Acushla Bound – Part Two

Vacation, Day 2 – Enjoy a re-post of a story I wrote while I enjoy a well-deserved vacation!

Pepper continued along the forest covered trail with Mikaela on his back. His gallop slowed as he entered a meadow.

Mikaela looked around. Wildflowers she’d never seen surrounded her. The colors were mesmerizing and they seemed to wave in unison as the stems swayed in the breeze. Mikaela rested her head against Pepper’s neck, his mane tickling her nose.

Slowly, Pepper came to a stop. Mikaela unmounted the mighty horse, stretched and looked around. “Is this where we’re supposed to be, Pepper?”

Pepper looked at her for a moment, then stooped down. He had stopped at a creek and took a sip of water. When he raised his head back up, he motioned toward his back.

“Okay, Pepper, I guess it’s time to move on,” Mikaela sighed as she mounted up. “It’s pretty here though.”

Pepper neighed briefly and then continued on the trail, across a small footbridge over the water and toward an orchard in the distance. His pace picked up as he neared the orchard. Mikaela held on as he bounded toward the trees. “Whoa, Pepper, whoa!” She feared he might throw her. Finally, he stopped and picked an apple off with his shiny big teeth.

Mikaela chuckled, “Sounds like a good idea. She reached for an apple of her own. Pepper backed away from the tree, blocking her reach. “What, you can have one, but I can’t?”

Pepper pranced a few times and then walked over to another tree. This one had beautiful pinkish-red apples. This time, Mikaela was able to pick one and took a bite. It was the most delicious apple she had ever tasted. She knew she had to have more, but how to hold them?

She looked down at the gown. It had multiple layers of light fabric in the skirt. She pulled up the outer layers and ripped a large swath from the bottom layer. She formed it into a bag of sorts and picked several apples, then fastened them to the saddle.

Pepper pulled another apple and enjoyed it while Mikaela took a breath from the journey. It was a beautiful land about her. In the distance, some trees had not bore fruit yet, and apple blossoms covered the trees. Pepper slowly walked through this area of the orchard, letting Mikaela enjoy its beauty.

The sun was starting to sink low in the distance when they came to the edge of the orchard. Mikaela spied a small village off in the distance. “Pepper, is that where we are going?”

Pepper neighed loudly, and took off in a full gallop toward town. Mikaela looked forward to having some human company to speak with as well as a break from riding in a dress on Pepper’s back. Pepper brought Mikaela to the door of a local inn, stopped, and shook his head toward the door.

As Mikaela swung her leg over to dismount, she heard the jingle of coins. She found a small purse of money tucked securely under a flap on Pepper’s saddle. Mikaela hitched Pepper’s lead to the hitching posted, and pet her new friend’s face. “I’ll be back out. Hopefully they have a stable for you too my friend.” Pepper whinnied with delight.

Mikaela felt a little disheveled as she entered the inn. A kind looking old man sat behind the counter. “Well, hello there ma’am. How can I help you?”

Mikaela fiddled with her dress a little more and tried to straighten her hair as she approached the man as his desk. “Do you have a room and a stable for my horse?”

“You’re not from around here, are you ma’am? I’m Harold. Nice to meet you. I’ll be happy to set you up for a night or two in one of our rooms.”

Mikaela smiled. “Thank you, and no, I’m not from around here. Where is here?”

Harold chuckled to himself. “Oh, you’re Somewhere between There and Nowhere.”

Mikaela tilted her head sideways. “So, what’s the name of this place?” His original answer confused her.

“You’re Somewhere!” Harold exclaimed and held his hands up and wide as if he were grabbing as much air as he could.

Mikaela nodded, and thought what a strange answer. “Um, ok. Is there a place I can get my horse some feed and stabled during my stay in Somewhere?”

Harold’s eyes glistened when she said Somewhere. Almost like it was a magical word. “Oh definitely.” He pointed to the other side of the dusty road. “The stables are over there. No charge for a pretty lady like yourself.” He finished up the register and had Mikaela sign it, then turned over the key. “Your room is right at the top of the stairs on the left.”

Mikaela nodded thank you and started to head toward the door. “Um, Harold, is there a place where I might get some different clothes?”

“Sure thing, Ms. Mikaela. The Town Clothier is down the street. Mrs. Taylor will fix you up right proper.”

“Thanks, Harold.” With that, Mikaela walked back out to Pepper and smiled. She unlashed the lead and walked Pepper over to the stables. She gave Pepper a nice brushing and a couple more apples before heading over to Mrs. Taylor to address her dress.

Mikaela walked into the Town Clothier. The door rattled as she pulled it and stuck a bit on the frame. A rudimentary bell chimed.

A sweet little voice came from behind a stack of cloth. “Give me a minute. I’ll be right there.” The shuffle of feet could be heard against the wood planked floor.

Mikaela looked around the shop as Mrs. Taylor finished working on her task.

“Okay, here I am!” Mrs. Taylor hollered as she rounded the stacks. She paused, and her eyes grew big. “You’re a woman!”

Mikaela chuckled to herself. Even at just over five foot five, she towered over Mrs. Taylor. “Hi. I, um, need a change of clothes.” Her beautiful dress now looked haggard and worn. She wasn’t sure if it could be salvaged after she tore out the swatch to carry the apples.

“Oh, sweetie, yes, you do. Are you looking to lure a man or something more practical?” Her eyes glistened like Harold’s, it must be something about Somewhere.

Mikaela giggled. Lure a man. That struck her funny. “Just something practical. My horse has decided to take me on a journey and, well, I need something more appropriate.”

Mrs. Taylor looked her over and started taking measurements. “Okay, sweetie. Can you come back in the morning? I’ll have two changes for you then. In the mean time,” Mrs. Taylor turned to her side and picked up a folded gown, “you’ll be more comfortable sleeping in this tonight. It’s yours, no charge.”

Mikaela nodded thank you as Mrs. Taylor handed her the gown.

Her old hands gently touched the top off Mikaela’s. “I get a good vibe from you. Your acushla awaits.”

Mikaela had never heard that word before, but she was tired and longed for bed. She decided to save her questions for the morning and to head back to the inn. She waved to Mrs. Taylor and bid her a good evening.

Mikaela wandered back to the inn and climbed up the stairs. Her room was sparse, but a small fireplace warmed the room and a lantern cast light on the walls with enough for her to see. She shimmied out of her dress and unfolded the gown. Sweet stitch work in the pattern of scrolls and roses lined the V-neck of the gown. Mikaela slipped it on and headed toward bed.


Acushla Bound

Vacation, Day 1 – Enjoy a re-post of a story I wrote while I enjoy a well-deserved vacation!

Mikaela finally found an afternoon of no obligations, no commitments. She packed a small lunch and headed outside to sit by the lake.

She spread out a blanket and found a comfortable place to lean against the massive oak they saved from splitting following Hurricane Irma. The strapping still held it together, but the tree had healed nicely.

The breeze floated across the lake, carrying with it the warmth of the sun. Her skin glistened in the heat, but she was still comfortable. Her brown hair, desperate for a trim, curled up against her neck.

She purposely left her phone inside to escape interruption, but she brought a journal and pen, should any creativity come to visit.

She listened to the songs of the chickadees and cardinals as they flirted above her between the branches. Over the lake, herons and egrets swiftly flew by, looking for their lunch. Relaxation finally found her.

Slowly, she slipped into slumber, laying on her blanket. Her limbs and her eyes became heavy, but she didn’t struggle or fight it. It was nice to let things go for once. In the distance, the shell chimes clinked, lulling her further into a deep sleep.

In the distance she heard the galloping of hooves. She startled herself awake. As she opened her eyes, she realized she must be dreaming. Nothing around her was familiar.

The tree she slept under was now a willow tree, glistening in the sun. Her branches swayed in the winds, and almost iridescent leaves sparkled.

The familiar birds were gone, but new ones filled their place. Blue birds chirped and danced around her blanket. One even landed on her shoulder and sang a beautiful song.

Mikaela thought to herself, this is a pretty nice dream.

The high grass between her and the lake had transformed to a field of wild flowers, vibrant and rich with life. Butterflies, dragonflies, bees and more moved among the flowers, happily floating on the air.

One dragonfly floated towards Mikaela. This one was different from the others. As he neared, she realized it was a damsel fly instead…one set of wings instead of two. He floated and landed on her nose.

She looked cross eyed at him. She didn’t want to scare him, but then, she sneezed. He swiftly moved away, and once her fit was over, he floated nearby instead. He drifted away and then back several times.

Mikaela finally figured out he wanted her to follow him. She stood up. It was then she realized she wasn’t in her shirt and shorts anymore. She was now in a gown, similar to those of the Renaissance or one an elf would wear in LOTR, but it was lightweight and floated loosely over all her figure flaws.

She stepped onto the grass and found small stepping stones forming a path ahead. The damsel fly continued to beckon her to follow around the field. The path followed the edge of the lake which reflected as a turquoise and teal blue with a slight mist floating above.

As she continued rounding the edge of the lake, she discovered a wooded forest before her and heard the faint whinny of a horse. The damsel fly floated in mid-air before her, making her look around.

Mikaela noticed the air had a slight chill and rubbed her arms to warm them. She wondered where the warmth of the sun had gone. As she looked around, aside from knowing this wasn’t home, she didn’t know what she should see.

The damsel fly floated backward, allowing her to step forward, and then she tripped across a strap of leather.

“Ohhhh, this is what you wanted me to see?” She questioned as she picked herself and the horses bit and reign from the ground. She looked at the name engraved on the strapping… Pepper.

The damsel fly continued forward, leading her past the first few trees in the forest. There stood a beautiful Appaloosa in the thicket. He was already saddled, but no bit nor lead on him. He pranced to the side on hearing Mikaela’s footsteps.

As she neared, he bowed at her. She stretched out her hand, touching him on the star of his forehead. He neighed softly.

“Pepper?” She spoke gently to the magnificent creature. He shook his head up and down. The damsel fly landed on Pepper’s ear. Pepper twitched his ear, and the damsel fly took off, not to be seen again.

Mikaela recalled back to her youth. She had only ridden a horse once, but loved them immensely. She held out the bit to Pepper, “Shall we?”

Pepper pranced for a moment and opened his mouth. He was ready to get underway; although Mikaela had no idea where they would be going. She fastened the bit, checked the saddle, then climbed atop Pepper.

“Lead the way Pepper. Lead the way.”

With that, Pepper took off into the forest, headed towards the mountains in the distance.


Aisle Four

Like a slowly moving body inching closer,

Knowing when it arrives, devastation follows,

But knowing nothing will stop it’s movement.

I see it coming, this great collision,

And I fight it, I try to educate, but they refuse.

Knowing it all, they don’t listen, so I stop.

I have to step back and prepare to clean up

The mess, the chaos, the troubles they cause.

Clean up on aisle four!


Muggy Intentions

The air clung like a sweat soaked tee to her skin.

It was pre-dawn, but she couldn’t tell for the heat.

The sun’s rays didn’t escape over night,

No cool breeze, only stillness mugged her.

Yet she pushed into the twilight, seeing the full moon behind the haze.

As the sun lit up the distant sky, the birds began their morning songs.

Still, she felt weighed down, as though she were walking through a swamp.

Soon, the plodding would be over though.

She picked up her steps as she rounded for home,

Where the cooling relief of AC waited.


Savor the Nectar(ine)

Stirring away in a cluttered kitchen,

Metal bowls clanging away,

measuring spoons doing the same.

Chopping up the nectarines into cubes,

Sneaking in a couple of bites.

Pacing to the pantry, the fridge, and back,

Each trip either putting away something,

Or pulling out another ingredient.

Combining and mixing until just right,

Barely kneading the concoction into a ball.

Chilling and slicing, then laying them out.

The oven greets them with a warm hug;

Soon the house smells like a bakery,

And the timer buzzes with anticipation.

Making the glaze is a final step, and

A quick little drizzle, then they’re complete!

Fresh made vanilla glazed nectarine scones.

poetry, writing

Monkey Kiss

Tickle my tongue, just a sweet little taste,

Rich, creamy, dark chocolate as dark as night,

Swirled with banana sweet cream paste,

Chocolate chips sprinkled through just right,

and a ribbon of peanut butter for my waist.

Monkey Kiss, I can’t wait for my very first bite!


Train of Thought

Tonight I keep trying to write, but I lack focus.

I start, I write a sentences or a phrase,

Then it no longer makes any sense.

Confusion clouds my tired mind,

Yet I did very little all day.

Exhaustion takes over and I wonder,

Is it time to sleep again?

Perhaps a good night’s sleep will restore this weary mind.

Sleep well.


Stormy Love

Thunder pealed across the sky, rattling windows and startling those who dare sleep on such a stormy night.

She walked to the window and gently pulled back the shade. Blue and purple lightning danced across the blackened sky. As the flashes illuminated the dark, growing storm clouds blew up.

The winds picked up, slamming overhanging branches on the roof. A chill ran up the spine as a bolt struck the opposite edge of the lakeshore.

She rubbed her arms to comfort herself. Storms rarely bothered her, but this one was different. Goosebumps made her shiver once more.

Then, she felt his presence behind her. Warmth radiated from his body. He stepped closer and enveloped her in a hug. She suddenly felt safe in his arms.

He whispered softly in her ear, “Come back to bed.” Then he kissed the crook of her neck. He lowered his arms and took her hand, leading her back to their bed.


Bottles and Coos

People huddled in the darkened store in small groups. The murmuring of hushed voices bounced around the building, words of different languages swirled about with no discernible rhythm.

Outside was filled with darkness and no one dared go out. The reason was not clear, but something was truly amiss. I stood alone to the side, observing the controlled chaos fear had brought down on us all.

Slowly, an older woman separated from a group of people. They all wore dusty and ragged clothes. As she approached, I noticed she had a small bundle in her arms.

“You….take,” the woman handed me the bundle.

As I looked down, I realized it was a small baby girl. Her dark hair framed her tender face. She stirred slightly, snuggling more into her swaddling.

“Mother, now,” the woman looked at me. A tear fell from her eye as she turned and shuffled away.

“Wait,” I called after her, “Where is her mother?”

She kept walking away, back to her group.

I neared the group. A man looked up, greyed with age. He simply replied, “Gone.” His ashen look betrayed what I feared. Her mother was a victim lost to the darkness.

“I can’t,” I pleaded as I tried to return the child. “I can’t take her.” Tears poured forth from my eyes, revealing my own shortcoming. “I am not worthy.”

The child began to coo in my arms and stir as she woke. Her warmth filled my heart with feelings I never had experienced before. But I trembled. This wasn’t right; I was no mother.

“She should be with family. Please.”

The aged woman looked at me, “You are family. We go now.”

With that, the woman and the rest of the group shuffled away in a strange walk. They left the store into the darkness.

I looked around and found a law man standing near by. I showed him the child. “What should I do?” I asked confusedly.

He drew in a breath and looked around. Then his dark eyes connected with mine, freezing me in my spot.

“There is no law. Raise her.” His eyes glanced at the darkness, then he slowly walked away from me. He circled the store, passing by me and bringing something each time.

First, a basket with formula and cloth diapers and diaper pins.

Onesies and a blanket. Then bibs.

A car seat. Bottles.

More with each loop.

Finally, he walked back to me. “This will get you started. Do you have a car?”

I looked hesitantly at the door, then back at the child. “The darkness…”

He looked me over. “She needs to eat. Let’s pay and take care of that.”

I stepped up to the register and the lady waved me off. “No sales. The darkness. Take what you need and do not worry,” she laid her hand on her heart. “Care for her; she is special.”

I shook my head agreeing while still in shock. Why am I being entrusted to raise this child? I am not worthy.

I laid the girl into the baby seat and prepared a bottle. She greedily took it as if she had not eaten in a while. I found a nearby bench near the door and took a seat with her.

Instinctively, I picked her up and lightly patted her back until she burped, then wiped her little mouth. Then I rocked her to sleep in my arms as time passed. Slowly I drifted off to sleep holding her tight.

The light pierced through the door, waking me from the darkness. I looked down at the comforter bunched up in my arms. Alas, she was just a dream, another reminder of a life not meant for me.



Her left eye turned inward. The excruciating pain welled up tears as her vision blurred. Stumbling, losing balance, she struggled to reach a safe place to fall.

Hand cupped over eye, all she desired was darkness and quiet. It struck swiftly this time, catching her unawares and piled deep in work. Timing is always a bitch.

At least the right eye was still clear. Maybe it would pass in a moment. The seconds and minutes ticked away.

Tik. Tok. Tik. Tok. Tik.

Not in time. Voices rang into her ear. Unable to escape to dark silence for now. Droning speaking sounded like the low roar of a tornado warning, echoing in her head.

The pain spread from her eye into her forehead and cheeks. She could hear her own heartbeat in her free ear.

Pound, pound…pound, pound.

Finally, the voices drifted away and she stumbled to her bed. Rest, please bring relief.