Before and After

Author’s note: The following letter is from Herman, the heroine of my novel, The Magician’s Curse, to Stephen, the hero. It fits into the book about a week into her stay in his mansion. This letter is written completely stream of consciousness style and is unedited.

Dear Stephen,

Where do I start? I’m sitting here in my room–in the guest room in your house, I should say–waiting impatiently for you to get home from your trip. I can’t really say I’ve been bored–Margaret has been great at keeping me busy. And wow, the lifestyle you two lead. Having our pick of which car to take when we go out to buy props and stuff for your show, going to fancy restaurants all the time … it’s like nothing I ever dreamed my life would be like before I got on that train, what, days ago? It feels like weeks.

Not that I’m used to it or anything, and I’m not sure I’ll ever be, completely. Or will I?

So now the decision: should I write what I’m thinking, which will make this letter something I have to crumple up? Or do I keep it to myself and show you this when you get home? Ugh, it would be nice to have someone to talk to about how I feel. I guess I could talk to Margaret, but I’m sure she tells you everything. Have I given away what I want to say, just by rambling about it?

I think … Okay, I’m gonna say it and be damned, as my mother would say. I think I might be falling in love with you. Isn’t that crazy? I’ve known you all of a week, and … well let’s face it. You’re the first guy who’s stuck with me for a week and not gone running away. Why is that? And maybe you will too, which is why I probably (definitely) shouldn’t show you this letter. If that weird dream hadn’t happened two nights ago, maybe I wouldn’t even be worried.

Unlike the before and after of my real life–poor girl finds a rich boyfriend and never looks back … Yeah, unlike that, my dream made me feel like all this–THIS–is a dream. A dream within a dream. How strange is that?

Hardy-har-har … I’m asking if THAT’s strange, but that’s kind of relative, isn’t it? After you performed ACTUAL magic on me. So, like what is this new life I’ve moved into all about? Are you a true illusionist, and none of this is real? Is it any wonder I’m scared to say those three precious words that I’ve never said to anyone but my family before?

Oh Stephen. I just wish you’d hurry up and come home so we can spend some time together. Some REAL time together. Alone, even. I have no idea why you asked Margaret to chaperone us all the time. We are adults, after all. At least you are, and I will be in a couple of weeks. Officially. Not that I’m going to suddenly “mature” like toast popping up. DING! You’re done. You’re officially old enough to do stuff like vote. Old enough to have an opinion and have sex, south of the Canadian border.

Which brings me to …

Nah. I don’t even want to contemplate it. If you are some kind of illusion, starting to obsess over an intimate relationship is only going to disappoint me more when I find out I’ve been living in a rundown shack for a week and you’re actually a raccoon. Which is how my life has normally gone up until now.

So I guess now I have to crumple up this letter and eat it or something. Which is TOTALLY going to ruin my dinner. Apparently we’re eating at home tonight. Probably surf and turf on golden plates … Do I sound unappreciative? I’m not. I really do appreciate you taking me in and giving me a job. Even if nothing else ever comes of our employer/employee relationship, at least I have your beautiful face to look at.

I can’t wait to see you onstage. And I can’t wait for you to come back home.

I can’t wait to kiss you again, and hold you in my arms … so I can make sure you’re real.

With all my love,


This post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Click the following link to find the prompt, and read all the other entries:



Tired of waiting, for you
(whoever you are)
to come into my life,
I shall create you.

I will knit for you, a cape
(made of feathers)
to drape upon your shoulders,
to give you form.

I will dream for you, a castle
(with a dragon)
so that you may rescue me,
and kiss me awake.

I will sing for you, a song
(full of love)
to rouse you into dance,
so that you may hold me.

I will bake for you, a feast
(of drool-worthy delectables)
and get you drunk on wine,
and whisk you away.

Ah, but to knit, a cape
(castle, song, feast)
for a love such as yours,
is a labour of a lifetime

yet unfinished

Endless Summer

The palm trees sway elegantly in the ocean breeze
as she lounges at twilight upon the beach
and ponders, a cheap paperback
tented, forgotten, on her thigh,
that perhaps she could have won,
striven harder
toiled longer
to achieve her dream
of skiing down a mountain slope
snow dancing beneath her feet,
chilled wind whistling past her ears…
But all she has is here,
is now,
the palm trees swaying,
the sun-warmed sand beneath her chair.

The ocean sings a song of endless summer
as she breathes in the salty sea
and picks up her book
to escape her broken wish.

Moon – 50 words

The crescent moon draws me in. Without you, I have reverted back to what I was at birth: a creature of the night. I live only in my dreams of you. By day, I waste away, a shadow of the man that existed when you, my love, made me shine.

From a work-in-progress.

Slowly you turned…

You move with devastating slowness. How can you not hear it? Instead of stepping off the tracks, you turn to look at me, and I’m screaming and screaming, “There’s a train coming!!”

And I wake up in a cold sweat, my legs cramped and my lungs devoid of air. As the seconds turn to minutes I relax. It’s got to be the taco I ate for dinner. There’s always a trigger*.

The Daily Post prompt today is Slowly. The Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt is second. Click the links to check them out and join in.


*Author’s note: “Slowly I turned…” is a reference to a series of old comedy sketches. Worth the Google search if you’re not familiar with them.

Nightmare Alley – 100 words

They say there are ghosts and goblins in Nightmare Alley, but I know different. Nightmare Alley is empty. Devoid of sound and light; even the walls are hard to find. But smell? Oh, there’s a lot of that going on. Dead things and garbage, feces and urine, all of it thinly masked by the sweet scent of mint.

Nightmare Alley is the place where men who have regrets go to die. It’s a dreamscape for the innocent who are eternally paying for their past lives. It’s the plague of the insomniac. It’s purgatory for the guilty who walk there forever.

The Dark Queen

She said she’d come when the butterflies flutter by, but spring came and went without a sighting. Then summer, then autumn. When winter rolled around I caught a glimpse of spotted wings and knew they were carried upon her breath.

I delved into my studies to find that indeed, the Dark Queen cannot reign from the shadows. She thrives on contrast; she commands symphonies of her minions on snow.

Now her spirit deepens my midwinter dreams. She lay upon my pillow, whispering sweet promises of death to my face. I awake to the bodiless wings of Monarchs in my window.


as i climb the stairs
for the umpteenth time,
i wish just once
there was someone who
could carry me there,
to tuck me in
to kiss my brow
and turn off the light
and say, it’ll be all right
just sleep and i’ll
take care of all.
but when i awake
after a long night’s slumber
i open my eyes to find
everything is the same.

Aloha Grace

Aloha Grace envisioned a place
with palm trees and white sandy beaches

In her room was a poster; she sat and imagined
the sea and the man she would meet there

For Aloha Grace lived in the arctic,
where the sun shone an hour a day

From this frozen tundra she needed escape
the moment she came of an age

Aloha Grace stepped off of the plane
and she breathed in the smell of the ocean

A half hour later her toes in the sand,
in the shade of a palm tree she stood

Then Aloha Grace, with the sun in her face
met the man she was destined to fall for

But a one-night stand left her colder than ice
and she realised the beach and the palm trees had lied

Aloha Grace went home in disgrace
pregnant and husbandless too

Down came the poster and down went the sun
for the grass is no greener than snow.


How fast I run,
I run from the blade
But in dreams my feet won’t go fast

How hard I push
I push on the pedal
But in dreams the car still rolls back

How sad, I cry
I cry for the loss
But in dreams my family has passed

How deep I sleep
I sleep ’cause I must
For in dreams my life fades to black