New Life

She lay there cold, with legs exposed, as they spoke. Backs turned to her; she caught few words.
“A mess. . .”
“No more feeling. . .”
“Stiches.”
They looked over at her and she held their gaze, wanting answers. The doctor approached, mouth moving in silent speech as he searched for the right words.

“Ma’am, there have been…some tears. You will need stiches to help the healing. I’ll…do my best, but you may never-.”

Her stomach turned, she knew.

A squeak.
She pulled a blanket over her chest as she looked down, heart swelling as her baby suckled.

Warm…and strong.



This week’s contribution to the Carrot Ranch’s weekly 99 word challenge is inspired by an event I will experience in a little under 2 weeks’ time!

After generously sharing some hard times from her past, Charli’s prompt is about finding the semicolon’s in life.

She challenges us to:
“…write a renewal story that proclaims, “This isn’t the end; I will go on.” Think of the mythical phoenix that rises up from the ashes; of Cinderella after midnight on the night of the ball; of a hero that faces certain death; of love after tragedy; of renewing life’s lemonade transitions.”

Our third little one is due on the 27th of April and I know all too well the anxiety that comes with the anticipation of labour. Luckily, I’m more confident this time around and not as fearful, and I thank God for the smooth run of our first two.

Having experienced only minor tearing during our first, I have incredible sympathy for those whose bodies have had to recover from less forgiving outcomes.

Every kind of labour creates changes in a person’s body, changes that can affect the rest of a lifetime. Despite the challenges of the miraculous process, I like to think of the semicolon…

The struggles of labour; the creation of a brand new life.

Now, I know it’s a topic that’s often spoken of; where women need to be honoured and worshipped for their ability to give birth.

Don’t get me wrong here, it’s an incredible ability to have, but I also think a man’s life is just as challenging, but in different ways. Right from social pressures, to the stresses of supporting a family. Times might be changing—slowly—but it’s still a primal instinct as the ‘man of the house’ to protect one’s family.

The birth of a child—and all other results of the process—affect not only the person giving birth, but their life partner also. It’s a process through which equality, respect and support is vital for everyone involved.

The birth process is a lifetime change for not only the female, but for males also, even if the effects aren’t visible.

So little time

He walked in the door. Little feet came running with tiny fingers reaching. Nudging aside a few toys strewn across his path, he made his way to the couch. Little feet followed, their voices tumbling over each other as they fought for his attention. He picked up the oldest for cuddles as the littlest ran off. The littlest returned, struggling to drag him a rocking horse before pounding a tiny fist on his leg. He released the oldest despite protests and gathered up the littlest, mind whirling with tiny voices of complaint and excitement, eyes flicking back and forth.

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“Character Symptoms” was this week’s prompt for the Carrot Ranch’s Flash Fiction Challenge.

I struggled to find something for this prompt. I think it’s mostly because my expectations were too high. I wanted to write something interesting, something different. I started a piece based on a scene I’m currently working on for my novel, with the hope of learning something more about the characters themselves.

It had an awesome Sci-Fi feel, high-tech and everything. I wanted to represent the perspective of a reformed ex-felon in a high-stakes situation from someone else’s POV…That piece felt forced.

I scrapped it.

This, on the other hand, is something I see almost every day—if he gets home before their bedtime—and it’s another piece written from a tender place.

Character Symptoms” is such a broad topic. Initially I had no idea how to interpret this prompt.

I didn’t want to write about just anything; I wanted to write about something deeper than the usual things the news makes society stress about; I didn’t want to write about superficial things.

Being a parent is one of the great honours of life. Being a parent in today’s society is also unnaturally stressful.

As a parent you want to provide the best for your children and in today’s society, the best always seems to cost inordinate amounts of money. To make that money, one must work. One must work long hours in most cases.

We are lucky in that I am able to be stay-at-home with our little ones, but on the same note, my other half; their dad’s mind is on work for most hours of every day. He carries a lot of responsibilities in order to have the job stability he currently has; his workplace would struggle without him, and thus, there is a lot he must manage and keep on top of.

This means that when he gets home, and is lucky enough to see the little ones for an hour or two before their bed, though they may be super excited to see him and suddenly filled with an abundance of little person energy, his mind is still whirling from the seriousness of his job.
Though he is home, there are things that he can still solve for work if only he used that extra time to continue thinking on issues. If he’s not giving his job all of his efforts, then he doesn’t feel like he’s doing the best he can, and thus shouldn’t have the position or the privileges that come with it.

Unfortunately, his mind becomes so overworked—and I’m sure that most of society can relate—he struggles to make himself emotionally available and present for the little ones.
Every morning he leaves and his heart breaks as they beg him not to go, to stay just a little longer and read them a book or give them extra cuddles. And he can’t even promise that he’ll see them that night.

There are too many stresses in today’s society; you either work and sacrifice precious time together, or you struggle financially and stress about your child’s opportunities instead.

It’s a fine line between managing your time between work and family life. A stress that I think is inevitable; though I do hope more and more families are feeling equipped enough to discover their own balance, and confident enough to make the changes, trusting in their love for their partner and children.

Once again, I’m finding that love comes into play in life. It seems to be the defining factor between the strong and the struggling. Whether it’s love for and from your family or love for yourself. That honest, unconditional love, that forgives human mistakes, can help in almost every situation.

The more of society who understand this concept will mean less stress for all; people will be making better choices for the benefit of everyone, rather than fearing and trying to maintain their own survival in this stressful world.

It’s tough and heartbreaking at times, but worth it.

Turquoise

Dark branches released cherry blossoms, awash with pale pink and deep magenta, and sent them floating upon the subtle mountain breeze.

The dragon’s tail flicked, dusting the landscape with a glitter of red as it gazed through an orb laden with four yellow stars, tendrils of smoke drifted skyward from its mouth.

An orange form darted past, the dragon’s eyes followed its flash of colour for a moment before a cascade of turquoise enveloped the koi and carried it down the mountain stream.

A man sat tall upon the peak, eyes trained as he painted his dreams of colour.


I feel I must explain this piece.
First of all, it’s inspired by Charli Mills’ prompt “Turquoise” over at CarrotRanch.com. A prompt for which I struggled to find inspiration. I wanted to write something different, something close to my heart and thus I discovered this piece.
I had a not-often-enough opportunity to spend some time out with the other half this weekend, thanks to his mother’s offer to babysit the little ones; and we had an amazing time bonding and having fun together.
The other half loves to wear his heart on his sleeve, and thus is in the long process of having a sleeve tattoo beautifully etched onto his skin by the incredible Matty at Dizzmattix Tattoos. It is inspired by his passions in life, and so I was inspired by him this week;
The dragon symbolises strength and honour with the orb of 4 stars, one for he, myself and our two little ones (a fifth to be added soon), in the dragon’s care.
The koi – with the Chinese symbols for Courage, Discipline, Strength and Dream – utilises these to swim down a stream of water, and symbolise his strength and perseverance through challenges in life.
Finally, the koi is thus surrounded by cherry blossoms, symbolising his inspiration and love for his daughters.

When I think of colours, I think of happiness and life, and though this piece may not be a ‘story,’ I wanted portray the inspiration I find in colour.

Thank you for reading :)

Scorched Strength

The soft countryside lay sprawled all around, fading far into the distance as we drifted through. Gliding over roads cut through hills, with their wooden crowns and fields of flowers laced with wondrous creatures. Every colour beautiful and strong beneath the warm, late morning sun and its vast ocean of blue. Great gums line either side, flicking past our windows with thick greens sprouting, determined, wanting a life out from beneath scorched bark. Bare branches stretch overhead, darkened bark showing nothing more than death and pain to the untrained eye.

They stand rooted eternally to the earth, life fuelled by the ground beneath and the light above, leaves shimmering with the breeze.

To see these solemn structures of softened wood and fragile leaves, blackened by fires but still flourishing with life anew, amidst the season of birth with all others, is humbling. Made up of nothing more than masses of tiny cells. Cells riddled by millions of years of random mutations and nigh impossible occurrences that just happened to work well together, despite the many millions of other mutations that had caused death and sickness every other time. There just happened to be one change, within one tiny seed, creating the strength to withstand and use the extremes of its environment to its advantage. This new change thus survived, its host tree spreading its strength across the land and assisting future generations through the terrors they would have no choice but to experience.

These wonders are without measurable sentience or any signs of intelligence. They are formed and maintained by millions of tiny, separate cells, working together constantly and creating something greater than any individual part, the whole able to withstand one of the brutal attacks from its Earth. Its home.

Imagine standing within an assault of flames as they tear at your skin, burning through your nerves to your core. You’re surrounded, engulfed, nowhere to hide even if you could, nothing to protect your fragile form. Mostly you feel your fat and muscle melt away while the rest of you is left lying in a pile of ash and waste, waiting for the next skip of a breeze to scatter you across the darkened plains, eliminating your physical existence forever on. Your remains lay amongst the roots of these unintelligent, silent structures as they will stand dormant for the next few weeks, months, until the sun begins to dominate the biting cold and the flowers wake in bloom. It’s not until life begins to return to the dead valleys, do these wondrous trees show the world they have in fact remained through the worst and are stronger than ever. They emerge greater, amongst the rest, upon the other side of the harsh season.

An infinite amount of chance happenings could not have been consciously organised well enough to create such strength.

I feel both fragile and strong as I gaze through these branches, knowing that we may not be indestructible but we have the power to protect such wonders of the universe, even though they have managed better than most, on their own.

Eyes of Blue

“What’s this, Mum-mum?” Isabella wondered aloud as she walked into the lounge room, looking at a pet cage on the floor.
“That’s Crystal, Bubba,” I replied, indicating our newest family member inside. She sat still, watching her three feline siblings study her from afar.
“Crystal!” Isabella chirped at the cage. As she did so, a little furry white head turned to look at its greeter. The kitten’s unblinking, bright blue eyes fixed on the little girl. It was still trying to discern who was friend and who was foe in this unfamiliar terrain.
“Crystal scary!” Isabella laughed as she ran over to me, “blue eyes!”
Crystal danced back and forth, bouncing and pacing, studying every angle of the room from between the gaps in the cage walls. Her eyes fixing particularly on each of the three cats. They watched her, pupils large and focused, ears forward and tuned to her every movement. Our black adult cat approached the cage, sniffing the air, trying to catch the kitten’s scent from as far as possible. Isabella spotted him and jumped at the opportunity to play.
“Corey!” She cried as she ran to the cage before I could stop her. Scared and on edge from the presence of the intruder-kitten, Corey sprinted for the safety of our bedroom. In response to the fright, the long-haired and most timid of our cats – Fuzzy – followed him, eager to hide away from the unpredictable action.
“Where did Corey go?” Isabella asked, “where did Fuzzy go?”
“They’re hiding in Mum and Dad’s bedroom, Darling, leave them,” I said.
Isabella returned her attention to the blue eyes in the cage. She approached it.
“Hello Crystal!” She cried as she bent down to peer inside. Once again, Isabella ran screaming as Crystal looked at her.
“Crystal scary!” She laughed, cuddling into my leg.
“She’s just a baby cat, a kitten,” I reassured her as I stroked her smooth brown ringlets. I enjoyed this opportunity to witness her first ever meeting with her new sister-cat, a brand new experience. A kitten who I hope will appreciate Isabella’s company as much as Isabella adores hers.
“Kitten,” Isabella said, eagerly watching the cage.
Our third adult cat – the king of the household – still hadn’t moved a muscle. Focused and almost impossible to distract, his eyes trained on the kitten’s every movement. It was up to him to remain in control of his domain. The other two cats experienced this first-hand when we introduced them as kittens; they quickly learnt to mind his mood and to respect his personal space. If they weren’t careful, they risked provoking him and promptly experienced his abilities. He would pounce and secure his victim in place long before they had a chance to respond. Such swift abilities like his only came with age.
Isabella finally spotted our oldest cat; he was still glaring at the kitten, unaware of Isabella’s intentions.
“Kobe!” She cried out, but this time I discovered her plan before she had a chance to move. I picked her up and sat her on my lap.
“Leave Kobe, Bubba, he’s angry, you leave him, okay?” I explained to her, attempting to prevent an outburst of disbelief. She almost never gets to play with Kobe, but she certainly understands when he is angry.
“Okay, Mum-mum,” she grumbled, “Crystal?”.
“Yes, you can play with Crystal,” I said, putting her down, “but not Kobe.”
By this point, Crystal was now laying down, watching her oldest feline brother, but never holding his gaze for too long. To do so would mean a threat, and it seemed she already knew which battles to avoid. I put Isabella down and she toddled back to the cage.
“Crystal?” She said, crouching and peering in again. Crystal remained in place and turned only her head to look at Isabella, though this time Isabella didn’t run away. She stayed there, looking at her new little sister-cat with wonder. Emboldened, she pushed a finger between the gaps of the cage, beside Crystal’s head and Crystal licked it tenderly.
Isabella giggled, “Crystal funny,” she said, smiling back at me, “love Crystal.”

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