Fiction Friday 04.24.20

The Empress clutched the letters in her hand. She paced inside the tiny garden. The walls felt like they were going to swallow her whole. Her swollen belly caused her gait to wobble. She stared at the red royal velvet tapestry draped over a nearby bench. She longed to once again walk out amongst the open trees. Once she was a simple maid who got to go home to her family’s tiny cottage on her day off. Somehow that had all changed. The Empress still didn’t really understand what had happened. Now she was carrying the heir to the empire. But the protection of the Emperor was suffocating her. She was completely at his mercy. Her handmaiden brought her a platter of plums and pickles. The Empress devoured them, the juice dripping down her chin. The quiet girl who had served her for the last six months struggled to hide her revulsion at the strange cravings the Empress devoured. 

The servant girl longed to scream at the impostor who stood before her. Once she had been Empress of this palace. Once she had dressed in luxurious linens and sumptuous velvets. Now she wore a stiff wool uniform. She should’ve known better. When the visiting emissary had given her the beautiful genie’s bottle, she should’ve thrown him out of the kingdom. Or better yet, had him beheaded. Instead she had caressed the sparkling bottle thinking it was just another pretty bottle. The cloud of smoke that escaped the bottle had held her doom. The genie that appeared before her was neither intimidating nor looming. He was a slight, unassuming man. The former Empress thought he appeared more scholarly than magical and impressive. He’d simply bowed before her and produced a piece of parchment. “Vundar the great and terrible at your service, your eminence.” He consulted the parchment. “I see here that you long to be free of the trappings of your current life. I can arrange that.”

Before the former Empress could protest, she had switched places with the maid who was cleaning the chamber. The maid had looked in wonder at the finery she suddenly wore. The new Empress stared in the mirror in fascination. The former Empress watched in shock as her life walked away without her. The former Empress now wore the plain uniform of the servants. She tried to scream, but no sound came from her mouth. Vundar circled around her and nodded approvingly. “That should do it. No longer do you have to sit through long days at court or the neverending banquet dinners. No more confining clothes or commands from the Emperor to produce an heir already. You are free. Well. Almost. You can not speak to anyone about the magic that made you so. In fact, you cannot speak to anyone you knew in your former life as the Empress. Other than that you are free to do as you please.”  With that, Vundar disappeared in a puff of smoke. The bottle he lived in disappeared as well. 

The former Empress looked at her new life and screamed. No sound came out. Silence, as she came to be called, was appalled at how she was treated. She was bullied by the other servants the moment they figured out she couldn’t speak. Silence slipped into a fog. She slept in the servants dormitory and watched with sadness as her fellow servants went home to visit their family on their day off. Silence had no family. Her parents had married her off to the Emperor when she was barely more than a child. The only letter her mother had sent her was a hastily written message warning her that if she did not conceive an heir soon she would regret it. Now Silence was nearly 20 years old. Three years she had been the Empress and endured the Emperor’s touch. No child had ever come to her. Silence watched in mute rage as the Emperor announced that his Empress was with child. The peasant girl had conceived almost immediately. No one had even noticed that she was a different Empress. No one knew that Silence had been replaced. Day after day went by. The new Empress was coddled and protected. Silence was promoted to be her handmaiden. She could not protest. The new Empress liked the quiet girl who saw to her every whim. Silence helped her get into the elaborate costumes required for court and banquet. When her hands fell across the silks and velvets she remembered how much she had hated them. The weight of them and how they hampered her movement. Silence started spending her day off working in the stables. As Empress she had always had to ride in a stuffy little carriage for travel. Now as Silence she could help exercise the horses same as any other servant who was willing to volunteer. The Emperor’s collection of horses was varied. Tiny ponies lived next to enormous draft horses. Sleek, fiery horses lived in stone barns. Water horses lived comfortably in stone ringed ponds. Silence came to love all of them. She discovered she could speak to the horses as long as no one else was nearby to over hear her. So she took common painted horses out for long rides through the field. She told them everything she could not speak to another human. Time continued to pass. Her best friend became a black and white spotted horse gone mostly gray named Jinn. Silence and Jinn spent every free day exploring the lands around the castle. The other grooms thought nothing of it. On the days Silence came to visit, she was entitled to ride any common pony she wished. It was one perk of being a castle servant. The days after she had visited, Jin usually worked twice as hard. By the fifth day, Jin would begin to watch the doorway for his friend. By day six he was unruly. On the seventh day they would ride the fields together again. 

This pattern continued until the day the Empress gave birth. The girl child did not resemble the Emperor at all. In Silence’s opinion she more resembled the genie that had made the maid into an Empress. Outrage broke out amongst the court. The auguries and fortune tellers all said the same thing: someone had placed a cuckoo changeling child in the Emperor’s kingdom. All eyes fell on Silence. She had appeared right around the time the Empress became pregnant. They called her a witch and bade her take the girl child away. Silence picked up the little girl and stared around the court. Once these people had bowed and scraped for her favor. Now she would be cast out. The Empress was to be locked away until she conceived another child, with no visitors. Silence could not believe this turn of events. She looked down at the child and smiled. Here was someone who needed her. Who would love her regardless of the roles she played. Silence bowed once before the court and walked out through the side gate. The stable master had Jin tied up to a small cart. Silence bowed once to him where he hid in the shadow of the doorway. She climbed up and drove away. 

When she reached the forest, the child began to cry. Out of instinct, Silence began to croon a lullaby. She was startled by the croaked voice that came from her own throat and yet relieved. Perhaps this curse wasn’t so all encompassing after all. Silence and her new charge set off to find a place for themselves in the world.

The prompts for today’s story:

  • The Empress 
  • mercy 
  • pickles 
  • letters 
  • royal velvet plums 
  • genie’s bottle

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Copyright 2020 Klaudia Grady

Poem 05.19.20

Word Ticket* Poem

Disco ball straitjacket

Musical archaeologist

Glittering colored glass

Shift your shapes, genie’s bottle

The awakening eye of the globe fairy

I have a secret, wild ’n rare


*Word Tickets are from the book PoemCrazy. Click HERE to get a copy

Fiction Friday 04.17.20

You can’t hide your secrets from the moon. She sees what you try to hide in the dark. During the day her sleep is disturbed by the tears you have not cried. It’s like trying to hold back the ocean’s tides. Eventually the water finds a way to flow. 

Tonight do yourself a favor. Bask in the light of the moon and sing her that lullaby you haven’t quite forgotten. Open that hope chest that your mother gave to you and look at all the fine linens you’ve never used. Watch the moonlight glint off the tarnished silver that has gathered dust. Dig deeper. All the way to the bottom. There is a letter waiting for you to read. You read it once a long time ago and then buried it in the hope chest. Your tears are trapped inside the words on that page. Let them flow. Pull out the tiny pair of baby shoes. You were once tiny enough to fit your feet in them. It was both forever ago and only yesterday. 

When the tears run dry, the relief makes it easier to breathe. Deep breaths fill your lungs and ease the ache that you’ve been carrying in your heart. You look at the fancy linens and see new possibilities. You’ve needed curtains in the kitchen for a long while, looks like you found them. You leave the letter and the baby shoes behind. The box of silver ware is heavy but you know you’ve got a polishing cloth somewhere. Soon they will be shiny and clean. You may not have been born with a silver spoon in your mouth but there is nothing stopping you from using one to make your tea. 

The prompts for today’s story:

  • The Moon
  • chest 
  • letter 
  • baby shoes 
  • clean

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Copyright 2020 Klaudia Grady

Day 62

#quarantinechronicles

Ahh. Reminiscing back to the beginning of this shit show…

Fuck you Covid

61 days later I still feel the same. 🤣

9. The Hermit


Tarot Sentence:

Upright:          Prudence         learns               with profundity.

Inverted:        Betrayal           conceals           with falsehood.


☆ Special Guidance:

MundaneYou will attain that which you are seeking. 

EsotericYou’ve reached a point in your evolution where you should know that you don’t have to have all the answers, or know the future in advance, in order to ward off failure.  Reservations and distrustful thoughts are barriers that stand between you and the Source, and they must be worn down and eliminated.

Best Course of Action: Don’t strive to overcome a situation or force a resolution.  Take a modest or reticent approach with dignity and unassuming grace.

Outcome: You will accomplish most of your goals and emerge into a new plateau of potentiality, yet you will know that this is only the first step of your unfoldment and there’s much more to be achieved.


Keywords: searching wisdom, solitude, isolation, introspection, meditation, withdrawal, wisdom, philosophy, mysticism, prudence, deliberation, disguise

Reversed: paranoia, introversion, agoraphobia

Archetype: The recluse who can’t get away from his followers.

Astrological Sign: Virgo

Planet: Mercury

Hebrew Letter: Yod

Element: Earth

Affirmation:

I look within for the guidance of my higher self to elevate my moods and direct me to the light.

I am introspection, the beginning of a solitary journey to explore unknown neglected parts of self.

I am engaged in a search for meaning and purpose in life and daily activity.

I have the courage to journey along unfamiliar paths to discover my inner voice and vision.

I reorganize my life to free myself from distractions and create space for inward reflection.

I draw upon my enlightened experience to help others with their search for meaning.

Gem: Bloodstone, Jade

Rune: undefinedAlgiz – Protection undefined Jera – Harvest

Fiction Friday 04.10.20

Graffiti popped by the local cafe. She breathed in deeply the scents of fresh roasted coffee and reveled in the sounds of life all around her. She had spent the last three months in hibernation, completely cut off from the outside world. It had been a healing time during which she had completed her memory book. The download of her memories into the tiny crystalline book had taken nearly three weeks to finish and months to recover from. Now she felt refreshed but the process had been messy and emotional. Graffiti took a deep breath. She was no longer troubled by those memories, they were safely stored away with the rest of the world’s memories at The Tempest Stone Library. 

The cafe was busy. Graffiti had no memories to reference in order to know whether it was usually this busy on a Tuesday. If she could remember she would know that usually Tuesdays were dead and that’s why she went on those days. To spend more time with the adorable barista, Raven. However, Graffiti couldn’t even recognize Raven’s face. Raven’s dark eyes grew wide at the site of Graffiti. He stared a little too long, hoping against hope some flicker of recognition would stir in Graffiti’s eyes. Even the palest fire of a memory would’ve given life to the dead butterflies pinned to the walls of Raven’s heart. But no flicker, no glimmer, not even a sparkle of recognition stared back from Graffiti’s brilliant blue eyes. 

Graffiti watched the young man in front of her take her order. He seemed like he had something he wanted to say. Instead he just hung his head and took her order. She had no idea what her usual order was so she ordered a minty hot chocolate. The young barista added extra whip cream to it without even consulting her. When she took the first delicious sip she forgave him for being so bold. Graffiti went and sat at a table by the window. Raven watched her from behind the counter. He was dead to her now. His friends had warned him against getting involved with a curator who donated their memories to the great library. Curators led volatile lives and wiped away the damage they did by hibernating once a year. Raven sighed and quoted a long dead poet. “Nevermore.” 

The prompts for today’s story:

  • quoth the raven 
  • pale fire 
  • graffiti pop 
  • when the butterflies float 
  • the tempest stone 
  • a memory book

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Copyright 2020 Klaudia Grady

Day 55

#quarantinechronicles

Today I spent most of the morning working on projects. I had a call at noon. So mom guilt overtook me and I decided to make a cake with my daughter. #briberywillgetyoueverywhere

It’s a Fuck It Cake

So we made a Spice Cake. It’s what we had in the closet. This cake is brought to you by my daughter watching cupcake decorating videos all morning. It’s not pretty. But it tastes good.

Hmm. Somethings missing…

Of course we have ZERO PATIENCE so we cut chunks out of the cake as soon as it was out of the oven and slathered it in Cream Cheese frosting. That meant when it was cool enough to frost for real, the cake was… shorter than it should have been. Also. The middle of my cake totally sunk so that’s where all the frosting is hiding. Middle piece + extra frosting = winning 🤷‍♀️

Pretty much exactly what my daughter looked like. Frosting. Everywhere.

8. Strength


Tarot Sentence:

Upright:          Courage           subdues           with force.

Inverted:         Discord            abuses             with weakness.


☆ Special Guidance:

MundaneThere are powerful spiritual forces at work and obstacles to your success will be overcome…you will be given the power to succeed. 

EsotericThis is an important Karmic period, and actions taken during this time will be the needs of your tomorrow.  If you are feeling challenged, it’s because you are harboring a deep-seated misunderstanding, mistrust, or resentment toward someone (perhaps even God), and you are being given the opportunity to resolve it once and for all…remember, love conquers everything, even Karma.

Best Course of Action: Put aside the notion that your prayers can only be answered by striving or personal effort, and if you pray, pray with conviction…don’t be fearful.

Outcome: You will overcome all obstacles, and nothing will keep you from advancing toward your goals because you will have the kind of inner fortitude that nothing can defeat.


Keywords: self-consciousness, strength, power, energy, force, fortitude, heart, lust, life force, will, self-esteem, animal nature, self-preservation, instinct, magnanimity, heroism, ability, mastery

Reversed: weakness, cowardice, fear, embarrassment, self-criticism, shyness, reluctance

Archetype: The lovely lady with the heart of a lion.

Astrological Sign: Leo

Planet: Sun

Hebrew Letter: Teth

Element: Fire

Affirmation:

My greatest fears and weaknesses provide the energy, which enables me to express my higher self, and reach my dreams.

I am transforming love; I have learned to turn aggressive energy into a positive force for good.

I am able to calm the negative force within me with love, compassion, and understanding.

I have faith in my ability to handle intense emotions & desires; this confidence strengthens my willingness to act on my ideas.

I no longer repress my feelings and instincts; I have integrated beast and spirit.

I use my courage and strength to take new risks and complete difficult tasks.

Gem: Topaz

Rune: undefined Uruz – Strength

Day 54

#quarantinechronicles

Today I got to see my sister for a few minutes. I made her some tea to go. I put it on a table next to my driveway then stood six feet away from that. We chatted for a few minutes with masks on and about ten feet apart. Social distancing sucks.

Marshmallow & Astragalus on the left.
Nettles on the right.

She’s been feeling under the weather and when I talked to her last night I offered to steep her some tea….

Let the steeping commence…

And because I’m a good sister, I tried some of the marshmallow/astragalus this morning to prove that it isn’t totally gross.

Shot of marshmallow/astragalus to start my day.

This batch came out much better. The first time I made marshmallow root tea it was…slimey. 🤮

Fortunately my tea making skills have improved. I took a great herbalism class last year and it surprises me how much I use these teas. Some day I’ll be a full on hedge witch, but for now I just brew up some tea. I honestly hated tea before the class. I had no idea how much better loose leaf teas taste. My favorite is chamomile flower tea. I have a jar of chamomile flowers in my tea cabinet and it’s always the first one I reach for. It tastes like spring time. Marshmallow and Astragalus taste like you are chewing on a tree branch but it sure soothes the throat fast! 😂

Day 53

#quarantinechronicles

Dear Teachers,

Thank you.

Thank you for labeling busy work ‘just for fun’ and ‘in case you are bored’. It makes it so much easier to delete and forget. Before it was presented in a way that I always felt I was behind. I do craft projects and play outside with my kids and tell stories and have dance parties in the kitchen and play tag all the damn time. Putting it in their google classroom as an ‘assignment’ does nothing but stress this anxious mom the fuck out. Then rebel mom comes out with a huge ‘fuck the system’ attitude and that’s just not good for anyone.

Burn it all to the ground.
– Rebel Mom

Objectively I realize that there are kids and parents who need reminders to play as a family. That makes me sad. But also, I had a full time work at home job running three businesses before this shit went down. You adding bullshit to my kids to do list is getting in the WAY. Every moment I spend deleting emails and helping my kids wade through assignments is another minute I can’t get my work done. Which takes away from family time. So, just. STOP.

Me. All too often.

Teachers, you have value. Your regular classwork is enough. My kids are learning just fine in their own way. Their assignments are either early or late but never on time. They are on wizard time apparently. 🤷‍♀️

They also run away from the computer the first chance they get to go build forts outside or to go for a bike ride… which is a miracle with gamer kids like mine. So thank you for burning them out on screen time. I raise a toast to you. 😁

Also me. All too often.

Mostly I’m just a mom counting the days ’til the end of the school year. So we can actually enjoy spending time together without distance learning getting in the way.

And teachers. I hope you get some real time off this summer instead of being stuck in meetings and planning sessions. 💜

Can’t. Fucking. Wait.