amongst the wilting poppies. I shouldn’t have come, your parents would have understood, but our son, perhaps not. A father, a father’s father, and some that will never be. A war to end all wars goes on and on, whilst life struggles to exist.

The shadows from the trees play in the grass at my feet and I kick my sandals off, letting the feathery blades slip between my toes. I close my eyes, the ribbons of sun push their way through the canopy poking me with a fiery warmth, challenging me to respond. But inside I’m cold, ice-cold. A stone where my heart once loved so fiercely; flames of anger for leaving me rise in my throat. How could you! The tears are long gone, for I always knew that you were not mine for the keeping. That one day I would sit and mourn you.

We wanted him, our son, to remember. To show him the travesties of war. To show him the hope of peace. To show him that together we are strong. I stand up to shake the images of you from inside my head and to force the hatred from my soul for the one who took you. Grief has no boundaries, no race, nor colour. Grief is something we all share, but I want mine. For me. For my son.

I can hear my son’s tight, bright voice cracking through the silence. Asking questions of your father, who finds it difficult to provide the answers. Answers that cannot be found or understood. I walk along a line of white headstones, as straight as a line of soldiers, forever on guard, forever united in death. Protected by the woodland, marked by the rainbow of wild flowers. A garden of peace, a garden of regeneration, a garden of forgiveness.

He cries for you every night. And he tells the angels he will be good, always good, if only they give you back. I cannot forgive, I cannot find peace, I cannot regenerate. I wish I could.

A small hand slips into mine, chubby fingers curl around mine possessively. ‘Cuddles, mummy,’ he whispers.
‘Hush now, we don’t want to wake them.’ I scoop him up, his legs wrapping around my waist, his head burying into my neck, and I plead with the angels too.

Summer Hat

Image by marijana1 from Pixabay

‘Dad, you know it’s the right thing to do, you can’t go on like this.’ Harry looked at his son and nodded, tears blurring his vision, wanting to put his hands

Nine Weeks and Counting

Image by Nina Garman from Pixabay


I’d like to live like a poor man only with lots of money.

Forever Reunited

Image by Tú Anh from Pixabay

Sarah clenched the stem of her wineglass as Ned arrived. Putting his hands to his sad, lined face, he stopped.

She raised her glass, pointing to the chair in front of her. Shoulders hunched, he slid into the seat, making himself as small as possible. She curled her lip. Once a coward, always a coward.

‘Why are you wearing that?’ Ned hissed.

Sarah sniggered and stared at the other diners until they turned away.

‘It’s our special day, isn’t it, Ned? Would have been our special day.’ She stroked the pale cream silk and plucked at the lace around her sleeve with a post-box red nail. ‘The dress didn’t get the airing it deserved. Look—’ she ran her hands down her bodice. ‘It still fits me like a glove.’

He sighed. ‘This has to stop. It’s been fifteen years, for God’s sake!’

‘See! You remember! Do you know what symbolises the fifteenth anniversary, Ned? Guess.’

She poured some champagne into the crystal goblet in front of him. He pushed it back towards her. ‘I don’t drink, as well you know.’

Sarah pouted. ‘Oh, come on. Humour me.’ She stared at him hard, watching his Adam’s apple bob in his throat. ‘I said, drink.’

Ned looked around, then sipped.

‘It’s our year too.’ Scanning the label, she frowned. ‘I had to search for it but it’s rather pleasant, don’t you agree?’

Ned shook his head. His complexion was grey, his skin wrinkled and drawn. He hadn’t aged well; she thought. But I will always love him.

‘Sarah, this isn’t funny. You aren’t supposed to contact me. It’ll get you into trouble.’

Moi? So why did you come?’

Ned’s shoulders shook. ‘Because I feel sorry for you, because . . .’

‘You feel sorry for me?’ She sneered. ‘You should’ve thought about that fifteen years ago—’ She looked at her diamond encrusted watch. ‘Three hours and twenty-one minutes ago.’ She tapped the glass face. ‘Such memories time holds and another fifteenth anniversary symbol.’

‘I’ve explained. I’m sorry. But I can’t make it better.’

Flaring her nostrils, she raised her voice. ‘So what’s all this nonsense about your getting married again?’

The silence from the other tables echoed around the room. Ned pulled his chair closer. ‘I’m not getting married again, I never married you.’

She smoothed the skirt of her wedding dress, encrusted with tiny pearl roses. ‘A minor technicality. You chose not to turn up. Left me at the altar. But I forgive you.’

‘You need help. I can’t do this anymore.’ Ned sobbed.

She reached forward to him, but he recoiled in disgust.

‘I don’t need help, Ned. Not anymore. I’ve forgiven you. It’s my time to say sorry.’

Sarah pulled out a small silver gun from her bag. Ned gasped, grabbed her hand, but he was too late.

‘If I can’t have you, no-one will.’

He slumped forward, shattering the crystal goblet. Crimson petals of blood spattered her dress.

A second shot pierced through the diners’ screams.

A Slip of the Tongue

Eric put his hand over his ears as his wife wittered on about the number of ‘little jobs’ that needed doing now

A Room of My Own

Image by Ana_J from Pixabay

Twenty-two. That’s how many steps there are to

The Decision

It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.


Penny gripped the steering wheel until her fingers went white. ‘George, what are we going to do? Who’d have thought six months after our wonderful wedding that we would face bankruptcy and

Mistaken Identity

I threw another paper chain onto the pile of reds, blues and green rings and walked over to the window. The frost fractured the reflected bright light from the snowy pavement like a kaleidoscope.

Lizzie was my best friend and flatmate, but I dreaded

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