The Ghost in the Standing Stone

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I walked through the abandoned centuries old churchyard, in a neglected area of the Yorkshire countryside of England, I shivered in the cold, damp, morning air. I was feeling melancholy, no doubt enhanced by the gray skies that seem to want to stay indefinitely, hovering over this landscape.

As I continued walking, mindlessly, through this abandoned field, I found myself wondering about the lives that once walked through this field, that are now dust. I couldn’t help wondering when it would be my turn—to turn to dust.

In my field of vision, I noticed an odd-looking standing stone that stood at the very edge of the long field. It was all alone, as if abandoned through the ages. From a distance, I could see, no, I  could feel it’s presence. How does one feel a standing stone’s presence?

I don’t know, yet, I felt it pulling me toward it or was it my imagination?  With each step toward the standing stone, the feeling grew stronger, my steps more sure of where they were going.

As I continued walking toward the standing stone, I began to hear a whispering of words. Was the stone whispering to me? I felt compelled to keep walking toward the speaking stone, and do what? Start speaking to it? Engaging it in titillating conversation? Really? Have I totally lost my mind?

As I approached the standing stone, the whisper grew louder and then I knew that this standing stone was inhabited by a ghost! This was no trick or a twist of my imagination; I could not help but feel its pain, its loneliness. I wondered how long it, the ghost, had been alone, abandoned, forced to haunt this abandoned place.

How many centuries did this poor soul live a life in stone? It was too horrible to even a imagine. And then I knew what I had to do. I had to help this lost soul, somehow. I felt it wanted me to.

He, yes, it was a male, I somehow knew that. He had been turned to stone, this poor soul, this young man, had, no doubt, been hexed, cursed as it were, by some warlock or wicked witch. How I knew this, I don’t know. But, why was he hexed and turned to stone? I had to find out!

I felt my hand go up to touch him, this standing human stone, so lost and alone. I felt his warmth, his heart beating, his lungs breathing. How can that be? I wondered.  In shock, I realized he was alive, not dead!

“May I have…your name?” I asked him. He then spoke. His voice was rich and deep, almost soothing.

“Aye, ye may,” he said. “Christian ‘tis mah name, Christian McEwen. May I be so bold Milady, tae ask yer name?”

“My…my name? Huh…yes…my name is Lexi, short for Alexandra McCoy.”

“Aye, ye hae a bonny name, Lexi, and ye art bonny, as weel.”

“Christian, how long have you…been in stone,like this…and who did this to you?”

“Aye…’twas a Witch, ye ken. A shrew! A bonny she-devil—a vixen.”

As I listened to him tell the story of how he happened to be turned into a standing stone, I could see him as he was before he was captured in the stone. His visage, pale as it was through the stone…was a handsome, tall, blond headed young man.  I guessed him to be about twenty-five years of age. He wore the clothes of centuries past. I guessed he once lived sometime in the 15th century. Scottish Gaelic.

“Christian,” I said, “I can’t stay much longer. It looks like a storm is brewing, so please tell me how I can help you?”

“Aye, I ken ye dae. I wish ye could stay with me, Lexi.”

“I wish I could too, Christian, but I must go now. I can comeback, you know.”

“Nay, Lexi, ye only hae one chance, ye cannae return to me. ‘Tis part of the wicked Witch’s curse, ye ken. Dinnae fash, Lexi.”

“How I wish I could stay, Christian. I am so sorry. I will miss you and I am sorry I couldn’t help you somehow.”

Suddenly the sky darkened, the wind blew like the devil himself wished me gone. The earth shook beneath me. Like magic, looming up in front of me was a figure of a woman, dressed in a centuries old costume. Her laughter rang out with glee and spite. She looked at me, with narrowed eyes of the darkest black I had ever seen.

“Run Lexi, ‘tis the Witch! Run as fast as ye can, Milady! Away with ye—now!”

I couldn’t move, the Witch had me in her grip; she said something in a language I didn’t understand. I felt myself vanishing, fading away, but I was not gone, not really. I found myself inside the standing stone with Christian. Fear raced through my being. “Oh my god, what have I done? Christian, what has happened to me?”

“Lexi, ye art with me. ‘Tis her curse…I didae ken. But, ye dae so on ye own. Aye, ye hae helped me, dinnae ye. I am nay alone now Lexi. Ye art with me.”

 

Thursday photo prompt: Timeless #writephoto

I have been interested in doing #writephoto prompts, and perhaps now I have the courage to do so. These #writephoto prompts often produce wonderful stories and great writing. Visit Sue Vincent’s Daily blog for past prompts, and books written by Sue Vincent and Stuart France.

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

#writephoto

Use the image below as inspiration to create a post on your own blog… poetry, prose, humour… light or dark, whatever you choose, by noon (GMT)  Wednesday 27 th February and link back to this post with a pingback to be included in the round-up.  There is no word limit and no style requirements, except to keep it fairly family friendly.

For visually challenged writers, the image shows a single standing stone in a winter landscape.

All posts will be featured in the round-up on Thursday February 28th at 10am GMT, linking back to the original posts of contributors. Throughout the week I will feature as many of the responses here on the Daily Echo as space allows and (more or less) in the order in which they come in.

You can find all last week’s entries in the weekly round-up. Please visit and read the stories and poems and…

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6 Draft Checklist Ideas (And Why You Should Create Your Own)

K.M. Allen, this is wonderful, especially for novice writers! I am the worse at doing multiple drafts, and checking for errors. Fortunately, I have improved, with help from more seasoned authors, and that means no more second editions, I hope. Thank you for this simple, but very effective way to redraft a manuscript (as many times as necessary). Thank you!

K.M. Allan

Just as no two writers will write an idea the same way, drafting is a unique process as well.

Some authors may draft their MS in as little as five passes, others (raises hand) might have 20 odd drafts under their belt for certain works in progress.

When drafting is such a mammoth task, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. I’m not a planner for writing, but for editing and drafting, I find a plan makes all the difference.

To create such plans, checklists are my go-to, and when I’m close to the final draft stage, these are the six main things I scan for during a draft pass…

1. Repeats

I recommend every writer come up with their own Repeats List because we all have different words we use repeatedly. This advice also goes for phrases (I constantly use “looked as if”) and for movements. If every character is…

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“The Rainy Day” By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (for a Rainy Day)

“In to Each Life Some Rain Must Fall,” from the Poem, “The Rainy Day” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Life of Longfellow

Longfellow the second-oldest in a family of eight children, was a teacher at Bowdoin College in Maine, and later at Harvard University.Longfellow’s first wife Mary died in 1831 following a miscarriage, while they were traveling in Europe. The couple had been married for only four years. He did not write for several years following her death, but she inspired his poem “Footsteps of Angels.”

In 1843, after years of trying to win her over for nearly a decade, Longfellow married his second wife Frances. The two had six children together. During their courtship, Longfellow often walked from his home in Cambridge, crossing the Charles River, to Frances’ family home in Boston. The bridge he crossed during those walks is now officially known as the Longfellow Bridge.

But his second marriage ended in tragedy as well; in 1861 Frances died of burns she suffered after her dress caught fire. Longfellow was himself burned trying to save her and grew his famous beard to cover the scars left behind on his face.He died in 1882, a month after people around the country celebrated his 75th birthday.

Body of Work

Longfellow’s best-known works include epic poems such as “The Song of Hiawatha,” and “Evangeline,” and poetry collections such as “Tales of a Wayside Inn.” He also wrote well-known ballad-style poems such as “The Wreck of the Hesperus,” and “Endymion.”

He was the first American writer to translate Dante’s “Divine Comedy.” Longfellow’s admirers included President Abraham Lincoln, and fellow writers Charles Dickens and Walt Whitman.

Analysis of ‘The Rainy Day’

This 1842 poem has the famous line “Into each life some rain must fall,” meaning that everyone will experience difficulty and heartache at some point. The “day” is a metaphor for “life.” Written after the death of his first wife and before he married his second wife, “The Rainy Day” has been interpreted as a deeply personal look into Longfellow’s psyche and state of mind.

Here is the complete text of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “The Rainy Day.”

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the moldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.
My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the moldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast
And the days are dark and dreary.
Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

Something to Think About – Keeping the Magic of Romance Alive Every Day by Sally Cronin

Sally, this is just beautiful! Reblogging on Pen and Paper!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

This post appeared on Jacquie Biggar’s website last year.I thought you might like to read again on this day of love and romance….

Not everyone celebrates Valentine’s Day and I believe that romance is something that infuses every day of a relationship, but if receiving a card, or some roses, reminds someone of how much they are loved, then this is a good day.

My thanks to Jacquie for inviting me to share my views on romance. It is one of the elements of our lives which is universal, and much sort after. People often ask what the secret to a happy relationship is… darned if I know.  All I can offer you is some of the little things I have come to appreciate over the last 50 odd years of dating and relationships. Make that 55 as I had a crush on Peter Birch at primary school age…

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Talking Death and Dying with Children – Part 1

Jennie, a teacher of young children, shows us a wonderful way to talk about death to children and most importantly, how to listen to children’s questions regarding death. Thank you, Jennie.

A Teacher's Reflections

“Jennie, come quick!  You need to come right now!”

Vivian was wide-eyed and worried.  I knew this was serious.  I sprinted with her over to the bushes and around to the backside.  There lay a bunny.  It looked to be sleeping and very peaceful.

“What’s wrong?  Why isn’t the bunny moving?”, asked Vivian

I said, “Thebunny isn’t alive.  It’s dead.”

Vivian didn’t know what to say.  By now, other children were curious and coming over to see.  Another teacher thought I should take the children away from the scene.  After all, it was a dead animal.

I did just the opposite.

I called all the children over to see.  It’s okay to see death.  Children needed to see, to ask questions, and to be there.  It was up to me to guide the situation and open a discussion. First we looked at the fur and talked about how…

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