Ichabode Crane was observing the dim forest when he noticed the bald head buried beneath the tree of death. Each morning it was Ichabode’s job to discover what the headless horseman had left behind from his nights decapitating helpless citizens.
Today he found two headless corpses half-buried. He shivered thinking of the literal trail of blood that often followed the horseman.
Though Ichabod was a medical doctor, he’d never found any heads attached to the bodies the horseman discarded. His heart pounded and he began to sweat as he clawed the head from the ground with his fingers.
The hair felt dirty and greasy. The waxen skin was warm and he was sure the head had soulless eyes beneath its lids. While he stared, Ichabod’s hands shook. The blood running from the head’s eyes, suddenly, caught his attention as they began to open of their own accord.
Coal eyes with pupils as red as poppies, alerted Ichabod this head belonged to the horseman. Ichabod drank from his trusty flask, whiskey and opium to numb him.
But perhaps he drank too much. When he awoke, the head lay on his lap and Ichabod rested against the horrid tree. The moon exposed him and his opium veil faded. He felt too alert. The head’s mouth fell open revealing carnivorous teeth.
Soon, the thundering footsteps of the black horse and the armed body of the headless horseman could be heard. He screeched as the horseman took one slice at his neck, but then, Ichabod offered the horseman the head.
The horseman dropped his sword and went to his knees on the ground. He took the head in his gnarled hands and placed it on his neck. The horseman growled, a sound of rage in a demonic tongue.
He gazed at Ichabod, “Run, go now. I will spare you for returning my head. Everyone else in Sleepy Hollow will join me in death.”
Ichabod had never considered himself a coward but he ran anyways, never peering behind him as screams filled the night.
Thanks to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting last Friday’s music challenge. It was based on the song ” Calm Before the Storm” by Sarah Ross.
“Calm Before the Storm” – Sarah Ross
Calm before the storm
Calm perceived, not real
Real quiet, crows flying
Real quiet, eerie silence
Silence is all you deserve
Silence before your fall
Fall from saving grace
Fall from your glories
Glories were lies
Glories were false promises
Promises fade, are taken away
Promise, the storm will be fierce
Fierce as the rain drowning your voice
Fierce as the thunder screaming
Screaming across the darkest skies
Screaming as lightening fires
Fires and hits you, sparks
Fires right between your eyes, terrified
Terrified of the calm before the storm
Terrified when I warned —
Warned you little boy
Warned you as clouds turned grey, too late —
Too late to hold your breath
Too late as water cleanses, drowns
Drowns your pleading voice
Drowns her cursed moans that flew
Flew freely, you cannot hide
Flew undisguised, I heard surprised?
Surprised the worst ain’t happened yet
Surprised the storm intensifies
Intensifies my thirst for revenge,
Intensifies my grief, you only see
See the calm before the storm
See the sky ominous red
Red as rage, passion emblazed
Red as my ripped apart heart
Heart of the storm rises
Heart of mine wishes you gone
Gone your presence
Gone, don’t let your presence be prolonged
Prolongs my misery
Prolongs, such hatred brewing
Brewing tornado in your trailer park
Brewing in the marsh, a wild storm
Storms create, deep dank of cruel life
Storms erupt in my tranquil ocean.
Ocean forms my monstrous storm,
Life, you paid the price in my maelstrom.
The Blitz Poem:
This form of poetry is a stream of short phrases and images with repetition and rapid flow.
Begin with one short phrase, it can be a cliché. Begin the next line with another phrase that begins with the same first word as line 1. The first 48 lines should be short, but at least two words.
The third and fourth lines are phrases that begin with the last word of the 2nd phrase, the 5th and 6th lines begin with the last word of the 4th line, and so on, continuing, with each subsequent pair beginning with the last word of the line above them, which establishes a pattern of repetition.
Continue for 48 total lines with this pattern. The last two lines repeat the last word of line 48, then the last word of line 47.
The title must be only three words, with some sort of preposition or conjunction joining the first word from the third line to the first word from the 47th line, in that order.
I’m going to continue with my one of my Tale Weaver prompts with a modern rendition of Red Riding Hood with the main character, Red, who has just met Axel.J. Wolff or ‘Wolff’ in her grandmother’s house. Wolff is house-sitting for grandma Addy who is in Hawaii with Wolff’s Grandpa Reggie. Things were heating up for them at the end, I wonder what will happen when they get to the park?
She shouldn’t have run but that’s what she did. Wolff offered her his hand and invited her to keep him company and she panicked.
“The rest of the food is in the fridge,” she said ignoring Wolff’s outstretched hand. She turned towards Gran Addy’s bedroom door before Wolff could capture her hands again.
He was gorgeous with shamrock green eyes and tanned skin, probably from being out on the golf course but well, who was she to judge. She had had to learn to golf for work herself but instead of tanning her fair skin on the he course, her skinned often burned.
Red was alarmed she didn’t want to resist Wolff. He had gazed at her as if she were prey, looking her up and down as she found herself caught betweeen him and freedom through Gran’s bedroom door. He had licked his lips and stretched his arms above his head.
As if Red, wouldn’t notice his taut muscles and the pleased grin on his face. His teeth showed as he grinned as if Wolff thought she would give into him like weak prey. But Red wasn’t weak. No one had called her that for a long time. Red was strong. She was first in her class at Columbia and the best young associate at her firm.
Just the same, when Wolff asked Red to stay she backed up and tripped over her flats caught on the carpet. Then, getting up before Wolff could help her, she took off out the front door towards the safety of her red Coralla.
As she drove off, Red saw Wolff leaning against her grandmother’s front door, smiling at her. There was no doubt his gaze was predatory.
Thick lust and heat coursed through her veins as she backed up her car trying to force herself to calm down. Wolff waved and Red’s tires squeeled as she took off down the gravel road towards her family’s summer cottage and safety.
When Red walked in the cottage her mom appeared surprised to see her, “Gina? I’m surprised you’re home so early. Your Grandma called and said you were having a wonderful time with Reggie’s Grandson Wolff. I thought you’d be a while,” Anne said raising her eyebrows.
“Um, he’s fine. Wolff appreciated the food.”
Then Red got mad, “You should’ve told me Grandma Addy was in Hawaii with Reggie. Wolff scared the h*ll out of me. I didn’t know what he was doing in Gran’s bedroom.”
“Oh, Gran said she had the biggest bedroom. Reggie and she are gone for three months so she felt Wolff should have the biggest room in her house. She bought some manly bedding and packed away her old trinkets. He’s been so good to your Gran and Reggie.”
“You should have said something. I hate being surpised like that. I almost screamed bloody murder. I don’t need you or Gran to set me up like that. I’m a single girl and I like it.”
Red’s mom chuckled, “Most unattached women say that until they meet a great guy. Axel has his demons behind him and needs to settle down. Well, that’s what your Gran and Reggie said. It was their idea for you to bring him food. I thought it was a great one, ” Anne said winking.
Red stomped her foot, ” I get to choose who I want to date or meet. I mean, he was half naked in Gran’s room. Who does he think he is trying to shut me up before I tell him to get out? He shouldn’t be in there, doesn’t matter what Gran Addy thinks. Doesn’t he have a job and his own place?”
Anne chuckled again, ” He was half naked, eh? I would’ve loved to have seen that. I’ve seen Axel on the beach a few times and that man works out. Such intense green eyes, an Irish background, a hot body, and helpful to his Grandpa, sounds sexy to me. If I was a bit younger, I’d go for him.”
“Mom!” Red said shocked.
“He likes you, you know?”
“Does not. He doesn’t even know me.He just wants what ‘all ‘guys want.”
‘Did he ask you to stay?”
“Yeah, he did. But I panicked. I never panick. I’m cool under pressure. That’s why I’m good at my job,” Red said confused.
“You ran, didn’t you? Took off like Little Red Riding Hood being chased by the big bad ‘Wolff?” Anne said laughing a her joke.
“I did. Not quite like that though. How did you know?”
“You look anxious and I know you well. What did you think was going to happen?” Anne said enjoying teasing her daughter.
“Stop it, mom. I can’t handle a guy like Wolff now. Too hungry, the kind of guy who wants too much. I’ve plenty of options in the city.”
“Yet, you don’t date much,” Anne murmered.
Red stomped her food again, “I’m fine. I’m going to bed. Don’t bother with breakfast for me tomorrow. I’m going for a run in the park when I wake up, a long one.”
Anne chuckled,”I’d be careful if I were you. Axel Wolff likes to run in the park in the mornings too.”
“Well, I’ll go running tonight then. The sun’s up for a few more hours.”
“Red, don’t go. You’re all worked up for no reason and you haven’t had dinner, have you?”
“No, I’m fine. I’ll eat after I’m back.”
Red left the family cottage slamming the back door. She changed into her running clothes in her car and made a beeline for the park a few blocks away. When she was half-way down one paved trail she stopped abruptly.
Wolff was sitting on a park bench in his own running clothes. He had taken his shirt off, and Red could see his fascinating tattoos. She wondered what they were images of and what they meant.
Her eyes were glued to Wolff, wiping the sweat off his body with a towel. For some reason, her mouth was dry. She felt heat flowing through her veins again. It was an overpowering sensation.
Shaking her head, Red noticed she had stopped running entranced by Wolff’s body and shamrock green eyes. He gazed up at her and stared.
Wolff’s lips curled into a half-smile, “Surprised to see you here?”
“What are ‘you’ doing here?” Red asked instead.
“Had to wear off supper. But I’m hungry again. Did you come to help me with that?”
“Not really. But . . . ”
Wolff cut her off, “You do have big eyes, Red. They’re beautiful and so are you. Sit, talk with me.”
Red was ready to run but then Wolff was in front of her as in Gran Addy’s room. He grasped her wrist gently. Red could tell he wasn’t afraid of confrontation. For some reason he made her feel okay with backing down. No other guy did that.
She pulled and tugged but Wolff wouldn’t let her wrist go. She was disgusted with herself for not smacking his amused face.
“You, you just want to eat me up with your big teeth,” she said fumbling to find words.
Wolff laughed, “It’s not my teeth you should be worried about.”
Red tried pulled away from Wolff again. By then, Wolff had guided her to the park bench without her realizing it. Putting on his shirt back on he turned to her. He still grasped her same wrist and hand gently, “So, tell me something Red?”
Red’s eyes dilated, growing larger and bluer. Wolff stroked her cheek with his other hand.
Red was tired, worn out from helping her mother clean up the summer cottage. They had scrubbed it from top to bottom. Now that Red and her mother, Anne, were nearly done, all Red wanted to do was sit back and watch a movie with a bottle of her favourite ‘Red’ — a nice Cab-Sav or a Merlot.
Then, her mom appeared with a picnic basket, “Gina, I know you’re tired and we’ve been working all day, but I need you to take this basket of food down to your Grandma Addy’s house. She’ll be upset if one of us doesn’t at least pop by for an hour or two to visit.”
Red crossed her arms, “Mom, all I want to do is put my feet up and rest. I came out here to relax with you, Dad, and Michael, not to work even harder than I do at the firm. Besides, no one calls me Gina, just you. Call my Red that’s my name , like my hair.”
“Well who do you think your beautiful hair came from? My mother, your Gran Adeline of course. I know you’re worn out but you’re younger and have my energy than I do. I still have to change the sheets and air out the upstairs bedrooms for your father and I, and your brother’s room needs new bedding as well.”
“Make him do it.”
“Mike won’t care. I can’t have his room that way.”
Red grumbled, “Grandma’s a fantastic cook, mom. She makes amazing food for herself. She eats whatever she likes and doesn’t have diabeties even at eighty-three. How about I give her a call and tell her I’ll come by with lunch tomorrow? She’ll prefer I call before showing up,” Red reasoned.
“Err, Red, your Grandma isn’t always as healthy as she likes to think she is. I was down here earlier this year because she hadn’t been able to cook and do a lot of her usual activities. Her arthritis has been acting up. It’s not healthy for her to be too thin at her age and she refuses to take the steroids the doctor prescribed her. She needs the food tonight. I called her and she told me she’s been eating toast and jam for days.”
Red was shocked, “You should have said something earlier, I would have visited Gran Addy before now.”
Anne shrugged in apology and Red gave her mother an angry look tbefore stockng out the front door to her Camry. It was red like her hair and practical. Red was nothing if not practical. It was why she was one of the best associates at her law firm.
She drove as fast as she could down the dirt road to her Grandma’s quaint house. Red gritted her teeth as stones assaulted the sides of her car and sighed in relief when she reached her Grandmother’s front drive and bungalow.
She picked up the picnic basket from her back seat and knocked on her Grandma’s aubergine front door. “Gran, are you there? It’s Red, I have food mom made for you. It ‘s delicious and should tide you over for a few days. I can bring more when I’m over next,” she yelled through the door.
Red didn’t hear a response so she tried the door handle. When the front door opened easily Red grew cautious. She walked inside her grandmother’s front entrance, hanging up her vermillion jacket on a coat hook and putting most of the food away in her gran’s fridge. She put together a plate of chicken, potatoes, gravy, and cauliflower with cheese sauce for her grandma before heating the food in the microwave for a few minutes.
“Adeline?” Red called. “Grandma Addy? I have supper for you from my my mom. It’s Red, Grandma? Are you okay?”
She walked down the hallway and knocked on her grandma’s bedroom door holding the tray with the steaming plate of food and a cup of her gran’s favourite tea. The door swung open on its own and Red realized her Grandma Addy wasn’t in her bedroom. But who was?
Red shrieked when a half naked man came into view stretching his well defined arms and back in front of her grandma’s picture window. The man was covered with intricate tattoos, designs trailing up his well toned arms and back.
He seemed to know she was there and when he turned around Red almost drooled noticing the attractive man’s six-pack abs and mesmerizing shamrock eyes. She had to close her own cerulean eyes to gather herself and not clumsily drop the tray of food. Red felt her grip wobbling as she tried to breath.
The gorgeous tattoo covered man rushed forward to help her. Red noticed his dark hair and inhaled his fresh woodsy scent as he grasped the tray from Red’s shaking hands.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
“No! No I am not. What the Hell are you doing in my Grandma’s bedroom? Where is she? My mom sent me over here to bring her food. All she’s been doing is eating toast all week. So where is she? And who are?” Red yelled.
The man tried to calm her rubbing her arms and hushing her. Red didn’t back down, “You have five seconds before I call the police and tell them you’re trespassing in my Grandma’s home. Guess what else? I’m a lawyer so I’m going to make sure we sue you for trespassing and anything else I can.”
The man sighed shaking his head at Red. She followed him to her Gran’s writing desk, tray in hand. His handsome face crinkled as he gave her a genuine smile and took the tray from her. Red started to shout again but the man placed his hand over Red’s mouth.
“Just give me five minutes. I’ll clear this all up.”
Red wrinkled her nose and grasping his hand over her mouth, threw it away from her.
Then his hand was back over her mouth, “Okay, Miss lawyer. My name is Wolff, Axel J. Wolff. But everyone calls me Wolff. Your Grandma asked me to house-sit while she and my grandpa Reggie went to Hawaii. They used to go out before both of them married their respective spouses. But now your Grandpa and my Nana have died so Addy and Reggie are both enjoying life together. I’m not trespassing and your Grandma did call your mom to tell her to send you over with food for me. I’m pretty sure she wanted us to meet.”
Wolff smiled then picked up the fork from the tray and started eating. “This is amazing. Not as good as Addy’s cooking but much better than my own. Did you make it?”
All Red could do was stare at Wolff suspiciously. Something about what he said didn’t add up. Her Grandma always told her if she was going away. She would’ve mentioned something on their twice weekly phone calls.
“Wolff,” Addy said. “If your Grandpa Reggie lives here, how come I don’t know you? My family’s summer cottage is not far from here on the lake and I remember your Grandpa and even your Dad here in the summer. But I don’t remember you?”
“All the children and grandchildren came down here in the summer for at least a few weeks. I would remember you were Reggie’s grandson. Your Grandpa always gave me twizzlers, but I don’t recall you for some reason, why is that?”
The back of Wolf’s free hand grazed Red’s cheek. He smiled at her taking in her sweet appearance with a predatoral gaze. His eyes swept her face and down her body several times. Red felt her body flush responding to the hunger in his eyes. She couldn’t help but admire his fit body and perfectly structured face. Red bit her lip and Wolff echoed her reaction to him.
” I saw you a few times growing up. You’re around ten years younger than me so that’s probably why you wouldn’t have seen me. Beside, most of the time I was away at military school and then I was in the marines for a while. We didn’t get much of a summer break.”
Wolff set the tray aside and stared into Red’s dazed eyes, “What big eyes you have, Gina. Do you believe me? About Addy and Reggie?
“My name’s Red. Has been since I was eight. I hate Gina. I believe you but how’d you know my real name?”
“Addy of course. Red, would you like to keep me company?” His eyes travelled down her body and up to her mouth, devouring her as he went.
“Whose the one with big eyes now?” Red asked.
“The better to see you with,” Wolff replied.
” I don’t know if I believe a word out of your mouth,” Red said observing Wolff with careful curiosity.
Then his shamrock eyes glimmered and he held out his hand to Red. His smile was indeed wolffish and Red’s pulse raced as he took her small hand in his own.