"The poetry of Katie Lewington has just only recently come to my attention, and her simple, observational, and honest poems pulled me right in. Her new chapbook "Here Comes the Sun" is filled with those things that I look for in poetry and writing in general, descriptions of people and places, travels, food, etc. The ordinary things that sensitive folks (and poets especially) find so endearing. I can't wait to read more of Lewington's work!" Nicholas Trandahl, author of Pulling Words.
Experience the thrill of summer, and travel with Katie Lewington through Europe, without needing to move from your seat. It was a summer of reinvention and discovery: from leaving home, to travelling Europe. In 2016 football, politics, and airports dominated the life of Katie Lewington. Thankfully you won't find any poems on Brexit in Katie Lewington's poetry collection Here comes the Sun. You will find one on the Euro's, and the unexpected delights found in Airport baggage queues. Some of the poems in Here comes the Sun make good use of brevity, while others, such as Wi-Fi, are written in a prose style of writing. Here comes the Sun uses simple language in the poems that were written whilst travelling in the summer of '16. The events in the poems mirror the places of their origins, such as in the Red Light District of Amsterdam, the market forecourt of Brugge, and the Brighton Pier.
There is contemplation among the hilarity as the seasons change, summer turns to winter, and the nights become colder, so grab a drink, and your shades, and read HERE COMES THE SUN: TRAVEL POETRY WRITTEN BY KATIE LEWINGTON.
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When the Deringer pistol that shot Abraham Lincoln is stolen and ends up in the hands of a Russian military general, covert agent Blake Deco is tasked by the FBI to head to the Balkans to recover the historical weapon. Meanwhile, the United States media is abuzz with news of the mysterious disappearance of Hollywood movie star, Goldie St. Helen.
After Blake’s return from overseas, he receives a tip from a Mexican friend that a drug lord, obsessed with the beautiful actress, is holding her captive in Tijuana. With the help of a reluctant army friend, Blake mounts a daring rescue. What he doesn’t expect is to have feelings for Goldie—or that a killer is hunting them.
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The tall buildings around Washington, D.C.’s 10th Street overshadowed the historic Ford’s Theatre. Though the building had undergone refurbishment both inside and out, it still seemed slightly out of place in modern America. However, that didn’t stop the throngs of tourists visiting the building that June morning as wispy clouds threaded through the cerulean sky.
It was a crowded weekend day when Abraham Lincoln, in his overcoat, and two Union soldiers, their faces covered with bandanas, stepped out of the van. They meandered past the theater’s five historic doorways toward the modern glass entrance. Everyone assumed they were part of a promotion taking place at the museum. It was not uncommon to see park rangers and tour guides dressed in period costumes.
The man behind the Lincoln mask was Rick Walker—at least, that was the name he was currently going by. Highly educated, the thirty-six-year-old professional thief had a penchant for the fast life. If the assignment was a success today, he’d promised his girlfriend a nice holiday.
Two female park rangers stepped forward when Rick and his companions reached the front of the line.
“You have to get in line, sir. Also, you need to get tickets. Kindly remove the mask and bandanas before entering,” one of the park rangers said.
“I do apologize, madam, but I’m in a bit of a hurry,” Rick said. “I don’t think I need a ticket, nor do I have to get in line given who I am.”
“That’s the only way you’re going to get in,” the park ranger said.
“Well, if you insist, madam, and once again, please accept my apologies.” Rick bowed and tipped his hat, then extended a hand to the park ranger, who instinctively took it.
Rick grabbed her wrist tightly and locked it to his own with a steel cuff.
“What are you doing?” the park ranger yelled, trying to jerk her hand away.
“Getting acquainted,” Rick said.
The park ranger reached for the walkie-talkie strapped to her belt, but Rick snatched it away from her. Frantically, she turned to the other park ranger. “Get security!”
One of the two Union soldiers dropped his prop rifle and grabbed the other park ranger’s hand, then cuffed her wrist to his own. He pulled out a real gun tucked under his waistband and aimed it at her.
Rick unbuttoned the jacket of his three-piece suit and brandished the bomb strapped to his chest.
“Bomb! Bomb!” a young teenager in the line shrieked.
Pandemonium broke out as the screams of panic amplified. People ran in every direction. Those who moved slowly were slammed aside, or knocked over.
Rick pulled the ranger cuffed to him aside. “We’re going downstairs, and we’re going to take the Deringer. Obey your president,” he said in a hollow voice.
“Yes, sir,” the park ranger said as beads of sweat formed on her forehead.
They descended by elevator and emptied into an interactive museum. The wealth of history in the dimly lit space featured original artifacts in glass showcases, furniture, statues, murals, and narrative devices. The visitors already in the museum scattered wildly at the sight of a man in a Lincoln mask displaying a bomb strapped to his chest, a park ranger cuffed to his wrist.
“Show’s over, folks,” Rick yelled. “Go!”
The park ranger guided her captors to a section in the museum where the Deringer floated in an oblong glass case capped at both ends with wood. A mural behind it depicted John Wilkes Booth firing a single shot at Abraham Lincoln as he sat in the theater box.
The Union soldier not cuffed to a park ranger took out a glasscutter from his coat pocket and began to cut a circle in the glass. When it popped free, he inserted his hand inside and yanked out the Deringer.
“We’re going to take you with us. Don’t give me trouble. If you behave, you’ll be back home in time for dinner with the family,” Rick said, dragging the park ranger closer to him. “Understand?”
The park ranger nodded once, nervously.
“Excellent,” Rick said.
They exited through the theater’s main door and stepped out into the empty street. The crowd had dispersed. Some had regrouped tensely a few hundred meters away at both ends. “Cheer up—it’s going to be a fun day,” Rick said, walking toward the van.
The park ranger with Rick raised her voice. “Please, please, let us go. I don’t want to die.”
“Well, behave and everything will be fine.” He opened the side, forced her in and jumped in after her. He shut the door after the accomplice had climbed in with the second park ranger.
The van began to move off.
“Hallelujah!” Rick yelled in excitement behind the mask as he sat at the back of the van. He removed the cuff from his wrist and secured the park ranger onto a railing.
“We’ll be arriving in five,” the driver said after a few blocks. “You know what to do.”
“I sure do,” Rick said as he removed the bomb strapped to his chest. Still wearing the mask, he looked at the hostages. “Don’t worry about the bomb, it’s fake.”
He unhooked a tote bag from the wall and began removing the contents. Facing away from the hostages, he removed the Lincoln mask and slipped into casual attire. He hid his face by putting on a red baseball cap and a pair of dark shades then stuffed the costume into the bag and swung it over his shoulder.
Rick looked again at the park rangers. “Look on the bright side—now you get to tell visitors a different story at the museum.”
The Union soldier in the back with him handed over the Deringer, which Rick slipped into the bag.
The driver slowed down and stopped behind a parked car.
“All good outside?” Rick asked.
“Yeah…all good. I parked a few cars behind us,” the driver replied, looking at the side mirror.
“Okay. Nice doing business with you guys.” Rick pulled open a trapdoor in the center of the floorboard, slid out, and slithered under the parked car in front of the van.
The van pulled away from the curb and sped down the street. After a minute, Rick rolled onto the road, got up, and walked toward the park at Judiciary Square on the Red Line and descended into the Metro.
A day later, Rick sat at a café with his eyes glued to the screen of a laptop, drinking a hot latte with his back against the wall. He scanned the faces of everyone who entered. Though he wasn’t expecting trouble, he remained vigilant.
“Is it in yet?” the tall blonde sitting across from him asked.
He scratched the roughness of his stubble as he continued to stare at the screen. “Not yet.”
Moments later, the figures on his account changed. A new deposit had been registered: ten million dollars.
Rick lifted his eyes. “Darling.”
“Remember, we’re in a public place, so don’t scream.”
She leaned forward. “It’s in?”
Rick wriggled his eyebrows. “Pack your bags. We’re going on a holiday, as I promised.”
Gentlemen Prefer a Pulse is Mike Steeden's first published collection of poetry and features over a hundred poems that are sometimes humorous, serious, satirical, surreal, thought provoking and brilliant! Mike says his inspiration is drawn from his self-proclaimed love of the fairer sex, his passion for 'people watching' (a trait born of his time as a private investigator), social justice and compassion. The net result is that his poems are in essence a cocktail of all these things...oh yes, the important thing! Mike always endeavours to ensure that within his body of work the gals always win out in the end!
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A poem from the book:
THE MAN IN THE BRETON SHIRT
All her life she had wanted legs. Proper legs with feet, ankles, calves, knees and thighs. Yet circumstance had afforded her nought but wheels, small wheels at that. Little wrought iron ones. Wheels that required constant care. Oiling and such like.
Notwithstanding her shortcomings, she got out and about best she could. That is, until the day the local authorities had something of a retro brainwave. They cobblestoned the market square. She lived in a house on market square. So now she prayed for tarmac, as well as feet, ankles, calves, knees and thighs.
Then one day, quite out of the blue the sailor arrived in town. Breton shirt, beer belly. He drank vast quantities of rum, farted constantly, belched with pride, with gusto.
They met in a smoke laden bar, she in a wheelchair (Her wizened auntie had taken her out for some fresh air. Why she chose to go to a bar no one ever knew). The sailor was singing a ribald sea shanty at the time to the accompaniment of an accordion. He amused her. She caught his eye. The accordionist noticed too. A deafening silence ensued. A galaxy of drunkards turned about face embarrassing her more than a little.
A harlot, hanging on to the sailor’s arm for dear life flinched at his rancid breath, yet still held fast. Such is the fate of a girl short of gilders (Perversely, she cast a jealous eye at the girl with no proper legs with feet, ankles, calves, knees and thighs). Regardless his ‘Popeye on spinach’ forearm thrashed the harlot to Kingdom come.
In an instant, the sailor sobered up. Whereas he should have stumbled he straightened himself, walked over to the girl, planted the mother of all kisses upon her virgin lips, clicked his fingers, bellowed skyward at the heavens, and miraculously the girl had legs with feet, ankles, calves, knees and thighs.
With great care and eyes shut tight the girl ran her hands over her new limbs. They felt ever so fine.
When she opened them again she found herself on a yacht on the wide-open sea in the company of a handsome young man in a Breton shirt. From his place at the helm he winked and blew her a kiss.
All was well in her world.
Albinus, the son of a revered Roman veteran Silus, has always longed to be a farmer, not a soldier, and live his days ploughing and reaping the harvests, with his bride-to-be, Licina. But Silus’ has darker ambitions, for Albinus to follow in his footsteps in the army.
But, as the conflicts between father and son come to a head, a growing threat comes down from the vengeful Germanic tribes to the north. Just as Albinus and Licina are about to marry, their settlement is raided by barbarians and Silus and his veteran comrades are brutally killed, while Licina is kidnapped by the raiders and taken to their king as a gift.
Believing her to be alive, Albinus sets out on a quest to find Licina, finally fulfilling his father’s wishes as training as a soldier, even as he is spurred to avenge his father’s death. As the barbarian hordes gather and plan major rebellion against the Romans, Albinus finds a new fighting spirit within him and grows in stature among the legionaries.
Licina meanwhile has a fight of her own, to escape from slavery and find Albinus. Time is running out, as the northern tribes head for Rome, decimating everything in their path…
With historically accurate details and including characters from legend, Adam Lofthouse’s novel recounts the brutal battles between the Romans and the Germanic tribes, while also telling the heart-wrenching coming-of-age narrative of one young soldier within the Roman camp.
Adam Lofthouse has for many years held a passion for the ancient world. As a teenager he picked up Gates of Rome by Conn Iggulden, and has been obsessed with all things Rome ever since. After ten years of immersing himself in stories of the Roman world, he decided to have a go at writing one for himself. The Centurion’s Son is Adam’s first novel. He lives in Kent, with his wife and three sons.
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Mike Steeden writes his poetry always with ‘a touch’ of something or other. Often that ‘touch’ is a surreal one, occasionally one of the lunacy of being, and with this tome he had added a hint of ‘magic’. He lives in England’s almost forgotten edge in terms of tourism, namely the south-eastern corner of the beautiful County of Kent, in the place nicknamed since the Battle of Britain in WW2, ‘Hellfire Corner’. He is passionate about the rights of the underprivileged; loathes to see abuse of the innocents home and abroad. His poetry reflects such passion.
Mike is a self-confessed ‘people watcher,’ hence his coffee quaffing hobby sat outside any fine café watching the day go by. His most favoured cafés are generally those across the Channel in France where he spends a good deal of time. Also, he is partial to a drop of fine red wine and smelly ripe French cheeses!
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One of the poems within the book;
ECHOES FEND FOR THEMSELVES AFTER MIDNIGHT
Interlaced tongues sweetest tortures, and for you a crown of hawthorn
Come mornings lame duck situation, at first light a passion stillborn
Your carriage awaits full of treasures, a catalogue of what was before
Love letters returned back to sender, your key on the hook by the door
You split with a satchel of shared dreams, and a trunk full of burning desire
In your wake left a parcel of memories, and finger band of barbed wire
Those bared paintings of you in the grand hall, the place where all sinners got wed
Now hang on the walls of a bedroom, where all our spare tears once were shed
Words aimed below the belt and pulled punches, a ripped bodice, a craving that devours
Then the affirmation of stained sheets, hungover from the afterglow hours
You travelled back to the place where you came from, climbed dizzy heights just to be
Once more with your come-hither lover, and the times you say were carefree
In the white room where virgin bride’s makeup, paradise only a scissor cut away
Yet for you just a bouquet of snowflakes, that would melt lest you forgot to pray
Remember when I gave you the emerald, you said just, ‘thank you, see you around’
Then you laid claim to my heart, to my hunger, left me for dead instead of spellbound
Echoes fend for themselves after midnight, come back to deafen at the first light of day
You leave behind the one you tormented, to stand by him who you would betray
Very few can see into the spiritual realm of good and evil.
Serenity Charles is a young woman given that special gift of spiritual vision. With it, she commits to fight off the powers of wickedness.
Her spiritual eyes are open to see evil deceit, and she observes demons that live within humans causing destructive behavior.
Wearing a sacred armor, Serenity (Rena), goes into battle to protect those who the demons would coldly harm or annihilate. With her shield she is protected from their flaming darts while using her sword of the Word, she cuts them asunder sending them screaming away in panic.
Three of Gods Waring Angels, Avigdor, Ariel, and Akim, are her guardians and collaborators, supporting her to accomplish a victory.
Aiden Baker, a mining boss, meets and is apparently taken by Rena’s beauty. He fights his attraction for her by either ignoring or voicing his reluctance to pursue a promising relationship. Will this angry man remain stubborn or will he chase Rena when she leaves town to return to her birthplace?
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It was dark and quiet in the house when Rena awoke with a start. Three huge golden angels stood at the foot of her bed. Dressed in white each carried a sword in a breast band around their shining bronze bodies. The angel in the middle began to communicate from his mind to hers. No words were spoken aloud to Rena, and his mouth didn’t move, yet she completely understood every word.
“My name is Avigdor, it means, the Lords Protector. These two with me are my helpers, Akim and Ariel. I am the leader in charge and will do most of the communicating. Father God has sent us to instruct you on your work and also to go everywhere with you helping to overcome the encountered evil.”
Every word received was spoken to her in the heavenly language, not English, yet she understood. She also knew demons did not know this language so it would be an extra strength.
“Come,” Avigdor motioned to her to stand. “Tonight we take you on a journey through to the spirit world. You need to behold the places of good and evil. There should be no fear because the holy armor of God is your protection.”
As he spoke, a breastplate covered her chest, with a wide belt around her waist, a helmet sat down on her head, and her feet became shod in golden boots. Through the air spun a sword that secured itself into her hand. Seeing her image in her full-length mirror, she glowed, just like the angels.
“Take your shield to guard you against the flaming darts. Be ever mindful lest you are struck.” Avigdor handed her the shield; it was enormous, big enough to cover her yet light in weight not to cause a hindrance. Strangely when holding it, she could see straight through, yet when Avigdor held it she could not. Of course, it - like her armor was spiritual and more powerful than an earthly covering or weapon.
In the time since her heavenly visitors appeared Rex remained asleep. Glancing down at him snoring Rena wondered why he didn’t wake up. He was a guard dog and liked to be a part of everything.
“He will remain here,” was spoken with authority. The angels raised their arms, flying upwards through the roof and to the open star-filled sky. Astonishingly, Rena found she could fly beside them.
Out of the earth’s dome and into the magnificent atmospheric space, her planet disappeared, left far behind. Rena propelled faster than light up into an ambiance of strange sights that continued forever. It all seemed inconceivable. They traveled in unison, with planets and stars flashing by and yet - when looking to the horizon; it always seemed the same distance away.
No words could explain what Rena saw or how she felt within herself - it was beyond words and beyond everything that she comprehended
"Durant’s story is slyly whimsical as she builds up the world of Marbryn, a world where there are many wonders, but also threats to the existence of Blue’s tribe." - Jack Magnus From Reader's Favorite.
"The Blue Unicorn…reads like old time fairy tales…where life and death choices are made…" - From Fundinmental As The Eyes See It Blog
"The gentle reminders of the importance of acceptance and maintaining a sense of self worth are artfully woven into this fun adventure tale." - From The Reading Addict Blog.
This YA book is perfect for fans of science fiction/fantasy books like Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey and The Xanth Series by Piers Anthony or illustrated fantasies like Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and The Wizard of Oz series of books by L. Frank Baum. Mix in some Brother's Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale themes and you're good to enter this enchanting world of the metal horn unicorn tribe.
Everybody loves unicorns! OK maybe they don't but for those who do, they will love this story about a little unicorn who was born into a tribe of magical, metal horned unicorns. The little guy has no magic and he has no metal but somehow he must save the tribe from an evil sorcerer. Read this book for teens and older readers to find out if he can do it.
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THE ENTIRE TRIBE WAS IN THE COURTYARD WAITING FOR BLUE.
He should have already arrived. Now, he was twenty minutes late and they were getting restless.
“What’s so important anyway?” Cornum grouched. He looked across the room to where Alumna and Ghel stood alone.
The oracle was whispering in hopes no one else would hear but all ears swiveled her way at, “The Moon-star is coming.”
That was real news! All the others surrounded them, talking at once.
Flustered, Alumna found a break in the questions being thrown at her to ask Ghel to go see what was taking Blue so long.
Upon entering their stall, the gold-horned unicorn noticed something fluttering on the desk. It was the letter for her from Blue.
“Oh no," she cried, after reading it. “He’s left alone!”
She put on the necklace he had left her and raced out of the Halstable.
“He can’t be very far away yet. I’ll find him and bring him back,” she said to herself. She did not think it would take long so she left without alerting the others.
Ghel followed Blue’s hoof tracks for many miles until they ended in the hard rocky dirt. Looking up, she realized she was completely lost. She moved forward, stretching her neck to look around and tripped on a sharp rock jutting from the ground.
The sweet scent of blood flowing from a gash on her knee caught the attention of a very hungry manticore. He followed the smell until he came upon a natural land bridge right at the north-western point of the Kinubalu Desert. The bridge was a short-cut across a deep, wide canyon. It ended near the edge of the Guarded Forest.
On the other side of the canyon, the manticore saw a blue unicorn standing a few feet from a thick green wall made up of huge spiky vines.
“There’s my prey,” the manticore grunted, thinking the unicorn was trapped.
He dashed across the bridge, hoping to catch the unaware unicorn. Halfway across, he skidded to a stop. “What happened to the scent of blood?” he wondered. It was gone and he was confused.
As he tried to figure it out, the vines loosened up and opened a space just big enough for the unicorn to step through. “Arrgh! Lost him,” he groaned, as the thorned vines closed up tight. His empty belly rumbled.
The blue unicorn was safe. The Guarded Forest would not let a predator like the manticore in. Disappointed at losing his dinner, the beast turned back across the bridge.
To his delight, the scent of blood reappeared. Just a few yards away was the gold-horned unicorn, head down, stumbling his direction. She was wounded, paying no attention her surroundings.
The manticore wetted his lips. This one would make a good meal and there was no way she could escape.
A shiver ran along Ghel's spine. She felt like someone or something was watching every stumbling step she took. Intense fear gripped her heart, making it beat faster. “Something dangerous is out there and it’s close,” she thought.
She stopped and looked around, trying to find the source of the danger.
The manticore smiled to see how fear made her eyes glow white against her honey-colored coat. He smiled because fear gave the meat a better flavor. Abruptly, he asked, "Do you want a moment to say your prayers before I send you to your maker?"
Ghel's eyes snapped up to meet those of the ugly beast. The look she saw frightened her out of her wits. There was no way to escape.
"Oh, where can Nix be?" she blurted out. "Doesn't he know I'm in serious danger?"
Nix always arrived in the nick of time when a unicorn was in trouble. His powerful horn could detect a unicorn in distress from twenty miles away.
Indeed, Nix did detect that Ghel was in big trouble all the way from the crowded Great Room of the Halstable. A huge warning tingle forced Nix’s head to swing abruptly around. His nickel horn aimed in the direction of Ghel like a compass needle.
With a shake of his dark gray mane, he nodded a salute to Silubhra, saying, "Ghel is in danger but never fear, I will rescue her in the nick of time.” A blaze of light filled the air with silvery sparkles as he disappeared into the brightness.
Upon hearing Ghel’s words, the manticore twisted his neck around, trying to see who she was talking about. Seeing nothing, he thought, “The silly thing has taken leave of her senses!”
Laughter boomed from his terrible throat. It stopped when he caught glimmers of light just behind the frightened filly.
When Nix fully materialized, he took note of the dangerous situation, saying, "Stand aside, Ghel, while I nix that needle!"
The manticore had heard of Nix, the great unicorn defender. He skittered away in fright, trying to escape. Nix aimed a powerful blast from his nickel horn toward the brute. It was meant to destroy the scorpion stinger at the end of its tail but Nix missed his target.
The land bridge was hit instead. It loudly crumbled away into the giant hole it had spanned. The short cut across the canyon was completely destroyed.
Nix was angry he had accidentally destroyed the only easy path to the Guarded Forest. He caught up to the manticore and tapped his stinger with his spiraled horn. To the manticore’s horror, the tip of his tail completely disappeared.
“Now beat it buster, before I nix your nose, too,” Nix said, looking fierce.
The manticore answered meekly, "Thank-you, kind sir, thank-you," then ran away on jellied knees, with what remained of his tail tucked protectively between his legs.
Part espionage thriller, part romance, part fantasy, part adventure, ‘Notoriously Naked Flames’ is Mike Steeden’s first novel. Spanning the lead up to WW2, the war itself and into the early 1950’s the unnamed heroine of the piece, a bewitching albino of Bohemian bent, masquerades in all manner of risqué guises dishing out her own version of clandestine justice to those evils souls spawned of conflict’s disregard for compassion, law and order. Additionally, she also finds herself nursing her lover, a giant of an Englishman once in the employ of MI5, back to a semblance of his former self following his torture at the hands of Cold War Soviets that had left him deaf, mute and blind. Her task is made a little easier with the help an Eastern European girl she befriended in bizarre circumstance.
Together the trio of ‘notoriously naked flames’ take on life in all its demonstrative disguises while the racy heroine keeps under wraps the tale of her otherworldly evolution for were it to become known to the public at large it might just invalidate religion as we know it and bring forth a new Dark Age. Can she keep safe her secret?
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EARLY SUMMER 1952 – SUSSEX, ENGLAND
She examines her defenceless giant searchingly as he bathes. He, the one who is a portrayal of rare full-fledged innocence, and wonders if the macrocosm inside his head replicates the one outside of hers. She hopes against hope that locked within exists a rainbow’s multi-coloured arc, or is all this lost upon the extraordinary self, empty of speech, hearing and sight, unaware that gesture is the only language he bestows. Touch and smell his native inside-out lone connection.
She communicates as best she can. Upon his awakening, she is always there. Her ‘hello of sorts’ a lover’s tangled tongue kiss. No passion though, they are no longer the passing lovers they once were. More that the sharing of her unique taste serves to let him perceive her, recognize her. Always has him gift a beaming smile just for her. She wears the self-same perfume each new day also, it helps him identify her proximity.
With no great difficulty she aids him out of the bath, warm towels, warm heart care. Time for drying and dressing, though the palaver of dressing irks him, induces a frown. Regardless he is immune to nakedness within his ambushed consciousness, his curious dominion. Not for him the embarrassment of the earthly collective.
The sun shone the day before. Albeit keeping a caring eye open, she chose to let him wander the lawn, uncovered. From nowhere a summer storm brewed, small hailstones. She watched as he held out his palms, threw his head back, greeted the spheres of water ice, an air of amazement, no suffering.
The eternal ‘what next’ frustrates her day; muddles her mood. She undresses, calculates he may have no recollection that human beings come in two packages. Her hands upon his chest, fingers spread wide, sensation of touch inviting. Invitation accepted, he mirrors her actions, stroke for stroke, his look curious, questioning, captivated. No folly in innocent exploration.
A telephone outside of his realm rings. Might be important, she pulls away. Notices he sheds a single loaded tear, from which continent of emotion it heralds, likely she will never unearth.
He has been this way ever since she rescued him.
Some mystics believe we choose our name, along with our life's lessons, before we are born. The name we select becomes our constant guide, helping us to navigate the journey ahead. In her memoir, A Girl Named Truth, Alethea explores the subjective nature of truth while she untangles the uncomfortable wrap of narratives she was raised on. Her name serves as her beacon, guiding her to heal and find the inner voice of her own truth. The author's story begins with her formative years, when her mother left her father and went into hiding with the Hare Krishnas. Months later, the young Alethea finds herself living 3,000 miles away from her extended family, trying to love a new father and forget the one she has left behind. Only she never forgets...A Girl Named Truth is a story of loss, love and the redemptive power of awakening a silenced voice.
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MY MOTHER TOLD me she found my name, Alethea, in a book. In my child-mind I created a tome perfumed with age, adding gilded pages over the years. Sometimes I imagined stories, filled with strong and beautiful goddesses, and smiled with the thought that I was held inside pages I had never read.
“It’s Greek,” my mother told me, “for truth.”
When I opened the book inside the room of my mind, I watched the pages unfold like the wings of a butterfly, and waited for a girl named truth to manifest into form.
I never doubted the origin of my name, until one winter afternoon when I was thirty-six. That day, alone in my New Hampshire home, I cupped a phone to my ear and listened to my father’s words as he spoke from three thousand miles away inside a small ivory bungalow on the coast of Washington state.
“Did I ever tell you where your name came from?” he asked.
“No,” I said, my heart beginning to race his words. “I always thought it came from a book.”
My father’s nervous chuckle mixed with his words. “No, we got the idea from a TV show. Your mother and I used to watch a series called ‘Kung Fu’ together,” he said with another soft laugh that sounded almost like an apology. “It was popular in the 70s. There was an episode with a little girl named Alethea the year you were born.”
I scoured the drawers of the coffee table for a pencil and a pad of paper to record my father’s words, while my heart searched for a steady rhythm. This was not the same truth I had clung to all these years. The tome I had held close to my heart was beginning to disintegrate with the words of my father.
Later, after I hung up the phone, I Googled the episode my father had referenced. The words on the screen shifted me into another reality: “ ‘Kung Fu’ Alethea, 1973.” I clicked the YouTube link below the image and prepared to watch and listen.
Against a backdrop of daisies, the name Alethea appeared in orange ink, followed by Jodi Foster as a young girl plucking the strings of a mandolin atop a rocky cliff. I watched the spunky blonde actress I had always admired boldly follow the stranger she had just met, the traveling Shaolin priest Caine, played by David Carradine.
“They call me Leethe,” she told him as she extended her hand in greeting, “but my real name is Miss Alethea Patricia Abrahams.”
My mind traveled back in time thirty years to when my paternal grandmother, Grammie, used to call me Leethe.
She could almost be me, I thought as I watched Jodi Foster, if my hair had been lighter and I had been a child with courage. Here before me was a girl who seemed to live without fear, yet we both shared the burden of a name that meant “truth.” Neither of us could escape the weight of what it stood for.
Like the fictional Alethea, I struggled with the concept of truth. As a young child, if I told a lie, which was not often, I thought of my name. When I detected someone else’s lie, I thought of my name. Alethea. It was my anchor, it was my legacy, and it was my compass. Now my name was guiding me through the stormy seas of my past as I tried to redefine myself against the truths I was raised on.
I heard the words of the falsely imprisoned Caine reassure the young Alethea, “Do not condemn yourself for telling the truth,” while men outside the building banged nails into the gallows being built to hang him.
My mind swirled back into the past, remembering a childhood lived inside the shadows of secrets and truths I didn’t want to believe, before I heard Caine’s voice again, “Each step we take is built on what has gone before.” I watched as the character Alethea discovered how truth is often a matter of perception, and can be clouded by emotions and fears.
“The people of Greece have a name for truth,” Caine’s words rang clear and strong. “Alethea. Alethea is a girl who loves the truth.”
As Caine disappeared down the dusty road toward his next adventure, Alethea became a girl with light-brown hair and dark-blue eyes shadowed by distrust; a girl who created a shield of her mother’s words, blocking out her inner truth.
I thought of the stories my mother had told me of a life before I was old enough to remember it, and began to compare them to the new stories I was receiving from my father. In so many ways, they did not fit together. Now I tried to imagine my parents before my mother decided she hated my father. They must have been happy, I realized, for at least a little while.
Instead of a sad young woman with long, brown braids sitting on an old tapestried couch reading a book against her swollen belly with my one-year-old sister, Tara, clung beside her, I saw a family of three gathered on a sofa, watching a small TV perched atop a wooden crate. I even allowed my parents to touch hands and smile as they looked into each other’s eyes and shared the same thought, Alethea, we’ll name our child Alethea, if she is another girl. For truth.
Dr Beth Nichols thinks she has been held captive by Edwin Evans for about 8 or 9 years now. Amidst her grief she often looks back and thinks about her fiancée Liam; theirs was the greatest romance of all. She lays awake at night staring at the one light bulb that is never switched off, and prays that he is still out there somewhere searching for her...
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MY HEAD IS pounding, and a bright light above ensures I quickly have to close my eyes again. Feeling nauseated, I lie still, using my other senses to try and recognise sounds or a particular aroma which could confirm to me that I am still in the accommodation unit. However, I can hear nothing at all; not even the usual birdsong, and there is an unaccountably earthy, damp smell. Suddenly curious, I fight sickness and confusion to sit up and take note of my surroundings.
I have no idea where I am. I am lying on top of a double bed. It is not the bed where I wrap myself contentedly around Liam. There is a duvet beneath me covered with a surprisingly clean-looking lilac flowery cover, which is complete with matching sheets and pillow cases. There does not seem to be any other furniture. There are no windows, and the bare bulb above my head is the only source of light.
Slightly panicky now and ignoring the increased hammering in my brain, I stand up shakily on the cold, concrete floor. The room is quite small, and I reach the only visible door after taking just a few steps. It is not the sort of door that I could break down. I turn the handle, but it refuses to yield.
I am locked in. I want to scream in fright, but stop myself at the last moment from sliding into rampant hysteria. I reason that whoever is keeping me in the room against my will would not want me making too much noise which might alert searchers to my location. I figure that I need to keep on the right side of my captor.