Tag Archives: Story

Keeper of the Sword

The following is an excerpt from my novel, “Keeper of the Sword,” which is in rewrite mode at the present. I hope to have it uploaded to smashwords with in a couple of weeks. I wil keep you posted.

“Josh, Josh dear, it’s time for supper.”

Josh struggled awake, sat up, looked around for his book, and found it lying half-open on the floor. He picked it up and placed it on the bed, “I’m not very hungry mom.”

“You need to eat something,” green eyes misted over. “I made a chocolate pudding for desert. Do you want me to fix you a tray and bring it to your room?”

“No thanks,” he flashed a grin. “As soon as I wash, I’ll come down and have supper with you. Having company while I eat will be nice.”

She smiled the worried smile that only a mother can, hugged him, kissed his forehead, “See you downstairs.”

After helping to wash and dry the supper dishes, Josh watched TV with his mom until nine, returned to his room and booted up his computer. Gramps still wasn’t online. No email from him either.

He took a shower, went to bed, fell asleep as soon as his head settled on a pillowcase, smelling faintly of lilacs, and drifted into a strange dream. A boy about ten years old lay under a tall tree, crying.   High above him, four big birds, black wings folded, cyan heads flashing iridescent blues, purples and greens in the moonlight pouring through rents in the heavy clouds, kept sharp eyes on the child.

The largest of the birds spoke in a hushed husky voice, “Poor young princeling, first his mother was poisoned, and now his father the King has been brutally murdered.”

Another one grumbled, “We can’t take proper care of him. He needs to be with his own kind.”

“Besides,” growled a third, it was as close to a growl as a bird can come, “We have our own younglings to tend to.”

The fourth one asked, “What are we then to do?” If no one tends to him he’ll die, and we can’t let that happen because he’s King now.”

The large bird answered, “He’s far too young for us to take him back to the castle because his enemies will kill him.”

“I know, I know, I know what to do,” shouted the fourth one.   The other three spoke at once, “Well, tell us.”   “We can take him deep into the forest where the old man and old woman live. They don’t have younglings of their own. They’ll tend to him and give him their love.”

“That’s a good plan,” the others said, “We’ll guide him on his journey when the sun wakes, but we can’t tell them who he is.”

Josh’s dream changed, and now he looked down into an old hut. Four men, two with short grey beards, looking old enough to be his great-grandfather, a third, dressed in mottled grey and green, and a forth, sporting a shamrock-green hat, adorned with a long blue feather, sat around a table looking like the slightest sneeze  would make it collapse.

The man with the hat asked, “How am I to find my way?”

One of the old ones reached under the table and lifted up a leather bag. He took out a black stone with a bright blue light lancing out of one side. “This is the seeing stone of Kings. Sometimes it is called the finding stone, and it will guide you to where the two who are spoken of in the prophecy wait.”

Away in the distance, carried by the breath of the wind came the skirling of a single bagpipe, wailing a mournful dirge, reminding Josh of his great-grandfather, Donald McDonald. For a moment, he saw the old man standing on hillside, silhouetted against the ruins of a castle, a kilt, bearing the tartan of the clan McDonald flapping around skinny legs, his dark eyes, eyes that always flashed when the Stuart’s were mentioned, fixed on the setting sun.

Over the tune, so familiar yet so strange came a voice, sweet, poignant, brushed with an Irish lilt, whispering at first, growing louder, filling him with an aching, a longing to go on board the great black ship she sang about. He held his breath in the depths of his dream, trying to burn each word, each haunting trill of the voice into his memory.

“In the moonlight gleaming/the Uniaedean rests, dreaming. Sails furled, captain sleeping/no one is watch guard keeping. Anchor set, gentle wind blowing, the great black ship dreams of going/to a mysterious, distant land/guided true by her captain’s hand. Awake, awake, loud voice calling. War drums beat/flaming arrows falling. In fear Uniaedean awakens, shudders from deep wounds taken/looks long at moonlight gleaming/then returns to her dreaming.”

The men faded, the hut, and the words the men spoke faded , all the words of the song, except Uniaeden faded, but the aching caused by the voice lingered on, filling his dream with sadness, and he wept for the loss of the sweetness of the moment.

He stirred in his sleep, tossed, turned, and before he woke, a ship sailed into view. How proud and bold she looked, with her black prow cleaving through tall white topped waves like a scimitar slicing through soft lard. Her black sails filled with wind, struggling to free themselves from the ropes binding them, and a fiery-eyed black stallion figurehead, pawing the air with silver shod hooves, glinting in the moonlight, seeming to urge the ship forward, ever forward.

Closer, closer came the horse and ship, closer until he made out the name Uniaedean on the ship’s side. The raised silver and turquoise letters glowing in the moonlight seemed to be surrounded by an unearthly blue and silver flame.   For a moment, he stood on the prow, looking over rippling muscled flanks, over the broad back, out between the black stallion’s pointed ears, and heard a man call, in a gruff voice, “Trim the sails, hard to starboard,” over the cracking of sails, the rushing of the wind.

Salt spray splashing onto his face, soaking his clothes, stinging his eyes, cooled his fevered brow. His heart thudded like he’d just finished a ten-mile run, his throat tightened, he held his breath. Ahead of him, mist gathering up from the sea, spread out over the distant shore, swirling through strange looking trees, sweeping up towards far off snow covered mountains, not hiding the land, but adding a mystical fairy like quality to it.

He blinked sea water from his eyes, and stood on the shore, filled with longing, filled with a need to be onboard her, and as the last bit of dark sail slipped over the horizon, the voice, the sweet voice whispered to him once more.

He woke, sweat soaked, shivering, sat up, wiped tears from his eyes and tried to remember the voice, the words to the song, but the only thing remaining of his dream was the great black ship, and the fear and excitement of seeing her flying before the wind.

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Filed under Adventure, fantasy, Fantasy Story, fiction, sory

Kingdom of Light Kingdom of Dark Now Avaliable

On and on Burt ran. Worn boot heels clattered on the cobblestone road. His heart pounded in his chest and he gasped for air. He wanted to fall onto the road but he knew he couldn’t. He knew he had to be inside the crystal cave before the Devouring Dark began to skulk through the forest.

He stopped for a minute to take several breaths and for his hammering heart to slowdown a little. He kept his eyes glued to the left side of the road and hoped that he would soon find his safe refuge. Nothing yet, no sanctuary appeared out of the gathering gloom.

The boy glanced up into the darkening sky and shivered. “I better find it soon,” the sound of his shaking voice did nothing to give him courage.

He stopped running when a bit of sparkling whiteness caught his eyes. He mumbled, “That must be the cave,” and raced towards what he hoped would be a safe refuge.

There it was at last, refuge, a safe harbour from the approaching night. It was just like Namhina Lightmaker said it was. The white outer walls gleamed in the dim light.

Burt rushed towards the narrow entrance. The mouth of the cave was blocked by a four-foot high row of brush that extended six feet into the cave.

A loud voice seemed to come out of nowhere, “My, my, look what we have here. It looks like a tasty looking morsel, a very tasty looking morsel indeed.”

Burt pulled himself onto the brush pile and scrambled inside. A loud, “Ouch,” escaped from his mouth as he landed head first on the sandy floor. He struggled to his feet, rubbed his sore head and spun around towards the frosty, evil sounding voice.

Washing over the outer edge of the wood pile was a dull, dead looking darkness. Burt screamed, “What are you? What do you want? Go away. Go away, there’s nothing for you here.”

An icy chuckle met his forlorn cry, “On the contrary, there’s much for me here.” The chilling words were followed by the sound of soggy lip smacking. “There’s my supper for one thing. Well,to be honest, my supper is the only thing that’s important to me. I’m afraid you’ll just whet my appetite. Now boy if you’re quite ready peel of that ugly looking skin of yours. If you’re nice and don’t fight, I promise it won’t hurt much. Not much at all.”

The thing’s last words were followed by a snigger that sent icy chills racing up Burt’s spine. Two indigo eyes darted all around for a weapon, “Anything at all will do.”

The black nothingness oozed over the brush pile and onto the white sand of the floor. “What’s that you said boy? If you want an answer from me, you best speak up.”

Namhina Lightmaker’ last words of advice came pouring back into the boy’s terrified mind. “Once you’re inside the crystal cave, find the driest branch that you can. Look deep into the wood until you see the trons. Once they’re aware of you and they will be, they’ll obey your every mind command. All you have to do is tell them to speed up and in no time at all your branch will be blazing away. When it is, thrust it in to the pile of wood and set it on fire.

The Devouring Dark is afraid of flames and will never dare to cross the blaze. You’ll be as safe as a bumble bird in a thorn tree.”

Burt remembered his question as well “What happens when the brush is all gone?”

Namhina had chuckled, “That’s a magic cave and magic wood. No matter how much of it is burnt up, the pile remains the same. It’ll burn bright until the morning sun comes up and then it will go out.”

A branch snapped as Burt took another step backwards. He looked down at his feet and muttered, “It’s not much,” as he bent over to pick it up.

The black nothingness giggled and leapt backwards, “Please don’t hit me kind sir. I’ll be a good little boy. I promise I’ll be a good little boy.” It reared up and the cave grew dimmer.

Burt could barely make out his hand or the stick he held. He tore his eyes away from the encroaching death and focused them on the branch in his hand. He tried to look inside, but his gaze was blocked by the rough brown bark.

A long wide tongue lashed out from the evil dark and whipped across the toe of his right boot. The pain from his foot made him look down at the floor. The ends of his boot and sock were gone and drops of blood came from the tip of his big toe.

A loud, cheerful, “Yummy,” came from the shadow,” and the tongue struck out again. This time the front of his left boot vanished.

Burt screamed again.

Once more the slimy appendage came towards him. It was slower this time and stopped a few inches from his white face.

The voice of death rasped, “Will it be an eye this time or your nose.”

Burt moaned, “What?”

“I said,” the ice cold voice sounded frustrated and angry. “I said will it be an eye or your nose this time? I think that it’s only fair for you to choose, seeing as how they belong to you, for now at least.” The chilling words were followed by malevolent, mocking laughter.

The boy backed up two more steps and pressed his shaking body against the smooth cave wall. He tore his eyes away from the laughing darkness and gazed once more at the tip of the branch in his hand.

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Filed under Adventure, Fantasy Story

Kingdom of Dark Kingdom of Light

My novel, “Kingdom of Dark Kingdom of Light,” will be avaliable soon at Smashwords in all ebook reader formats. keep watching my blog for updates.

Claws that Crush

Twelve-year-old Burt Safford curled up into a tight ball on the wet grass, closed his indigo eyes and tried to shut out the screams of the dying girl. The harder he tried, the louder they seemed to grow. Each pitiful cry mingled with the clicking of bony claws and a loud slurp, slurp, slurp.

An image of slimy sucking mouths and rasp like tongues filled his mind with terror. He wished the dark swirling fog would hide him from the two beasts devouring Aldana. He wished he was safe at home in his bed. He wished the terrifying wails would end. Yet he knew when the final death rattle came and in time it would, he would be their dessert.

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Music Box Dreamer

Annie O’Quinn, still wrapped in the cocoon of a night full of sweet, delicious love making yawned and stretched in the big bed. She felt fingers of worry brush against her naked back when she realized her Tommy boy was not beside her. Her panic subsided when she saw his nude form standing near the window peering out through a blue lace curtain. She pushed the covers back, eased out of bed and made her way to him on tip toes.   Tommy didn’t move a muscle as two slender hands covered his grey eyes. He inched backwards until he could feel her rising nipples pressed against his skin.   She giggled, “Guess who,” as the heat from his body and his smell made her nipples grow hard.”   He rubbed fingers through the rough edges of his beard before answering, “Hmn, must be Mrs. O’Leary, the goat woman from down the road.”   A hand moved off of his right eye and a small pounded into his shoulder.   Her loud, “Are you saying I smell like a goat,” caused him to laugh so hard that tears ran down his cheeks. “That’s a fine thing to say to your new bride.”   Tommy turned then and warped his strong arms around her slender body, pressing every inch of the soft skin against him. He whispered, “You smell absolutely delicious, detachable and good enough to eat,” into her right ear. “I love you Annie my darling.”He stepped back a little and tilted her chin sky wards.   She pretended to pout for a moment before surrendering her soft lips to his hot passionate kisses.   Tears began to flow out of sapphire eyes.   He murmured, “What’s wrong my darling.”   She sobbed, “Everything, this damned war, you having to leave today and the thought I might lose you for good.”   Before he stepped away from Annie he put a happy look on his face, “Nothing to worry about darling, Mrs. O’Quinn didn’t raise any foolish children. I intended to dig my foxhole down to China and not peek over the edge until the war is over.”   She blubbered, “But you might get something important blown off. I suppose we could manage if it was only an arm or a leg.”   Loud male laughter bounced around the room and underneath the bottom of the door. “Perhaps I should ask my sergeant for two helmets, one for my head and one for all my important parts.”   Annie felt anger stirring again but when she looked at the grin on his face and saw the love light in his eyes it faded. A bright smile shone through her tears, “You know what I mean.”   He chuckled, “All too well my darling Annie. Chin up though, when I get to Paris, I’ll buy you a black silk negligee. It will be so shear that I can see through it.”   She hugged him tight and whispered, “Promise you won’t go to Paris because I want see us with you. I can picture us now walking along the banks of the Seine and listening to sidewalk troubadours sing love songs to us.” She paused for a moment before continuing, “Do you know what I’d like to do right now.”   Tommy grinned, “Me too but I don’t think we have enough time for it.”   She slugged his right shoulder and laughed, “Not that silly, well that to but since we don’t have time I would settle for a dance. I wished we had music.”   The young soldier clapped a hand to his forehead, “In all the excitement of the wedding and last night I forgot about the present I bought you.”   She sniffed, “I feel bad now because I didn’t have time to get you anything.”   He looked into her eyes, “You gave me the best present in the world when you became my wife.” He grinned, “It was more thrilling undressing you last night than it ever was unwrapping a Christmas present. Tommy scooped her up in his strong arms and carried her to the bed. He said, “One two, three,” and then let her go.   She squealed in delight as she landed on the mattress and bounced.   The young man bent over and pulled out a parcel wrapped in gold paper and tied with a neat red bow.   Annie bounced up and down on the bed, “What is it, what is it?” Two slender hands tore the paper off, two eyes opened wide when she saw the beautiful antique music box.” She gave her beloved Tommy a warm, tender smile and pulled his head down for a long, fiery kiss.   Two little marble figurines dressed in wedding clothe popped up when the carved lid, inlaid with gold was lifted. A tanned, trembling hand wound the key of the box.”   Two happy young people held each other tight and danced as the beautiful strains of the Vienna waltz filled the hotel bedroom.   ****   “Will you be a dear and get the door Bertha,” Annie opened the kitchen range door to inspect the pair of apple pies. By now they were a golden brown and filling every inch of the cosy apartment with the fragrance of apples, cinnamon and melted sugar. She folded the white dish cloth in two before lifting one done to perfection pie out of the hot oven.   Bertha shouted, “Right away, sister dear,” and turned the big radio down a notch before racing to the door.   Just as the last pie was set to cool Bertha’s voice come floating to her over the voice of Bing Crosby’s crooning. “It’s for you Annie.”   Annie shouted, “Tell whoever it is to hold their horses and that I’ll be there in a minute. The instant her sapphire settled on the two officers standing in her door way she knew why they were here. Her hart that had been so happy a just moment ago dropped into her feet. Her faced turned whiter than a new washed sheet. It felt to her like her life was being drained from her as her eyes filled with tears.   The tall soldier with captain’s bars on his collar was the first to speak, “I’m sorry to have to tell you but your husband corporal was killed two days ago at Dunkirk. The beach was strafed by a dozen German fighters. Your husband was seriously wounded when he left his shelter to help another soldier. He shielded his sergeant with his body and saved the man’s life. I have his Victoria Cross for you and a letter that was found in his pocket. Since there were no military secrets in it we felt it wasn’t necessary to censor it. He was a brave man and you should be very proud of him, his country and his fellow soldiers certainly are.”   The two soldiers turned sharply on their heels and marched away.   Annie tried to open the envelope but her hands were shaking too much. Without saying a word she handed it to her sister.   Bertha’s hands were shaking almost as bad as Annie’s were but she finally managed to remove the blood stained sheet of paper. In a voice that trembled and through her tears she began to read. “My darling dearest Annie:   Well my beautiful, sexy angel, it looks like this war is going to be a bit longer than anyone expected. These German soldiers are a tough lot and not about to give up without one hell of a fight. Please excuse the language my dear little sister if you happen to be there when Annie gets my letter.   Right now I’m enjoying a nice vacation on the beach of Dunkirk waiting for a boat to take us to England. Like as not I’ll be having tea and crumpets, whatever they are with the King and Queen by the time you get this.   Through all of this mess, the guns, the bombs, the blood and the death I have the memory of our two nights together to keep me sane and safe. I can still taste your wine sweet kisses on my lips. I can still feel the soft silk of your beautiful legs wrapped around me. I can still hear your sweet voice moan in passion as we surrendered too wondrous rapture.   Sorry my darling but I’ve got to go now, some enemy planes are circling over head, looking for some dumb bunny to stick there neck out. Well it isn’t going to be me. I’m going to climb back into my foxhole to China until these birds go back to their nest. I kept my promise love of my life, I never went to Paris   I send all my love, my heart and a million kisses.   Forever yours, your Tommy boy.   ****    The old, rickety rocking chair squeaked back and forth, back and forth. Each forward movement was less than the last one. Each backward movement was less than the last one. At last it came to a stop.   The little dancers on top of the old music slowed down as the last strains of the Vienna Waltz faded into cracks of the room. The only movement now was that of a tattered curtain blowing in the wind coming around the edges of the window. The only sound was of heavy raindrops pounding on the glass.   If there had been anyone left in that dank, dingy room to see anything they would have noticed that the large picture had changed. The images were no longer those of a woman in a wedding dress and a young soldier in uniform. It was the same two people but now the young woman wore a just below the knee, blue summer dress. Long, golden tresses flowed around her angel face in the soft summer breeze. The young man’s brown shirt had the first two top buttons undone. The tail was tucked into the top of a pair of blue jeans.   On the left of the happy couple the River Seine gurgled in its bed. Behind them and silhouetted the Eifel Tower stood straight and tall.   The young man had his right arm around the blonde haired girl and he held a bottle of wine in his left. She had a loaf of crusty French bread tucked under her left arm. A slender right hand rested on the slight mound of her belly. A belly that was growing closer to fruition with each passing day.

the end

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Music Box Dreamer

Ann Foster giggled, blushed and curtsied, “It will be my pleasure sir.”   Once again two young, full of life, full of heat bodies pressed tight against each other.   Annie broke the long silence, “Do you honestly think my bottom is nice?’ What about the rest of me?”   The young soldier took several deep breaths before speaking, “Your bottom is perfect and you’re beautiful enough to be an angel. If the eyes are the window of your soul/ Then your soul is filled with passion and delight/ Your eyes are the blue of summer skies/ Not the blue of deep midnight. How beautiful your rosy blush/ that spreads down snowy neck/ To rising, heaving breasts/ No matter how long I look/ I could not find a more perfect place/ For my weary head to rest/ I would give all that I posses/ To spend a few enchanting hours/ To laugh and play with you/ As all lovers do/ In a field of wild flowers.   Annie stopped dancing and tears poured out of her eyes and down her face, washing off the rest of her carefully applied make up.   Tommy pressed her tear stained face against his broad chest, against his rapid beating heart. He murmured, “I’m sorry for making you cry’ my darling, my delicious Annie but I thought you’d like it.”   She sobbed, “I do, it’s so beautiful,” and clung to his strong frame like there would be no tomorrow. “I’m crying happy tears, my love, my sweetheart, my life, my darling.”   When at last her crying ended, he took one step backwards, tilted her sweet angel face upwards and kissed each and every drying tear away.   She waited until the last one was gone before speaking, “Was that beautiful poem from a book because it reminds me of John Rice, the world famous poet.”   Tommy O’Quinn smiled down at his new found love, “I just made that up. I spent two years at York University studying journalism and English literature.”   “Why didn’t you finish?’   The young man tightened his arms around his angel, “My uncle hurt his back so I had to quit and help him on the farm. When this crazy war is over I intend to go back and finish my studies. Don’t get me wrong, I love farming but I also want to do more. Perhaps I’ll become a farmer poet and maybe one day I’ll be as famous as your Mr. Rice.” Tommy paused his long speech and took several deep breaths, “How would you like to be a farmer’s wife?”   Silver wind chime laughter tinkled in the night, “My goodness sir you do work fast.”   Young O’Quinn joined in, “I didn’t mean right now, I meant after this silly war is over and we know each other better.”   “I was just teasing,” but the thought of being his wife sent wave after wave of ecstasy and delight surging through her heart and mind.   Heavy footsteps creaked over the porch boards and a shrill, shrewish blast split the night air open. “Ann, Ann Foster are you out here? Now where could that gad about, flight girl have gotten too. She’s going to get a good talking too when I get her home. I have half a mind to call the police on her.”   Annie whispered, “We better get out of here or we’ll both be in for a long lecture. If she finds out your Irish, she will call the police on you. Do you like jazz?”   Tommy kept his voice low, “Love it, why?”

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Filed under Short Story

Music Box Dreamer

The young soldier felt anger growing in his belly and when he spoke his words were sharp and held a little bit of his feelings. “Do you always laugh at people that do things for you.”   Girlish laughter rang out in the dark night. She mumbled, “Sorry,” the half smoked cigarette fell on to the porch floor. Its bright spark was ground under a small brown shoe.   O’Quinn frowned, “You don’t look sorry but I suppose I shouldn’t expect an apology form a child like you anyway.” Before Annie had a chance for a comeback he added. “I just met this child named Annie/ Who loves to play the Pianee/ Poor thing always frowns, When people tell here to sit down/ Because she’s blocking their view with her fanny.”   This was the last straw as far as Ann Foster was concerned. She shouted, “How rude,” turned on her heels and stomped away. She turned back before she reached the open door, “Did you ever go into an Irishman’s shanty and see your uncle dressed up like your aunty.”   The young soldier clenched both fists as an angry red stain washed across his face, he gritted his teeth, “I’ll have you know.” He paused until just the right words came to his mind. He growled, “I didn’t grow up in a shanty. If you must know I lived in a nice four room apartment when I was young. Of course hoity toity rich girls like yourself thinks all Irish are illiterate, unwashed and uncouth. I know all about your kind.”   Fire flashed out of two big sapphire eyes as she stormed back to where he was standing. “Just what do you think you know about girls like me, you, you big.” Annie didn’t want to swear, didn’t want to give into her rage but this ugly soldier was asking for it. “You big lunk head you.” she wanted to grab hold of his broad shoulders and shake the stuffing out of him.”   The two young people glared at each other for several minutes without speaking. Tommy broke the gaze first. He mumbled, “Sorry child if I up set you.”   A small clenched fist thudded hard into his left shoulder. His mouth dropped open and his grey eyes grew large. He reached out with both hands to grab and shake some respect into her.     Before his big paws settled onto soft, yielding flesh, laughter poured out of his open mouth. He laughed so hard that tears formed in his eyes wetting the stubble of his day old beard as they rolled down his cheeks. He laughed so hard that he had to clutch onto the shaking girl to keep from falling.   It took him a while to regain his composure but when he did a big warm smile flashed across his face. “I’m sorry for being so rude. I’m usually not this way, not at all. It’s just, well never mind.”   To Annie he no longer looked homily. Instead he was the cutest young man she had ever seen in her life. The anger that had been piling up until it was almost a mountain, faded faster than the morning dew. Her heart thudded against her chest, against the soft, thin fabric of her dress. A smile that would light up the darkest night, a smile that would melt an ice berg turned two perfect rosebud lips upwards. “I’m sorry two about, well you did start it by saying I have a big fanny. Is my bottom really that big that it will block peoples view?”   Her directness, her smile and her intoxicating perfume carried on the breath of the wind completely fluster the young man. His tongue tied its self into a dozen knots. At least that’s what it seemed like, “Uu, I, I,I.” After a minute of stumbling and stuttering his answer he regained a bit of self-possession. “I never saw much of your bottom but from what I did see I think it is the loveliest in the whole world.”   She gazed long into his eyes searching for a hint of deceit, for a shadow that he was being rude once more. There was only truth and honesty within them. She got out a low sir before bursting out into a gale of giggles. She leaned against him and clutched his shoulder.   Without even realizing it Tommy put both arms around the slender, soft frame of the beautiful girl and held her close. It took a while for the giggles to fade away into the darkness but at last they did.   A muffled, “Please unhand me sir,” brought the soldier back to his senses.   He dropped his long arms back to his sides. A bit of red brightened up his face, his mumbled, “Sorry,” was heartfelt and honest. “I’m so sorry for being so rude. Can we please start over again and be friends. I don’t want to fight with a pretty girl one on of my last few nights in Canada.”   A soft, “I don’t want to fight either,” and another smile sent his heart racing once more.   She curtsied and stepped closer to him. One slender arm slid around his waist. A slender hand went up behind his short red hair and pulled his head down. Four lips opened a little. Two soft lips and two lips roughened by summer sun and winter winds touched. Two young bodies pressed tight against each other, clung to each other with all of their might.   A loud, shrill, “Ann Foster, where are you Ann Foster,”  floating out of  the half open window intruded into their moment of rapture.   Annie was the first to unlock lips. She caressed the back of his neck several time before removing her soft hand.   A heavy sigh escaped from Tommy as he dropped his arms back at his sides.   Ann was the first one to speak and there was a hint of panic in her seductive, bedroom voice. “Oh heavens it’s mother. Let’s go around the corner so she won’t see.”   Tommy started feeling angry again and his voice was loud when he spoke, “Are you ashamed of me because I’m Irish.”   “I could never be ashamed of you,” two large tear drops rolled out of the corner of her eyes and down her cheeks. “I love you. I love you with all my heart, with all my soul, with my very life.”   The young man forced his growing anger back where it belonged. “What is it then?”   Annie wiped the tears off of her chin, “It’s just that mother thinks anyone not in our social circle is beneath her dignity. I don’t feel that way at all, never have. I’m too happy now for an angry confrontation. It, it would just spoil everything.   The two new lovers made their way off of the step and around the corner of the building, the strains of the Vienna Waltz followed behind them.   Tommy’s white teeth flashed in the darkness, “May I have this dance Madam?”

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Music Box Dreamer

Tommy O’Quinn leaned his tall raw boned frame up against the wall of the Mason’s large hall and took a deep drag of his half finished cigarette. He tried to tune out the rather brassy music pouring out of the half open window. “What the hell I’m I doing here in this miserable city, God forsaken city. I wished I was back home on Uncle Pat’s farm. I could be sitting around having coffee and a couple of Aunt Fiona’s cookie. I could be listening to Gang Busters or Fibber McGee and Molly. Or I could be talking about our plans for the farm. You were a damn fool to enlist Tommy my lad, a real damn fool. ”   Tommy was so caught up in the turmoil of his thoughts that he didn’t hear the large, ornate door swing open. He didn’t hear the footsteps gliding across the old wooden porch.   The soft, feminine, “Do you have a light,” dragged his thoughts back from his wishful musings to the reality of the moment.   His steel grey eyes wandered over the slender form and angel like face. A few golden curls had escaped from their proper place and cascaded over one blue eye.   His homily face broke into a warm, beautiful smile, “Yes I do.” The young man hoped with all his might that the girl wouldn’t look down and see his legs shaking. Tommy knew that in all his short life he had never seen any girl as beautiful as this one. His heart pounded so hard inside his chest he was afraid she could hear it.   The look she gave him was cool and unflustered. Even though the light was dim Tommy could see the storm clouds gathering in her big beautiful eyes. “Will you light my cigarette then, please?”   Tommy swallowed hard twice and tried to calm his racing mind and heart before answering. When he had regained s little of his scattered composure he replied in the deepest voice he could muster. He began, “Where I come from,” knowing full well what he was going to say was the wrong thing. He didn’t care though, because all of his life snooty, rich, beautiful girls like this one had turned up their noses at him. “Where I come from folks usually introduce themselves before asking for something. But I guess rich city girls are used to being rude and getting their own way.”   Annie was taken back by the rudeness of this young, plain looking man. She was used to men bending over backwards just to get a smile from her. This bold speaking male intrigued her, piqued her curiosity as no other man ever had. She smiled sweetly, “I’m sorry. My name is Ann,” she hesitated for a moment. “My name is Annie, Annie Foster,” she stretched out her slender hand. It was greeted by a large calloused hand that felt like a bear paw to here.”   A smile split his homily face in two, “It’s real nice to meet you, Annie, Annie foster. Your parents sure must be strange to give you the same middle name as your first one.”   It’s just Annie you dolt,” here warm voice turned a December north wind cold. “You may call me Miss Foster and keep your blasted light.” She wanted to turn away from this tall, offensive, red haired man but she couldn’t. Something wild surged in her breast. Un-known feelings coursed through her body and shook it from golden crowned head to painted red toenails. She felt giddy, felt light headed. Annie could feel her nipples filling with blood and pushing out against the fabric of her red silk dress. She was sure if he glanced down he would see what was happening. “Oh my goodness, I hope he doesn’t look. I hope he can’t hear my heart beating.”   “Well just Annie,” Tommy still held the girl’s slender, warm hand in his large mitt. Foolish feelings ran through him and foolish, troubling thoughts coursed through is mind. He reached into the left front pocket of his uniform and pulled out an old, banged up lighter.   “You can let go of my hand now sir, I need it to hold my cigarette.   O’Quinn mumbled sorry and relaxed his grip. It took two swift flicks of his thumb before a tiny flame appeared. A big calloused hand was cupped to keep the gentle breeze from extinguishing the fire.”   Annie took a deep drag, held for a minute, exhaled and smiled, “Thanks kind sir but you have me at a disadvantage. You know my name but I don’t know yours.”   Tommy took two steps backwards and bowed, “Private first class Tommy O’Quinn at your service miss.”   The girl giggled.

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