Unhappy Endings

Chin up.

Put on a brave face.

Keep walking.

I was never told fairy tales with happy endings. They always ended with tears, darkness and death.

My father was a realist. He refused to fill my head with false ideas and ignorant pretences that everything will always be okay in the end. Because it wouldn’t. Not always.

His stories didn’t send me to sleep with a smile on my face his face always lacked that mischievous, adoring smile of a teasing parent.

Often, I would toss and turn until the sleep took hold, unable to rid my mind of the heroes defeated by villains and the children who don’t escape the wicked creatures of the darkness.

I find myself in the grasp of one of those creatures now, wrestling against its iron clutches. Though I’m not a child anymore…

Standing here in my blackest suit in a field of stone and earth, I was beginning to understand my father’s mentality, stories don’t always have a happy ending.

His didn’t.

Those monsters finally took hold of him and dragged him down with their grip unbreakable, taking him away from me.

He knew they were coming.

I couldn’t keep the tears from falling down my steeled cheeks, desperately trying to hold my expression in a solemn mask.

Inside, the darkness closes in, clutching at the strings of my mind, toying with me like a cruel puppet master. I don’t have control any longer.

There were only a few times that I remember hearing truly enchanting stories.

I remember sitting by a fire, burning amber stretching behind and listening to the storyteller weave tales out of the wind and crackling flames, grinning as he did it. So different from what I was used to.

Now I know. Those stories weren’t magic, they were just lyrics in a beautiful, dreadful song, meant to enthral and twist our weak minds.

I was transfixed, never having heard such brilliant, carefree tales, the Storyteller so overcome by his words that he barely noticed the darkening sky and darkness of the forest closing in around him, begging to be let in. He watched our faces, the intrigue, the excitement and the wonder, all visible in our eager young eyes, smiling in the knowledge that his words were making an impact.

Years on, I know that it was naïve to believe in the magic of the world despite my father’s stories; naïve to believe that people can survive the pain they suffer through when the darkness finally comes.

Fate is cruel and plays its games, fingers toying with our lives.

Sometimes it doesn’t end the way you want it to.

It’s okay to cry. Needed even, because without tears there’s no way to show that your world is crumbling. The others don’t need to see my collapsing walls, it won’t do them any good. I should have known better than to build them so high.

I should have known this was coming.

Life doesn’t have happy endings.

You just have to survive the storm and hope that there’s sunlight on the other side.

Watching the others dressed in charcoal slowly leave, they give me hesitant glances, unsure whether they should abandon me to my thoughts yet desperate to go and forget this ever happened.

I lift my head, eyes hardening, putting on that concrete mask. Not for my sake. But for theirs.

Life doesn’t have happy endings.

It’s something I’ve come to understand.

Stories don’t have miraculous conclusions and those beasts can’t always be slain.

I just didn’t think they would destroy my life so soon. He did.

I don’t think he expected me to see it coming or to know that everything wasn’t going to be okay.

He knew.

It takes a terrible occurrence to realise that the fates are not friendly. Losing him finally opened my eyes.

Life doesn’t have happy endings.

Right now, it’s hard to see the sunlight past the clouds and the people in black, their stumbling apologies fleeing and their backs disappearing past the rows of stone.

The only brightness, the flowers that lay littered on the ground, soaked with tears.

Life doesn’t have happy endings.

I know that now.

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To Kill a Kingdom – BoOk ReViEw

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Dark, seductive and utterly spiralling, this story wouldn’t release me. I was hooked.

Lira, the infamous daughter of the ruthless Siren Queen, has been loyal her whole life, groomed into the perfect, prince killing daughter. It’s only when she sets her sights on a siren killing price that she begins to falter and the seventeen hearts hidden beneath her bed begin to cool. A spiralling retelling of The Little Mermaid, Alexandra Christo does not disappoint!

I don’t know if I enjoyed this book so much because it was my first time listening to an audiobook or if I would have enjoyed it as much as an actual book but there was something so compelling about hearing these character’s voices in your head instead of imaging them, especially when listening to Lira and Elian’s snarky comments and hearing the death threats coming thick and fast pretty much all the way through.

This has to be one of  favourite kind of romances; the ones packed full of disdain and snarky, sarcastic remarks. I think that a love found in somewhere unexpected is so much better than love at first sight and I think a love found naked in the middle of the sea is one of the most unexpected… Lira and Elian’s romance is built up bewitchingly slow, dark and at times scathing vicious.

Lira’s fierce personality is something I am envious of, I certainly would not have been willing to go head to head with the tyrannical and brutal Queen of the Sea (partly because I’m scared of fish.) And her developmentt from subservient daughter to the revolutionary queen rivals that of many protagonists I’ve read so far.

The first line of this book is instantly gripping, especially when it’s being whispered right into your ear. It’s infinitely different from any other book I have read, setting the protagonist as a cold remorseless, killer. Much better than the damsel in distress type I have grown used to. Lira starts the novel as a badass female character and ends it pretty much exactly the same having realized just where her true loyalties lie.

Pirates and Sirens aren’t something I have read before and I have already picked up my next oceanic read, let’s hope it lives up to this one! Whether you read or listen to this, be ready to give it five GIANT stars.

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Breath and Swim: Guest Post, by Chloe Aston

Thank you so much for your kind words, Didi, I am so glad you like my work.

Didi Oviatt

I’m so very excited to welcome Chloe Aston to the blog today. She’s a beautiful young woman, inside and out. She loves to write short stories, and her own growing blog is really quite impressive! Check out Chloe at One Hundred Daffodils, you won’t be disappointed in the least.
What I love most about Chloe’s stories, is the unique twist on character prospective. Chloe has a talent in where she writes as if she’s on the outside looking in. It’s such a poetic approach to short stories. Personally, it reminds me of an angel on the characters shoulder giving them insight to themselves. It’s positively lovely!

So, without any further ado… Meet Chloe!! Dive into her description of self, as well as one of her super short yet highly impactful stories!

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About Me
From a young age, I have adored reading, disappearing into a different world for as long as possible. This lead to my desire to create…

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The Magic of Story Telling

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You often find yourself wondering why the world is so bewitched with the idea of magic.

It doesn’t exist.

Children don’t need to fear the monster under the bed. Teenagers shouldn’t be waiting for their vampire saviour to sweep them off their feet, and adults should have grown out of the impish ideas that plague the minds of the human race.

Yet they haven’t.

Your brother is one of those who still believes in the thrill of magic.

You watch him collecting wood as burning amber glows behind the shadowy forms of the trees. He places larger pieces around the fire pit in a sort of haphazard circle as a childlike eagerness simmering in his eyes; a small grin toys at his lips. The descending darkness shelters endless mystery in its depths and the secrets it possesses are worth more than liquid starlight. In your brother’s eyes at least…

For you, the darkness isn’t welcoming. It brings the nagging cold air that wracks your body with violent shivers and swarms of blood-thirsty insects nibbling at you whilst you desperately scratch them off… You wish you were at home, tucked up under your covers, freshly painted nails drying in front of you.

Instead, you watch as the first few spectators trickle in from between the trees, following the glowing, skipping embers of the fire warming up for the main event.

They’re young, all holding that youthful glimmer of expectation and naivety in the palms of their soft hands. They still believe that there could be something out there.

You don’t.

It was a long time ago when you did. You remember sitting in the seats of the cinema, neck stretching to see past the person in front, just for a glance at the magic playing out before you. Eyes wide. Those people had such power. Such endless possibilities… Growing life from their fingertips or singeing the grass with their fiery touch.

It didn’t take long for you to figure out you could do nothing of the sort. You couldn’t fly or read minds or do anything like the people on that screen.

You couldn’t do magic.

It wasn’t real.

Watching those children huddle close to the fire, expecting to be enthralled, you feel pity. Their hopes would come to nothing, just like yours.

Your brother was going to let that happen.

The last few stragglers lingered around the edge of the circle, peering out of the darkness like curious owls, their bright eyes stark contrast to the abyss all around. Night had finally fallen, the last amber fringes of light disappearing behind the horizon.

Your brother began speaking, his voice shattering the crisp silence.

Immediately those little, bright eyes lit up. They leaned forwards and came to a complete hush. Was it respect? No. It was admiration and amazement at the words pouring out of your brother’s mouth; lyrics in a beautiful, dreadful song.

Looking at those eyes and those slightly open mouths your mind softens…

Anything that puts that look on their little faces shouldn’t be ignored. It doesn’t matter if they realise later on that it was all a lie. Magic gives those eyes that light; whether it is real or not. Maybe it doesn’t have to be all sparks and mysterious powers. Maybe what you’re watching now is magic. Maybe magic is the power to give you an imagination, to create the possibility of creation. Or maybe magic is that inspiration. The inspiration flickering in those eyes and smiles, in those fingers itching to touch the impossible.

You hadn’t come here tonight to change your mind. But it had been opened. Re-opened.

Magic may not be exactly how you remembered it, but it dances right before you in those grinning flames.

Once those girls and boys go home, their minds will forever hold those stories and you hope that the burning in their eyes never fades.

Lady Midnight – BoOk ReViEw

WOAO (4)There are some people who say that Cassandra Clare is ‘milking the cow for all its worth’ by writing yet another book set in the shadow hunting world yet if you had the talent that she does and the millions of adoring fans who are counting down the days till your next book release, wouldn’t you?

Cassandra Clare has written another gem of book. This time, the protagonist is blonde and carries a fiery temper and a quick wit. A wit that occasionally gets her into trouble. Okay, more than occasionally. Emma Carstairs, orphaned at the age of 12 has spent her life trying to figure out what happened to her beloved parents. Alongside her Parabatai, Jules Blackthorn, Emma will find out just how far she is willing to go to find the truth. What will she sacrifice: Her newfound love, her family or will she give up and be content with what she has?

In this book Clare has created another set of astonishing characters and set them in the stunning scenery of the California coastline.  Packed full of action as well as intriguing mysteries this is one of my favourite books of Clare’s so far. The daring story line leads you down pathways full of twists and turns leading to a fabulous finale that no one will expect. With the return of many of my favourite characters from the renowned Mortal Instruments series this book answers so many questions and leaves you feeling happy inside, knowing that your much-loved characters from before did okay in the end.

Having been waiting for this book for well over a year, I certainly was not disappointed. Clare’s ability to create a world of magic and enticing characters is legendary and this book sets the series for one hell of a journey. The only question is: after fulfilling her dream, does Emma have it in her to reach out and grab the next one?

A Walk in the Woods

You’re silent, a single snowflake in a flurry, moving, falling, free. The world around you seems paused on a precipice but nothing, no one notices you as you glance around this untouched world. Cool air dances across your fingertips like a whisper as it moves through the air, touching each element of nature. Some prick and some are gentle to the touch. Each one infinitely different. Two small birds sing from above as they arc through the crisp air; a rare sound for this time of year. The birds should be sleeping or humming away in a far off place with warm air between their feathers.

Maybe you should be far away too, in a place where no one knows you and your stresses can dissolve into the foreign winds, swept away without a trace. Seeing wonders of the world that no one had touched seems like bliss, finding a place where you fit. Not where everyone imagines themselves. You imagine that this place would be secluded and serene, with the perfect combination of subtlety and sublime. Sitting in the open air with a book in your hands and the warmth of the sun trickling down in tiny rivers from between the arms of mighty trees.

You suppose this elegant forest fits that description. If only you could stay here… Nature is rarely described as elegant but when you look at this scene you think no word fits it more perfectly. It’s hard for you to get time away these days, these stolen moments so precious. Your mind is finally slowing, forgetting your present doubts and dismays. Breathless beauty surrounds you, humming a sweet melody inside your head; it is difficult to not notice the gilded chirps of the tiny birds or the crunch of the frosty grass beneath your toes. You feel a reprieve from your troublesome job and your unpaid bills. Just in this moment, there is nothing else. Nothing.

You don’t doubt that this respite will be short-lived, your mind will soon again be filled with the unrelenting buzzing that makes you want to scream…

It had always been this way. You have always needed an escape, to separate yourself entirely from the pressures of the world.

When you first got the job at the company, you were filled with such brimming excitement, such overwhelming anticipation. You remember your handsome boss and the expensive shoes you bought just for that day. Those shoes clicked on that squeaky clean floor and shone under the clinical lights. You didn’t notice just how wrong that place was for you. It felt right. It wasn’t frightening at the time; now you wish you had backed out when you had the chance. It was a new world to you. You were finally living on your own, away from your mother and her corrosive drinking problem.

Coming home that day to find her in a puddle of her own vomit, a bottle of vodka clutched in her drooping hand was something you would never forget. Her limp hair and destroyed beauty made you sad. It made you want to do better. Even as a little girl, barely understanding the consequences of what you were seeing.

You wanted better…

Exhaling, you begin to turn back, the cold finally seeping in through your thin jacket. It wouldn’t be dark for a while yet but you can feel the world preparing itself for when darkness descends and for when you forget that this place even exists.

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