Tag Archives: death

One-Liner Wednesday

This is somewhat true for me. I’m still missing my mom 11 years on, and she was definitely someone I “had,” a huge part of my life, but otherwise… yeah. It’s pretty easy for me to dump material possessions as I downsize (again) for moving. But it was difficult for me to let the “soul mate” dream go. I’ve never had a soul mate, which may seem ironic for a romance writer, so when my 20-year marriage ended, I became more determined than ever to find this person. It took 5 years of increasingly frustrating and depressing situations for me to realize I had to let the dream go for my own mental and emotional health. I talk about this a lot because it helps me reinforce it to myself. I just today posted in comments to 2 blogs how much happier I am without the wings of this dream beating in my brain.

But it was a struggle to lug the thing to the trash bin and leave it there.

~*~

One-Liner Wednesday

Image found on Google

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Doggie Dreams

Stream of consciousness Saturday

Once I had a dream of dogs and they were frightening, a whole pack, about to attack and kill me, circling around. It was mixed in with driving and my ex… I posted about it, I think, but we aren’t supposed to go look things up in our SOCS. Yesterday or the day before I dreamt of dogs again. It’s not a theme that recurs (npi) frequently, so it’s significant, imo. I don’t dream about cats either. Animals simply don’t inhabit much real estate in my dreamland. Anyway, I did look up the meaning of doggie dreams, not that I necessarily believe in any of that woo. Supposedly, dogs represent fidelity, loyalty, protection, and self-defense. But those would be nice dogs… my old dream wasn’t about nice dogs and my recent dream was about two huge, scary dogs jumping on me, one at a time, putting their paws on my shoulders, and staring into my eyes. Each time, I was sure I would die. Their owner, a mean horrible man I don’t know, stood to the side and did nothing. But the dogs didn’t hurt me, despite the fact that he didn’t call them off. I was terrified though.

The dream interpretation site said that a dog in a dream could be a self-protective emotional barrier, so maybe the doggies that put their paws on my shoulders weren’t dangerous. They could have been guarding me from something. The man may have been irrelevant. There were two dogs. One was brown, which may mean I feel out of control wrt to a relationship or may be starting a new one. And the other doggo was white, symbolizing friendship and happiness. I guess this doggie dream was a much better dream than the first one, where the dogs were aggressive and chasing me ~ symbolizing anger with my ex. Even though these last two doggos were huge and put their paws on me, there was no actual threat.

Sometimes a dog is just a dog. 💖

Adorable golden retriever puppy

~*~

Images credits Shelley Krupa and Diane K.

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

PFF24: Cold Feet?

Ephemeral time

Welcome to my Friday Flashback! This is a post from a little over 2 years ago. I stripped out the prompt links because some of the bloggers have 404’d.

Selling Points

“This is a very special property,” Bob the broker told the prospective buyers. “You’re basically sequestered with lots of privacy. Only a tiny percentage of homes have such a large back yard.”

Henry the husband nodded enthusiastically. “I can definitely imagine taking a snooze back here by the tranquil koi pond. Why does the owner want to sell?”

Bob made a sad face. “She decided to move back to Japan. Her husband died suddenly and she wants to be with her family.”

“I love it!” Wendy the wife exclaimed. She walked around the back yard and stopped at the pond to peer into it. “Oh look, Henry. Their Halloween display must have fallen in. It’s a man with a knife in his back.”

~*~

Image credit to Pexels.

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

The Long Night

Stream of Consciousness Saturday

Wights were specific undead creatures in Game of Thrones, created and controlled by a White Walker. It took me a while to grok the difference ~ and this was not a slight difference. White Walkers possessed great power, while a wight, while frightening, was merely a pawn. A human could kill a wight in a fight, but he would have to burn its body to ensure it did not reanimate. A truly delightful sight occurred when our hero killed a White Walker. What do you think might happen then? All the wights he had turned would immediately collapse and disintegrate. All right!

~*~

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Glow [flash 341]

Golden glowing sunrise with a pink and lavender sky

“Let’s use the darker shades now to layer our sky,” Anita instructed. “We want to get a sense of the deep lavender hues of the waning night, and then we’ll put the bright light of the golden sun last.”

She stood back to admire her painting in progress–her best one yet. She was really nailing this Glow series. But then she glanced over at Michael, who seemed to be having quite a bit of difficulty. Poor guy. He didn’t seem to be focused. She walked over to help him.

“Hey, honey. That’s a really good start.” Anita swirled her own brush through his pink mixture. “Let’s just brighten up your sky a bit here and here, okay?”

He was so non-responsive. But that was the trouble with guys like Michael. You gave and you gave and they didn’t care at all. They acted like you should worship them or something. The hell with that!

“Now look, sweetie. You’ve got way too much chocolate brown there for the tree. For heaven’s sake!” Anita began painting over Michael’s tree with conviction. “I’ll fix it. It’s always my job to fix things, isn’t it?”

She stepped back to view his canvas. Much better. “What do you think?” She nudged his shoulder and he toppled off the chair and onto the floor.

“Dammit!” Anita was annoyed. Now she’d have to take time away from painting to get Michael situated properly in the chair again, which wasn’t easy given how stiff he’d become already. She bent down to pull him up and noticed that he’d begun to smell.

Painting class was officially over. Anita picked up her finished canvas and her unused paints and put them in her truck. She doused the studio with gasoline and tossed a flaming rag through the window before driving away. As she headed for the freeway, she saw the glow of the burning building bathe the early morning sky.

She really didn’t cope well with rejection. Hopefully the next man wouldn’t be such a jerk.

~*~

The Daily Echo

~*~

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Waves [fiction 900]

[This is a multi-part story. We previously read that Sura’s cousin Nami delivered the news that Miko had died a strange death and Sura should return to Liana at once.

If you’d like to read the chapters in order, please follow this list. Thanks!

The Murmuration
Liana’s Journey Continues
Captured
The Shark’s Tooth
An Honored Guest
Miko’s Plan
A Cup of Tea?
Liana’s House
Strange News]

Colorful huts

Waves of pain came hour after hour, until she didn’t know when day turned to night. She became too weak to follow directions and decided that it was time to die. Pleased to join her family in the land beyond, Liana relaxed into a light rest. When she opened her eyes, Sura was there again, though she had already gone. Soft words. Cool hands…

“Where is…” Liana whispered, but she was too exhausted to finish her words.

“Shhhh,” Sura said, and the pains surged again. But this time Sura helped her and the baby finally came.

“It’s a boy!” Sura helped Liana hold him, placing pillows around them.

Liana gazed at the tiny face, the sparkling dark eyes. “Don’t let them…”

Mommy touching baby’s fingers

“We’ll help you,” Sura whispered. “She’s not the Queen’s nurse. She’s Miko’s aunt. And he died. You’ll have to act grief-stricken.”

“Who helps?” Liana glanced at the door.

“I put a sleeping herb in her juice.” Sura smiled. “You taught me well. But she will wake soon. And as much as she would like to cause trouble, she leaves for Miko’s funeral. You and I will journey to the Royal Hall, to show your baby to the Queen. My cousin Nami will join us.”

Liana closed her eyes. This was too much information, too overwhelming. And Sura seemed to understand. After she helped the baby start to nurse, she left the room.

She returned with bread, fruit, and juice for Liana. “Eat and rest. Don’t worry about anything else right now.”

Liana nodded and tried to relax while feeding her infant. She marveled at the strange sensation and the softness of his skin. He was so precious! A wave of love and protectiveness rose in her. She would not allow any harm to come to him!

“So, the babe is finally here.” Adoka stood next to Liana’s bed. “Boy or girl?”

Liana abruptly woke from her doze. Where was Sura? “Boy.”

“He looks healthy.” Adoka stared down at them. “But Miko was a healthy, strong warrior and died two sunsets past.”

“Miko’s dead?” Liana created a picture of her beloved Ken in her mind and her eyes filled with tears. “How could that happen?”

The older woman kept her gaze fastened on Liana’s face, as if to measure her every reaction. “It’s a mystery. Apparently he was here, with you, and headed to the Royal Hall. He took the short route through the monkey jungle. It is full of dangers.”

Little monkey in jungle

“What kind of dangers?” Liana asked, though she knew perfectly well nothing in the jungle had killed Miko.

Adoka shrugged. “The blue tree snake. One bite can kill a man in three minutes. There is the honey spring. It tempts the thirsty with sweet cold water, but it is poisoned. Then there is the sucking sand that grabs your feet and swallows you like a sea monster.”

“How horrible!” Liana shuddered. “But Miko would know to avoid these things, wouldn’t he?”

“If his mind was filled with thoughts of a bride,” Adoka sneered, “he might not have been paying attention.”

“Yes,” Liana sniffled. “I feel responsible. We spoke of marriage. Miko was not sure the Queen would agree since my baby is under the protection of the gods. He was conceived in a storm, by the storm itself, you know.”

Adoka rolled her eyes. “So I have heard. The Queen loves her stories of the gods and their interference with our lives. I believe humans interfere with each other’s lives more often than not. Even hastening their ends in some cases.”

Liana pretended not to understand. “Of course. Like in battle. Miko was a great and powerful warrior. What a terrible loss this is for our island family! The Queen will be distraught.”

“The Queen.” Adoka’s lips twisted. “Yes, she will be told of all that has happened.”

“I shall never love another man!” Liana burst out passionately. “He was my true heart. I am devastated by this loss and shall devote my life to my child and my Queen and nothing else.”

Sura rushed into the room. “What is it? I was gathering herbs and heard yelling.”

“My nephew Miko is dead,” Adoka said. “He and Liana were to be married. You know he was here because he gave you the news of your father. Then he left for the Royal Hall and became violently ill in the monkey jungle.”

“How terrible,” Sura said, embracing the older woman. “What a huge loss. I’m so sorry for your family.”

Adoka hugged her. “Thank you. I was very proud of him.”

“What about me?” Liana cried. “He was to be my husband! He said he’d care for my storm baby same as his own!” A true wave of grief crashed over her as she said these words for her lost love Ken, the man who would never meet his son, their future incinerated by the volcano, her heart in ashes with her real home and family. And yet… here was family with a new baby.

“Oh, you poor girl!” Sura ran to the bed to comfort Liana, kissing the top of her head. “You’ve been through so much. But you must stay strong for the baby.”

Liana nodded and sniffled. “He is my life.”

“What will you name him?” Adoka asked.

Pressing her face to her baby’s head and inhaling his powdery scent like a drug, Liana murmured, “Kenzi.”

Bird flying in sunrise over ocean

[to be continued]

~*~

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Strange News [fiction 645]

[This is a multi-part story. We previously read how Liana prepared a “special” cup of tea for Miko the pirate while he bullied her into agreeing to his proposal of marriage.

If you’d like to read the chapters in order, please follow this list. Thanks!

The Murmuration
Liana’s Journey Continues
Captured
The Shark’s Tooth
An Honored Guest
Miko’s Plan
A Cup of Tea?
Liana’s House]

Sura paused as she wiped her father’s face with a cool cloth. Though it was well past sundown and the village had gone to sleep, she thought she’d heard footsteps. She put down the cloth and walked into the main room, where the only light came from the faraway stars outside the open window.

Palm trees against a starry sky

“Pssst, Sura,” came a voice from the dark.

Sura watched a form detach itself and shape into her cousin Nami. “Whew. I thought you were a ghost from the other side. Why are you out so late?”

“Strange news.” Nami put a cold hand on Sura’s arm. “You should know right away.”

A snake of dread coiled around Sura’s stomach. “What is it? Let me get you some juice and bread.”

“Just juice please.”

Sura put a candle on the table and fetched the juice. “What happened?”

Her cousin sat on a pillow next to the low table. “I was getting flour from the village when they brought him in.”

Sura sat down next to her. “Who?”

The flames danced in twisted shadows upon Nami’s face as she spoke. “Miko.”

Candle flame

“Miko.” Sura frowned. “But he’s supposed to be with Liana. It’s near the baby’s time. I didn’t want to leave, but I had to see to Papa after his injury, and Miko assured me he would send for the Queen’s own nurse. What do you mean… brought him in?”

Nami leaned forward. “They carried him on a stretcher of cloth and branches. He was moaning like a madman and had the bloody flux.”

“Horrible.” Sura shuddered. “Does anyone else have it?”

“The doctor ordered a check and no one does. The last was a baby already passed on three moons ago.”

Sura sat in silence for a moment. “Has he…”

“This evening.” Nami sighed. “They can’t save you once it gets that far. He had been in the monkey jungle.”

“But why?”

“Who knows?” Nami shrugged and sat back. “Healthy warriors can get it same as the old and weak. My father says that on ships–”

“Not that.” Sura held up a hand to stop her cousin from rambling on. “The jungle. What was Miko doing there when he was supposed to be looking after Liana? And who’s with her now?”

Nami picked up her cup of juice and sipped it before answering. “He was taking the short route to the Royal Hall. One of his men got him to talk a little before the fever burned up his mind. Liana had agreed to marry him and he was going to ask for the Queen’s permission.”

“Liana would never agree!” Sura burst out. “She hated him! I didn’t want to leave him with her but Papa is all alone.”

“Shhhh.” Nami warned her. “Never say that again. Liana must grieve mightily. Do you understand? Miko is a beloved warrior and she is a newcomer.”

Woman gazing out to sea

Sura thought about the two warriors who had died while bringing Liana home. And now Miko. Three valuable men no longer here to serve the Queen. At any moment, Her Majesty might decide that Liana was too great a liability to keep around. “Yes, you are right. Liana must be very sad.”

Nami nodded and finished her juice. “Miko was so concerned for his bride to be that he sent his medicine aunt to help deliver her babe. That’s the second part of the news.”

“Adoka?” Sura jumped up. “She is evil! I must go to Liana at once. Will you stay with Papa, please?”

“Of course, cousin.” Nami stood and embraced her. “Get some rest and leave at first light.”

Sura shook her head. “I must go now. I’ll wake a night guide and pay him extra.”

“With what?”

“Mama’s gold ring.” Sura’s eyes filled with tears. “It’s only a thing. She would not want Liana and her baby to be murdered by that crazy woman.”

[to be continued]

~*~

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Karma Chameleon

Chameleon

This may sound odd coming from an atheist, but I believe in karma. Now, this is not the first dictionary definition of karma, with reincarnation and yada, but my own notion of logic and being held accountable. Cause and effect, baby.

Forex, if you drive like a rude, reckless jerk, sooner or later you’re going to pay for that. Maybe you’ll rack up a pile of tickets and eventually lose your license or get hurt in an accident. Unfortunately, you may end up hurting others. Then you’ll get dumped in the $$$$ end of the insurance pool. Cause and effect, no supernatural interference necessary.

I am of course aware that this karma (or whatever you prefer to call it) does not work perfectly. Some jerks seem to cruise through life, breaking rules and screwing people over, with zero consequences. Or so it appears. I don’t believe they suffer some “hell” after death; perhaps they experience suffering we simply don’t know about. Or they just escape penalty for their terrible behavior. It happens. As we used to say on Usenet, shurgs.

And what about the total other end of the spectrum? I’m talking about wonderful folks like my mom who are inclined to help everyone they can and are full of general goodness and virtue? We don’t always see these people get rewarded, and sometimes they suffer when they shouldn’t. Again, (a) we don’t always know all the facts, and (b) it’s not a perfect system. Shurgs.

Have I come to believe all this merely as a way to reconcile events in my own life? Yeah maybe. And so what? I’m as guilty as anyone else for wanting order to things, and maybe more. Probably lots more!

~*~

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

A Cup of Tea? [fiction 645]

[This is a multi-part story. We previously read that Miko, the pirate commander who had originally captured Liana for his Queen, planned to prove she wasn’t special in order to have her to himself. When that didn’t work, he came up with a new idea.

If you’d like to read the chapters in order, please follow this list. Thanks!

The Murmuration
Liana’s Journey Continues
Captured
The Shark’s Tooth
An Honored Guest
Miko’s Plan]

Colorful flowers

Liana paused in the secluded garden as a disturbance suddenly fluttered through the morning like a swarm of bats. She didn’t see anything, but she felt a presence and, already unstable in her ninth month, she stumbled over a stone.

“Careful.” Miko emerged from the shadows of the coconut palms. “Mustn’t let anything happen to the babe.”

“What are you doing here?” Aware that she was alone except for Sura, Liana felt jittery in the presence of the large, looming pirate. All the other warriors had left to capture a trading vessel from Australia. “Aren’t you supposed to be gathering more wealth for our dear ruler?”

Miko grinned. “That’s what I have trained men for. I have come to protect you. The Queen would be distraught if you were to have an accident.”

“I have Sura to help me.” Liana knew Miko would be the cause of any accident and tried to find a way to get him to leave. “It is bad luck for a man to be around this close to the baby’s time.”

Miko put his powerful hands on his hips and laughed, his white teeth sharp as a cat’s. “Sura is gone. There was a family emergency. Her father is badly injured and may not live through the day. I just gave her the sad news myself and watched her rush away. I told her I’d stay with you.”

“Oh no!” At once, Liana grieved for Sura and felt terrified for herself, alone here with Miko. Then came the certainty that Miko had engineered this predicament by hurting Sura’s father. The warmth of her lovely garden began to feel oppressive and her skin grew sticky under her loose cotton dress.

“No worries, little sea witch.” Miko stepped closer to her, swatting away a bee. The hard planes of his bronzed face were just as frightening without war paint. “Your secrets are safe with me, as long as you grant me a small favor in return.”

Quickly, Liana turned and put her small herb basket between them, though it scarcely was a barrier. “What could you possibly need from me? I’m about to become a mother. Sura says such babies conceived from the Sea Gods need all a mother’s attention.”

“That may be so,” Miko said. “But you and I both know that prisoner spoke true. You’re just an ordinary island girl, the daughter of a so-called oracle, who couldn’t even save his people from a volcano. Your baby was created the usual way, not at sea by a god.”

Liana didn’t reply. She was searching for a certain plant… ah, here it was! She broke off a stem full of shiny berries, careful not to touch them.

Black shiny berries

“If you marry me,” Miko continued, “you will still have the Queen’s favor. But then so will I, as your husband. I will protect the babe as well as you, though it isn’t mine.”

“You already are a favorite,” Liana said, laying more flowers in her basket. “You’ve brought lots of wealth to the kingdom.”

Miko shrugged. “For now. If a season passes with no captures, she’ll turn on me. I’ve seen other commanders put to death and eaten after being favored. But as your husband, I will have the blessings you do. The Queen will look upon both of us with favor. And our children.”

Liana suppressed a shudder at the idea of creating children with this massive brute. He was so unlike the sweet, slender, soulful island boy she’d loved. The one she’d made a baby with. Gone forever. Her heart was broken. No other man could take Ken’s place… the first time she’d felt their baby move, she vowed to live the rest of her days as a widow.

“I see.” She forced herself to gaze up at Miko and smile alluringly. “Would you like a cup of blackberry tea?”

Cup of tea

[to be continued]

~*~

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Miko’s Plan [fiction 610]

[This is a multi-part story. We previously read that Liana had been declared a guest of the island Queen. She’d been spending her days in luxury after a harrowing ordeal at sea. But now a ship has been captured and she must pretend to celebrate with the others.

If you’d like to read the chapters in order, please follow this list. Thanks!

The Murmuration
Liana’s Journey Continues
Captured
The Shark’s Tooth
An Honored Guest]

Shark

Miko stood in the shadows of the royal hall and watched Liana delicately nibble on fruit from a tray held by her servant girl Sura. He remembered carrying Liana when she’d fainted on the sand, months ago, after the storm, after she’d killed his men. She’d been skinny as a stick back then. Ugly as a lizard.

But look at her now. She glowed; her long black hair was silky and lustrous. Her body was as plump as a sweet summer berry. And somehow, she was with child, halfway along. The Queen had declared it was another gift from the gods, but Miko didn’t believe that. He figured Liana had become pregnant the usual way and then gotten lost at sea. Though how she’d managed to kill his men, seasoned warriors both, was a a mystery.

“You said you know that girl?” he said to the man beside him.

Terrified, his hands bound with rope, and his body bruised and bleeding, the prisoner managed a nod.

Miko pushed him forward to the center of the room. Everyone grew quiet as Miko announced, “My men captured a second ship fishing in our territory, near the southern coast. Unfortunately most died except this one. He says he recognizes Liana.”

There was a collective gasp. A low murmur began. “Silence!” shouted the Queen. “What is the meaning of this, Commander Miko? How dare you offend our honored guest, a gift from the Storm God himself?”

Miko watched Liana shrink back in fear and knew he was right about her. She wasn’t special, just an ordinary girl, though a beautiful one now. And he meant to have her. It was the least the Queen could do after Liana had killed his men.

“I am but your humble servant.” Miko bowed deeply to the Queen in the fawning manner that he knew she liked. “But this wretched prisoner insists he knows your guest. He gives me no peace. I beg your pardon to allow him to speak.”

The Queen turned her wrath on the trembling man. “Speak, fool! What do you know of our Liana? She came to us from the storm, after the murmuration and the rainbow, as was foretold. We have had great fortune since!”

Treasure

The prisoner cleared his throat. “Liana is from our sister island, dear Queen. We traded with them before the great volcano destroyed them all. She is the daughter of Benji, who was their blind oracle. Twenty-one years ago, a trading party visited and one of our daughters stayed behind for a summer to learn from him. She returned home with much knowledge and a baby.”

Miko kept his eyes on Liana as the prisoner rattled on. The others were enraptured by his story, but Miko was more interested in Liana’s reactions. Tears glistened in her eyes, but then she caught him staring at her and smiled. She whispered to her maid and they giggled. She then gazed at the fruit tray, seemingly bored with the story. As she selected a piece of mango, her gaze flicked back to his and she began to play with her shark’s tooth necklace.

“…fever. Then Liana came to live with a family on Benji’s island. She was still so small she probably never remembered her real mother.” The prisoner sagged as he finished speaking. No one offered him food or drink.

“Liana,” the Queen said. “Is there any truth to this idiot’s babbling? Have you ever met a blind oracle?”

Liana smiled. “No.”

“Kill him and then roast him,” the Queen commanded, and her warriors dragged the prisoner away as he began shrieking. “Where are my royal musicians?”

Fire

[to be continued]

~*~

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.