“Stenham house was an ancient locked thing and nothing returned there except for crows.”
Lost in the forest Marybeth was charmed by the crumbling facade of the ancient mansion. She wondered what the house looked like on the inside as she slipped through the rungs of a creaky black gate.
“What’r you doin’ here, Marybeth?” her older brother Winston cried, grabbing her by the shoulders and shaking her.
“Mom’s worried. Said you’d been out so long she was ‘fraid you were lost in the woods for good. You know you’re too young to be out here alone.”
“What’s in there?” Marybeth asked Winston pointing to Stenham house.
” You don’t want ta go there, ” Winston said matter-of-factly. “Tommy Johnson went in there and never came out the same. He’s a touched now.”
“Well he still lives in the neighborhood,” Marybeth argued. “I see him at school. He doesn’t play with the other kids much but sits in a corner and reads. There’s nothing wrong with that. What happened in that house?”
Winston shook his head, “You’ll have nightmares Marybeth, I can’t tell you. Mom’ll kill me.”
“S’okay I’m a big girl now. I’m seven. I can handle it.”
Winston sighed,”They say a family was murdered there. An axe murder came in and hacked them all to pieces. Grandma, Grandpa, the parents, and worst of all the children. There were four of them and the oldest was eleven.”
Marybeth gasped, “That’s bad. I saw the curtains moving I think someone still lives there.”
“There was a fifth child, he was a tot. The nanny hid him but was butchered herself. Even though the little guy was adopted, he always woke up with nightmares about the murder, even as an adult,” Winston whispered.
” He lives there now, I think.”
“He decide to live there when he ‘came an adult. It was the only way he could face his demons. That’s what Aunt Sally told me.”
“Does Aunt Sally know him?”
“Yeah, they were in the same grade.”
Suddenly the front door to the delapitated house flew upon. Winston and Marybeth saw a gaunt middle aged man standing at the entrance. He motioned them over but then the crows began to fly and circle around the children, diving at them and pecking them when they tried to reach out to the man.
Marybeth screamed batting at crows as she ran all the way back home to the safety of her mother’s arms. Winston followed his sister, his screams even more terrified.
He swore to his sister, later, he saw the man at the door to Stenham mansion disappear into thin air. Marybeth believed him and decided to stay away from Stenhem house until she was older and wiser.
Coastal style interior design can be defined diversely depending on where a person lives in the world. The Tropical coastal style emerged from “Hawaii, Polynesia, and many places near the Pacific” Ocean. It is decor style that is popular in homes across the world. Tropical coastal style, also known as ‘Island style,’ usually “reflects the customs, colors, and beliefs of a place’s native peoples” such as in the Hawaiian islands. “Bright, tropical patterns, natural elements such as teak and other woods, and cultural and nautical decor,” define this coastal style.
Moreover, Mediterranean Coastal style, in particular, is a home decor style with history going back for centuries. It has been used and adapted all the world but especially is found where it originated in Greece, as well as coastal towns in Spain and Italy. Mediaterrian coastal style includes a great deal of natural light, brilliant “sunbaked colors” with “terra cotta, heavy woods, black iron or metals, and carved detailing.”
American coastal style or Florida style (which I am discussing in this post) is about “relaxation and comfort,” at it’s core. It is currently, “one of the most popular decorating styles” in the U.S and in Canada and is also “quickly growing and branching” out into “sub-styles such as ‘Cottage Coastal style,’ and ‘Contemporary Coastal style.'” American coastal style as a whole may include aspects from these branches.
Florida style incorporates clean lines and materials that are natural with simple textures. A neutral background including smooth steel, wood, and woven materials are also key to achieving this look. Textiles and surface materials used in coastal style are durable and include colors such as “clear blues, sea greens, creamy whites, beiges,” other tints and shades of white and even soft gray. While coastal style homes are usually warm and relaxed some people do prefer a cooler color pallet.
My preference for both paint colors and major living room furniture, especially pieces such as couches or large comfy chairs, would be to choose neutral colors in durable fabrics as a background for more colorful decor. Neutral furniture works well for indoor or outdoor living areas as brighter colours can always be added through decorative pillows, nautical or sea themed objects, (etc).
As well, paint colors could be a warm antique white or a clearer nautical white. Subtle tints of blue, sea green, and coral would also work well for paint colors that provide a soothing feeling as if you were in an elegant but comfortable cottage.
I have always found shades of light blue, turquoise, and soft green to be luxurious and peaceful so it is not surprising that these colors are especially found in coastal design. Despite the lakeside or seaside cottage ambience, this style is also uncluttered and decorative pieces and textures should be chosen carefully. As well, if colors of the sea in light blues and greens against neutrals are not your cup of tea, coral shades and tints can create an interesting Florida design style with a more brightness.
As well, coastal style often includes prints stripes and patterns that can be bold and large, based around navel and seaside themes as well as items synonymous with Florida, and other cottage decor. As in any living room or seating area, a chair or two that contrasts against neutral colors is key outside or inside. As well, decorative pillows in a range of the color pallet can provide a room with more vivacity, texture, and key focal points. A blue or gray rug on the floor can also add subtle color and pattern. Rugs in sand shades with a beachy texture like a beach mat or some a courser material are wonderful too.
My own preference for larger pieces of furniture in the Florida style that aren’t coaches or chairs but actual wooden furniture, leans towards restored furniture or furniture that has the appearance of being restored. Colorful light blue and turquoise mid-century furniture made out of natural wood can pop against neutral walls and couches.
If you prefer, beach-like drift wood furniture works well and as does worn looking dark wood. Considering the flooring of a coastal home would also be important to determine what kind of larger cabinets, tables, (etc)., a person would choose. A darker stained wood floor for contrast with neutral walls would be anchoring. But a lighter floor that is more like a ‘sea worn’ wood would keep your home more peaceful. I enjoy painted wood furniture that has been repurposed or has that appearance myself, with darker wood floors.
Moreover, focal points or places that draw the eye to them can be created with statement art, special furniture pieces, and carefully chosen decorative ornaments. As well, nautical and beach accents such as shells, coral, sea creatures, and sea or cottage themed paintings or artwork, brighten up the laid back coastal style. I’ll note again that an uncluttered appearance is key to the style so no hoarding ornaments or decorative items and placing them everywhere. A refined cottage style retaining a tranquil and relaxing environment with an elegant sense of design is the vital. Pops of color here and there are important; however, because they help to avoid manotomy and to provide visual appeal.
Light through large windows is also significant in the contemporary coastal look because we want to keep a house bright and airy so if you are designing a home or looking for a home to decorate in the Florida style, large windows would be a wise investment. Not to mention, new windows will save you money on your power and heating bills in places where the weather becomes colder.
As well, sufficient indoor lighting is beneficial to creating the perfect ambiance. A mix of elegant metal and nautical inspired chandeliers over the dining table and in various rooms, contrast with the laid back Florida or coastal style. Table lamps for lights near chairs to read as well as to provide more lighting at night are also essential.
When designing a coastal themed kitchen it is important to keep things light and airy, carrying in color schemes from other rooms in the house. The kitchen should feel open while maintaining a coastal themed color pallet such as light blue, coral, ocean-like colors, or nautical themed hues.
White or off-white is a great choice for cupboards perhaps some with some glass in the cupboard doors. Also kitchen paint colors in light tints of blue, green, coral, in sand, and white or off-white keep a room neutral in the background.
As well, having a kitchen bar enhances the refined cottage look providing a casual place eat, but also to incorporate bright pops of color on the bar stools or on the bar top. A backsplash is also a vital place to play around with brighter shades of light blue, turquoise, navy, or coral. Perhaps only certain tiles could be vivid acting as accents in the kitchen or in a bathroom.
As well, curtains or shades in the kitchen and everywhere in the house, can contribute to having a light airy feeling through out. Curtains should not be too heavy or dark but in lighter shades or tints of the colour scheme. Sheer curtains, cotton-like, or fabrics reminiscent of nautical sails and or other nautical materials, all contribute to the coastal style.
Also, a similar design in the kitchen can be followed in places such as the bathroom and laundry room, incorporating coastal colors, textures, and tones while keeping most of the space neutral. Remembers pops of color or accents are essential in neutral spaces but should not be overdone.
Florida or coastal themed bedrooms share similarities with the other rooms in the house creating more continuity of style. The key if you are decorating your entire home in coastal style is to keep the flow from room to room without overdoing the trend. Oceanlike, comfortable, and calm surrounding are essential to recreating the effect of the luxury or a refined cottage theme for the Florida style in your own home. Bedrooms in particular should be cozy, comfortable, yet stylish.
All in all the coastal or Florida style throughout a home should keep a color palette in mind, think about flow, and how certain Colorado and hues blend with each other and neutral walls and bigger pieces of furniture. As a whole coastal style seeks to be a place people can return home to and feel at rest as if they can relax and forget about their day in their own place of a seaside haven.
Whether you prefer coastal decor or the the use of tropical vibrant colors, you can find inspiration by checking out Florida real estate for more ideas of how to bring an outdoor feeling into your home.
Thanks to the lovely Bikurgurl for hosting 100 Word Wednesdays.
Deep in the woods you’re lost. Have you considered if you’ve come upon an enchanted forest? It’s difficult to comprehend when you’ve crossed the threshold from the untamed wild to land of talking animals, pixies, enchantresses, wizards, and magic folk.
It’s impossible to know after days of wandering whether that deserted cabin in the clearing is actually deserted. But with clarity, you inhale the potent herbs mingling with the scent of roasted venison and fresh bread.
Do you believe your eyes when the most sinfully attractive man approaches and offers you a cup to slake your thirst and food to fill your belly? Do you trust your senses? Have you realized yet, you’ve always been in an enchanted forest?
Welcome to the monthly Fairy Tale writing prompt hosted by MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie. This month’s prompt is to write a fairytale about the following picture:
Daphne was tired of being stuck as a laurel tree. Thousands of years ago, she had begged her father, the river god Peneus, to save her from Apollo’s lust; he turned her into a special tree.
Long ago she had sworn to be a virgin forever. She had begged her father to allow her to remain a free nymph. To not have to marry and birth him grandchildren. He was a kind god and had allowed his beloved daughter to remain pure.
Daphne had always loved the woods and found serenity within the forrest. But after many years being stuck in it, the woods had become a cage to her. The laurel tree she was locked in was a prison and Daphne quietly loathed Eros who had sent Apollo after her in love, when Apollo had mocked Eros.
Eros had hit Apollo with an arrow of gold so he fell in love with Daphne. Like wise, Eros hit Daphne with an arrow of lead, so she would despise Apollo and be repelled by him. Nevertheless, Apollo visited Daphne to this day, swearing his love towards her millanias later. Her hate for Apollo had mellowed over time, although, she wouldn’t admit this to Apollo yet.
He came often to admire her beauty even as a tree. He used some of her thinner branches and leaves to weave himself a crown of laurels, to remind himself of his love for Daphne; that this love still grew within him daily. He would replace a worn out and dried crown with a fresh one each time he visited.
Though Apollo had many duties, he seemed to be appearing more often to see Daphne this last half-millennia. She drew her womanly figure out of her laurel tree to see him whenever he came. She had become more excited to see him over the last few hundred-years. Daphne looked forward to talking with him each visit.
A friendship had developed and the sworn virgin Daphne was feeling things she had never felt before. Had Eros changed his mind and hit her with a golden arrow after all this time? Or had it been so long, his arrow of led had faded and no longer effected her. If so why did Apollo’s arrow of gold not fade? Why did he still love her?
She had wondered this out loud today and Apollo laughed at her thoughts. His attractive face was timeless and beautiful.
“It’s love Daph. It doesn’t fade if it’s real. If it’s true love it’s always there. At times I’ve been frustrated with you, about our situation and you being stuck in a laurel tree. It frustrates me you wanting to remain chaste. But even when I find I’m angry at you, the next time I see you we talk and my anger disappears. It doesn’t matter if you’re stuck in a tree, I love you anyways.”
Daphne smiled through the tree.”Look at you declaring your love to me through thousands of years unchanging. Though you yourself haven’t been chaste at all. It surprises me with all you have to do, that you come and see me without fail, these days often.”
“Well, I think you’re returning my feelings finally; you’ve mellowed and I see you blush when I visit.”
“Trees don’t blush Apollo.”
“Ah Daphne, you do indeed blush. I always take good care of you, so I know you well. I’ve played you many songs on my lute and I ensure the sunlight hits you just right. I keep the plague and disease from you, though it effect the humans and other parts of nature. I heal you if such disease affects you. But what I can’t do is change your form and release you from the laurel tree, if you still detest me.” Apollo sad this last line sadly.
“You’ve tried?” Daphne asked. “I wouldn’t have wanted you to, even a few hundred-years-ago. But I grow weary of this form and it’s obstacles. I grow weary of a forrest I cannot move around and maintain. I wish to be a nymph again.”
“Yes, dearest I know. I want that too.”
“Would you force me?” Daphne asked Apollo. “Take me into your bed right away, no gentleness? Would you impregnate me right away?”
Apollo shook his head. “Daph, after all these millenias you know me better than that. I’m not the lust-filled boy-god who would’ve had you without a second thought. I’ve spent thousands of years trying to get you to like me, to see beyond my faults, such as my lust. It’s not merely lust I feel for you. I love you, the real you. The nymph I’ve gotten to know so well. That’s why I have your crown upon my head. Why I play you beautiful music and take special care of you. I’d take specialcare with you in my bed as well,” Apollo added with a sly grin.
“I know, but I’m afraid, Apollo. I’ve been a laurel tree so long. And before that I wanted to be on my own, no man or god to tie me down. You’ve grown on me, inch by inch, each passing year. The lead arrow in me is gone. I’m not immune to you anymore. I feel strongly for you, something I’ve never felt before. I think it’s love, is it? You would know you’re the god of truth?”
Apollo trailed his hand down Daphne’s body in the tree.”You feel it, I know. Yes, I do see the truth, in your eyes, in your relaxed form. At last you love me too. You never even came out of the tree in your female form for many years. Perhaps now I can you heal you?”
“Yes, I think so. Our love is powerful beyond the mistakes of the past.” Apollo held his hand to Daphne’s cheek and she felt a warmth surge throughout her entire body, tree and nymph.
“Apollo, I feel your powers. My tree limbs, my leaves, they’re melting away.”
He said nothing, to busy concentrating on healing Daphne. She closed her eyes enjoying his hand on her cheek and the warmth suffusing her body. Daphne fell into a deep sleep and when she awoke again she was a nymph.
She looked at her hands, her face in the river. Her beauty had returned and her father would be proud, for he would have grandchildren soon. She looked around her for Apollo and found the god fast asleep. Healing her into her natural form had drained him greatly of his powers. She snuggled against him laying down beneath his arm, and they both slept.
When they awoke, three-hundred-years had passed. Apollo had had to regenerate his powers so he sealed himself and Daphne together, hidden from human and god eyes alike, so he could sleep and be with Daphne in the future.
He felt her shaking him awake. “Apollo, get up. You need to wake up, we’ve slept many centuries. You’re needed to do use your skills and gifts.”
Apollo lazily opened his eyes and grasped Daphne pulling her down for a deep kiss. It was the first between them and one of only many. They were a devoted couple from then on in, for as long as gods and humans existed.
I’v never been to Florida. I didn’t think hiking around the condo we rented out would be anything exciting. But I was wrong.
Hiking down the gravel trail with my friend, we ran into some giant alligators lumbering about a waterhole.
“Oh my god,” Patricia said shrieking. “Huge alligators. What do we do? Can we walk around them?”
As if he was listening, one of the alligators crawled over onto the gravel path. Patricia was in hysterics and I wasn’t sure if we should both turn around or try to walk around the alligator on his left side, away from their watering hole on his right.
I picked up a long thick piece of wood, poking the alligator and trying to force him to move right, back to where a couple of his friends sat half in the water.
“Come on guy, that’s it grab the stick.” I muttered.
With his jaws wide and ferocious, the alligator bit the piece of wood and pulled. When he had moved over enough as he pulled on the stick, and the alligator wasn’t in our path anymore, I instinctively let go of the piece of wood.
When I turned around Patricia was no where in sight. I thought she had gone back to the condo.
Then I saw the alligators rolling and twisting, fighting over prey in the water. I felt sick and afraid.
“No it can’t be,” I cried.
I had been outsmarted. While the alligator on the path was distracting me, the others had gone after Patricia. All that was left was a scrap of her pink yoga pants.
Today’s prompt for Writing 101 is finding inspiration through a photograph. Lol. A familiar writing past time via flash fiction.
The woods are still. The stillness makes me not want to enter them. I’ve been lost out here for days, walking through brush and fields of grass and flowers. But now the forest bids me welcome with its unnatural quietness.
It isn’t right a forest shouldn’t be so silent. “Hello?” I whisper and then scream again loudly, “Is anyone out there?” My words echo and the forest muffles the sound of my words until my screams are the same as my quiet ‘Hello.’ It’s been a week since I’ve been wandering alone.
My friend Danny was a pilot and he knew what he was doing when he flew; he had been a pilot since he was sixteen. But we crashed in the countryside and Danny died instantly. Escaping the plane, I ran for cover grabbing what supplies I could manage, before the plane exploded into fire and smoke.
I thought the burning plane would be a smoke signal and someone would see it and come searching for Danny and I. He had touched base with someone right before the plane crashed on his radio. Someone had to be wandering why Danny’s plane disappeared a week ago.
Infront of me the forest beckons, and to be truthful, I need to find food to eat. I don’t think I can last another day on rationed granola bars, peanuts, and chewing gum. Thankfully, I was able to put a package of water bottles from the plane into my backpack, before the plane exploded. I had been carrying the heavy load of bottled water for days, each day having two bottles. The water was heavy at first but getting lighter for me to carry as time passed.
I stare at the entrance to this silent forest and I can hear my feet crunching and crackling the dead leaves and pine needles on the forest floor.I keep hiking through the woods, hoping to find some nuts or edible berries. But I’m not lucky enough to find any food sources, not even small animals. I was feareful of coming upon a mountain lion or a grizzly bear. But I would have heard a large predator in the silence of this forest.
Darkness came, and I lay out on a tarp in a sleeping bag, but the night was cold despite the fact it was summer. I slept little, as I had everynight since the plane crash. Danny’s slack dead face haunting my dreams. “Danny,” I said screeching his name and waking up under a starlit sky before falling back into a restless sleep. I’m bruised and scraped all over from the crash. The ground feels painful to sleep on.
The morning sun is brilliant. The sky a painting of rich pink and orange hues fading into a bright blue sky with cotton clouds. I can glimpse the dark forest ending. I wonder where I will end up next? My food is long gone and I have had to switch to drinking only one bottle of water a day. I feel dizzy and my head aches from a lack of food. Only the promise that this disturbing silence in the forest will end soon, makes me continue walking.
Finally, I come to a clearing and looking up at a clear blue sky, I thank God the forest part of the journey has ended. Ahead of me lay fields of a plant I vaguely recognize. Workers are busy in the field picking the plants. I can smell the acrid yet tantalizing scent of marajauna in the air from someone smoking it. I day dream of brownies with marajauna baked inside.
The workers stare at me curiously as I walk towards a magnificent old southern mansion, past the marajauna fields in the distance. I must have appeared frightening to the workers. I haven’t showered or changed my clothes for two-weeks. There has been no river to clean up in and no clean clothes to change into. The workers did their best to ignore my presence, but I’m not sure why they did.
I approached the mansion frustrated. But the front door swung open upon my arrival. A man greeted me cheerfully. I could tell he was staff. “Where am I?” I asked my voice raspy from not having used it for so long.
“Mr. Eric Dale’s house. He runs the fields and the workers, using marajauna for medicinal purposes and hemp products,” I’m assured. The staff member introduces himself, as Gregory, Mr Dales PA. I try to listen to Gregory’s words but having had nothing to eat for the better part of a week is catching up to me. I feel faint and sick, my head spinning.
I manage to rasp, “My friend crashed his plane here. I walked through fields and forest and now I’m here. I need something to eat. I need sleep and a bath. I need to get home. My friend Danny is dead.”
Breaking into tears, I feel miserable and finally able to grieve for Danny if only for a few moments. Collapsing on the floor I hear a deep male voice ask, “Is she okay? She’s been out in the wild two-weeks. They’re people searching for her in helicopters. They found the plane crash.”
Through a haze of fog and desperate hunger clawing at my gut, I hear Gregory calling for help from other staff. I can fight to survive no more. Fading into blackness, into dreams, I see Danny smiling, animated, and joking right before the plane crashed.
” I’m not crawling in there Julia,” Kristen stammered.
“Well Kristen, it’s your final challenge as a pledge and you will become a member of the Alpha Sorority House if you stay in that sewer pipe five-minutes.” Julia said snidely.
“If you don’t want to be an Alpha, that’s cool too. Maybe, I was wrong when I thought you’d be a good fit. Alpha’s aren’t afraid. We’re fearless! So are you going to climb into that pipe or not Kristen?”
Kristen bit her lower lip. She knew she looked nervous and didn’t want to appear weak infront of Julia.”It’s just that it’s a sewage pipe Julia. I don’t want fecal matter all over me.”
Julia was exasperated. ” You can have a hot shower when we get back to the house. When I was a pledge it was much harder to get into Alpha. I had to stay blindfolded in the woods all night with duck tape over my mouth. Do you want to do that? Or do you want to crawl in a sewer pipe for five-minutes and be done with these silly initiation rituals?”
Kristen looked at Julia who was smiling at her with malice. Was this worth the hazing for her to fulfill her teenage dream of becoming part of the Alpha Sorority House at her university? Kristen wasn’t so sure.
Jadea’s Grandfather had believed the woods to be a magical place full of herbs, cures for illnesses, and food to eat. Jadea had loved going into the forest with her Grandfather and learning about what kinds of plants were good to use and which plants were poisonous. She had disliked hunting for animals.
Grandmother had never minded that Jadea had went into the woods with her Grandfather saying even the bears were afraid of him. Grandfather was a mystical man and he brought protection with him through magic wherever he went. But one day Grandfather had disappeared as twilight had began to fade and the dark had crept in like a lion looking for his prey.
Jadea had yelled and screamed for her Grandfather but all she could find was his white staff. Jadea had hung onto it for dear life as she had run out of the woods through branches that seemed to rip at her hair and roots that tripped up her feet. She could feel something chasing her so she hurried, holding out the staff in front of her as if it were some talismane. It was the last thing she would have of her grandfather’s and it protected her from the beast that chased her. When she finally reached home and ran into the house she cried and told her Grandmother what had happened. Her Grandmother told her to never go into the woods again.
“Jadea listen to me” said Grandmother, “You must never go into the woods alone, ever. It’s not safe now little girl,”
“But Grandfather showed me everything. I know what’s good and bad about the forest” protested Jadea but Grandmother shook her head.
” Never go there Jadea. Promise me.” so Jadea swore to her Grandmother that she would never go into the woods again although it pained her to do so.
But one day years later, having long moved away from the cottage her grandparents had lived in by the forest, Jadea remembered the night her Grandfather disappeared into the woods. It was daylight and Jadea had a mind to go into the forest and explore. She was pleased to remember which plants and herbs were good and she gathered them as she went but it wasn’t long before Jadea realized she was not alone.
Every step Jadea took something dogged her foot steps and then as Jadea rested from picking out herbs something terrifying came towards her. She could not identify it it was invisible but it sat down beside her and bound her feet and hands. Then hands made of air cut off the breath from her lungs and Jadea knew no more but as she was asphyxiated she recalled her Grandmother’s words: ‘ Never Go into the Woods Alone.’