Wild & Improbable Tales – Friend Of The Flames

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When she was a little girl, her mother told her stories of dragons who lay hidden in deep caves guarding mounds of treasure. One ordinary Tuesday, she set off to find one.

It did not take long, for her mother had taught her well what to look for, and she soon found a crack in a cliff, scoured at the edge with claw marks, which most people, being unthinking sorts, would mistake for a natural formation. She crawled through the rough and narrow passage winding into the rock (dragons, with all their magic, can fit though surprisingly small spaces). Upon reaching the lair, she sought the dragon’s head, resplendent in emerald scales, tapped him awake on the snout and met his fiery gaze with hers.

She performed her best and most gracious curtsey, dipped her head, and declared herself his firm friend and lifelong ally. Dragons are ancient and wise creatures and he regarded her only momentarily before acknowledging her to be correct (it is widely known that precocious children are indeed the very best friends to have, particularly if you are a dragon).

They lived long and happy in each other’s company and he taught her the magic of the flames – a greater treasure by far than that which he hoarded in his cave.

As she grew and had a family of her own, she shared her mother’s stories with her children and grandchildren, and every November they would marvel at her ability to rouse a leaping bonfire from even the dampest kindling, and the way in which sparks would settle in her hair: burning like fireflies but never catching.

Whilst the children danced like flint strikes around her, she would sink into the warmth of her own embers and smile at the golden eye which gazed, unseen by the rest, out of the flames.

 


 

“You’re a storyteller. Dream up something wild and improbable,” she pleaded. “Something beautiful and full of monsters.”

Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Inspired by Erin Morgenstern’s Flax-Golden Tales, I have decided to embark on my own creative writing blog series, “Wild & Improbable Tales”, as a way to write more freely and more frequently. At least once a week, I will choose a card at random from The School Of Life‘s ‘Small Pleasures’ box and use the image and/or writing on the back to inspire a short piece of creative writing. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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Wild & Improbable Tales – To Read Perchance To Dream

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It passes through the hands of many. From age to age it travels, hidden in the pages of history, but few discover its secret.

It appears to each, on first sight, to be empty: a blank canvas on which no-one dares paint. But occasionally, to the right, precious individual, when the moon is a sliver in the sky and the leaves are just beginning to turn their cloaks, it unfurls its pages and allows you to step inside a dream.

You cannot un-see this dream.

You cannot forget the music and starlight and colours for which there are no names, nor how it felt to soar on a cloud through a storm and break through into glorious sunlight. You cannot un-feel the connection – fine as spider silk and strong as steel – which tethers you to the world in all its wonder.

Once it finds you you cannot be unfound.

Creation will sing in your veins.

And you will make wonders until it is time to pass it on again, never knowing if the next to hold it will see only emptiness or if they, too, will dream.

 


 

“You’re a storyteller. Dream up something wild and improbable,” she pleaded. “Something beautiful and full of monsters.”

Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Inspired by Erin Morgenstern’s Flax-Golden Tales, I have decided to embark on my own creative writing blog series, “Wild & Improbable Tales”, as a way to write more freely and more frequently. At least once a week, I will choose a card at random from The School Of Life‘s ‘Small Pleasures’ box and use the image and/or writing on the back to inspire a short piece of creative writing. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Wild & Improbable Tales – Misstep

Every day she watched them pass. Those booted feet that sought the same path up the steps at the same time every single day, without fail.

She had no idea who they belonged to; they stepped in from the side, as if avoiding something, before carrying on up the seam in the stones and out of sight. She didn’t know where the steps led but they were her whole world: the only bit of life she knew of outside her cell.

No one else ever passed and she clung to the steady rhythm of their daily step as though they determined the very beat of her heart. They never came down the steps, only ever went up.

One day, without warning, as she strained to see their passing, they stopped – stock still – on the second step in her sight; they turned slowly on the step and, most unexpectedly, began to descend. Slowly, he was revealed: grey trousers; white shirt; brown hands balled at his side with a strip of red material poking out of the clenched fist; open collar; and finally a face, out of which a pair of startling, steel grey eyes bore straight through the window and into hers.

She watched with aching sadness as a single tear spilled onto his cheek before he was surrounded and hauled away.

Another friend lost.


“You’re a storyteller. Dream up something wild and improbable,” she pleaded. “Something beautiful and full of monsters.”

Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Inspired by Erin Morgenstern’s Flax-Golden Tales, I have decided to embark on my own creative writing blog series, “Wild & Improbable Tales”, as a way to write more freely and more frequently. At least once a week, I will choose a card at random from The School Of Life‘s ‘Small Pleasures’ box and use the image and/or writing on the back to inspire a short piece of creative writing. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Wild & Improbable Tales – If I Bleed Sunshine

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The shot rang out of nowhere.

A deafening thunderclap of a sound which reverberated off the surrounding buildings and silenced the rest of the city.

Slowly, people gathered around the sorry creature slumped in the street. A splash of buttercup yellow stained the road.

A low murmuring reached the gathering crowd. A soft, whisper of a voice breathing a epitaph on the wind.

There was no colour anywhere but by just giving a little bit more they hoped to bleed some sunshine into the world.

The spectators exchanged glances and moved as one to cradle the small figure amongst them, scooping up the spilled sunlight as they went.

They pressed warm, caressing hands against clammy, trembling skin and muttered reassurances.

You don’t need to bleed for the world; your sunshine is brighter when it shines through you.


“You’re a storyteller. Dream up something wild and improbable,” she pleaded. “Something beautiful and full of monsters.”

Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Inspired by Erin Morgenstern’s Flax-Golden Tales, I have decided to embark on my own creative writing blog series, “Wild & Improbable Tales”, as a way to write more freely and more frequently. At least once a week, I will choose a card at random from The School Of Life‘s ‘Small Pleasures’ box and use the image and/or writing on the back to inspire a short piece of creative writing. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Wild & Improbable Tales – Summer’s Languor

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A gentle breeze rustling through the grasses and the distant shushing of waves on the beach were the only things to disturb the perfect quiet.

She meandered along the winding path down to the coast, trailing her fingers through the waving fronds that edged the sandy trail and closed her eyes, breathing deep the warm air and enjoying the heat of the afternoon sun on her eyelids. She loved these moments of solitude. The summer air trailed languorous fingertips over her skin, raising the hairs on her arms and the back of her neck with a whisper of sea-scented breath.

As the path disappeared into the dunes, she slid her feet from her sandals and stepped onto the gold, powdered sand. She felt the sun-warmed grains shift under her feet, as if urging her on to the sea. Emerging from the shelter of the dunes, the wind picked up. Her hair lifted on the current around her as her sinking footsteps carried her to the water’s edge, leaving a wandering trail behind her.

The ocean’s foam kissed her toes.

She stood in worshipful silence, cocooned in the world’s rapturous embrace, as white horses danced toward her, bringing the song of the sea.

 


 

“You’re a storyteller. Dream up something wild and improbable,” she pleaded. “Something beautiful and full of monsters.”

Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Inspired by Erin Morgenstern’s Flax-Golden Tales, I have decided to embark on my own creative writing blog series, “Wild & Improbable Tales”, as a way to write more freely and more frequently. At least once a week, I will choose a card at random from The School Of Life‘s ‘Small Pleasures’ box and use the image and/or writing on the back to inspire a short piece of creative writing. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Wild & Improbable Tales – Shadows in The Dark

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The candle had been burning for weeks. No-one dared blow it out. It had just appeared one day; the simple, stone mausoleum, previously abandoned to time, suddenly lit with a flickering warmth that illuminated the empty interior.

With the light came shadows. At first, they were simply the ordinary shadows one would expect: the solid rectangle of darkness cast by the alter and the more ephemeral inky pools in the corners where the light couldn’t quite reach.

But as the days passed, a new shadow emerged. One cast by nothing. Indistinct at first, it slowly became more defined, and darkened to the onyx of deep space: a black hole growing on the mausoleum wall, until the indisputably human figure stood tall and still in the inconstant light.

He watched and waited, with the patience of stars, until one day he was no longer alone. The shadows reached out and clasped hands, and with the gentlest breeze – a mere exhalation of breath – the candle flickered out and they were gone.

 


 

“You’re a storyteller. Dream up something wild and improbable,” she pleaded. “Something beautiful and full of monsters.”

Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Inspired by Erin Morgenstern’s Flax-Golden Tales, I have decided to embark on my own creative writing blog series, “Wild & Improbable Tales”, as a way to write more freely and more frequently. At least once a week, I will choose a card at random from The School Of Life‘s ‘Small Pleasures’ box and use the image and/or writing on the back to inspire a short piece of creative writing. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Wild & Improbable Tales – Paradise In Flames

Stepping out into the blistering heat, they walked with heads down, oblivious to their fellow travellers. They watched their steps, trying to avoid tripping and falling to the scorching ground below, and so did not see the creature that reared above them, cloaked in the poisonous fumes of their journey.

Heat rippled through the air. Shimmering waves of boiling atmosphere distorting the landscape until it seemed to shift and heave around them: almost alive.

They had dreamed of basking in the sun. After all, they deserved paradise. They deserved that long rest, surrounded by beauty, every need and want met.

Turning up their faces to absorb the warmth of the sun, they didn’t realise that the flames were all around them. They smiled, at first. And then they burned.


“You’re a storyteller. Dream up something wild and improbable,” she pleaded. “Something beautiful and full of monsters.”

Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Inspired by Erin Morgenstern’s Flax-Golden Tales, I have decided to embark on my own creative writing blog series, “Wild & Improbable Tales”, as a way to write more freely and more frequently. At least once a week, I will choose a card at random from The School Of Life‘s ‘Small Pleasures’ box and use the image and/or writing on the back to inspire a short piece of creative writing. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Wild & Improbable Tales – Celestial Tears

The stars were lonely. For a millennia they had watched life blossom over the planet below and yearned to be a part of it: longed to immerse themselves in the warmth blanketing that lump of rock, rather than hanging in beautiful, cold isolation in the emptiness above.

Humanity gazed up and admired the gentle twinkling bestowed by the stars, not realising those endless flickering lights were celestial tears blinked from heavenly eyes. From Earth’s vantage, the stars were in good company, nestled amongst each other in glittering clusters, surrounded by the reflected glow of their orbiting planets. They could not comprehend the distance from one distant sun to another. Nor could they understand the sense of desolation that such loneliness brought.

Eventually, that stars could take their exile no longer.

They stole down to Earth on sunbeams and disguised themselves in the world. Dust motes glowing in morning light; that distinctive twinkle in a mischievous child’s eye; the sparkling of frost on a winter’s evening; the shimmer of moonlight on still water.

The stars live among us now, and are happy.


“You’re a storyteller. Dream up something wild and improbable,” she pleaded. “Something beautiful and full of monsters.”

Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Inspired by Erin Morgenstern’s Flax-Golden Tales, I have decided to embark on my own creative writing blog series, “Wild & Improbable Tales”, as a way to write more freely and more frequently. At least once a week, I will choose a card at random from The School Of Life‘s ‘Small Pleasures’ box and use the image and/or writing on the back to inspire a short piece of creative writing. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Wild & Improbable Tales – Suit Up

No one saw it for what it really was. When they saw him striding the halls and directing their meetings, they assumed the freshly pressed suit and perfectly knotted tie were simply business dress.

They didn’t know that, when he got home at night and loosened that restrictive strip of fabric, the rest of him unraveled with it. They didn’t know that their confident, assertive leader shed his stoicism with the layers of expensive tailoring. They didn’t know the vulnerability of his true self; that whilst his head may be in the game his heart was in the clouds, yearning for the life of a wandering dreamer.

The daily struggle between expectation and longing was always hidden behind buzz words and neatly ordered spreadsheets. Until he was alone and free to dream, to marvel, to create, or sometimes to simply fall apart, as the world would never allow him to do in sight of his troops. The dreaming and marvelling and creating and falling took him to beautiful and terrible places, where he meandered all the night, until it was time to suit up his armour again. For he went not to work but to war.

If only they had known, they would have unraveled with him.

Wild & Improbable Tales – Beautiful Misfits

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The trees thought they had seen it all. Their collective consciousness had watched the world through its centuries of seasons; observed the heavens wheeling overhead in arcs of millennia-old starlight and moonshine; held their steady gaze when dragons walked the earth; stood tall through all the ages and beheld the emergence of humanity. 

They never watched people too closely as they seemed just another beast whose time had come to rule. More destructive than most who had gone before but the trees knew their own deep-rooted power, and that they would cover the earth once more beyond the age of man. So they simply watched, never really seeing.

One day – a day just like any other – a small group came within the bounds of an ancient forest and set about a picnic. As the trees watched on, they began to realise there was more to this little cluster of humanity than met the eye: the one in the straw hat with a wide smile had onyx tears etched high on their right cheekbone; the one with a sweater slung carelessly about their shoulders moved with such weight and gravitas that the trees themselves seemed drawn towards that strange, charismatic gravity; the one who pulled faces and laughed with abandon had, not hair flowing from their scalp but fine strands of poetry, tied back at the nape of their neck. And then there was the child. The child who stood, with balloon in hand, unseen by the rest of the party, and cast a penetrating stare at the trunk of a nearby oak.

That stare sank down into the well of the world and all of nature sighed to be seen.

It was only the briefest moment in time, but when that motley crew packed up the remnants of their meal and headed back out from beneath the low-hanging boughs, the trees strained to follow and, as one, agreed: what a beautiful bunch of misfits they were.

 


“You’re a storyteller. Dream up something wild and improbable,” she pleaded. “Something beautiful and full of monsters.”

Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Inspired by Erin Morgenstern’s Flax-Golden Tales, I have decided to embark on my own creative writing blog series, “Wild & Improbable Tales”, as a way to write more freely and more frequently. At least once a week, I will choose a card at random from The School Of Life‘s ‘Small Pleasures’ box and use the image and/or writing on the back to inspire a short piece of creative writing. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.