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Bully Posion (Part of the Myths and Tales collection)

“What is it?” he asked eagerly. “Tell me!” Charlie urged.

“I am a witch.” said Aunt Trudy softly and slowly.

Charlie’s eyes lit with joy. He had always known there was something unusual about his lovable aunt. “Does that mean I’m a witch too?” he asked excitedly.

“Don’t be stupid boy,” said Trudy. Charlie’s hopes were dashed in an instant. When Trudy saw his sad little face she continued, “Being a witch takes years of practice. I will show you but in the meantime … What to do about those bullies…” her voice trailed off as she heaved a heavy, dusty, green leather bound book, slammed it on the table and proceeded to unbuckle the golden clip that held the book closed. Dust flew from the pages as they were turned. Aunt Trudy ran her finger slowly over the hand written words. The writing was so scribbled and hurried it was difficult to read.

“Aha!” announced Aunt Trudy in triumph disturbing their quiet contemplation. “This ought to do the trick!”

Aunt Trudy’s first spell: Removing an enemies voice

With lizard tails,

And an old woman’s nails,

Take a frog and a pot of snails.

Mush them together in one big stew,

Add a drop of blood but it must be new,

Along with rat tails, not one but two.

Give to your enemy; they must drink it fast,

Every single drop or the effects won’t last,

Now they won’t say a word until you ask.

“Lucky we have all the ingredients right here,” said Aunt Trudy cheerfully pulling bottles from the shelf. Charlie picked up a jar labelled ‘pickled raven’s claw’. He opened the lid and brought the jar to his nose. Aunt Trudy snatched it back from him. “Don’t sniff that, not unless you want a pig snout,” she warned.

“I’m not sure about this,” the nephew said hesitantly.

Aunt Trudy began pouring the ingredients into a black ceramic bowl. The contents were bubbling, mixing together to form an orange paste. “Don’t be silly, that bully will learn.” There was a crazed look in Aunt Trudy’s eyes that Charlie didn’t like one bit.

Charlie asked “Will they get hurt?”

“Not unless you want them to.” Aunt Trudy took the bowl, held it high above her head and whispered the magic words. “Munchlum Doodledum Frooglepop.”

She took some to their garden, Charlie followed. The neighbours’ dog, Benny, had managed to climb onto their grass again ruining Aunt Trudy’s vegetable patch and leaving canine deposits everywhere. Benny was yapping uncontrollably.

“What are you doing?” the little boy asked when he noticed his aunt staring at the dog.

Aunt Trudy held the bowl out in front of her. “First rule of witchcraft Charlie, take out the neighbour’s pesky pet.” Benny was wagging his tail eagerly and still yapping. Trudy lowered the bowl to him and he took several large gulps not stopping to sniff. He started yapping again. Charlie folded his arms across his chest in disappointment. “Give it a moment,” Trudy said. They both watched the dog. Suddenly Benny’s voice was lost. His horrid screeching bark became silent. His jaws were open and his lungs were pushing but no sound came out. “I do that when I want to shut that thing up,” said the aunt. “Now you know how it works, give it to your bully.”

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The Damned Doll (A Myths and Tales story)

Lot’s of people say that porcelain dolls are creepy. I always disagreed. I was given my first doll for Christmas back when I was eight and I loved it so much people kept flooding me with more and more. I’m now thirteen and I still love my dolls.

“Their horrid. How can you sleep at night with all of them staring at you like that,” my best friend Otto says. He’s not the free spirit I am. He thinks I don’t notice but he tends to turn them to face the wall if we happen to be watching TV at my house. I can see his eyes dart every now and again to them to check they haven’t moved on their own.

The bright pink walls of my room are lined with various porcelain faces. My favourite one is one that always sits in the middle. She wears a purple dress. Her eyes are beetle black and she has a thick head of spiral curls like my own. Dad brought her back from a trip to the lesser known country of Mergovia. He was on a photography assignment from his newspaper when he saw an old woman who easily looked like she had seen one hundred years. She was selling the dolls so he brought one home for me. He said that the woman had tried to usher him some kind of warning but he didn’t understand the language. He always did have a flair for the dramatic.

I named her ‘Hate’ because of all my dolls – their faces normally serene, shiny eyes vacant – she looked like she was scowling a little. Given her stern expression and crazy hair I always imagined her angry. I would tell Hate all of the things that were bothering me. She wouldn’t dismiss them or tell me that I was over reacting like most people did. She listened. She scowled on my behalf and I felt better. I had a good thing going with Hate. That was until the night I woke her up.

It had been a particularly bad day. I had failed a Spanish test, I dropped my lunch tray in view of everyone and I had been walking around all afternoon with toilet paper stuck to my shoe. Rather than telling me this the girls felt it better to giggle at my expense. It wasn’t until I met Otto after school and he told me was it finally removed. My name being Tally, it lead to the new nickname ‘Toilet Paper Tally’. I will now bear this new name until I can talk dad into letting me move school.

I was relaying all of this to Hate, spilling my inner nastiness. She stared down at me with her scowl like she felt the pain of each of my words.

I smiled, content that I had managed to shoulder my humiliation. I switched my lamp off and laid my head on my pillow. I gave one last look at Hate and could have sworn she was angled more towards me than she had been. Anyway, off to sleep I went.

In the middle of the night I heard a soft singing. It was a tune that seemed familiar but I couldn’t quite place it. It was a soft little voice that sounded younger than my own. There was someone else in my room! I looked up. This time Hate definitely had moved. She was staring straight at me.

“Well look who’s awake,” she said in a sharp, shrill shriek that wasn’t as soft as her singing voice.

I could only stare at her. How often does a doll come to life? Too often I’d say.

“Aren’t you going to lift me down from here or are you just going to keep staring at me like a dim witted moron.”

“You’re not real,” I gasped.

Hate shook her head. “You can bet your ass I’m real.”

“Dolls don’t come to life.” I tried rubbing my eyes. My brain told me I was dreaming.

Hate shook her head slowly. It a slow moment that required a lot of effort from her. “This one does. Now get me down from here. We have work to do…”

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My Girlfriend is a Ghost (A Myths and Tales story)

When you move into a new house, everyone has their checklist: furniture removal, changing address with the bank, checking for resident spooks. Clifton Road was a new town for me. I didn’t know what to expect. The landlord never warned me that I would be sharing with Tina.

My first night in the house I decided to take it easy. I slumped down on the sofa to watch some television. Most of the boxes were still unpacked and the large bulky grey set was placed on two chairs because I hadn’t built the stand designated for it.

I was exhausted. I lowered my heavy eye lids. It was late afternoon so I thought, ‘No harm can come of a half hour doze?’ I would wake up, sleep refreshed and ready to get the rest of my belongings in their rightful place.

A half hour doze became a three hour slumber. I was awoken with the feel of fingers through my thick, chestnut hair. I woke with a start. The TV screen had gone blank. The movie I had been watching had long finished. I reached to my head to feel for a hand but alas there was none.

I thought nothing more of it. I put it down to my sleep addled mind.

Through the night my sleep was broken once again by a loud clatter. I leapt into action; not really sure what damage the rolled up magazine I carried with me could do to an intruder.

In the living room all the remaining unpacked boxes had been tipped over. They had been pretty shaken up. I was shaken up too!

I checked the door was locked. The windows were secure. The streets outside were empty of people. I went back to bed and fell into an uneasy sleep.

The unusual occurrences continued the next morning. I was brushing my teeth. The steam from my shower had fogged the mirror. I was busy contemplating the day ahead when with a squeak the words:

‘HI, I’M TINA’

formed before my very eyes. I looked behind me, even though if there were anything there I would have seen it already.

“Erm, hi Tina,” I replied. I’m nothing if not polite.

‘I LIKE YOU,’ she wrote.

Most say I was insane for staying in that house but Tina and I got along famously. She would leave little notes like ‘GO GET EM’ in my lunch bag. Her poltergeist like abilities meant she could keep the house neat and tidy whilst I was at work. It was far from perfect but show me a couple who is.

Like most couples we argue. Like many women, Tina likes to have the last word. But it is nice to have someone to come home to.

A lot of people raise an eyebrow at our unorthodox pairing but as long as we’re happy I don’t see where the problem lies. Love is love after all.

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Cheese Louise (Part of the Myths and Tales collection)

I know as you read this you will find my predicament quite silly. After all, who in their right mind would want to be made of cheese? I certainly didn’t. It was quite accidental. I’ve just had to learn to live with it. The magic I possess has been passed down to me through the generations of women in my family. Dad was a little weary of it, especially when he had to spend a week with an extra head. The extra head was great for heightened senses but not so good for his job as a buttoned down insurance salesman. Poor dad struggled to converse with his clients. Not everyone was accepting as we were. Even with the second head and other little magic mishaps, dad loved mum all the same.

As I grew older the magic became strong in me. Every time I sneezed I would set fire to the coffee table. We would chuckle and put the fire out. Not necessarily in that order.

The magic was difficult to control and when it was mixed with a clumsy gene it was positively dangerous. It was actually written somewhere that my great grandmother – a well respected witch – had been asked by the villagers for help to make their crops grow. Grandmama was only too happy to oblige. Soon the village had more food than they could eat but poor Grandmama had blown herself up in the process, which brings me to my current situation.

Most witches opt for a black cat as their familiar. Sometimes an owl or even a raven – so I have been told – will do the trick. I had opted for three white mice. That was my first mistake.

Squeaky, Screetchy and Clive – that would be the mice – were the best familiars any witch could ask for. They were cute, fun and always greeted with a squeak and a smile.

They loved cheese as most mice do, at least in cartoons. (I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this). One day the local store was out of the brand the mice liked best so I thought I could save myself some money and make my own cheese. Now, not every girl has a cow at home and even for those who do, who has time for all that churning? Not me! I would conjure the best cheese my little mice ever tasted.

I had everything I needed. The mice watched in eager anticipation from their cage. With a sway and a swoop, a jump and a loop I set about making my magic cheese. That was when it happened. In my nostrils I felt a tickle. I tried to hold it back, I really did. A loud sneeze escaped me and the whole thing back fired. Instead of a mountain of tasty cheese for my mice I instead became cheddar.

Its taken some adjusting, like keeping myself constantly refrigerated. I had a boyfriend who was allergic to dairy. Needless to say that didn’t last very long. But my mice are happy. In fact they are positively giddy when they see me…

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Stand and Grow Tall

Timothy Hardship is my name. With that you would think I’ve had a hard life but its really the opposite. The truth is I was a bright and happy boy. That was until I accidentally made myself as tall as a house. Now, simple things like going to school, playing with my friends and other regular kid things present more of a challenge.

Grandad always used to tell me that little kids should give up their seats for adults because they need to stand and grow tall. I was one of the smallest boys in my class so I took my grandad’s advice and kept on my feet as much as possible, thinking it would stretch me out.

Tiny Tim they called me. Well, one day I had had enough.

I was looking through a catalogue that had been lying around the house for years. It was one of those useless things that for some reason my mum wouldn’t throw away. My finger stopped on a very eye catching, star shaped ad. ‘Make yourself as tall as a house!’ it read. A lot of hoodwink and pish posh I thought but since it claimed it was free and all you had to do was call a toll free number I thought ‘why not?’

My parents had been visiting a neighbour who had just had a new baby so I was home alone. I picked up the phone and dialled 0800 – GET – TALL. The ad was so old that I had expected the number to have been disconnected. To my surprise an automated voice came on the other end.

“One moment please,” it said in its computerised, honeyed tone. Then there was a click and the line went dead.

‘Well I don’t feel taller,” I said to myself, putting the phone down with just a little disappointment.

***

I went to the bathroom. I splashed cold water on my face. I was starting to feel really hot. I hoped I was coming down with something so I could have a day or two off school.

I felt dizzy. I looked down at the sink. It looked a lot smaller and a lot further away than it had a moment ago. I felt something bump against my head. It was the roof! I climbed out of the bathroom and charged downstairs like a stilt walker and squeezed out the front door.

I waved my arms like great boat sails. I could now see in my bedroom window on the top floor.

My tiny mum and miniscule dad came walking down the pathway. Mum shrieked and fell faint. Dad gave a very firm, “Oh my!” and twitched his moustache.

After mum finally recovered I explained to them what had happened. Dad opened the window so I could talk to them, hunching down and peeping in. Dad tried calling the maker of the ad but they had closed business. It seems there wasn’t much business for people wanting to be as big as houses.

***

I’ve had to make a few adjustments. A sky high house has been built for me to live in. I have to sit in the school yard and listen to my lessons through the window, even when its raining. Mum was shocked at first but she says she loves me no matter my size. I’ll be big until dad can track down the owner of ‘Getting Tall’. At least they don’t call me Tiny Tim anymore.

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June 30, 2017 | Categories: Myths and Tales, stories | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Little List of Doom

I once had a little red notebook. It could rest quite comfortably in the palm of my hand. I was only twelve at the time this all happened but I had pretty small hands. Anyway, this book had been in my family for generations. Lots of the pages had been torn out. It didn’t seem like much when I found it amongst the boxes in the attic. We were clearing out junk and I pulled this little red notebook from the dustiest box, hidden in the darkest corner.

“What’s this?” I asked my mum.

Her eyes widened. She was never one for dramatics but I saw a true look of fear on her face that day mixed with general bewilderment. “That was your gran’s,” she replied.

My gran had lots of weird belongings. I remember some of the strange statues we had found after she moved to sunnier climates. They looked eerily like little people carved out of wax. Some some of them had needles sticking in what I would imagine would be very painful places. Mum melted all of the dolls down and threw them away. My gran was a little weird. I always thought so but as a kid it was really fun to be around. When I stayed over with her she would show me all sorts of old books and tell me ghost stories. I said I could handle it but she told them so vividly that I would wake up in the middle of the night and swear that the ‘goober man’ was watching me. ‘Goober man’ was one of her favourites. He was a dusty old creature who stalked the ancient streets where my gran lived. The fingers and toes of little girls – just like me – were his favourite delicacy. He had long thin strands of hair covering a liver spotted head. His eyes were bulbous and yellow. His fingers were long and he had sharp teeth for gnawing on little bones. He sounded awful. I didn’t want a visit from him. As I said gran loved telling me stories of ‘goober man’. She would see how scared I would be getting and she would laugh. She was a little strange.

“Can I keep this?” I asked my mum of the little red book.

Mum wrinkled her nose. “It’s all rotten and there are hardly any pages left.”

I agreed but I did like the red cover. It gave the notebook some importance. Mum shrugged her shoulders and continued sorting the junk so I slipped the book into the back pocket of my jeans and helped.

That night when everyone – mum, dad and my little brother Ray – had gone to sleep, I kept my night light on and finally had a look at my new red notebook. There was an inscription inside that read:

ENEMY LIST; ENEMIES BEWARE. GONE FOREVER.

This actually made me smile. Even the most patient and tolerant of us would love the chance to make certain people in our lives disappear. One name came to mind – Stacey Willen. She was a nasty girl in my class who had being going out of her way to make my life a misery since we first started school. She would tease me about my hair, my clothes and pretty much everything about me. She had her loyal band of supporters who laughed at her jokes that really weren’t that funny. They were all so eager to gain her approval that they wouldn’t even help me up when she pushed me into the mud. They just stood there like grinning hyenas like it was the best comedy in the world. Just that day I had been sat underneath the tree reading a book. It was a very sunny day. The tree was offering a nice cooling, shady breeze. I was enjoying my reading, blocking out the nonsense screaming of my classmates in the school yard. Stacey must have spotted me from across the yard and felt unable to leave me content. She marched over to me and snatched the book from my hands.

“Give me that back!” I protested.

Stacey sneered. She wasn’t particularly bright. She opened the book in the middle and spat on the pages. Not quite having caused enough havoc she turned to the end and ripped out the last three pages. Seeing I wasn’t reacting she got bored and threw the book back at me, hitting me hard on the arm.

Staring at my gran’s enemy list I took a pen from the night stand. It had thick black ink. She would have to be the first name. STACEY WILLEN. Content with myself I turned off my light and fell into a comfortable nights sleep.

The next morning when I arrived at school I had half expected Stacey to be there to greet me, somehow knowing I had added her to my enemy list. To my surprise her usual band of supporters were gathered but there was no Stacey.

“She has just disappeared. Her parents say she was in her room last night and when they went to check on her she was gone! They think she has ran away. The police were around and everything,” Stacey’s appointed ‘second in command’ was telling the others.

Stacey disappeared? After I had added her to my enemy list? Surely this was just coincidental. I knew my gran was weird but surely she wasn’t that weird?

Mr Perlman was the caretaker at the school. He was always shouting at the kids and he spat when he spoke. He was a bitter old crank and never had a nice word to say about anyone, even sweet old Mr Faben – the headmaster – who was technically his boss.

He sat at a table in the entranceway making sure the students made their way to class in a timely and organised manner. He wore a battered old hat that was once red but now yellowy and in desperate need of a wash.

“Move it along Wilson!” he spat at me even though he could clearly see I was moving to my first class. I turned and looked at him to verify exactly what it was he was shouting at me for. I had after all just crossed the threshold into the school. He pointed savagely at his brown forehead. “Are you a moron!? I said move along!”

I shook my head and grunted. I took out my red notebook and smiled to myself as I wrote down, in heavy letters, MR PERLMAN. It did make me feel much better. I walked along to my class. If I had turned at that moment I would have noticed the seat where Mr Perlman had been in just moments before, empty except for the battered old hat.

That afternoon over lunch I saw Mr Faben wandering around the hall looking for Mr Perlman. I didn’t think anything of it. I just saw it that the student body was getting a break for an afternoon both from Stacey Willen and Mr Perlman so it was win win. I overheard the girls at the table next to me discussing the maths test we were to have later that afternoon. They were in my class, they knew me well by name but never invited me to join them. It seems they thought I was a little odd. They hadn’t met my gran. As the girls left the lunch room, offering me but a fleeting glance I began to think of how under prepared I was for the maths test. I and many twelve year olds would much rather be doing anything else than sitting a maths test so for kicks I took out my red notebook once again. This time I added MISS PARSON AND THE S32 MATHS CLASS to the enemy list.

Eventually the bell rang and I swung my bag over my shoulder and took a deep breath. I arrived at my maths class and it was empty. Everyone had gone, even Miss Parson.

Whilst the school was in turmoil trying to find out where an entire class of students, a rookie maths teacher and the caretaker would have disappeared to I slipped my red enemy list back into my pocket. I was going to have to learn to use it wisely…

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June 20, 2017 | Categories: Myths and Tales, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Graveyard Granny (A Myths and Tales … tale)

Granny was one hundred and four years old. She wasn’t actually my gran. She was my mother’s, mother’s mother and Granny agreed that that made her pretty great.

“I’ll live forever!” she quipped on her ninety eight birthday. When she reached one hundred and two people started to agree with her.

When she turned one hundred and four she thought enough was enough. It was high time she had a funeral.

“Give me my favourite blanket though. It will get cold in the winter.”

We all thought Granny was crazy but she insisted. When this particular matriarch had made up her mind there was simply no changing it.

It wasn’t the most orthodox of ceremonies. Granny waved from her casket with a great big smile on her face.

“Granny, you aren’t going to have them screw that casket down are you?” I had pleaded before hand.

“Now that wouldn’t make much sense now would it?” she returned with a wry smile. “How am I supposed to get up and walk about? An eternity locked down would get a little tedious.”

And so the funeral service went ahead. No one shed tears. It wasn’t what Granny wanted. Truthfully, I don’t think people quite knew how to feel, especially when Granny climbed from her casket to give a few words on her own behalf.

At ninety eight she had claimed she would live forever. She is now one hundred and twenty four and still going strong. She will fight for her rights as an otherwise deceased. She had a nice funeral and she chose a beautiful spot for her final resting place where I can visit her anytime I please. She still gives me tea and biscuits.

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June 14, 2017 | Categories: Myths and Tales, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment