Melancholia – Sari’s Story

Sara Flower Kjeldsen:

Me and fellow blogger, Hyperion Sturm, are working on a story together. The story begins in the gallery. Gunnar, a painter, finds a lone admirer of his artwork in the dimly lit art gallery – her name is Sari. Sari cannot take her eyes off of his painting of a sad young woman. The piece is called Melancholia.
Gunnar and Sari connect because of Melancholia; they both share a world of darkness that they begin to discover as their bond deepens. Sari cannot help but feel a strong connection to Melancholia – it feels as though they understand one another, even though they have never met.
Enjoy and be sure to stop by Hyperion’s blog if you have not done so already. He is an excellent writer with an exquisite imagination and story telling ability.

Originally posted on Hyperion Sturm:

“The sky put on its own evanescent spectacles, a pivoting stage with geometric architecture in snows and cotton. His theater was the clouds, where no spectacle repeated itself.” ― Anais Nin

Sari Sari

The stone mortar and pestle ground the minerals to powder in a ceaseless rhythmic motion. Strong hands, familiar with the toil of making pigments for paint in the old way, worked tirelessly until the studio grew dark.  

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The Fascinator Pt XIV


The muscles in my legs burned as I climbed. The exertion did little to keep my mind off of the two men that lay dead below me. As I neared the top, instead of large boulders, the terrain became smoother and began to level out. Black stars marred my vision. I closed my eyes every so often. Stopping to rest, I gagged as exhaustion and thirst assaulted my core. Then, I continued on my ascent and wondered why the reptile was not calling for me.

I reached the top, which was relatively flat and overlooked the smaller mountains in the distance. I collapsed to my knees, panting and crying. Dauvit’s last gaze had seared his hatred for me into my memory forever, but my heart would forever mourn Jonathan’s sacrifice. Even the hazy, pink sunset offered no consolation with its surreal beauty. I arose on my ruined legs and drank in the fantastical scenery, longing for any ounce of hope or healing. In my usual naivety, I expected something to happen as I stood at last on the mountaintop.

Terrible scratching against the rock startled me. Chains rattled and a large, dark form arose from the rocks. I stood in frozen disgust as I looked upon the morbid scene in front of me. Chains and bindings stretched taught as a four-legged beast stood to its full height. I gagged as the large creature’s breath escaped from its open mouth. Its pupil-less grey eyes stared at me and then I took in the rest of it. It was as muscular as a horse, but about the size of what I imagined a hyena would be. Spikes as sharp as swords covered its back. Its larger upper body sloped down to narrower hips and shorter legs. It was far from the dragon-like reptile that I imagined. It was a true monster.

“You called for me, even in my dreams.”

It blinked. It opened its broad, yellow-fanged mouth and screamed. I covered my ears with my hands and screamed with it.

“Stop!” I cried.

It pulled in vain against its bindings. That was when I noticed the red pool underneath it, fed from a wound on its back. One of the spikes was a sword. I stepped toward it and it screamed again.

“I am going to help you. Hush now.”

It bared its teeth at me, but held its peace as I inched closer. I felt a sense of belonging with it.

“You are mine. My wild pet. Calm down and I will take the sword out. I will free you.”

Its long black tongue dangled from its mouth as it panted; it watched the movement of my hands as I stood only a foot away. I slowly extended my hand. The beast’s nostrils flared as it took in my scent. It bowed, and for a moment, I wondered if that was its killing stance, but it remained fixed in its position.

“Were you calling for me to help you?” I asked it gently.

I took a deep breath and felt my hand encircle the hilt of the sword that rested deep in its strong body. I pulled on it as hard as I could. I held back the urge to vomit as the entire length of the blade emerged from the beast. I stepped away and set down the bloody weapon. The beast remained quiet and still. I placed a hand on its muzzle. It closed its eyes as its flesh shifted unnaturally. I drew my hand back, feeling my skin crawl as its fur melted away to reveal muscles and veins before its entire body transformed into a smoky cloud. The plume of grey fog rose to the sky in pursuit of the pastel clouds.

Confusion, loss, and fatigue formed a powerful surge that rose from the pit of my stomach and screamed out of my mouth like caustic acid. I fought so hard and for so long only to end up alone on the peak of a mountain in a world that should not have existed. I took a deep breath of the clean air and took in the magnificent shades of purple and pink before my eyes. I ran to to the edge without slowing down. I pushed both of my feet off the edge and leaped into the open air, crying out as I fell to the rocky terrain below.

In a whisper, soft cotton caressed my skin. I sat up, yelling in between my desperate gasps for air. I was in my own bed dressed in my nightgown. I leaped from my bed I packed everything that I could into one suitcase and left a short note on the table with one month’s rent in cash for my landlord. I went as fast as I could into town, stopping when I reached the laboratory. I ran inside, out of breath, and found the doctor first. His perplexed frown made me cringe. The last thing I wanted was another fight.

“Zara, where have you been?” he asked. “You were absent yesterday. I knocked on your door and you did not answer. I am not sure what I should do about this.”

“I am very sorry, but I must leave.”

He raised an eyebrow. “You’re leaving town?”

“I must. I’m sorry. Tell Bekka that I wish her well.”

“But Zara…”

“I have to go. This is me. I can never stay anywhere too long. I have experienced too much of this place. Forgive me.”

I ran away from the formaldehyde-filled air and took a deep breath outside for a moment. I studied my smooth wrists that were free from any scars. It was not all my imagination. I felt those cuts. Throwing a decent career away should have worried me more than the world that I had either imagined or escaped from. Walking to the core of town to catch a cab to the train station, a kindly driver stopped for me and helped me with my suitcase. I settled myself into the soft seat, at last able to gather my thoughts and process everything that happened.

Staring outside of the window, a fancier carriage pulled by an equally fancy ebony horse caught my eye. My heart slammed into my rib cage at the sight of those cunning hazel eyes peering out the window at me. I blinked several times. It had to be someone else, but it was not. It was him. He ordered his driver to stop.

“Did you enjoy yourself?” asked Dauvit with a strange grin.

I could not find the words that I wanted to say. All I could do was stare at him with unanswered questions yelling at the back of my mind. My driver urged his horse to move us forward. Dauvit’s eyes narrowed into slits.

“Stab me deeper next time.”

The End

(Photo Source: “purple.mountain.japan”) 

The Fascinator Pt XIII

The same photo as the eye in my A-Z Project...but about a million times more scary!

I sat hugging my knees in the crevice at the side of the mountain which provided very little protection from the downpour. My hot tears mingled with the cool rain drops. Closing my eyes, all I could see was Jonathan falling to his knees, slowly losing control of his body as spider venom incapacitated him.

I told myself that it wasn’t real, that it hadn’t really happened. I would wake up in my soft, warm covers and breathe a sigh of relief that I hadn’t just caused the death of a kind young man. Exhaustion overtook my raging thoughts and pulled me into a fitful sleep. I woke up covered in sweat. Screeching shook the air.

“The reptile,” I breathed.

Its call ceased.

The sun still slept below the horizon. I stretched, allowing my eyes to adjust to the dimness, and then I moved on. I started my climb, praying to God that there would be no more spiders waiting somewhere to finish me off. Jonathan seemed to think that I had to make it to the top in order to go home, but it also could have simply been the neurotoxins speaking. While facing the great beast at the top of the mountain was not something I wanted to think about, I had no other choice. I knew deep down that I had to meet the creature that called to me, even from earth.

As sunlight slowly woke up the colourful, deadly little world, I climbed faster. I hoped to go as far as possible before the heat of the day slowed me down. The incline steepened to a near impossible climb, running almost parallel to the ground in one area as it curved upward. I moved left until I found a place where I could ascend easier. The striking cobalt rocks glistened in the rising sun. I stopped to close my eyes every few minutes to give them a break from the brightness.

When I finally reached another level of the mountain where I could walk upright, I cried with relief. I judged the distance to the top and it seemed it would only be another couple of hours before I reached it. I stretched my aching limbs and went to the nearest tree. I found some leaves whose shapes allowed them to form little bowls of water from the night’s rain. I drank the small amounts of water in relief. Some water was better than no water. I listened for any sound of running water as I continued on; I would need a long drink before I started on another long climb.

I rounded an intimidating corner, grasping onto a jutting rock for my life. I climbed up another rise and reached another ledge. I steadied myself before walking forward. A man suddenly jumped down in front of me. I screamed and nearly fell backward at the sight of Dauvit.

“Hello, Zara.”

He bent down and picked up me, throwing me over his shoulder.

“Please don’t drop me!” I cried.

His shoulder dug into my ribs; I gagged as a wave of nausea hit me. When he finally put me down, he pushed me toward the rocks.My back slammed into the boulders and I cried out. He pinned both of my arms down and stared at me with unmistakable glee.

“You should have let the spiders bite you. It would have been a far more merciful death for a lady.”

“What about Jonathan? He is dead!”

“Well, he simply proves that nice guys really do finish last.”

“What are you going to do to me?”

“You don’t want to be surprised?”

“Nothing you do would surprise me.”

He eased his hand away from my right arm and grabbed my breast. “You’re a cheeky little mouse. Maybe I should throw you over the edge of the mountain. Do you want to fly, or would you rather bleed to death? A slower death would be more painful, yes, but I could bring you to a heightened awareness before you die. It would be euphoric for both of us in the end.”

I wrapped both of my legs around his torso. He smiled. “Do you like my idea, little mouse?”

“Could you please just slit my throat?” I begged.

My free hand slowly made its way to my boot where my dagger rested. I pressed myself against him. Feeling his arousal, I hoped it would distract him from noticing how I quickly pulled out my dagger by its sheath.

His smile faded when I brought the blade to his thick neck. He let go of my other arm.

“Get off of me,” I demanded. “Now.”

His face froze in anger, but he rolled off as I pressed the dagger hard against his Adam’s apple. We switched positions. i straddled him, staring down into the twisted eyes of my worst enemy. I didn’t want to kill him, but it was the only way I would get out alive.

“This is for Jonathan,” I said.

I brought the point of my dagger down hard into Dauvit’s heart. I pulled it out and stumbled to my feet as he groaned. I didn’t want to look back, but I did. My knees grew weak at the sight of him crawling toward me. So much blood splattered from his chest. His amber eyes flashed at me as he growled. I would have died if his hateful gaze held any measure of power. I watched him crawl for another second before turning my back on him.

(Photo Source: “Look into my eyes.”) 

How to Format Your Own Word Document For Create Space (Print Book)


I thought I would go over how to format a Word document to be fit for Create Space.

  1. Get Rid of All Your Previous Formatting – This is the time to switch everything back to single space. If you used “Tab” or “Enter” to indent paragraphs, set them back to no indentation. There is a better way to indent paragraphs which I will go over after. :) If you used “Enter” several times to separate your chapters, remove that separation. Basically, make it all as simple as possible. Everything is single spaced with no extra formatting.
  2. Set Your Page Layout – Paperback books are sized at 6″ x 9″. Go to Page Layout –> Size –> More Paper Sizes. Set the width and height for your book’s final trim size to 6″ x 9″. Be sure to choose “Apply to Whole Document” on the drop down menu at the bottom.
  3. Margins – Go to Page Layout –> Margins –> Custom Margins. The exact requirements for this will depend on your page #. Go here to see exact inside and outside margin requirements. For my story which is only 33 pages, the gutter margin was .325″. The outside margin was .25″. I then used .5″ margins for both top and bottom. Gutter position should be set to “Left”. 
  4. Indent Paragraphs – Go to Home –> Paragraph. Select “First Line”. Set it to .5″. You can highlight the entire page/entire document to make this faster.
  5. Formatting Chapter Separations – Remember to never separate Chapters by hitting Enter until it reaches the next page. This will ruin the formatting once you submit it to Create Space. Instead, use Page Break before each chapter to properly format.
  6. Page Numbering and Headers – Go to Insert –> Headers and Footers. Select “Different First Page” to prevent numbering from starting on your first page.
  7. Deleting Headers/ Page Numbers From Specific Pages – If you do not want numbering and headers to start, say, until page 5, then what you do is go to the Breaks option again. Under Section Breaks go to Next Page. This should delete headers and page numbers from that specific page if you have a Mac. If not, then this link is a valuable tool with pictures and a step by step guide on how to complete this process with ease.
  8. Save document as a .PDF file.


Do you have anything that you would like to add?

I hope that this was straight forward. It personally took me a whole evening to format my Word document for Create Space, but I hope that with all the information in one place, this could help someone go over the process much faster.

Cheers, bloggers!

Eve & Adam FREE on Kindle today!


Eve & Adam is FREE on Kindle today! You can get your FREE copy here today until Tuesday at noon.

Here is what Eve & Adam is about:

Adam meets Eve, a girl who lives in the cult village, on the afternoon he decides to kill himself. Her whimsical charm pulls him away from his suicidal ideations, but he soon learns that she holds a world of darkness within her that rivals his own.
They long to escape their suppressive backgrounds, but there are people in Adam’s town who already have other plans for him. Will the two misfits finally be able to break free?

The Fascinator Pt XII


With every step that they took closer to me, my thoughts bundled into maddening screams. I shot up with my hands over my head.

“Don’t shoot!” I screamed. “It’s me. I came here to show myself that this place still existed. I’m sorry.”

Dauvit and his friend stared at me. I doubled over, panting.

“Why did you hide if you knew it was me?” asked Dauvit.

“I don’t know,” I said, fighting back tears of embarrassment and fear.

“This is your mouse?” asked Dauvit’s friend. “Why is she here? I thought we made a promise.”

Dauvit ignored him. “Why did you come back here, Zara?”

I took a step forward. “Why did you tell me this world did not exist, Dauvit? Why bring me here in the first place?”

He laughed. “I thought that you were supposed to be smart.”

Dauvit’s friend looked frantically about. “You hear that?”

Rustling bushes several feet away sent shivers over my body. I thought of the beasts that I heard them speaking about.

“Run to the mountain!” said Dauvit.

I could not keep up with the two of them as we sprinted for the cobalt rocks. I looked over my shoulder, wishing that I had not. Large, spider-like animals pursued us. I screamed and pushed myself to run faster. I reached the base of the mountain out of breath; the men were already about six feet up. I climbed up to a large boulder and jumped to another one in attempt to catch up with them.

Three giant spiders approached the rock I was just standing on; they picked at it with their long front legs before climbing on top.

“Dauvit!” I cried.

“Hurry up and climb, Zara!” he called back.

I focused past my shaking terror and climbed as fast as I could. I was no stranger to climbing rocks, but the steep incline seemed treacherous.

“It gets easier in about ten more minutes!” called Dauvit’s friend, who had slowed himself down for my sake.

“What is your name?” I asked.


I made use of muscles that I never realized I had. I refused to look back. Even if one of the arthropods were on my heels, it was better I did not know. Sweat covered my body and my dry mouth reminded me how soon I would need to drink water. I felt my limbs slowing down, but I pulled myself up to the ledge that Dauvit and Jonathan were already standing on. Jonathan helped lift me and secure myself. There seemed to be enough room to walk on the ledge without risking a fall.

Dauvit remained in the lead. Jonathan gestured for me to go ahead of him.

“Are you sure?” I asked.

“Of course. I haven’t forgotten how to respect a lady.”

I waked ahead. “I promise that I won’t be a burden.”

“I didn’t think you would be,” he laughed.

His calm, easy going manner put me at ease, even though it shouldn’t have.

“I thought we killed all of those bastards,” said Dauvit ahead.

“I guess we should have brought more ammo, huh?” scoffed Jonathan.

“How many other dangerous things live here?” I asked.

Neither of them answered.

“Run,” said Jonathan behind me.

Dauvit ran and I struggled to keep up without risking a fall. We came to another rocky rise. Dauvit scaled up to the next level without much difficulty. Jonathan climbed next to me. We were halfway to the top when I misjudged the stability of a rock. It loosened and I fell, smacking my knee hard. I lay there, waiting for the worst shock of pain to pass. The arthropods were already making their way toward me. An arm wrapped around my torso and lifted me.

“Keep going, Zara. We can make it.”

“Just leave her there!” shouted Dauvit. “Climb ahead, Jon, before you both die.”

I choked back a sob, groaning every time I had to bend my swollen knee. Jonathan pushed me ahead, making me feel incompetent. I neared the next level and I heard a sharp cry come from Jonathan.

“Are you all right?”

“Go ahead. One bit me.”

Once I secured myself on higher ground, I reached down for Jonathan, but he didn’t move. “Go on and hurry. Their bite is already paralyzing me.”

“No! You can make it, Jon. Dauvit, help us!”

“He’s gone, Zara.”

“I am not going to leave you here to die. Please, keep climbing. I have a knife to fight them off if we need to!”

A solitary tear streamed down Jonathan’s face. “Go. Or my sacrifice will be in vain. Go to the top of the mountain, Zara. It is your only way home now.”

I couldn’t move. My eyes were glued to him as the spider’s venom slowly paralyzed his body. Our eyes met for a moment before he fell first to knees. He lay on his stomach as the rest of the large spiders surrounded him. They dug their fangs into his motionless body and drank their fill.

Eve & Adam Will Be Published This Weekend

So full of life, she seemed. He wanted to hate her for that. – Eve & Adam 


Eve & Adam is going to be published this Saturday!

I am going to be running a promotion for the e-book on Amazon. For its first three days, it will be free! I am excited to bring Eve & Adam out into the world since the story’s birth in Kananaskis, Alberta over two years ago. It was written during my first month living in those amazing Rockies of the Bow Valley – that natural beauty and solitude surrounding me after work gave me such inspiration to write what was pressing on my heart.

I dedicate Eve & Adam to all of the dreamers of the world!

*** The Print Book ***

I will keep you posted on the print book’s release date! I have to do a test run, wait for it to come in the mail, and then notify Create Space (Amazon) that it is good to go – and if I want to make changes, I will need to repeat the process. (A little FYI for fellow indie authors who haven’t published a print book yet!) 

Thank you all for reading! <3

(Photo Source:

The Fascinator Pt XI


I leaped over fallen branches and bushes as I ran though the willow forest in my new trousers. My limber legs brought me close to the weeping willows. I stood in the midst of the many faery-like homes; their small lights lit up the dimming air. This time, a chill worked its way down my arms, but I had to go.

I held my breath as I brought my dagger’s blade to my wrist and slid it lightly over my soft skin. I brought my tongue to the thin wound and closed my eyes as I savoured the familiar metallic taste. My eyelids arose and I relaxed in the other world’s calming colours. The sun was still high in the sky; I had a few more hours before I had to worry about returning.

I moved toward the mountain, which was covered in a blanket of mist. It appeared blue and peaceful. I carved a mark into the evocative purple tree trunks every few minutes. My sense of direction was not the most advanced.

There were no monstrous cries piercing the air. I imagined the beast making its way toward me, quietly stalking me until it was close enough to pounce and tear my flesh to shreds. I shuddered. I had my dagger in my boot and my peripheral vision was excellent. Finding a stream, I cupped both hands into the cool running water and drank from it.

I would not attempt to climb the mountain, but I wanted to touch its great rocks and see if my presence might interest the beast. My mind wandered somewhere else as I left the colourful woods and walked briskly through the grassy fields.

A thundering bang echoed over the land. I dropped to my knees, barely able to breathe. I caught my breath at last, but my limbs shook.

“Over here!” called a man’s voice in the distance.

Another loud bang filled the air. Gun shots. It was then that the reptilian screeching echoed from somewhere at the top of the mountain and rattled me to the core. I took deep breaths and held the hilt of my dagger to calm the panic that threatened to overtake me.

“It will be all right,” I whispered to the frightened little girl inside of me.”You won’t die here. You can’t die here.”

Two mens’ voices broke the quiet in between the beast’s cries. I imagined hunters using the land for sport to hunt the creatures that lived there. I wondered if it was Dauvit and his friend.

I finally stood and walked ahead, keeping my eye out for signs of them. They sounded as though they were far enough away that I might not see a trace of them. Another gunshot roared over the surreal wilderness and the sun seemed to sink quicker than it should have.

The mountain’s formidable cobalt rocks amazed me. It was as though the entire mountain were made of a precious gem. Orange, indigo, and violet trees grew halfway up. I would one day climb it and stare down at the forests, rivers, and fields from the peak. I would one day meet the reptilian monster and see just why it called for me even in my dreams.

My hands touched the cool, jagged stone that glistened in the lowering sun.

“Did you see those bushes moving over there?” shouted one of the hunters.

I leaped into the thick of the bushes like a frightened animal and stilled my breathing. They were not nearly as far away as I needed them to be.

“It might be a varmint,” said a humourless voice who sounded very familiar. “No, I think that I can sense a mouse.”

It was Dauvit. My heart’s pounding drowned out the rest of what they said as I struggled to breathe and fought back the urge to break into a frantic run. I rolled onto my stomach and imagined that I was part of the earth. My tan coloured clothing and light hair would not blend in with the rich tones of the bushes.

“Come on,” groaned Dauvit’s friend. “I don’t want to spend any more time looking for some mouse. We’ve killed three of those monsters today. Let’s go before we’re caught here after dark.”

“This is a very special mouse, though. I want to see if we can track her.”

Her? You’re nuts, my friend.”

I could feel death lurking over me as Dauvit’s deliberate footsteps sounded very close. I waited. It was all that I could do.

(Photo Source: “She”)

The Fascinator Pt X



What were you going to say to me before I left? I am sorry that I was unable to stand there for very long. I want to know what you had to say. 


I tossed the letter back on the table before I stepped outside to walk to work; I felt foolish for reading it again. A part of me was relieved that he wrote to me, but his question seemed more out of curiosity than concern.

The faint scent of cigars awakened my senses when I made a turn down the street toward the laboratory. A familiar young man leaned against the building. A plume of smoke escaped from his mouth as though he were a dragon about to breathe fire. For me, evil came in the form of handsome faces, dark hair, and piercing eyes.

I took a deep breath. I hoped that our short friendship would stay in the dark corners of my memory bank, but there he was.

I walked quickly past him, but he called out to me. “How are you doing, Zara?”

I stopped. “Good morning. What brings you here?”

I thought he had moved away to live with his parents again.

“I spoke with the doctor just now and I might be coming back to work at the lab,” he said.

“Oh, well welcome back then,” I said with a forced smile.

“Don’t welcome me back yet,” he chuckled.

Working with him again was the last thing that I needed to have on my mind.

“How is your writing going?” he asked.

“Well, fairly good. I wrote all day Sunday, actually.”

He smiled. “Really? What are you writing about? Spontaneous shit, or an actual book?”

I knew better than to trust his false facial cues. He was also a stage actor; he knew exactly what to say when he wanted something. I told him about the books I was working on and watched his expressions closely.

“I see you haven’t quit smoking,” I said with a wry grin.

“Not at all,” he laughed, shaking his head.

Smoking was one of the things he said that he would stop because of being with me. We were also going to learn how to master playing a few different instruments together and create our own music. How silly and dreamy I was for a woman of thirty and three.

“I really should start working,” I said. “Good to see you.”

He nodded with a smile. “See you later.”

A wave of nausea hit me as the rich Cuban aroma mixed with his cologne and followed me inside.

Bekka ran up to greet me and asked me how my trip was. I told her briefly about my time with my family, silently bracing myself for her inevitable question.

“How was your good-bye from Dauvit?” Bekka asked.

At my downcast expression, she gasped. “Are you serious?”

“We had a disagreement, and I don’t think he really wants to see me anymore.”

“Well, I am sure that it was all a misunderstanding. Sometimes men are temperamental after… you know. Perhaps you just need to apologize to him. Please tell me you weren’t sarcastic with him!”

I choked back the reply that she deserved. “If you don’t mind, I really need to get to work here. I am not having a good morning,” I said.

“I am sorry, Zara. I didn’t mean to come down on you. I am sure you if you both sit down and talk together, you can make amends.”

“Maybe,” I said with a shrug. If only I could cast off the whole situation with the same nonchalance that Dauvit had when he cast me away.

I found the doctor; speaking with him was refreshing. He had no part in anything to do with Dauvit or Dev, and he wouldn’t care to know any of the details, either. He showed me how to properly dissect the organs that he wanted to examine for his experiments. While he was very secretive about his research, I felt that I was closer to being made more aware of what he was studying.

That evening, I wrote my reply to Dauvit.


I was going to make a joke about how ironic it would be if the train derailed and I died on my birthday. A little dose of my dark humour for you. 


I went to work with my writing. The lives of my characters and their fictional world became larger than my own. I fell asleep with my pen in my hand and I woke up without any remembrance of dreams.

My focus on my writing and working at the lab made the week go by quickly. Bekka and I were distanced by my absent state of mind, but I needed the space. Dauvit did not reply to my letter and I bristled at his carelessness. Some men idealized the idea of a creative female, but few were prepared to accept her for who she was. It was no wonder why so many creative writers had affairs and failed marriages when they weren’t thinking about ways to kill themselves.

On Saturday morning, I basked in the warm comfort of my cotton sheets. I realized as I stared at my dressing table covered with perfumes and lotions that I had a much better life than most people in the world. A few failed romances were hardly anything to be depressed about. I could have been tied down to a husband and five children. Instead, I had the open world to explore whenever I wanted to. I had the life of a free woman that I dreamed about as a little girl.

I dressed and then sat down to write a final letter to Davuit. I wrote it more for closure than anything else. His lack of reply was evident to me that he had lost interest.


You really had me fooled there with your mock interest. You wasted my time. 

Not yours,


I went to the postal office to have it stamped and mailed right away and then made a small trek away from town. The weeping willows in the earthy distance caused my soul to soar. I had the power to go back to the world whenever I pleased. Being back in a more balanced frame of mind, I realized that I needed to prepare before returning. The animals there were a risk to my safety and I might also run into a stranger with ill intentions. I had to bring a weapon of some sort; I would also need to wear trousers for easier mobility.

The alternate world was going to be what pulled me to the other side of my melancholia. Of that I was certain.

The Fascinator Pt IX


“Do you think that we could go to the shooting range this week, Papa?” I asked.

My parents stopped sipping their tea to exchange looks with one another. My younger sister, Iscah, took a bite from one of the freshly baked biscuits on her plate and watched the exchange with her grey eyes. My own appetite suffered for the past few days.

“Maybe we could take a walk out there later this week,” Papa answered with a slow nod.

“Perfect,” I said.

I learned how to load bullets a couple of years ago with Papa and his friends. I knew all of the parts of a gun, but I had never fired a shot. I longed for that to change.

I closed my book, Science of Self Defence, and set it down on my lap. No one commented on my choice of an afternoon read; they were used to the wide variety of topics that I researched.

When I attempted to fall asleep that night, I shuddered at the remembrance of Dauvit’s strange comments and odd looks. Though men had wooed and abandoned naive women all through history, there was something about Dauvit that unsettled me when I thought of him.

Iscah and I spent a good part of our evenings skipping stones on the soft waves of the ocean, reading books, and walking together. Speaking about our various experiences while we had been apart for the past year reconnected us. We had always been very close growing up. My choice to go travel about on my own came at a great price – I feared that my sister and I might grow apart, but every time that I saw her, it was as though I had never left.

“I think that you were drawing conclusions,” said Iscah after I told her about Dauvit. “Maybe you can clarify with him that you were scared of losing him, because you have been burned before. He should understand that you have been hurt.”

My sister often gave me wise advice, despite being five years my junior. I often felt behind in maturity, but I was grateful for her realistic thought process. A part of me wondered if my attempt to vilify Dauvit was subconsciously to soothe my bruised ego. He was likely every bit the man I once imagined him to be, but I feared clinging on to that hope only to be hurt again.

Despite my resolve to reclaim my strength, I continued to dream of Dauvit and awaken with a gut wrenching sadness. It was always the place between sleep and awareness that I felt pain the deepest. Still, peace settled over me through the day as I spent time with my quiet and thoughtful family by the water.

An all too familiar reptilian cry often made its way into my dreams and awakened me in the middle of the night. I would wake up with shaking hands. Visions of a terrifying beast calling out to me from the other world did little to calm my nerves, but I felt an unnatural desire to see it one day.

My Papa did not find the time to show me how to shoot a rifle, so I read about hand to hand combat when I had a spare moment. I became entranced by the different types of daggers and swords used in fights over the ages.

On the last day of my visit, I longed to return home so I could focus on writing and revisit the alternate world when I was ready. While it did not make sense, I longed to journey back into the strange place and discover what was making those cries and why. Perhaps it was my suicidal tendencies that told me I should go, but if I were to die there, it would not be without putting up a fight.