My patterns

Another slightly sinister response to a straightforward free-writing prompt! The language doesn’t quite fit, but I think this may be the younger version of Layla from Cloud Dancing.

My patterns are pretty. They are sometimes very tidy, and they are sometimes very messy, and they are sometimes in between, but they are always just right. Patterns aren’t something I make out of my head, they are already there, in the stuff I make them from.

I have made patterns out of feathers, shells, stones, little twigs, bits of straw, soil, ice (I poked holes in a puddle with a stick but a big bit cracked at the end so it wasn’t a pattern any more). I have made patterns from cloth and ribbons and teeth and bones. I like to make the patterns from bones best, but I don’t often have bones to play with. Bones are rough and smooth and straight and knobbly at the same time. You can wash bones to get the green stuff off them, or you can scrape them to get the pink or brown stuff off them, but I’m not allowed to use a knife any more, not since Mummy went away. So Daddy lets me scrape bones with a piece of stone, if we find bones with pink or brown stuff on them. I keep the stone in my treasure box.

My treasure box is square on two sides and rectangular on four sides. It has six sides in total. My treasure box used to be Mummy’s and it’s got all my best things in it, my scraping stone and three big seashells and some blue sea glass and a little bit of blue and white pottery and the ring that Mummy used to have on her finger. It’s a gold ring and Daddy says that one day I’ll be a big girl and I’ll want to wear it like Mummy did, but I’m not sure that’s true. Mummy cried a lot, even before she went away, and she used to shout at Daddy too. “King retard”, she used to shout at Daddy.

I think Daddy would look nice in a crown. When I get older I’ll make Daddy a crown, maybe from bones if I can’t find bits of metal pretty enough. Because Daddy loves my patterns.

Bloody butterflies

The first in the series of short fiction pieces I wrote for the 15-minute free writing exercise. Each prompt consisted of a single word and a picture. Most of them came out a bit unpleasant, particularly this one. But I really have always found butterflies a bit sinister.

“I don’t know”, she said. “I just find them a bit sinister, that’s all.”

She walked a little further into the damp-smelling warmth, shuddering slightly at the contact of wings on her face.

“I think I read a creepy story about butterflies once as a kid. In a Misty comic or something. You know the kind of thing…”

She rolled her eyes at her companion sheepishly.

“You know, two girls on a hike or something come across a house inhabited only by a mysterious old lady, and she takes them on a tour of the house, and they have tea, and then they end up in a huge greenhouse like this.”

She gestured with one arm, and a ripple of colour launched itself into the air as her passengers were startled into movement.

“Like this, full of butterflies, and they sit down because it’s so warm and the fluttering of the wings is so relaxing, and they’re drowsy, leaning against each other, half asleep on an ornamental bench in the heart of this enormous, butterfly-ridden space…”

She suited her actions to her words, lowering herself rather gracelessly to the white bench beside the ornamental pool.

“…And then just as they’re sinking completely into unconsciousness, this sweet old lady says something that makes them realise that the tea was poisoned and she’s going to feed them to the bloody butterflies. So no, I’m not all that fond of them really.”

“I’m sure you can’t really feel like that”, said her companion with a smile. “I mean, they’re so pretty! Look at that red one there.”

A bright red butterfly was indeed perched nearby, crawling on the iron table on which the dirty tea things were scattered. The butterfly waved its feelers aimlessly, then flew away across the pool, leaving a splash of red behind it on the white china.

“No”, she said wearily. “I hate them.” And she turned to face her companion, staring deep into the beautiful blue eyes. “I hate them, because they make me do this”, she said, pulling the wickedly sharp knife from inside her jacket and slashing the teenage girl’s throat. The blue eyes were first horrified, then terrified, and finally just dully accepting.

The lifeless body slumped back onto the bench, and from all over the huge enclosed jungle of the greenhouse came the almost inaudible sound of fluttering wings.

She stepped carefully over the spreading pool and walked away towards the house.

“Bloody butterflies”, she said, looking back as she reached the door. “Bloody, bloody butterflies.”