Free Write Friday: Her Experience

I am so happy I convinced my man to bring me here. I feel giddy with joy. I love the buzz of people; and the sounds of the music playing energises me. How I love teasing him, this man of mine. I want to bring a little joy into his life – he is so serious all of the time and needs to smile a little more.

My favourite local band is playing and I wish to be closer to feel the vibe. I bounce ahead, confident he will follow me. I feel the warmth of the people surrounding me. Their energy. Their happiness. I am definitely on a natural high, as my sister would say. I feel a push on my back and I look around quickly. Nothing. I suddenly feel insecure. Maybe I should go back to him now. He always makes me feel safe and confident. The surge of the crowd pushes me a little more forward as the singer reaches the crescendo of her song. The crowd goes wild, singing along to the chorus. I feel the push again in my back, and then something over my mouth. I breathe in a sweet smelling scent and begin to feel a little dizzy. I feel strong arms pick me up and carry me to the edge of the crowd that stands in front of the stage. As we move, I sense the mass of humanity moving in to fill the space left behind.

He takes me to a darkened corner: behind the sound of the music, behind the roaring crowd and the drumbeats. He lays me down roughly and covers my mouth tightly with a bandanna. “What a pretty little thing you are. I was watching you and knew I had to have a little piece of you.” He ties my hands tightly to the poles of the bandstand. Then he takes out a knife, its smooth blade glinting in the light captured from the concert. He moves the blade slowly down my neck towards my breasts, teasing me with its coldness. My eyes wide, I begin to scream silently and try to get away from his hulking mass. I feared the worst was going to happen – and knew I would not be proven wrong.


fwf-kellie-elmore-badgeIs this what you expected her experience to be?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was written to describe the experience of the other person in my last Free Write Friday post prompted by Kellie Elmore)

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Going Back

(Some time ago Paula, the author of the blog Lost in Translation, published a stunning photo in one of her posts. I told her in the comments that I could imagine a story coming out of it. Her response? She would love to read one. This story is for you Paula. And published for your Thursday Special as I have come to enjoy free writing from photos.)

Photo credit: Lost in Translation.wordpress.com
Photo credit: Lost in Translation.wordpress.com

As I approach the house from the bottom of the hill, a flood of memories overwhelm me. Memories of my childhood. My father. Always so tall and gruff, directing our lives even though he was so often absent from it. The restrictions. The pain. The overwhelming sense of failure. I pull off the road and switch off the car. Staring up at the formidable-looking walls, I breath in deeply. I had left this place as soon as I could. And with no intention of ever coming back. I had felt no guilt at leaving behind my mother, a woman who had lost herself in the shadow of the man she had married. My desire for a life free of restrictions, free of the pressure of the belt on my shoulders, had so motivated me that I had walked down that road willing to shut a door firmly on my past.

Yet now I was back twelve years later. When I had left this place, I had struggled; I had felt hunger and deprivation. And yet I had gloried in a life in which I made my own choices. A life in which I  was free from the giant who had stifled my every move. I feel my chest tightening in response to the thoughts of my childhood. He was on his deathbed and had called to me. Why had I answered his call? I still had not figured out the answer to my question.

Taking a deep breath I turn on the car and drive slowly up the hill. The dark clouds forming in the sky reflect my own turbulent thoughts. I had to remember that I was my own person now and that I was successful in my own right. I had to guard against falling into the traps of the past. Pulling up in front of my childhood home, I notice the front door opening. I see before me the woman of my past. She is dressed the same as she always was, and yet there is a difference. Her head is no longer bowed and, as she walks towards me, I notice that she takes her steps with determination. Gone is the mouse scared of the lion. In its place I see someone who more confident of what her place is.

“Mom.” Thin arms enfold me and I feel the wetness of her cheek. For the first time I realise the pain she must have gone through with my leaving.

“I am so glad you came. It is important you see him before he dies.”

She leads me through the door into the hallways of my past. The air smells musty and the gloom mirrors the complete silence in the house. My footsteps lead me to the door of my father’s bedroom. Steeling myself, I walk in. Adjusting to the gloom, my eyes focus on the man in the bed. No longer is he a giant with a strong hand quick to punish. I see before me, instead, frailty and helplessness. The stroke had robbed him of his fierceness, his independence. Now he relied on the whims of his wife to help him eat and even wash. As his helpless eyes looked at me, I understood my mother’s words. I felt his power over me loosen its hold and slowly ebb away. Now I knew why I had come back.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

Meeting the Queen

I follow my guides with high expectations; and look around me in eagerness. I had heard the stories of this magical forest that contained trees that whispered and moved with unseen forces. The leaves were dense and the pathway overgrown with foliage. Yes, the trees whispered, and eyes seem to follow our progress. I notice that before us the path seems to clear magically: fronds move out of the way, and ground cover seems to slither aside. No obstacle can be seen in our way. And behind me? The forest floor is covered again and no trace is left of our footsteps.

We rest awhile and I ease my tired limbs onto the trunk of a fallen tree. My companions are silent; and they do not encourage any communication.

“What is the Queen like? Are we far from her residence?” I ask.

No response. I slide down onto the forest floor and rest my head against the fallen tree. I close my eyes. I feel exhausted; and yet I am unable to completely trust the men I am following. I cannot slide into the sleep I so desperately crave.

After twenty minutes, we are on the move again. I am keen to meet the Queen; but my steps are slower as exhaustion drags on me. I concentrate on one step at a time, placing one foot in front of the other. I feel myself falling into an hypnotic trance: left, right, left, right…

The forest ends and I look back with no regret. I see a dense thicket of green and know that there will be a time when I shall enter it again. For now, I look at the expanse of blue water in front of me: blue and calm, with a boat afloat on it. My guides indicate that I enter. Aboard I meet two young women who show me to a room containing a basin of water.

“You may prepare yourself here for your meeting with the Queen,” the fairer one tells me. “Here is water, soap and fresh garments for you to wear.”

They leave, closing the door softly behind them. I wash, enjoying the cool water against my skin. It has been days since I last bathed in the stream with Roan. I think sadly on my companion: how I wish he were right here with me. His exuberance would have made me forget the slight trepidation I felt at meeting the Queen. Would she accept me, and my desire to learn under her tutelage? I  am ready and sink to the floor. Just five minutes. I lay my head on the ground, and close my eyes. Surely I am safe? The Queen would not have brought me thus far if she did not want to meet me.

Consciousness returns and I feel the movement of the boat has slowed. I get up and make sure I am ready to leave. The two young women return and guide me to the shore. Once there, I am met by a man and a woman: both of whom are dressed as guards carrying swords.

“Good evening traveller. Welcome to our Kingdom. The Queen awaits you.” I bow in response.

“Take our hands,” the woman instructs. “We will transport you.”

Taking their hands, I feel a tingle in my body. I see blurred movement, and then I am in another place. In a building with windows placed high.

“Follow me,” the woman indicates with her hand. She walks silently on slippered feet, the man falling in behind me. I sense that they are both ready to react should I do anything to endanger them or their Queen. We arrive at a ornate set of doors: heavy ones that have been designed to protect the one who resides inside. Two guards open the door, and I enter with my heart beating.

“Come in child, let me see you. Let me see the one who was strong enough to withstand the mind control on our bridge.”

I look for the speaker, and then realise the words had resonated in my head.

“Yes. No need to speak when our minds are able to communicate quite adequately. When our world is not filled with the ceaseless chatter of human voices, we are better able to hear what the natural say. Come forward, there is no need to be afraid.”

I step forward with hesitation, looking around to see where I should go. I see a group to the side of the room where there are no windows. A man beckons me, indicating the direction in which I should go. I approach the group and see, in the centre, the Queen.

The body of the Queen is small, covered in white and gold robes. She lies, unmoving, on a bed-like piece of furniture that is also covered in white and gold. Her head is too large in proportion to her body, her cranium over-sized. I look on in astonishment. This is the Queen? I had expected someone of grand stature who instilled fear into those who followed her.

“Quite a surprise, aren’t I? My body is the result of someone who no longer has the need to move. I cannot remember the last time I walked, or even fed myself. The great power of the mind has its sacrifices. I may not look attractive, but I am able to control the minds of many from a great distance. I can manipulate the natural earth to benefit myself and my followers. My power is far reaching; and my subjects bow before me in fear as well as in gratitude. They know that without me they would be like others: starving, and without the knowledge and command of our natural earth.”

“I, too, wish to bow before you and call you my Queen.”

“And what would you wish in return, weary traveller?”

What do you think the traveller wishes for?

(This post is the forth in a series describing the experiences of this traveller; the beginning of which was inspired by Kellie Elmore’s prompt . The first, second and third post all centre on the bridge that the traveller has crossed.)

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

A Bridge Crossed

The following is the continuation of a story I began as a result of a prompt given by Kellie Elmore. I continued this story writing as she encourages people to do: with no editing and no backtracking – to write until you can write no more.  (If you missed the previous posts, here are the first and second)

Credit: http://idesignow.com/photography/20-spectacular-bridge-photographs.html#.UMFW8IOCn6c
Photo Credit: http://idesignow.com

I feel the power building inside of me as the tranquillity settles in my mind. The mists swirl around me. Covering me and protecting me. I bring forth the moisture and I feel the fine raindrops begin to fall. The angry shouts begin to falter. I sense the fear: the fear that turns the hate into uncertainty. The fear adds to the misty barrier that I have created between them and me. The crowd halts, uncertain of whether to continue.

And I look skyward, confident in my attunement with nature. And then I see the crowd begin to blur. Their faces and hostile bodies begin to fade. I see through the forms and stare in wonder as, bit by bit, they disintegrate. The hate-filled crowd is gone; yet I still keep myself shrouded in my blanket of mist. For I have come to realise that I had just faced my biggest fear: my fear of being mobbed because of my gift; my fear of not being understood.

It is only those who have a weak mind that are unable to cross this bridge. I had just passed some sort of test, I am sure. I grab a handful of berries from my pouch and eat them slowly, one by one. I must not let my guard down until I had crossed over this magical entrance to the city I wished to visit. I am uncertain of what other fears are locked away in the deep recesses of my mind.

I walk the entire day shrouded in mist, the cool air keeping my body from overheating. I am able to drink  from the moisture in the air, and eat from my pouch. I do not stop as I am eager to reach my destination; eager to meet the person who is able to control minds from such a great distance.

It is almost twilight when I see the lamp posts standing guard at the other end of the bridge. My footsteps quicken with renewed energy. At last! As my foot leaves the bridge, two figures materialise in front of me.

“Welcome traveller. We have come to guide you to our Queen.”

What do you think the Queen will be like?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

Crossing the Bridge

(The following is the continuation of a story I began as a result of a prompt given by Kellie Elmore. I continued this story writing as she encourages people to do: with no editing and no backtracking – to write until you can write no more.)  

Credit: http://idesignow.com/photography/20-spectacular-bridge-photographs.html#.UMFW8IOCn6c
Photo Credit: http://idesignow.com

The mists continue to swirl around me. Were they to be my companion on this journey? I welcome them as they give me a sense of protection. I take another step. Nothing so far. I gain courage from the silence surrounding me and begin to walk. The sound of my footsteps echo into the the space around me. I slowly pass the lamp posts standing guard. Was I being watched? Was my test being decided upon even as I breathed in the still, morning air?

I continue walking. The bridge seems to stretch on for infinity. I can see no end and wonder at the mist that swirls around me even though I had already been walking for an hour. Curious, I look over the edge to the swirling waters below. I wonder at the stories of sirens. I see none floating in these waters, encouraging me to meet my death. Unhooking my water skin from my belt, I take a refreshing sip. Time to move on. My fate awaits and I am in a rush to meet it.

Three hours had passed and the view of my starting point on this bridge was long gone. Am I half way? I feel tired. I had walked all night through the forest and had eagerly stepped onto this bridge with no rest. I had not thought the journey would take so long! Dare I rest? Dare I close my eyes? Oh, how I missed the comfort of Roan: his assurances, his humour, his protection. I would have to risk stopping. There, the perfect spot to rest.

Leaning against the wooden slat, I find a piece of roasted rabbit. How good it is to eat and rest my weary legs. I listen to the silence around me; and gather the mist around me like a coat. My body relaxes against the pillar. So weary. Surely I am in no danger here on this desolate bridge. My eyes drift closed. My mind relaxes and the protective mist slowly falls away.

My eyes snap open. I hear voices, angry voices, and they are coming nearer. The mist is gone and I see their faces clearly. They are holding sticks and waving them about. Angrily. With venom. I see men, women, and even children spitting out words of hate. They are surrounded by the intent to kill. It is my name they are shouting. Calling me a witch, calling me an evil one. I try to make myself small, to hide within the slats of the wooden bridge. But to no avail. Fear has frozen my mind and I behave with the instincts of an animal. I get up and run. Panic-stricken. With no thought or plan. I run to flee the threat of beating, the threat of death.

My worst nightmare, my worst fear. They have found out my talent and my ability to commune with the nature around me. No matter that I help to feed their hungry stomachs, or heal their septic wounds. All they see is that I am different. I thought crossing this bridge would help me escape their bigotry, their fear of those who can manipulate the natural.

But I haven’t crossed the bridge yet. I run. I run for my life. I run for my dream of freedom. I run for the sacrifice that Roan made for me. I run for his belief in me. I run.

Until I can run no more. Exhausted, I look on the gaining mob. Their hate fills my mind; and their shouts swirl around me. I cannot let them take my dream from me! I breathe in deeply, focusing on slowing my heart rate. I close my eyes. I take another deep breath and stretch my arms up towards the sky.

What will happen once the mob reaches me?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

Bridge to a New Life

Credit: http://idesignow.com/photography/20-spectacular-bridge-photographs.html#.UMFW8IOCn6c
Photo Credit: http://idesignow.com

The bridge beckoned me; the lights in the distance encouraged me. I had travelled far to get to this point; to reach this bridge that no-one had believed existed. My faith had brought me here: faith that there was a better place for me. A place where I would have enough food everyday. A place where I could be free to practice my art. A place where a could be free to be who I am without being oppressed by the drudgery of finding food to fill the ever-open mouths of children and elders. Crossing this bridge would bring about a life filled with meaning for me; a life that I had decided on myself.

And yet crossing this bridge brought with it some risk. As I peered down the length of it, I remembered the old tales. Tales in which those with malleable minds were drawn into the churning waters below by sirens too beautiful to behold. Tales in which those with uncontrolled fears turned back to escape the monsters of their mind. Would my mind be strong enough to withstand the magic that surrounded this crossing? I would like to believe so. But then, one never knew how one would react in a situation.

I thought of the journey I had taken to get here, the dangers I had overcome. I thought with regret of my companion who had died of fever only three days ago. I had grieved, as one only could for a life-long friend. How he would have loved to stand here beside me, facing the walkway to our future. I could still take strength from him: I could remember his courage, and his unfailing belief in me. Surely that can be my guardian against the onslaught my mind will encounter once I step onto the bridge.

I take a deep breath and stretch my arms skyward. Closing my eyes, I allow the mist to surround and encompass me. I become one with the earth. I hear the rustling of the trees behind me, the stirrings of the wildlife. I breathe deeply once more. I make a mental count of my supplies: my water skin is full, my food pouch filled with berries and pieces of the rabbit I had roasted the night Roan died. I was never more ready than now. My mind was settled. What better time to walk towards a new life than at the break of day?

I placed my foot on the bridge.

What do you think will happen as I cross the bridge?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

(This post was inspired by the prompt given by Kellie Elmore. A visit to her post is the bridge to even more prose and poetry on these walkways.)

A Thank You Note


I would like to say:

Thank You

For the spoken and unspoken support you have give me

From the first day of our meeting.

Thank You

For the words of encouragement,

For the quick conferences and exchange of thoughts,

For the smiles you have given me to say that everything is okay.

Thank You

For your advice, and the concern you have shown me.

I appreciate the hand you have given me

as I begin my journey on a new path.

Thank You

For all you have done

In helping me find the way I will travel my path;

And the assurances you have given me that

My choices are the right ones for me.

I will miss you when you are gone

But I know that my experience has been made richer

With your guidance and support.

Thank You.

Who would you like to say Thank You to today?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

Summer Days

Fasouri Watermania Water Park, Limassol, Cyprus
Fasouri Watermania Water Park, Limassol, Cyprus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Summer has arrived with a vengeance:

Clear, blue skies;

Green leaves rustling faintly in the wind;

The sounds of birds

And children at play.

Hot,

Humid,

Sultry.

Español: Glass of water. Español: Copa con agua.
Glass of water. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The heat of the sun warms the earth from early morning to dawn.

Red faces,

Sweaty bodies,

Dehydration.

Searching for the shade of trees;

Seeking air-conditioned spaces;

Drinking tall, cool glasses of liquid.

Summer:

A time for outdoors to soak up the UV rays

And enjoy the heat of the sun.

English: Praia Grande (Large Beach) in Summer....
Large Beach in Summer. Porto Covo, west coast of Portugal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Water play at the parks, in the pools, at the lakes and beaches;

Picnicking and firing up the barbecue;

Family, friends, laughter.

Let us enjoy the summer heat

As old man winter comes calling soon after!

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

Journey to the Future

(I wrote a Characterisation of a Woman as a writing exercise. We all wanted to know where she was going, so I followed up with Lori’s Decision. This post tells us where she and Marcie are going – and should answer all unanswered questions.)

The Platform No. 10 at Secunderabad Railway St...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Marcie waves her hands to Lori, “Here I am!” Lori pushes her way through the crowds milling at the train station. “Right on time! I have the tickets, passports and bags with me. Everything we need to begin our new lives.”

The train pulls into the station. The petite woman and her lanky companion board the train for the first leg of their journey; a journey that will take them out of the country and to a more fulfilling life. A life that would include painting for Lori, far away from the critical eye of her father and Eric; a life that would include for Marcie a chance to retire from days of trying to mend other people’s broken lives.

Finally they are in the air, leaving a country of heartache behind them. “There is no going back now. And we have managed to leave before Eric found out. No-one can force us to go back, to return to that godforsaken town.”

“I would love to be a fly on the wall when your brother reads the note you have mailed to them.”

Lori shakes her head. “I do not need to be there when he reads it. I know how he will react. And there will be no-one there to clean up the shards of glass after his rage!”

“And you will be far away, living on the beach and following your dream.”

Has the final part of the story answered all your questions about Lori?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

Lori’s Decision

(This post is a follow-up to the characterisation of a woman I wrote last week. Where did she go? Read on … )

Public Trust Office Building in August 2011.
Office Building (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The elevator opened on her floor. “This is it!” Lori thought. She stepped out into a reception area filled with muted voices and ringing phones. The receptionist’s smile of recognition moved Lori out of her sudden hesitation. “Mr Maxwell is ready for you. You may go straight through.”

Smoothing her hair back, Lori walked determinedly towards the office of her family’s lawyer. It was time for her to take control of her own life, to believe that her own life counted for something. No matter what Father and Eric believed.

…….

The pen scratched the final signature. Lori let out a breath of relief. She was free! Thanks to an inheritance received from an aunt never met. Not for the first time, she imagined how different her life would have been had her mother not died; and her father had not removed her and Eric from the reach of their maternal relations. She would not have had to sacrifice her childhood and young adulthood for a brother that, even now, did not acknowledge the sacrifices made and her desire to be her own person. She would not have missed spending time with friends, or participating in social activities. She would not have spent her youth cleaning house, raising a much younger brother, and being a surrogate wife to her father.

Beaches houses on the western side of Misquami...
A beaches house. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But now Aunt Elena had given her the means to break free! A house near the beach far away from the town and country in which she had spent most of her life. The financial freedom to travel, to live her life as she has always wanted. She would no longer be browbeaten by both her father and her brother; nor physically forced to stay put. She would no longer have to listen to the insults flung at her by those she lived with.

Now for the next step …

Pulling out her phone, Lori dials in a number that she knows well. “Marcie, it is done. The papers have been signed and I am now a wealthy woman. I will meet you at the rendezvous point in 5 minutes.”

Where do you think the rendezvous is? What is Lori and Marcie’s next destination?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2012