Tag Archives: mythology

Braiding Mythology

For my wife, who requested it.

All she had wanted was to put her hair up in French braids. They looked so neat and elegant on that woman in the booklet where the step-by-step instructions made it sound as simple as looking in the mirror. Maybe it was, for all she knew, but for her, a woman whose hair was so unruly that she couldn’t even get a brush through it, it was a Herculean task.

An hour into the process, Medusa was so frustrated that she just wanted to shave her head and become a mass-murderer.

“Okay, let’s try this again,” she said, studying the instructions. “Chad and Lucifer go over Jafar and Travis.” The snakes hissed and she reached back and wrestled them into place. “Okay, now Hecate and Adolf go over Jafar and Travis.” She grunted as she tried to grab the writhing mass. One of the snakes bit her—probably Adolf; he was still mad at her for the whole split-ends treatment she’d had done the week before.

She had just gotten the first two steps in place and was searching with her pinky finger to pull Devon and Mephistopheles into the emerging braid when her cell phone rang. It was Stheno. Jezebel, who was one of her bangs and more helpful than most, answered the call with her forked tongue.

“Where are you?” Medusa asked. “I thought you were coming to help with this.”

“Hero trouble,” Stheno said. “I’m in a taxi on my way over now. When’s he picking you up?”

“At seven. That’s ten minutes from now. I haven’t even put on my makeup yet.”

“You don’t expect him to look at you, do you?”

There was a pause. “Well, I want to look nice in case he does,” Medusa said, a touch defensively. “Anyway, that’s why I needed your help with this braid, so I could let him look at my back.”

“I don’t know why you don’t do what I do and wear a hat,” Stheno said. “I fill it with mice; that’s the only thing that keeps my hair under control.”

“I want to impress him. He looks like such a special guy.”

“You met him on Tinder,” Stheno said.

“He swiped right, didn’t he?”

“But you didn’t put your real profile picture up.”

“Of course not! I’m not trying to turn the whole Internet to stone,” Medusa said. The snakes were restless and her fingers were getting tired. “Just get over here, would you?”

Just then the doorbell rang. “Crap, he’s here already.” She released her hair reluctantly and the snakes all wriggled out again into the freedom of an intractable tangle.

“Put a hat on,” Stheno said.

“No. Look, I don’t care. He’ll just have to accept me as I am. I’m sure Perseus and I will have a great time tonight. I’ll call you later.”

 


Alone on a Boat – The Final Chapter

Hi, everyone. Here is the 13th and final chapter in our continuing collaborative story, Alone on a Boat. It was put on hold for a few weeks since Sharmishtha had some unexpected, terrible flooding. If you’ve been following along, you can read all the chapters, including the previous one on her blog.

Or here’s the synopsis: Angelique is 20 years old and sailing solo around the world. Two men kidnap her in the Indian Ocean and bring her to an island where there is an ancient Indian temple. They get killed by monsters but she escapes and meets an old man, John, who brings her into the temple, which is full of treasure. Her father arrives the next morning because of a distress beacon she activated. He sees the treasure but before he can go in, Angelique is transported into the temple alone and confronts a naga woman. Because of Angelique’s honesty in not trying to take the treasure, she is rewarded with a nagmani, a naga’s third eye, that will take her back to the temple if she needs to go. Her and her father go back to the boat but he sneaks out at night to go find the treasure. She goes after him and finds him in an altered state, imagining he is at the temple and taking jewels, when he is only in the jungle.

Alone on a Boat – Part 13 (The final chapter)

By mid-morning, John and Angelique had gotten her father down to the shore. He came willingly enough, but often stopped to pluck imaginary gems out of the air and store them in his bag.

“Do you really think he will be okay?” Angelique asked.

“I hope so,” John said. “Get him far away from here and then see. It may take a while. I’m not sure; I’ve never seen this sort of thing before.”

“Thank you,” she said. “You saved my life. I’ll never forget you.” He smiled and held out his hand but she moved past it and gave him a hug.

“Come back sometime, if you can,” he said. “I will still be here, I’m sure.”

John helped her get her father onto the ship, then she brought him back to the shore. He stood waving as she pulled up the anchor and set the motor to bring them away from the island.

Her father was now lying on the bed, and was asleep when she checked on him. He continued to sleep all day and she checked several times to see if he was still breathing.

She made supper and went into the bedroom. “Dad, Dad, it’s time for supper.” She shook him gently, but there was no response. Was he in a coma? After a few minutes more, she went up on deck and ate supper by herself.

She had sailed solo for many days, but never had she felt more frightened and alone than at this moment, with her father unconscious inside. What if he never woke up? What could she do? What would her mother say?

The sun went down, extinguishing itself in the waters of the Indian Ocean. Angelique lay down and looked up at the millions of stars shining above her.

She looked down and saw that her shirt was glowing. She pulled out the nagmani. It was glowing with a reddish luminescence that grew brighter and then suddenly faded back to black.

There was a noise from the cabin and the door opened. Her father stood in the doorway.

“Are we on the open sea?” he asked. “Weren’t we on an island?”

“We were but we left,” Angelique said, going to him and giving him a hug. “You’ve been sleeping for hours.”

“I feel pretty tired. What happened? The last thing I remember I had taken a helicopter to come find you and I remember something about being on the boat.”

“Well, that’s passed now, Dad,” she said. “We’re heading for Jakarta; I can drop you off there, if you wish, or you can stay until Singapore.”

He nodded. “Either one is fine. I wonder what the name of that island was? I’d like to go back there sometime.”

A stab of apprehension went through Angelique. “I don’t know, Dad,” she said.

“Well, whatever. I’m so tired for some reason. I think I’ll go back to bed.” He went back in, closing the door.

Angelique leaned back and looked up at the night sky again. The stars seemed to be smiling down on her. She was happy now. She was ready for the next adventure.

Alone on a boat


Phaeton Day

This is a story for Alastair’s Photo Fiction challenge. It takes place in a virtual reality world, similar to the one in my story, The Horse Bridge.

copyright Alastair Forbes

copyright Alastair Forbes

Phaeton Day

I woke up in my virtual world of Lex to find a .80 caliber Helios “Sunkiller” rifle propped next to my bed. That meant only one thing: Phaeton Day.

Outside, neighbors were clustered together, looking up at the sun, each holding their rifle. The sun was already quivering around, dancing to and fro. Suddenly, it streaked across the whole arc of the sky from east to west. Shadows skewed crazily.

A few people took shots at it, but most waited. The world moderators had outlawed flying for the day and everyone moved slowly, suddenly ungainly at having to stay on the ground.

The day wore on and as the sun sunk closer to the earth, it began to get hotter. More people were firing now, trying to puncture the sun and unlock their Sunkiller achievement.

By mid-afternoon, everything was broiling. The sun was on high difficulty: it kept dancing everywhere, impossible to hit.

I had one bullet left when the sun zoomed overhead. I felt the intense blast of heat and fired upwards. There was a splash of flames and the disk of the sun fell onto my house.

“Congratulations!” a voice said out of nowhere. “Umm, sorry.”


Alone on a Boat – Part 11

Sorry this story is so late. Usually I post my chapters of this story on Mondays. However, this weekend was adventuring on a remote island (not unlike our heroine) and was unable to post it.

If you’re behind on the story, here’s all you need to know: Angelique is 20 years old and sailing solo around the world. Two men kidnap her in the Indian Ocean and bring her to an island where there is an ancient Indian temple. They get killed by monsters but she escapes and meets an old man, John, who brings her into the temple, which is full of treasure. Her father arrives the next morning because of a distress beacon she activated. He sees the treasure but before he can go in, Angelique is transported into the temple alone and confronts a naga woman. Because of Angelique’s honesty in not trying to take the treasure, she is rewarded with a nagmani, a naga’s third eye, that will take her back to the temple if she needs to go.

Sharmishtha has posted all the previous installments here.

Alone on a Boat – Part 11

Angelique slipped the nagmani medallion into her pocket. “Nothing much. Where did you guys just go?”

“Where did you go?” her father said. “Suddenly you disappeared and then a moment later you were back, blinking in the sunlight. This is the craziest place I’ve ever seen.”

He turned back towards the temple doors and Angelique saw that same look of entranced greed in his eyes.

“Let’s get back to the boat,” she said quickly. He turned towards her and after a moment of thought, nodded.

“Yeah, that’s probably best. I’ll send the helicopter back to Phuket once we find it and determine that everything is okay. Then, if it’s okay with you, I’d like to sail with you for a while. Just until we make it out of this area. You can drop me off in Singapore or Jakarta if you want. Is that okay?”

“I’d like that, Dad,” she said. He nodded and went to talk to the pilot.

As soon as he had gone, John stepped up next to her. “I see that you received a nagmani. You are truly favored, but guard it carefully. Do not let it out of your hands.” He threw a meaningful glance over at her father.

Angelique’s father came back and they said good-bye to John. He did not want to go down to the beach with them, but shook their hands and watched them climb aboard the helicopter. Angelique saw him quickly move back into the jungle as soon as they were airborne.

It did not take long to find the boat. It was anchored by itself in a small cove a few kilometers away. Angelique was a little wary about climbing down the swaying rope ladder to the boat below, but her father went first and held it steady at the bottom. Finally, when they had searched the boat and concluded that everything was safe and normal, her father waved the all-clear to the pilot and the helicopter flew off, disappearing over the crest of the island.

“Shall we take off right now?” Angelique said. “It’s still early morning; we can make it a long way today.”

“Let’s just take it easy today,” her father said. “You’ve been through a lot and it might be nice just to take a day here and relax. Go swimming if you want. It’ll give me a chance to look over the boat too and make sure those guys didn’t mess with anything. If they did, it’s better to find it here than out there on the open water.”

“I guess that’s true,” Angelique said. She did not want to spend another day at that island, but her father had a point. She relaxed and did some swimming while he tinkered with the engine and the various instruments. That evening, they had a fire on the beach and watched the stars from the deck of the ship.

Angelique woke up in the middle of the night in a panic. She had had a nightmare about things crawling over the side of the ship and into her bedroom. She had reached for the nagmani, but it had burned her hands.

Now, she sat in the dark, listening for her father’s breathing. He had taken the fold-down bunk on the side by the door.

She could hear nothing. After a few minutes, she turned on her penlight and shone it towards him. The bunk was empty.

She went out on deck. “Dad? Where are you?” There was no answer. She searched the whole ship, from bow to stern. He was not there. She was alone.

(to be continued on Friday on Sharmishtha Basu’s blog)

sailing alone


What would you do if you were “Alone on a Boat”?

Today the 10th installment of “Alone on a Boat” came out . It is a collaborative story between Sharmishtha Basu and myself. Please read the latest chapter (and all the previous ones) here at Sharmistha’s blog:

Our heroine, Angelique is quite a spunky girl. We know this because she’s 20 and sailing around the world by herself. I’m curious what you would have done in her situation.  Take my quiz, then find out how close you are to Angelique.

copyright Sharmishtha Basu

copyright Sharmishtha Basu

1. You are sailing your boat and see a man floating in the water, clinging to wreckage. Do you:

  1. Pick him up (I only pick up hitchhikers in the middle of the ocean)
  2. Throw at Coke bottle at his head as you sail by (Shipwrecked? Ain’t nobody got time for that)
  3. Call the police and hope they find him in time (I want to help, but not THAT much)
  4. Pick him up, then hold him for ransom (Money, money, money…)

2. You are kidnapped by two men who have you tied up in your bedroom. Do you:

  1. Take a nap (Getting kidnapped is tiring)
  2. Cry and act helpless (Yay, I’m a damsel in distress!)
  3. Get the distress beacon from the bedside table (I’m a Lara Croft wannabe)
  4. Tell them your father is rich and will ransom you (Money solves all problems)

3. Your kidnappers have taken you to a jungle temple and you’ve just seen them get eaten by a huge monster. Do you:

  1. Scream your lungs out, alerting the monster to your occasion.  (WWABGIAHMD: What Would A Blond Girl In A Horror Movie Do?)
  2. Take a nap. (Hey, that was a long hike through the jungle)
  3. Run away (Duh…)
  4. Grab the kidnapper’s fallen machete and go Bruce Willis on that monster (I’m sick of these **** monsters in this **** temple!)

4. You come across a strange man in the woods who says he’ll help you. Do you:

  1. Kill him. (Don’t mess around: I believe in Stranger Danger)
  2. Go with him. (You’re desperate. Gotta take the chance).
  3. Tie him up and leave him as monster bait (Better him than you)
  4. Ask him if he has a phone so you can call someone else (I need help, but I’m picky)

5. You find yourself in a temple filled with gold and gems. You’ve been warned that if you steal anything, you’ll be hunted down.

  1. Get your running shoes on, grab the biggest gem and and start sprinting. (High school gym class, don’t fail me now)
  2. Make a note of the temple’s coordinates to come back later with dynamite. (With Lara Croft AND Indiana Jones)
  3. Take a nap (Treasure makes you sleepy)
  4. Don’t take anything (Are you crazy? You saw the kidnappers get slaughtered)

 

Okay, tabulate your answers. Angelique’s actions were: 1, 3, 3, 2, 4. If you chose any of the other choices, you are most likely sociopathic, insanely greedy, or possibly narcoleptic.

If you haven’t read the story yet and want to catch up, click here.

jungle night

 

 

 

 

 


Alone on a Boat – Part 9

Part 9 of a collaborative story between myself and Sharmishtha Basu where the main character Angelique is neither on a boat nor alone. At least at the moment.

Here’s what has happened so far: Our heroine Angelique has been kidnapped and brought to a temple in the jungle by two men. They are going to sacrifice her to get through a door to steal a large diamond. However, a huge tentacled monster attacks them before they can. She runs away and finds other monsters, but comes across an old man named John who is Australian but now lives alone on the island. He takes her back to his cave for the night so they will be safe from any monsters or creatures that are around.

But then, a huge multi-headed snake, a naga, attacks in the night, and John has to take her through a secret tunnel into the temple of Lakshmi, where there is gold and gems everywhere, including a huge lotus made of diamonds. Gold nagas stand guard and John says they will attack anyone who tries to steal the treasure.

Sharmishtha has posted all the previous installments here.

Alone on a Boat – Part 9

Angelique lay down to sleep surrounded by millions of dollars worth of gold and gems, not to mention the priceless diamonds that formed the lotus blossom in front of the goddess Lakshmi’s idol.

She was glad when the flare burned out and darkness hid the unobtainable wealth from her. She had meant what she had said to John about not wanting to be rich, but still, now that it was all here in front of her, images of what she could do with such riches kept creeping into her mind.

“There are only about four hours until dawn,” John said out of the darkness. “I’ll keep watch until then.”

“I thought you said this was the safest place we could be—that no monsters could get in here.”

“That’s true,” he said, “but still.”

He is watching because of me, Angelique thought. In case I try to steal something. It gave her an odd feeling.

She woke up to see a long sliver of daylight slicing across the temple floor. John’s figure was silhouetted against it.

Angelique got to her feet and went over to him. “The men who kidnapped me were trying to get in here,” she said. “They seemed to think that only human sacrifice would let them get through this door.”

“Perhaps they were right,” John said, still looking out. “I don’t know how to get in through these doors. However, if you come in the way we did, it is easy to come out this way. The doors push open from the inside. They will not stay open, though. I once came out and left them open. They were shut tight when I returned.”

“What do we do now?” Angelique asked. “Are we safe from monsters now?”

“I don’t know. Yesterday I would have said yes—that they do not come out in the daylight, but then again, I would have said nothing could have found us in my cave. I will try to lead you down to the shore and then you can get away in your boat. I think we can get there in a few hours by a path I know.”

At that moment, the sound of a helicopter broke the morning stillness. It came into view a minute later, a civilian model with Thai markings on it. It landed in the clearing of the temple courtyard, the rotor whipping at the overhanging branches. As soon as it on the ground, the door opened and a muscular, tanned man in his 50s jumped out.

“Dad!” Angelique shouted and ran towards him. He hugged her tightly.

“Are you okay?” he shouted over the noise of the rotor. “I got your distress signal and rented a helicopter as soon as I could. Then we followed the GPS signal. Where’s the boat?”

“Down in a cove. How did you get here so fast?”

“I was in Phuket,” her father said. “Just a few hours away.”

“Were you following me?” she asked.

“Not following, just staying close. Just in case. What happened anyway?”

Angelique led him a little ways from the helicopter and explained everything that had happened, about the two men who had kidnapped her and brought her to the temple.

“How did you get away?” he asked.

She hesitated. “Something attacked them. A creature. Then I ran into John and he helped me.” She introduced John to her father and the two men shook hands.

John had been standing with his back against the temple door while she had been talking to her father, and she suddenly realized that he had been trying to push it closed. Before she could say anything, her father looked up at the temple.

“What is this place, anyway?” He took a step towards the door.

“Dad, don’t. Let’s just go.” It was no good. Her father seemed to have forgotten she was there. He took another step, looking around in amazement. He hadn’t seen the gold and jewels inside yet, but it was only a matter of another few steps.

“Dad, please. Let’s just get out of here. Back to the boat.”

She knew it was useless. Her father’s greatest fantasy was to be the real-life Indiana Jones. He took another step forward and she saw his eyes suddenly widen.

“Mother of Mary,” he said softly, and she knew it was too late.

(to be continued on Friday on Sharmishtha Basu’s blog)

lakshmi


Alone on a Boat – Part 7

Part 7 of a collaborative story between myself and Sharmishtha Basu where the main character Angelique is neither on a boat nor alone. At least for now.

In case you’re behind on the story, our heroine Angelique has been kidnapped and brought to a temple in the jungle by two men. They are going to sacrifice her to get through a door to steal a large diamond. However, a huge tentacled monster attacks them before they can. She runs away and finds other monsters, but comes across an old man who is Australian but now lives alone on the island. He takes her back to his cave for the night so they will be safe from any monsters or creatures that are around.

Sharmishtha has posted all the previous installments here.

Alone on a Boat – Part 7

The only light in the pitch blackness was a tiny, blinking red LED on the emergency distress beacon. Nowhere near enough light to see by, even if she wanted to.

Angelique lay in the sticky darkness, the hay crackling under her whenever she moved. She tried to lie perfectly still.

She heard a faint rustling at the entrance of the cave, like the branches of the bush that hid the entrance being moved aside. She wondered if John, the old man, had gone outside. The sound came again and then a long, drawn-out scraping sound, like something being dragged across the dirt.

She wanted to say something, but she was too afraid to move or make a sound. If it was John, then there was no problem, but if it was something else… She heard it come closer. There was a long hiss, like air escaping from a tank.

Pop! The cave was lit with an explosion of smoky red light. In the sudden glare, Angelique saw a grotesque, multi-headed monster looming over her, fangs bared. She screamed and rolled to the side, shielding her head with her arms. There were sounds of struggle, but she did not dare to look up.

“It’s okay. It’s over.” It was John’s voice and he sounded shaken. Angelique looked up to see him standing over a thick cylinder of flesh and holding a bloody machete. A flare sputtered and popped on the floor.

“What is it?” she asked, backing further into the side of the cave. John had cut the thing in half, but still a few of the heads twitched spasmodically.

“It’s a naga, or at least the thing the nagas of legend are based on,” John said. “I’ve only seen one before this, in much different circumstances. I keep a few flares here for emergencies and when I woke up and heard the sound, I thought I should use it. I’m glad I did.”

naga“Why was it coming after me?”

“That’s what troubles me. The situation is obviously much worse than I thought, if these monsters are able to find us here. There is only one place where we can be safe now. Quick, before the flare dies.”

He held out his hand to her and she took it and stood up. John crossed to the back of the cave and pushed away a large boulder that was resting against the back wall, revealing a small, dark opening. He picked up the flare and motioned for her to enter. He followed and pulled the rock over the entrance.

“This is both the safest and most dangerous place we could go,” he said as he took the lead and began to descend the tunnel. “It is safe because no monsters will ever find us here.”

“Why is it dangerous?” Angelique asked after a moment.

“Greed. Even I was taken by it once; it took years to let go the fantasies and dreams of luxury and power that could be.”

“I don’t have any dreams of wealth,” Angelique said. “I just want to sail around the world, then have a comfortable life. I don’t want to be rich.”

John gave a low laugh. “You say that now. Normally, I would never take you here, but we have no choice if we are to live through the night.”

They came to a large door and John pushed it open. “We are here, the temple of Laxmi, goddess of wealth.”

Gold glittered everywhere.

(to be continued on Friday on Sharmishtha Basu’s blog)

lakshmi


Eve In Korea

My Adventures As An ESL Teacher In South Korea

Luna's Writing Journal

A Place for my Fiction

Bikurgurl

I'm just a gurl in the world

Here's To Being Human

Living life as a human

The Moving Quill

Writing & Blogging by Shailaja V

jenacidebybibliophile

Book Reviewer and Blogger

yuxianadventure

kitten loves the world

Strolling South America

10 countries, 675 days, 38,540km

It's All in Finding the Right Words

The Eternal Search to Find One's Self: Flash Fiction and Beyond

Reflections Of Life's Journey

Lessons, Joys, Blessings, Friendships, Heartaches, Hardships , Special Moments

A Writer's Path

Sharing writing tips, information, and advice.

Chris Green

Tales of Mystery and Imagination

Finding Myself Through Writing

Writing Habits of Elle Knowles - Author

Commendable Soap

"...the manufacture of stories... a business safe and commendable as making soap..." Willa Cather, 1920

BEAUTIFUL WORDS

Inspiring mental health through creative arts and friendly interactions. (Award free blog)

Total Time Waste

A Humor Blog!

Claire Fuller

Writing and art

TALES FROM THE MOTHERLAND

Straight up with a twist– Because life is too short to be subtle!

Unmapped Country within Us

Emily Livingstone, Author

The Found Girl's Bookblog

A lost girl found by good books

Silkpurseproductions's Blog

Learning how to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

BJ Writes

My online repository for works in progress

wordsandotherthings.wordpress.com/

she is confidence in shadows.

Musings on Life & Experience

Poetry, Fiction, & Non-Fiction Writings

Outside The Lines

Fun readings about Color, Art and Segmation!

obBLOGato

a Photo Blog, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to dear dirty New York

Björn Rudbergs writings

Poetry and fiction by a physicist from the dark side

SightsnBytes

A.K.A. Ted White

WordDreams...

Jacqui Murray's

Life in Kawagoe

Japanese daily sight

The Day After

Musings of a Wannabe Photographer

Mondays Finish the Story

This is a flash fiction site where you finish the story!

Sketches By Boze

An ongoing exploration of faith, culture, myth, life, art. An advocate for all who are trapped in nightmares.

Tiffys World

A diary type blog following the life of a Forensic Science Student

San Diego Professional Writer's Group

A San Diego based critique group for professional and aspiring writers

Five Years to Mediocrity

chasing kitties, crashing scooters, and learning spanish, one anxiety attack at a time

athingirldotcom

never judge a girl by her weight

The Discerning Christian

Philosophy, Christianity, Social Justice

€merald Wake ©

❤ The art marked by the Pain ❤

Fiction et al

Navigating the modern business of book publishing

Yarnspinnerr

Just Fiction and other things that seem fictitious.

The Chicago Files

A CANADIAN EXPAT'S EXPERIENCES AND OBSERVATIONS LIVING IN THE WINDY CITY!

marina kanavaki

Art Towards a Happy Day [painting - illustration - design]

%d bloggers like this: