D’Artagnan and Mecthilde~they always have pompous names~were looking into their mirror in dismay.
“I don’t understand, darling,” the queen said. “Is it a threat about tomorrow, a reminder of yesterday?”
They’d been plum horrified for years about the one disadvantage of their family’s curse. Their mirror kept showing them things, but without an explanation.
“Robespierre,” she asked their page, “Might you know where we could find someone who could help us interpret these messages, please?”
“Alas, Madame,” the servant admitted charily, “The cost of leadership is high. One must always rely only upon one’s wits.”
Welcome back yet again to Rochelle’s weekly Friday Fictioneers. Read her blog to find out what it’s all about. This week’s photo prompt was generously contributed by Nathan Sowers and his grandmother, Dawn M. Miller .
Abner was gone for the day so, of course, Gladys was confronted with one of her visitors.
Whenever she was alone, she was always subjected to this unwelcome company.
“Is this a foretaste of Hell?!” she desperately wondered. “Am I being given a cryptic warning?!”
The visions never once spoke. They were such sad spectacles, in black and white. She knew something was awfully wrong because instead of recoiling in horror at these sights, neighbors always passed by as if nothing were happening.
“Now at least it’s only a matter of time, she stated. “Tuesday’s the moment of truth.”
Welcome back, yet again, to Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers. Read the rules on her blog. Liz Young has supplied this week’s photograph.
Ralph and Gertrude were enjoying a leisurely stroll by their favorite spot.
“It’s too bad we can never get your brother to join us,” she complained.
“Yeah,” he admitted. “Sam’s plum terrified of water. Once when we were growing up, I asked him why. He explained that long ago he was on a large unsinkable ship that hit an iceberg. Next thing he knew, he was stranded someplace and told to wait for another family to come and get him.”
“Sam was born on April 15, 1972. The Titanic sank on April 15, 1912. Do you think there may be something to it?”
I should like to have been able to say that I don’t scare very easily but there are at least a few tricks that can really bother me. Anything involving heights, left turns, odd numbers or red hair is usually guaranteed to send all sorts of chills up and down my spine. Let’s not forget, either, about strangers and new experiences, liberalism and anyone who’s so much as the least bit inarticulate. I don’t usually bother with Halloween so much as an adult. I quite like telling people that I spend Halloween listening to the Zombies and the Grateful Dead, in the hope that at least someone will overlook the fact that they’re only a couple of 1960’s bands. Today and tonight, for some strange reason, absolutely no kids have come to the door trick-or-treating. When I was a kid, my Halloweens were often not as much scary as they were obnoxious, with neighborhood kids hitting me over the head with socks filled with eggs, and pulling other stupid pranks. Although I miss all the Halloweens of yore, this one has been quite nice, with such a whole lot of peace and quiet.
“I’m having that dream again,” Ralph thought, “the one where I’m wandering so aimlessly.”
He could never figure out where he even was, whether it was Purgatory or maybe even Hell. All he knew was that whenever he had that dream he was always so bitterly inconsolably sad. By now he was accustomed to it-the bleak lonely terrain, the sense of helplessness and loss. Lately he’d been having the dream so frequently. At the same time his wife Mabel was making funeral arrangements with the undertaker.
I’ve always been quite notoriously prone toward procrastination. Especially when I have a significant responsibility I’m required to deal with I tend to get really frustrated at the idea of having to face up to it. Eventually I always get things done but there have been entirely too many times when I’ve pushed very important things away, especially when they can lead to big serious trouble. That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever though because avoiding something, rather than facing up to it and getting it over with only makes it very much worse than necessary anyway. The part of me that wants to get things done the right way is always confronted with the side of me that dreads unfavorable results and that can’t stand having to face up to the risk of finding out finally and definitively that I’m in over my head. I always seem to find some way of promising that I’ll face up to things but although I inevitably eventually get around to doing what’s required of me, I may do any of an infinite number of other things first. I’ve been known to read, to play my guitar, to surf the internet, or anything else rather than merely to face up to all those important and scary things right away. I always have to do something in order to fill up the time. If I have nothing to do, the frustration and suspense will rankle incessantly upon my nerves. That’s quite a major part of the price to be paid for postponing something. An upcoming responsibility deferred, combined with too much free time and the ability to allow my mind to wander unoccupied, can be quite lethal.
Fear is, by definition, quite an unavoidably necessary part of each individual’s life. When it’s legitimate and kept in check it warns him of which specific people, places, behavior and circumstances he must avoid in order to have a happy productive life. It would be quite tempting to say that if I were incapable of fear, I should be capable of doing all sorts of things that bother me under my current circumstances. That, however, would only be true assuming that I were merely free of all inordinate fear. An absolute lack of any fear whatsoever would lead to all possible kinds and degrees of misfortune. The risk of unfortunate consequences would still be there. In a life devoid of all fear, though, an individual would be prone toward engaging in all kinds of rash judgments and assumptions, expecting to get away with much more than he can truly be expected to handle. Because of my always having been prone toward both anxiety and panic attacks, and a fear of heights, I know quite well that excessive fear brings about significant trouble. The absence of any fear whatsoever, though, can only lead to exactly the very same kind of result. A healthy balance in all things is the only legitimate answer to life’s troubles. Evelyn Waugh’s novel, “Brideshead Revisited” begins with the ancient Latin adage, “Et In Arcadia Ego”. That’s the voice of death, speaking in the first person, reminding mankind that even in a utopian society, he is still inevitably present. There’s no panacea for any of mankind’s troubles.