Reconnected Hooligans

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So it has been about three weeks since the hooligans get together around a table and had a game, a chat and general misadventure or not as the case proved to be this week.

The lasting effects of our 6ft+ loin-clothed monk has left him a little timid of late of shooting and flying objects and wary of getting into to close a combat range moving forwards.  This weeks session saw a change of venue as mentioned on TimMaidment.com, to Maidment Towers adding less pressure to complete ventures within defined time-frames and allowing us to dog sit Mr & Mrs GrimTooth’s dog who is aptly named Chips.  This quickly became a running joke as Chips tied to devour the D&D doors and soon everything was being rescued from the dog’s mouth

Despite this there was lots of entertaining moves and goodies found including S’yvien performing a critical and having her arrow taking a zombie’s head right off. GrimTooth himself performed a double kick and have the rib cage pass right through the body which resulted in numerous pins around it not just being Red Bull that gives you wings.  Susan determined not to be outdone by a Puny monk takes her double sword and slashed the next zombie in half.  Gwen who then tries to compete, inadvertently misfires and hits and damages Susan by mistake –  lucky for Susan she is  War-Forged and made of Adamantium.  Thief also completes actions of taking a zombie in half, whilst Susan and Grim Tooth who now seem to have their own competition running take another 2 down between them.

After then stumbling into what was only described as a torture chamber, and hearing the faint rumblings of a possible giant marsh lizard, the opted to come back later to re-examine, sensing not only trouble but also being aware that some of the flayed bodies were only recently flayed.  There was also some sign of movement with fresh blood trails across the floor.  In stead they opted for a side door were they were greeted by an Ogre.  Once again Grim Tooth takes his ultimate chance and pummels said Ogre to a pulp before we all decide to head back for healing and rest in one of the outer rooms of safety.

So the adventure continues and will the Giant Marsh Lizard materialize from the slimy deaths or something far worse impede its spindly  doom upon the makers of this little band of misfits and miscreants as they journey on their merry way

Giant Marsh Lizard

Hooliganism PT2

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The following weeks session of last weeks DnD session was postponed due to  various real life commitments taking precedence. Nonetheless we reconvened last week to re-commence the ongoing adventures.

Unfortunately we were minus the Orc due to work commitments, but we opted given the Thief’s uncanny ability to maim and damage the Orc, his punishment was to drive Skull Fury for the week as penitence for his actions.

The action continued as the team were hunted down by an oversized spider and a set of goblins one of which was shamanistic in nature.  Luckily most goblins were destroyed bar one, although damage to the team at times was life threatening, with the Orc taking yet another critical blow and putting him unconscious once again, and with the War- Forged Susan with the spring style deadlocks being shut down, the team had to pull together to overcome the hordes of goblins that they had stumbled upon.

Thankfully the Sorceress recalled she could call for help with animals from other realms and so summoned spiders to harness the power of the ether to take out the necessary goblins before choosing to rest, re-power up the War-Forged and re-heal the Monk.

The team is currently resting in one of the early tunnels after booby-trapping the known exists and goblin room to allow for effective rest and recuperation before re-convening after the Easter break.

Next steps include examining the other corridors that remain untouched at present and make our way back to the goblin room, to try and hunt out the escaped leader and establish what is causing the problems with the weather condition outside the castle ruins

Ramp up

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So things have started to ramp up for the holiday.  With less than three weeks to now go and the delivery of all tickets excluding our Orlando Flex Pass – we are already to go.    Just printed off details for the booked show, and the travel insurance details, need to go and do some pre-booking and alterations for the car hire in a while and then we are done.  Packing still needing to be done, and dig out Driving Licences, but we are then already to go.

Given this weekend I chose not to study given that is all I have done for the last 6 months, I choose to take a weekend off, so I have transplanted some overcrowded tomatoes, in our little balcony forest.  Discovered a pepper plant hiding both amongst my tomatoes and lettuces – very  surprised as I thought I had managed to kill them all off – wonders will never cease.  Although choosing to do all this dirty work in a white gypsy style skirt probably was not the brightest idea I have every had! oh well!  The shower was good to cool down in  Mr M finishes work in a bit so will go collect and we will wander over to Harris & Hoole and grab a coffee or cooler and some goodies to enjoy the rest of the afternoon.  On top of that  I have now pre-ordered my new Robin Hobb book for the kindle and downloaded the Joe Abercrombie  Half a King.  Having not read any Joe Abercrombie books, interested to see how it turns out, although it comes recommended by Mrs Hobb herself so I am sure it can’t be that bad!

Have fun everyone, enjoy your weekend and chat soon

Future challenges, back to school and back to work

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Like with every coming New Year I set myself various challenges.  On last year’s front I think it was safe to say that it was as a Craig Revell-Horwood would say a Disaaaster Darling a total disaster.  One positive is that I lost 2 stone then put one back on.  Nonetheless it still going in the right direction.

So fresh out of last years fiascos I have put together a new list of requirements and wishes for this coming year

1) Clear the last remaining balances on my credit cards

2) Get fit

3) Stick to my timetable for my CIPS exam and pass the exams first time

The major challenges here is mainly number 3 as I work a full-time job, travel four hours a day in total getting in and out of work.  I will naturally now use this travel time to equate to reading and studying for the work allowed.  I have quite tight deadlines set for myself with only 10 days to complete each chapter of the course.  With a total of 18 weeks for each section.  In all that sounds fine, but the volume of reading required is something that is going to be left to be desired

Additional nerves  are that I am making my way back into work after nearly 2 months of working from home after an injury sustained whilst on my honeymoon.  Things are getting to get busy and heavy and hectic very soon.

Nonetheless I love challenges and keeping busy so this should stop me from getting idle and bored and not finding that I don’t have things to do.

Oh one other thing I committed to do this year was to get my poems edited and pulled together into a concise book for hubby to review and work on.  So I also made a start on that yesterday too…. so how I feel like I am just looking for trouble here.

Roll on August for holiday time yeah…

Daily Prompt: Call Me Ishmael challenge

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Below the Serpents the beds of weeds swayed gently in the changing tide and I wondered if I had arrived too late.  I knew the schedule to see the wallowing mantra ray was a limited one and I feared that as the sun started to set that I may be a little too late.

The Wallowing Mantra was a rare creature, one that many believed were figments of imagination, one made up of myth and lore, but something deep inside told me no.  The creatures usually travelled only in the dusk hours and were found in the warmer climes of the Indian ocean.  Usually living deep beneath the waves and surfacing only during the times of the equinox and even then to see one was rare.

However I had done my research I was armed with an infra-red camera to prevent flash scare and was sat waiting.  I checked my air pressure gauge and I saw I only had 50 bar reading left and knew I should climb to the surface, but I wanted 10 more minutes before I had to ascend, so I sat cross-legged in perfect neutral buoyancy and waited.  Just as I was about to give up a screech pierced my ears, followed by another and another, as the pitch of each scream ascended in volume.  My heart started to pound I knew what that meant, they were coming, they were coming up from the depths.

I checked my gage again, now there was only 35 bar and I really had to go but this was too good to miss.  My heart started to pound as the adrenaline pumped through my body but I knew that this was not good for my air consumption and then before I knew it right in front of my face was the most streamlined, silver-grey mantis I have ever seen. We both just sat and looked at each other, assessing the danger, I slowly raised my camera and snapped, then 20-30 more floated up around him, I snapped more and I could not believe my luck and they all just sat there looking at me.

I did not know what to do, I knew my air was diminishing but I did not want to lose this moment and in a flash they pushed up and over my body, a full shoal of Weeping Mantra swim straight over me, I pictured them as they went by amazed to have seen so many of them but pleased I had the patience to wait. As the last of the rays swam over my head, I noticed that my Oxygen had diminished and the intake was less, I had to use my reserve air in my lungs to take me to the surface in a controlled burst.

Applying my earlier training, and snapping a glo-stick, which I had in my belt,  I swam a slow and controlled ascent to the surface allowing small amounts of air to escape with every kick.  As I broke through the water surface, I suddenly felt exhausted, I directed my attention to the captain of my dive boat and gave him the thumbs up, as he came to the back of the boat to take my BCD, and camera before allowing me to climb aboard.  Once aboard I garbled in excited fervour about the shoal and the experience and then went straight to the on-board computer to load up the prints.

The disc was empty.  That was impossible I knew the shots had taken as I remember looking at them when under the water, I was now nearly crying hysterical at the lost data.  It was there I knew it was there so why could I not find it.  The captain tried to calm me explaining I had been down there a long time, I had used all my oxygen perhaps I had hallucinated.

“I think we need to get you to the local doctors for a once over” he said.

“I am OK” I snapped back, which did little to help my argument so I conceded to his request and once we landed I was taken to the local dive centre hospital for a once over.

They decided to keep me in for observation but could see no long-term effects or any nitrogen narcosis setting in.  I was discharged two days later when no lasting effects appeared to be showing and I seemed to have returned to my normal self.  Upon my discharge and along with my certificate I went straight to the centre to track down the captain to see if they had any joy in finding the photos.  I was told they had not, I was not sure if I believed them and they were convinced I had hallucinated the whole thing.  I knew I had not but I could not prove what I had seen so once again, the Weeping Mantra would be returned to myth and lore at last for now at least.

1st week over

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Well the first week of the New Year is over and the first three days back in the office have been a mixture of highs and stresses all combined into one.  Although most of the stresses have been a result of other people not handling their work load and then making it my problem.  On the plus side though I have  had one person change their opinion about me and I have lots to do on Monday and not enough hours to do everything in so god knows how that is going to go – oh well must get busy and all that.  Better than say twiddling my thumbs say they so.  Big renewal this month too so really lots to do and conversations to be had.

Aside from that things are ticking along nicely, have started on my get fit regime and since Saturday last week, I have managed to lose 4 lbs already of my weight which is nice lets hope it keeps going, although I am struggling with the amount food I am supposed to eat –  it feels like I am eating loads and I am finding that hard. so may have to adopt a little and often approach to the eating during the day.

Not started my swimming yet at work but will keep going at it and taking the costume in until I get there, and I really should since I have a free gym at work.  It may be when I get fuzzy I then use that as the excuse to go swimming to help clear my head and backing this up with the 1/2 hour dancing I should quickly shed the 3 stone (42 lbs) before November.

Oh yes, I never said did I, we booked our honeymoon on New Years day, to coincide with my birthday this year giving me something to look forward to and enjoy, and hopefully it will be the start to me looking forward to my birthday as opposed to dreading it – fingers crossed.  We have chosen a lovely resort in the Maldives in south Atoll for 14 nights called Chaaya Lagoon Hakuraa Huraa, which includes a water hut so we can look below to see the Indian Ocean everyday, with lots of options for diving too, I found, so I am really excited about that as well.  The chance to dive with barracuda, Reef and white Nosed Reef sharks, doing night dives, caverns and reef is getting  my buzzing almost as much as going on the honeymoon itself.  Unfortunately hubby can’t dive due to perforated eardrums, but have suggested he come out on the boat and bubble watch, where he can relax and watch me under the waves, the water is so clear he should not have any real issues with that.

However, before getting out there I would like to do my refresher course and complete and get to advanced and put some more dives in the log book and maybe buy some fins.  Hubby has already done research on the injections which means I have to go speak with my doctors at some point in March boo I hate my doctors but need must as the devil drives and all that.

Anyway I guess that is enough about me waffling for now, I am going to attempt the daily prompt in a bit so I guess you should see another post from me shortly, otherwise enjoy your day.

Daily Prompt: Coming To a Bookshelf Near You

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Write a summary of the book you’ve always wanted to write for the back cover of its dust jacket.
For me I sat and thought which do I want to , I have several premises for stories including my most recent NANO addition, I opted to go for last years Nano attempt, which is stuck at a little over 5k, but hoping to pick up again in the next 6 weeks, all being well and that.

A relationship in its early stages?  A desire for survival and ones true love?  Yet somehow your world is turned upside down?

You can see them there, you can hear them there but you can’t touch or interact?

What is happened

The story of true love, devotion, life and death but which will win out and how do we survive after such a traumatic ordeal.  Can any relationship survive the traumas which will befall them or will it quite simple be a death to all.

 

To help give you a fuller flavour of the story, I thought I would insert the first chapter a small sub-section of the story below for you to enjoy

Ghost in the Machine

I lie there on the bed, paralysed, and unable to move.  I want to sit up but I can’t.  I want to turn but I can’t.  I can hear all that is being said but for some reason my mouth wont form the words.  I try blinking my eye lids to get their attention but nothing; it is as if I am not there.  I’m no longer sure if my brain is sending out the message.  I suddenly feel very lost, alone, frustrated, and a burden on all.  I no longer know what to do.  Part of me wants to scream, I open my mouth but nothing comes out.  A silent tear rolls down my cheeks which they don’t seem to notice

My partner has hold of my hand and raises it against his cheek.  His eyes look full of concern, anxiety and stress.  He mouths the words I love you as he kisses my hand and then lays it down by my side.  I go to pull him back but I can’t seem to reach out and pull him back to me.  I want him to stay.  I always feel safer and more at peace when he is nearby, but I can’t bring him back.  All I want is for him to wrap his arms around me and tell me that everything is going to be all right, but something in his demeanour and his eyes tell me that this is not going to be the case.

I feel like such a failure at this moment in time.  This is ridiculous, what does he see in me, when I can’t even manage to do such a simple thing as reach out and touch his hand and tell him I love him too.  Inside my heart is breaking.  But I am determined to find a way to reach out to him, to tell him I love and I am sorry for being a burden and a failure.

The lights are then dimmed and I’m left alone in the darkness.  No one is there.  I am so alone and scared, I feel like a child, and even more humorous Jill Tomlinson’s’ character of a Poppy barn owl, as I recount the tale in my head, and a smile crosses my face at the simplicity and effectiveness of the story.  However behind me and to the right I see a shimmer of light but I can’t see from which room it is coming form; I know they are talking about me, from which ever room they are sat in.  Don’t know they know it’s rude to talk about someone behind their back.  My heart screams out, I am hear you know, I know you are there and talking about me, but something tells me it is useless.

Then as quickly as the light appeared it disappeared and there was complete darkness.

Was I asleep?  Was I dreaming?  Was this some dark dream to foretell of frantic loss?  What was my sub-conscious trying to tell me?  However, no matter what I tried to convince myself was happening, I knew the opposite was true.

I knew I wasn’t sleeping and yet something told me I wasn’t dreaming either.  So why could I not see anything; move any part of my body; reach out to anybody to hold them; speak to them; touch them.  Panic set in.  My short hyper-ventilated breaths bounced back at me, warm onto my face.  I’m trapped.  Oh shit.  My mind raced through endless scenarios, but ultimately I kept coming back to the fact that I was trapped.  But how?  Why? Where? And then there was nothing.  My conscious state blanked out as I faded into a deeper state of unawareness.

The sun is shining outside of the window.  I grab one of my partners T-shirts, slip on a pair of flip-flops and wander out onto the decking, where a waft of fresh ground coffee greets me.  I smile quietly to myself, I can see and smell.  The waves are lapping against the shore line, and I hear the sizzling of bacon coming from the kitchen.  I can hear.  I knew it I think to myself it was only a dream, only a dream – not quite sure why I am trying to convince myself of this.  As I am lost in thought; looking out across the beach and into the horizon; a warm breath of air passes my ear and whispers I love you.  I jump with surprise; as two strong arms wrap themselves around my waist pull me in and around and kiss me.  I kiss him back with an unfulfilled desire that I never knew I felt. “I love you too” I whisper into his ear, as a tear trickles down my face.

“What’s wrong? You’re crying?”

“Nothing.  I’m just happy” I say as I let out a contented sigh, and that was the truth.  I was there, I could hold him, touch him, tell him I loved him and he responded.  He pulls me further into him, our kisses more urgent.  He runs his strong hands under his T-shirt that I’m wearing and I feel him stir with desire; as we fall back into the bedroom to make love

No sooner have we finished and we were snuggling up into each other than the smoke alarm detonates breaking our trance-like reverie.

“Shit, shit shit” we both shout as we jump out of bed; I grab a t-shirt en-route; and run out of the bedroom, down the parquet floor to the open plan kitchen.  “Well I think it is safe to say that bacon is off the menu this morning.” I giggle.  He turns off the griddle pan and gives me a raised eyebrow, followed by a cheeky smile.  I lean across to him and land another kiss on his lips before padding barefooted onto the decking.  “Cold coffee and Toast?” I call back into the kitchen

“Yum” comes back the sarcastic answer as I pour us both a cup of black coffee and place a slice of dry toast in front of each of us.

If life could always be this relaxed and simple, what a pleasure it would be.  But I remember all too well he horrors of my dream; I am fearful for the day ahead and what was now in our immediate future; and if we even had a future now

As we eventually sit down to enjoy our cold breakfast.   I pull my leg up and place the heel of my right foot onto the end of the wooden picnic chair and nuzzled my head into his upper body.  I close my eyes to feel the rays of the sun glistening of my skin and a contented smile crosses my face.

I opened my eyes expecting to see sun, sea and breakfast, but there was nothing.  I was surrounded by blackness again. “No. No. No.” I screamed out.  This can’t be; I try to reason with myself.  Again my body felt frozen and solid.  I listened intently once more to see if I could hear anybody that I might be able to reach out to whom could possibly help me.  I suddenly heard what sounded like the rustle of autumn leaves outside; or maybe it was a breeze rustling through the long grasses.  No it can’t be, I thought to myself, it is, I convinced myself, it’s muffled voices.  I strained harder to listen to what they were saying.

“Get up.  Get up. Get up.  Come on we don’t have all day”

“Are you talking to me?”

“Well who else would we be talking to?  I don’t see anyone else round here?”

“You can hear me?”

“Why wouldn’t we?” the voice questioned “So come on get up!” The voice now sounded irritated at having to repeat the basic statement so many times in short concession.  I got the impression that it was not used to being questioned or disobeyed for a want of a better term.

“I can’t” I said, sounding exhausted. “I have tried”.

“Yes you can, you just have to try harder”

“Where are you?  I can’t see you?”

“We are here besides you”

“But I can’t see you” I said sounding startle;  thinking who else is in this torment with me, teasing me, making fun of me.  “I just want to die” I sniffled pathetically. “I’m useless. I’m a burden and a failure.  And I have let everyone down”

“No you’ve not”  Came the response.  “And besides we are here.  You…. Owwww”

“What was that for?”

“You Know”

“I just wanted”

“I know what you just wanted and you know”

And then silence followed

“Hello?  Are you still there?” I asked.  But nothing followed, only silence.  Great I am going crazy now I think to myself.

“We can’t until you have got up” and then nothing

I am sure somewhere I hear the words “grounded still and not ready and there are no mistakes”, and then all was still, quiet and dark again.

“Hey, Earth calling; Earth Calling” I shudder as tears roll down my face uncontrollably.  I can’t explain it, something is not right as I pull myself deeper into my partners upper body and his arms wrap around me protecting and comforting me, like they have done so many times before.  This feels nice I think to myself.  “What’s wrong?” He asks

“Nothing” I lie.  I lie as I don’t know what to tell him.  I’d sound crazy if I tried the truth, that I am feeling all at sorts because of what I think is a dream.  For God’s sake I think I am going crazy with this thing. ”Nothing, nothing at all “I re-iterate.  Not quite sure whom I am trying to convince, I am just happy I say as I pull away and smile and look up into his eyes with all the love, lust and desire I can muster and show; in what must have been the most weak and unconvincing smile of assuredness ever.

 

Once more I closed my eyes, but this time it was more an attempt to block out the world and the continuing feelings, of something not being right and of feeling displaced within this moment of time.  And somewhere deep inside I knew when I opened my eyes, I would no longer be within my partners’ arms.  I wondered if all this surrealism would ever stop, and could we ever truly be together again; as I seemed to drift away into another sleep once again.

Something told me I didn’t need to open my eyes to know where I was.  Maybe it was the warm fresh wet breath reflected back onto my face; or maybe the sensation of being locked into something and closed away from the world.  Perhaps it was the hearing and feeling of my blood coursing through my body; or was it that clammy sensation that I was feeling on the inside of my palms?  The whole feeling of being entombed and imprisoned was so strong and overpowering here, it was both overwhelming and terrifying.  Yet somewhere deep inside of me, something had changed.  The fear was no longer of this encasement.   It was as if, if I were to break free from not just this nightmare I currently found myself in, it would also mean the end of the life that I had once known.  This though paralysed more than the other, for the sadness that I felt that I may never say my future husband again terrified me.  Right now, it was this thought and this thought alone which kept me paralysed in thought and motion.  However all the time I was lying there, all I could hear was: ‘you can move if you want to.  You just have to’, as a slow silent tear rolled down my cheek.

Before I could act on anything though I needed to focus and control my breathing.  Deep slow long breaths, in and out, in and out I commented to myself.  If my breathing was steady then and only then could I focus on the task in hand.  It would also help me to control the nerves as I was extremely unsure as to what I would find.

 

I slowly moved my hands out to the side to assess where I was, to see if I could feel where I was.  The surface to both sides of me felt solid and smooth with what could only be described as a grainy texture to the touch. ‘You can move if you want to’ I mimicked to myself. ‘How the hell is that possible.  I seem to be trapped inside some wooden box’.  I giggled maniacally to myself.  Then outside I heard the muffles of voices again whispering “You can do it.  You can.”  I was losing focus and concentration.  So I slowly brought my hands up onto my chest; to help and monitor the breathing.  ‘Deep Breaths’ I said to myself.  ‘In and out.  In and Out.  That’s right’ I told myself as I brought my breathing back under control. ‘Well it looks like I have finally flipped’ I thought to myself. Still the nerves rattled through me, as my breathing maintained a shallow edge.  Concentrate, I thought to myself; just concentrate and focus.

Time to find out what is in front of me I think.  I slowly raised my hands in front of me, with my palms faced upwards; and slowly extended them away from my body.  What I was expecting to feel was the same smooth grainy texture, I had encountered when I had placed my hands out to my sides.  The reality however was very different.

My arms climbed upwards from my body as my breathing remained a very deep and controlled breathing.  My arms continued to reach out in front of me slowly and controlled echoing the movement of my breathing.  It was only as my arms reached a three-quarter length extension that I realised that I had not come into contact with anything solid.  My movement upwards was un hindered or so it appeared to be.  Something was not right; it just did not feel normal.

Normal – what a word, I thought, what the hell was normal, especially what I was going through lately.  I felt around to see if I could feel anything solid, but the only sensation was not that of air as I had expected but a mushy grainy sensation.  I started to panic again.  Cool beads of sweat formed on my brow.  My hands were covered in a film of sweat and clamminess.  My breathing was erratic and restless and short and full of hyperventilated breaths.  I quickly withdrew my hands and laid them shakily by my side.  I closed my eyes as uncontrolled tears once more rolled down my cheeks and I emitted noiseless sobs from my mouth.  I was panicked and freaked and no longer understood what was happening to me.  The inability to talk, to reach out to my partner and then the ability to do so and now this, I just wanted to understand what was going on.

“Please God.  Help me” I cried out between the sobs

“Please” I begged trying to leave pleading out of my voice, but failing miserably.

“I’m scared and frightened.  I don’t know what to do or where to turn.  Please just make this STOP” I cried out in anguish.

“Get up” said the muffled voices again.  It was the same ones that I had previously heard.

“We can only help if you get up. “

“You were nearly there.” Said the voice or voices.  I was no longer sure if there were multiple voices or just one as the tone seemed to alter with every speech the voice made.

“But I’m scared”

“I know.  Everyone is.  But it is the only way” the voice said soothingly.  It was the softest I had ever heard it respond to me.  Usually it was reproachful, or as if telling of some insolent child who would not listen or behave.

“What do you mean everyone is?”

“That does not matter” the tone sounded sharper now and angry again.  I was not sure if it was angry with me or itself for giving more information away than it had intended to

“It will all become clear.  Once you get up“

I had failed to realise that whilst this conversation was going on, my sobbing had eased and an immense sensation and feeling of calm had over taken me.  I suddenly felt very much at peace with myself and everything around me; this was something that I had not felt for some time.  Somewhere deep inside I knew this was only the beginning if I could just get up.

“Concentrate” I said to myself “Just concentrate”. I thought to myself as I formed long deep drawn out breaths.

Once more I reached out in front of me.  My fingers started to brush and get swallowed up against something smooth, silky and rippling.  It was the very same sensation that one gets when being wrapped in warm rippling water, lapping gently against the skin.  My fingers continued to pass through this sensation into something that then became much coarser, with a much more defined grainier texture – as if they had plunged into deep wet sand or a bag full of sawdust, or some very strange concoction of the two.

As I stretched my arms put further and straightened them, I could feel the woody sandy grainy texture against my skin.  It irritated me like a ton of little splinters digging in for a bite.  My hands however were now emerging into a gloopy, sticky, claggy mixture of wet mud ‘ Urrrghhh ‘ I said to myself and out loud, wanting to wipe the dirt off.  Then I remembered I had nothing to wipe it on, or against as far as I was aware.  So I kept pushing forwards.

Suddenly, and without warning, a cold chill ran across my hands and I knew then they were free.  I placed them either side of where my body would technically be, if it were in the same position as my hands were now.  My fingers felt moisture between them and the softness of dew on morning grass.  I tried to push down to help raise myself up, but I could not.  I felt my hands sinking back downwards into the mud. ‘AAARRRGGHHH!’ I screamed in frustration.

‘This is both useless and ridiculous’ I said out loud to myself

‘Focus, you are nearly there.’ Said one of the muffled voices but clearer this time, clearer than all the other times I have heard them- this time it was as if they were sat right next to me

And I know deep inside of me they are right.  But I am so tired, drained and exhausted; all I want to do is sink; sink back down into where I currently am.

My breathing was now heavy and laboured due to the exertions of pushing through these unknown layers.  But I knew I couldn’t  give in and sink back down like I wanted to.  I knew I must continue.  I knew that once I managed to break through that everything would be okay.  However I also knew that everything would be different too; and this I did not want to acknowledge – not even to myself.

Once more I raise my hands above the mud and place them softly onto what I can only describe as grass next to me and then pushed softly but gently against it to raise myself up.

There was something wrong.  Something was very wrong indeed.  As I pushed myself upwards, my head felt connected my ankle;  my legs were wrapped around my neck;  and my torso – well I could not even seem to find where that was at the moment.  My nose then started to twitch as if I had dust in it “ Ai.  Ai.  Aitchoo” I sneezed throwing  my head back and then forwards with the force of the mini-explosion.  “Well – at least that is something” I thought to myself; “I have now found out where my torso is; it seems to be at the bottom of my feet .“ “Excellent – not.  What the hell is it doing there”.  Then I smiled and giggled to myself; and thought when I got out of here I was going to look a right mess.  I mean even more than normal and that was quite impressive even for me.  My arms – I had no idea now what they were connected to, as it definitely was not my torso.  My head was somehow connected to my ankle.  My legs were around my neck, which reminded me of the time when,  as a child, I was trying to show my parents how flexible I had become since going to gymnastics.  What had happened was, I had managed to get my legs around my neck easily enough, but getting them back out from around there proved to be a different matter entirely.  And now to finalise this, this new fancy body of mine, meant I was somehow supposed to use my torso has some sort of a board to get about on.  The image had me letting out a loud laugh; which was then followed by a major coughing fit, as a result of the inhalation of dust from the laughter.  I’d hardly noticed all the dust before, until my nose had started twitching and wanted to sneeze.

Nevertheless I had to get out of here.  So I continued to push gently down on what felt like grass; trying to continue to elevate myself from whatever and wherever I was.

After what felt like forever, a sudden cold rush of air flew across my face – as if someone had thrown a bucket of cold iced water in to it.  I struggled to catch air into my lungs. It was almost as if I had forgotten the most basic of things; like breathing, which I had taken for granted for so many years – well as far as an asthmatic can take these things for granted.  I grabbed at the air around me and pulled it into my lungs heavily and rapidly, fighting to regain control of this most basic of functions.  As my breathing settled, I continued to push myself up and out of where I was and into that cold splash of air which was around me.  I was surprised to find that,  as I did so,  I unfolded with my head connected to my neck;  and all body parts unfolding into their correct positions; despite the sensations of disjointedness from earlier on.  Although this was very much a relief,  it was also strangely disappointing as I had, in my own head, constructed an image of me looking like some dysfunctional crab.  I pushed myself completely out of where I was and stood, albeit feeling wobbly at the side of the hole.  I felt like what could only be described as a newborn foal, trying to find its legs, for the first time.  This was feeling more and more like I had forgotten the basic functions, of how to breathe, see and walk. This idea and sensation was silly.  I thought I had gone blind, and I realised seeing had to be included in this list, has everything around me was pitch black I could not see a thing.  I was no longer sure, given how I was currently feeling, whether this was because it was black, or I had also lost the ability to see.

“I’m free.” I said

“See, Told you, you could do it” Said the voice somewhat smugly.

“Come with me”

“How can I?” I asked

“I can’t see you.”

“Open your eyes” a voice said

“What?”

“Open your eyes”

“They are open, and I can’t see a thing, apart from what looks like some twinkles”.  These twinkles looked more like the flashing, chasing light ropes that people put around their windows at Christmas.

“Just follow the light then.” said the voice

“Of course” I muttered sarcastically.

“Just follow the lights.” I suddenly felt like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, but instead of the yellow brick road it was rope lights. Real exotic, I thought to myself.  Nonetheless I followed the lights obediently.  As I chased the lights, there appeared to be a tear in the fabric of the darkness as a glow appeared, growing in size and brightness the further into the darkness I went.

The light emanating from this brightness reminded me of that sensation you get after being sat in a cinema for 2 hours before walking out into bright sun shine.  It was blinding; dazzling and momentarily disorientating.

As I approach what appears to be the dividing line between the two opposites. I asked out loud if I should continue.

It was like one those moments you get in cheap car crash movies , where it looks like a dividing line down the middle of the screen; one side is all black and the other is all white – and one will be consumed by the other depending on which side you choose to stand on.  “Yes keep going” said the voice, with only the smallest hint of excitement , and so I continued on blindly; not questioning, but having faith in what they said to me.

Crossing over from the darkness into the light was an odd feeling.  My body had the sensation of pure weightlessness.   I felt as light as a feather and I no longer felt weighted down with unknown pressures of stress and or anxiety.  I felt limp and relaxed  as if nothing mattered anymore,  but this was enforced with a strength and clarity of thought that had never been present before either.

I blinked my eyes several more times to adjust to the light and the brightness that was around me but it still took what felt like another few minutes before things really started to come into focus so that I could see where I was, and what was about me.

The grass under foot was lush and green; a real luminous green of freshness and colour.  Just to the right of me and out of my line of vision was a tree, with its’ bark so wooden and thick and tall and strong-looking.  Around the tree was a wooden bench for sitting and getting shade from its leaves. Around the edges of the garden, were a variety of willows and elms.

This was a place of reflection and quiet contemplation.  Not a sound could be heard; no birds singing; no rustle of the wind through the trees; no sense of any intruding noise; despite the fact that people busied about in the garden and birds flew about quite happily flitting from tree to tree.  Despite this three was a true calmness to the air that I had never experienced before, not even in a graveyard, where the quietness and serenity was unnerving; it was one which you could not quite relax into for fear of making some noise.  Here it was different- it could be said – it was, quite literally, just something in the air.  It was serene and tranquil; almost like a hidden retreat which you would find in the mountains of Switzerland or the Italian lakes.  I let out a deep sigh of exhaled air and smiled.

“I can see why he loved you” The voice said.

“What?” I said as I shivered and shuddered at being awoken from my reverie that this place had invoked within me. “I just said that when you smiled, just then, I could see why your partner fell in love with you”.

“Oh, all right” I spoke almost dismissively, and sharply, although this was not the intention.  It was just this place; it just had a distancing affect on you.  My mind drifted to him, my love, my partner, my future husband and a tear rolled down my face.

 

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