“THROUGH me you pass into the city of woe: Through me you pass into eternal pain: Through me among the people lost for aye. Justice the founder of my fabric moved: To rear me was the task of Power divine, Supremest Wisdom, and primeval Love. Before me things create were none, save things Eternal, and eternal I endure. All hope abandon, ye who enter here.” – The Divine Comedy, The Inferno (Canto III. Lines 1 -9).
“Abandon all hope? How can this be right? I didn’t kill anyone and I was no pervert. I stood for my political office. I did what I had to do,” Ker said.
“How do you know it was the right cause?”
“Well, I just do.”
“What about those you hurt along the way? Your wife, Meredith, who now rests in Heaven’s fold? You’re here at the gates of Hell at the river Acheron for a reason,” the wise Charon told Ker.
“I didn’t mean to hurt her, to use her to get where I needed to go. I loved her, but I didn’t mean to leave her. I prayed and I apologized. I admitted my sins to a priest in confession. Yet, here I am in Hell at the Traitors’ Gate, why here?”
Charon sighed and whisked the regretful Ker’s soul into the boat. “I wonder Ker, where Midas will send you? Will you be in the eighth circle as a corrupt politician or the ninth circle for being a traitor to your wife, to your family? Will you spend eternity ‘a Judas?'”
Ker shook his head, “This is nothing but a dream. Dante’s Inferno does not exist. I won’t abandon hope, I won’t. Meredith is not dead and I’m not really here.”
“But you did stop hoping and you’re a traitor so now you face the Traitors’ Gates. You are one of them and that’s why this gate is where you will enter into the ninth circle of Hell.”
“What?! I’m so sorry, I mean it. I repent. I’ll do better and change my ways. Tell me this is just a dream, let me have another chance.”
Charon chuckled and shook his head wearily.”It seems someone up high is fighting for your soul, Ker, I don’t why because your soul is pitch black. Yet, you will have another chance. Remember you won’t get another.”
Ker awakes suddenly whispering pleading prayers in words of Latin and Ancient Greek. He doesn’t know why he understands these prayers to God, but he does. Ker attempts to pick up his smartphone nearby but feels terrible pain whenever he moves.
Then, his beautiful Meredith walks in the hospital room door. “Meredith? I thought you were dead. That you would never speak to me again. I thought you were in Heaven and I was in Hell, I dreamt it.”
Meredith smiled at Ker with love despite how he had treated her recently: “Who do you think asked God to give you a second chance? I gave up eternity for a later time, hoping you will be there with when I return. Now you must fulfill your promises made in front of Charon.”
“So, can you change, Ker? Can you stop being a traitor and fight for ‘the good’ in this world? Can you fight for me, for us, for our family?” Meredith asked.
Ker was just grateful to be alive. He swore to do better in life, in love, and he did.
Thanks to Bikurgurl for hosting #100WordWednesdays.
Credit:Felix Russel; Saw via UnSplash
Images, the vines, the flowers, the tribal tattoos, marking his body their presence is defining. A farmer’s son covered his body in tattoos, to lay claim to a canvas, a territory, beneath a sunless sky. But bruises so dark, red and vivid purple used to cover his limbs, his torso, his face, and even his hands. So when he chooses bright ink, a part of him heals and the bruises fade. With each work of art he becomes stronger and he returns home, sheltered by his images. He’s happy because his body is his own and no father can abuse or mother can deny; tattoos are his stories accompanying him gently as the wheat sways in the field.
Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is “to write a poem that looks at the same thing from various points of view.” The corresponding GoodRead’s quote for the A to Z Challenge is the letter E.
“It’s one of those things a person has to do; sometimes a person has to go a very long distance out of his way to come back a short distance correctly.” ― Edward Albee, The American Dream & The Zoo Story
Down in the swamp, down in the bogs there’s —
Mud sucking at my feet, at my soul.
Everyday I journey here and fight,
The elements, the giant rocks, gnarled trees,
Worst of all the swamp, pulling me in.
There are days I believe I shall let it,
But my wife she sees, working here means,
In such a short while, we shall both be free.
She says, we’re educated, we have more —
To us than meets the eye, we’ve wisdom,
To work in horrible conditions,
Because we know two years from now we —
Can leave this wretched bog behind, with all —
The tortures of the tormenting tree limbs,
Nightmares left, there’s better; we’re going —
To the City, where education’s worth —
Something and I won’t have to hate each day.
Mining for fuel, this coal coating my lungs,
My wife’s happy, delighted, she is life,
So I listen to my fathers last words:
“Don’t stay in this town all your life, move on.
Take your girl, your college education,
Leave this foul place behind, don’t be me,
Coal dust in your lungs is misery and —
A cancerous death is what awaits you.”
So, I worked and she and I, we left here,
To the bustling city, with peaceful parks,
We breathe, ‘neath blossomed trees, reading in light.
Goodmorning and welcome to my biweekly interview series. Today I have the honor of sharing with you the writing and blog ofIan Kelly. He’s a talented guy who has recently published a book of short stories. You can find Ian’s blog here: Ian Kelly Writing.
1. Hi Ian, Please Tell Us About Yourself?
Hi. My name is Iain Kelly and I’m from Glasgow in Scotland. I have lived here all my life and it’s where I write my blog from. My blog is called: Iain Kelly Writing.
Telling about yourself is always the most difficult question to answer, so I’ll keep it simple! I work as an editor of television programs for BBC Scotland. I’m married with two-year-old twins who take up most of my time. After work and family if I have any time left I like to write.
2. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging?
I first started my blog six years ago and spent a year doing film and book reviews. I neglected it for a couple of years and then took a fiction writing course online.When I had finished that I had a few short pieces that I liked and decided to share them on my blog. From there I have kept writing new short stories and flash fiction.
“After work and family if I have any time left I like to write.” – Ian Kelly
3. What Does Writing Mean To You? Why Do You Write?
When I was much younger I wrote stories. I have always enjoyed coming up with characters, letting my imagination wander with them and see what stories resulted.I used to play football (soccer) and would write stories about fictional football teams and players. As often happens, life gets in the way of dreams.
I went to university and studied English Literature, Film, and Television. My career took me down the path of television. Eventually, I’ve found the writing bug again. Writing is a chance to escape everyday life and I love being able to imagine the lives of many different people in places around the world. I enjoy thinking of the stories that could happen there.
4. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write?
I tend to write fiction based on real life, or perhaps a fictional future world rooted in reality. I don’t tend to write fantasy or science-fiction specifically. My inspiration comes from the world around us. It could be something happening in the news, events, politics, but also from looking at everyday people, the struggles and/or laughter they share with each other. My motivation may come from wanting to try and comment on events that are occuring. Writing is a way to turn frustration into something creative or to attempt to cope with a situation in life.
“Writing is a chance to escape everyday life and I love being able to imagine the lives of many different people in places around the world. I enjoy thinking of the stories that could happen there.” – Ian Kelly
5. Is There a Time of Day You Prefer to Write?
My time available to write depends on my work schedule and my children. When the kids have gone to bed in the evening I try to fit some time writing in. Or if the twins go for a nap during the day sometimes I have a chance to write. The main thing is that I have to find the opportunities to write when I can!
6. What Are Your Most Current Writing/Blogging Projects? Any Hopeful Projects for the Future?
At the moment I am working on my first novel-length story. I would say I’m about a quarter of the way through the first draft.I have the characters and the main story figured out, so the next couple of months will be dedicated to getting my head down and finishing the story.
After the first draft is finished I will re-write and edit. I’m aiming to have a finished novel by the end of the year and then decide what I want to do with it –- if it’s worth sending to a publishing company or self-publishing the novel.
Alongside that, I will continue writing short pieces for my blog. It helps to take a break from a long novel and focus the mind on something different every so often, before going back to the main project.
“At the moment I am working on my first novel length story. I would say I’m about a quarter of the way through the first draft. I have the characters and the main story figured out, so the next couple of months will be dedicated to getting my head down and finishing the story.” – Ian Kelly
7. Can You Tell Us About Your Recently Published Book?
At the start of this year, I self-published a collection of my short stories from my blog in a book calledCollected Sketches. I decided to do this at the end of 2016. I realized I had a lot of stories, some with similar themes and dealing with similar issues, that I thought were quite good and worth collecting together as a compendium.
The other benefit of publishing theses stories was that it gave me a chance to try self-publishing out for myself which I hadn’t done or considered doing before. I’m pleased with how my book turned out. It’s available to a global audience through on Amazon: HERE, which is an amazing thing to happen to my writing. You can find out about Collected Sketches by Ian Kelly on my blog or through Kindle on Amazon.com
8. Can You Briefly Describe Your Writing Process that You Went Through To Publish?
I used Createspaceonline to self-publish. After looking around at a few online resources I went for this one mainly because it was free to do, and also it allowed me to do everything myself. Other sites offered help in editing and formatting and design, but at a cost.
If you’re confident to do these things yourself then Createspaceis excellent.With the novel I am currently writing, I plan to try the traditional route of sending it to agents and publishers. But it is good to know that if all else fails I can self-publish and still have my novel out there into the world. Here is the link to CreatespaceHERE.
9. What Is Your Writing Process Like?
I think I’m still figuring my writing process out as I go through this novel. Most writers advise that the best thing to do is write the first draft as it comes to you.Whatever happens, keep writing! So I’m following that advice.
I already know there is a lot of it I will return to and completely rewrite but this way allows the story, plot, and characters to spill out and take form, freely. I will go back and finesse that raw material. I enjoy the editing part of writing probably more than the initial writing.Doing flash fiction short stories is great practice for that.
“I already know there is a lot of it I will return to and completely rewrite but this way allows the story, plot, and characters to spill out and take form freely. I will go back and finesse that raw material. I enjoy the editing part of writing probably more than the initial writing.” – Ian Kelly
10. Do You Have Certain Genres You Prefer to Write or To Read Books In?
I tend to stick to everyday drama or real world stories. But I also love to read and write spy stories, war fiction, and crime fiction. I might occasionally try other things too.
I spend a lot of time reading. Favorite authors would be John Le Carre, Martin Cruz Smith, Agatha Christie, James Ellroy, Ian McEwan, William Boyd, Ian Fleming, and Terry Pratchett –- to name a few. I also like to try and go back and read the classics every so often such as Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and I love Alexandre Dumas and The Three Musketeer novels. I think that comes from my days as a student of English Literature.
11. Do You Have Any Advice For Other Writers? Do You Have Any Favorite Blogs You Like To Follow?
Just keep writing and getting your work out there into the world for people to read. Ninty-Nine Percent of people will be kind to you and give constructive criticism and feedback. If you love doing it, keep doing it. And read lots too.
I follow loads of great fiction writers out there so rather than trying to pick from them I will pick three alternatives:
One for writing prompts is a relatively new flash fiction challenge called‘What Pegman Saw’ which uses Google Maps as a prompt each week to give a location to inspire stories. It’s a great idea and means I learn a lot about various places around the world, as well as writing stories.
I don’t really do film reviews anymore, but one of the best blogs that I follow for all things film-related, including reviews isThe Snooty Ushers at which one of my friends from University days contributes to. Great reviews and doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Finally, Joanne Kelly Art and Design. I am biased but my wife Joanne has her own blog. She is a graphic designer and artist and has started creating works both by hand and on computer software.Some great stuff, so I hope people will check it out.
14. Can You Please Share With Us A Few Links From Your Blog?
Flash Fiction, I have always liked this one, to sum up being a writer:
“The Writer’s Spiral”
By Ian Kelly
Mark met Bob from Accounting at the bottom of the stairs.
‘Another Monday morning,’ said Bob, as they began the trudge up to the office. Mark grunted in reply. Bob began every Monday with the same conversation.
‘Don’t you ever feel like we’re hamsters in a wheel, going round and round and getting nowhere?’ Bob continued. ‘There must be something more exciting in life than this.’
As Mark prepared to answer, the lights went out. Out of the window, they saw bright orange beams cut through the air. Aircraft buzzed around them, firing at one another. Buildings exploded as aircraft and missiles crashed into them. The sky darkened as a large spaceship loomed over the city. Mark ducked as a piece of debris crashed through the glass next to them. It caught Bob and sent him plummeting to the ground below.
The writer paused and read back what he had just typed. It all spiraled out of control too quickly. He sighed and pressed Ctrl+A and Delete. The cursor on the blank screen blinked at him. He started again.
Mark arrived at work at the same time as Bob from Accounting…
Here Are Some Of Ian’s Longer Pieces he wrote and favorited:
Thank you so much, Ian, for wanting to be interviewed I enjoyed your answers and you seem to have a solid idea of what you’re doing as a writer and how to achieve your set goals. Best of luck with the novel and future endeavours.
If you would like to be interviewed please reach out to me on my contact page. I would love to tell your story as a writer or if you blog for a cause, I can also interview on that as well. See you in two weeks!
Cinderella could feel her back begin to ache as she washed the floors by hand. The mansion she now cleaned had been her father’s mansion before her stepmother poisoned his tea. Her stepmother had convinced her father’ s old solicitors that Cinderella was too young to take care of the mansion when she was twelve-years-old. The vile woman had claimed Cinderella’s home for herself and her two spoiled daughters Giselle and Monique.
Cinderella wouldn’t legally be able to have the mansion back until she was married or twenty-five-years-old. She knew her stepmother wouldn’t allow either to occur. Her only hope was to be able to have enough money to afford the solicitor her stepmother had offended.
Her stepmother had refused to marry a well-known solicitor after Cinderella’s father had passed. She knew he was the only one who would take a servant’s case to get back at the stepmother. Until then, Cinderella’s jailor would keep the house and Cinderella as a slave working in it.
She finished washing the floor pleased as they shined. Then, her homely stepsisters walked across it with muddy shoes. When one tripped, both Giselle and Monique began to hit Cinderella. She pushed them away and they kept walking, calling her names. She had to rewash some spots on the floor but she didn’t care. Cinderella had a secret and it was going to free her from the tyranny of her stepmother and stepsisters.
A lonely beggar wandering past the front gate had seen Cinderella crying last night. She had
wanted to attend the ball and with the beggar’s surprising magic powers, he had granted Cinderella’s wish. She realized, however, the beggar wouldn’t be granting this wish without thinking about his own well-being. She could see he was a crafty man and wondered what he was up to, why he would grant her such a request.
He’d created a beautiful frothy blue gown for Cinderella to wear with the most stunning diamond high heels she’d ever seen; Cinderella had a thing for gorgeous shoes. They were so wonderful Cinderella asked if she could keep them after the night ended. The beggar had agreed with a mischevious smile.
Cinderella had a purpose in keeping her diamond heels. She had planned to sneak out of the house in one of her mother’s old dresses and sell her priceless heels to higher the solicitor who so despised her stepmother. She wanted the mansion and what was left of her father’s fortune, especially her sizable dowry, which her stepmother couldn’t get at no matter how hard she tried.
Moreover, Cinderella’s stepmother didn’t know about the money her father had illegally acquired on the black market. It was hidden away in offshore accounts only Cinderella knew about. She couldn’t access them until the day after the ball which was her twenty-fifth birthday.
Cinderella had attended the ball and knew the prince liked her as soon as he saw her. There was a glint in his blue eyes and he had this charming lopsided grin. She hadn’t meant to let him go so far with her — but then they did.
“I really like you,” he told Cinderella, “You’re much more fun those other girls who want to be my wife but won’t put out. Plus, you’re intelligent and make me laugh. Most of the other girls are too scared they will appear unladylike.” She’d giggled surprised at his comment and Cinderella found herself liking him.
She gave the prince a playful punch. He was entertaining but she knew she’d never see him again. Cinderella gazed up at him and said, “Look, this is a one-time thing and that’s all you’re about all going to get from me because I have a curfew. I’m not allowed out often.”
“I’m ‘the prince,’ I can overrule your curfew or any other rules your father has.”
Cinderella sighed, “Sorry, you can’t. I mean it, I have to leave.” Cinderella ran off
before her gown disintegrated and she was left in rags. She swore when she realized only one of her diamond heels had been lost. She’d left one behind while running from the prince but she needed both of them to afford the solicitor. Frustrated she went home and cried herself to sleep.
Then, the prince announced the following day, every young woman in the kingdom needed to try on the diamond heel left behind by the girl he desired above all others.
Cinderella rolled her eyes because she thought the prince was daft. Many women in the kingdom could have the same size feet. She thought about her missing shoe and the beggar, how she was sure he’d been up to something when he granted her wish. She thought the shoes might only fit her feet due to the beggars magic.
The beggar knew Cinderella valued the shoes above all and that’s why he let her keep them. It was strange she would lose track of such beautiful shoes because she loved them so much and had never had shoes this nice before. She knew the crafty beggar had to be responsible for her lost shoe. He probably made the prince fall for her and so that she wouldn’t be able to return to her plan, to sell the shoes and retain her birthright. The beggar had seen the shrewd woman beneath her simple wish.
Cinderella had only been interested in going to the ball because as she was cleaning outside, she recognized the beggar was a powerful wizard in hiding, who had the power to grant wishes. She hadn’t sought to meet the prince but to be provided with a beautiful dress and shoes she could sell to escape. She was upset about ending up with only one diamond heel.
The following week the prince and his servants arrived at the mansion. Her stepmother tried to lock her in a closet but Cinderella had hated her stepmother for many years. She’d had enough of her tyranny and punched the old bat, knocking her out then stuffing her in the closet.
Cinderella hurried down the stairs in one of her mother’s old day dresses. She interrupted Giselle and Monique trying with all their might to jam the shoe on their chubby feet. Cinderella feared her beloved shoe would shatter.
“Careful that’s a diamond shoe,” she cried bringing out the shoe’s twin, slipping both shoes on, doing up the straps, and parading around in them both for the prince to see. He was confused a moment because Cinderella appeared out of place in her outdated dress but he had her brought closer to him by a servant.
The prince gazed into her face and then moved her long hair out of the way to find the tattoo of a bluebird on her upper back. He declared she was the girl from the ball and she would be his new mistress.
“I’m delighted to see you again,” he said to her with a flirtatious raise of his brows. “You’d be the perfect bride but I’m guessing you have little wealth or dowry to go along with your shoes. On the other hand, you’re much less maintenance than any other girl who nearly fit your shoe.”
Cinderella huffed and being as polite as she could, asked to speak to the prince in private. She explained her entire situation to him concerning her stepmother. She told him how priceless her shoes were, that the mansion was legally hers, and that she had a large dowry along with whatever money her stepmother hadn’t used from her father’s wealth; it turned out to be a lot, more than her stepmother had ever realized. Cinderella smirked, it was so like her father to hide more of his money.
Consulting his advisors, the prince decided Cinderella would make a fantastic bride who would add considerable wealth to his kingdom. He sent for the bishop and they were married immediately. A large public wedding followed months later and the stepmother was forced to retire to the countryside.
The prince was generous and gave Cinderella her father’s mansion (with the
deed in her own name) as a wedding present. He married her sisters Gisele and Monique off to two of his dullest cousins but kept their dowries for himself.
He didn’t know about the money hidden in offshore accounts by Cinderella’s father and she decided not to tell him. She was no idiot and decided that every woman, even a princess, needed ‘get away’ money.
The prince was pleased with Cinderella and was happy to have found a princess who was fun and learned quickly. She was smart and helped him increase the value of his kingdom by increasing taxation on the peasants and middle class. Unfortunately, a revolution broke out in the country around the same time, disturbing their happiness. The king and queen were beheaded along with many other nobles.
Cinderella had grown fond of the prince, she was certain she loved him. They
had two twin girls together and it was lucky Cinderella had kept secret the money in her father’s offshore accounts. She used the money to escape to the US and start a new life with her family. The prince wasn’t upset Cinderella had hidden the money. He praised her for being shrewd and prepared for an emergency situation he hadn’t foreseen.
Life was rougher in the US but the money Cinderella had kept hidden allowed the prince to become the owner of several factories and make his way in business, mass-producing expensive shoes of all kinds for woman and men. Cinderella helped him design shoes woman paid hundreds and thousands of dollars to own.
Their twin daughters married well and a century later the Prince’s ancestors would bring out Cinderella’s diamond heels, showing them off as precious heirlooms. In the end, she hadn’t had to sell her diamond heels. Cinderella was allowed to keep them before they married in public. She’d told the prince, “Promise me we never have to sell my diamond heels. If we do I’ll disappear and you’ll never see me again.”
The prince knew Cinderella was a savvy woman who could easily slip away and by then he loved her more than he wanted to admit; he granted her request. He learned that day and later taught his grandsons in America, “Nothing comes between a woman and her shoes.” And that’s how Cinderella and her prince lived happily ever after.
The resonance of his voice carries in the arena, an audience enthralled by the first twang of his voice.
He’s a brilliant musician, the epitome of which other Country artists aspire to be –a world wide known musician, a gifted storyteller, with a beautiful famous wife.
The cadence of his final song’s chorus resounds as he considers the eight more shows he’s playing here; the last lyrics hover in the ambience of the audience as he leaves the stage:”Oh, I’ve got friends in low places.”
Note: Where I live, Garth Brooks is performing. His concerts kept selling out so they continued to add new shows, even weekend afternoon performances, until he was performing for nine shows. We’re pretty impressed that he’d play nine shows in our city. If he added a show or two more I’m sure they’d sell out as well; I still couldn’t get tickets 🙂
Thanks to Bastet from MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting Saturday Mix. Today’s prompt is a story of the mysterygenre using A BROKEN VASE, THREE DAISIES, A KNIFE, A MUSSED UP RUG, and A SHOPPING BAG. Sorry, couldn’t quite get this down to 150 words today.
A woman lay on the floor holding a shopping bag from Lululemon. Nearby her was what the detective assumed was the murder weapon, a brokenvase which had held three Gerber daisies.
The detective was confused inspecting the victim. It appeared the vase had finally killed her, but he discovered, she also had two stab wounds —older wounds. Beneath the woman was a mussed up rug and her head still bled. The two stab wounds, however, never bled enough to stain the rug.
The detective discovered the woman’s husband in the den, his hands covered in blood. He didn’t even try to deny killing his wife saying he attempted three times to kill her; aknife stained in blood was found in the den.
The husband explained, his wife had been sleeping with the neighbours son who attended university. Parker was a manager at a Lululemon store and sleeping with him, the bored housewife ensured herself a fifty-percent discount.