Willow in 300 Words

small girl aloneI haven’t had a chance to publish my books on Neobooks or epubli yet, but will do so this week and let you now how easy it is. But now for my next Willow project:

For a while now I’ve wanted to write Willow stories suitable for a picture book, little snippets of Willow’s life before she arrived in Stinkforth-upon-Avon. These stories are for a younger age range of readers than my Willow stories would normally target. So here’s the first of Willow stories in 300 words or less. I hope you’ll enjoy it. I plan to eventually publish a collection of these as either a regular book or as a flipbook online, if I can get to grips with the techie aspect of putting it together that way.

©Maria Thermann 14.07.2014

Small and Alone

Small and alone, Willow watched her mother and wondered when she would see her next. It was time to say goodbye again. With her mind already on the wider world, out for her next kill, Alice took little notice of her 8-year-old daughter. Alice was a mother, but first and foremost she was a vampire. She was too busy packing her suitcase to sense the tears brimming up in Willow’s eyes. Too busy thinking about the streets of London, where people went missing every day. The trembling throats she would bite; the food she would bring home to her family.

Small and alone, Willow walked over to the window and watched the taxi take her mother away. She tried to count on the fingers of her hands how often they had said goodbye this year. In a moment, some stranger would walk through the door and smile, trying to take her hand and tell her that everything was alright. But it wasn’t alright.

Aunty Verushka was from Russia and rolled her “R’s” in the most frightening way. When she spoke, it always sounded like a snarl. She wasn’t very popular. Willow practiced her “happy face” and squared her shoulders. Now she was ready for Aunty Verushka, ready for child minder number 503.

Small and alone, Aunty Verushka stood on the porch and waved Alice goodbye. She squared her shoulders, practiced her “happy face” and went inside. Now she was ready to face the little girl with tears in her eyes. The little girl, who needed a hug from her mother, just like Verushka needed a hug from hers.

Small and alone, the grandfather clock ticking in a corner, the two faced each other. It was going to be a long week, Willow sighed at last and held out her hand.

©Maria Thermann 14.07.2014. All rights reserved by the artist.

 

(picture source: Wikepedia,Taylor and Moulana, authors. English: Portrait of the Colquhoun children of Lake Clarendon, early 1900s Two girls and a boy from the Colquhoun family of Lake Clarendon, ca. 1900-1910. The girls are wearing smocked dresses and the boy is wearing pants and a shirt with a crocheted collar. The youngest child is seated, and the boy has his arm around her shoulder. The portrait was taken by Taylor and Moulana, Brisbane and Ipswich. Date between 1900 and 1910; Source Item is held by John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Creature of the Night would You want to be?

While I was writing Willow the Vampire and the Sacred Grove, I kept thinking how writers through the ages have been fascinated with the transformation of humans into some form of animal – from werewolves in horror and gothic stories to bats and wolves in vampire fiction, from geese, fish, hawks and other critters in T H White’s The Once and Future King (published 1958, written between 1938 and 1941) to the big black dog and rat in J K Rowling’s Harry Potter series of books, where wizards can change their appearance.

So what creature of the night would I be, if a Merlin-type magician came along and granted me that wish? Hm…probably a cat…not because I’m so vain that I regard myself as sleek, elegant and graceful enough to fill the paws of such an animal, that’s for sure!

If anything, I’m rather the opposite of everything cats stand for…plump, middle-aged and probably a little scruffy, given that I’m a full time writer with little time to spare for dressing up or money in the bank to stay on top of the latest fashions.

No, it would be because cats lead such interesting lives. Cat owners who have fitted miniature cameras to their cats’ collars have been amazed how large a territory our kitties patrol during their nocturnal ramblings. Forever curious about the world, cats investigate everything in their path and never get bored. Every day is exciting.

Domestic cats that have gone feral can have huge hunting territories of a 25 km radius or more. They hunt rabbits as big as themselves and far from living a lonely hunter’s life often team up with other feral cats and live in a “pride” like lions.

Any cat owner who’s ever tried to outstare their cat will know that it is impossible. What are these enigmatic beasties thinking about? Do they dream? Have they formed their own philosophy about life, the world and us?

Since ancient Egyptians first domesticated cats in their grain stores and temples, the cat has been our reluctant companion. Becoming a feline for just one night might explain to me why my own cat loved to sit on my keyboard the very moment I settled down to do some work or why she couldn’t find a better place to sharpen her claws on than the folder with my latest work, or my leg, my chair or writing desk. Was she trying to tell me she didn’t like my writing or was this just a little teasing to get my attention?

If you bumped into Merlin or a fairy godmother with a wish to grant, what creature of the night would you like to be?