littlewonder2

Little wonder we stumble in life.


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Brisbane and Back

I stayed up late last night, so it was with a rude awakening that I was greeted this morning when mum called me to get up and get ready to go. Go where? I called out, asking, but got no reply. So grumpily, I rolled over and went back to sleep.

Some time later, I was woken up again. This time I was rather more awake, so I was actually able to get up out of bed. Mum was saying we had to leave soon, but I was still confused, so I asked again. I woke myself more readily when she said something that amounted to today being Christmas shopping day, but it wasn’t. Still, I brought my bag with my wallet, just in case.

I had to rush to get ready, so it was lucky I already wore my clothes to sleep. I just had to put on my shoes and socks, and I grabbed my sunnies, and put on my iPod. Mum told me to eat breakfast, but it was already 18 minutes past ten, when we were supposed to leave, so I grabbed two muesli bars. Luckily they were well enough to last me until lunch.

First place we went was down to Brisbane to meet my sister. I accidentally caught sight of my Christmas present (a TARDIS cookie jar!) and mum and I had leftover smoothie. The three of us then left and looked at a place at North Lakes (we’re looking to move somewhere cheaper). It was the first place that was big enough for our stuff, and it was a nice area, although there were a few strange features of the house. For example, the garage converted into a hair salon, or the wraparound sun room, which had also been converted from the backyard. Still, it was a nice enough place, in a convenient location both for my Uni and mum’s for next year. And it’ll be closer to sis, when we do move.

After that, we went to the shops for lunch. We ate at an Asian food place, since essentially everything else was fast food or Subway (and its been ages since we went there). I had a taster dish, and mum and sis both had Tokyo Beef, though it was too much for both of them. Mine was just big enough, though I didn’t finish the pork bun completely (it got stuck to the paper).

Then we had to go pick dad up. He’s been staying in Brisbane for a Sea Org Detox thing. Apparently, one day of the week he’s still eating fast food. No matter what, dad never does seem to be able to resist. It’s like it’s his nature: indulgent. There was quite a bit of complaining from mum that this errand ruined the day, but there was no one else to pick him up, as brother-in-law lost his license recently.

We dropped both sis and dad off at sis’ place and I went with mum to have dinner at her Italian friend’s house. We had delicious meatballs and mash potatoes. The mash was so tasty, full of curious flavours. Mum also brought ice cream made of protein, which was actually quite good, although I was the only one who ate all of mine. Mum said it was fine if you had to eat it on a diet, but it wasn’t great.

In the end, I felt I was waiting too long waiting for her friend to do something for her, so I looked on the bookshelf. He had a few cookbooks, what looked like the Italian version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus and… Mein Kampf, the Hitler propaganda book. I was quite surprised at that and got rather fixated on it. For one thing, what was he doing with the Nazi book? For another, was it in German? Could it really be possible he somehow knew German?

I started to think of reasons why he might have it. I wondered if he was merely curious, from a historical point of view, why the Nazis thought the way they did. That was the top reason I came up with. Why else would you have it, unless you were a Neo-Nazi? He’s far too nice and accepting to be that, but it still seemed strange, and mind-blowing that he would have it. I didn’t even think the book would be available if you wanted it. It’s a pretty terrible thing, being from such an evil movement.

I was too afraid to look inside. Too afraid even to mention to mum I saw it. So I’m saying it here.

Anyhow, we left, and stopped off at a gas station before going home. I got an orange juice and an issue of Empire, that nerd magazine. I’m gonna go read it once I’m finished here.

So finally, we got home. That was a relief. Still rather hot though, even at night.


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The Second World War Two

The two women were talking with such familiarity that it was hard to believe they were speaking another language.

“Do you know what they’re saying,” Matt asked, nodding his head towards the two gossiping Indians.

“I don’t speak Indian, I’m afraid. But I do speak Japanese.”

“You speak Jap?” he said, as though he’d been dragged out of time from the second world war. “Me and my brother have one. If I bring you along, can you translate some of the things he’s been saying?”

“Sure. Yeah, sure, maybe. I mean, I don’t really know; I only speak basic Japanese, so I’d only really be able to understand so much of what he’s saying…”

“Well okay,” he said. “I guess that’s close enough. Come with me.”

I followed him, and met up with his brother. “This girl says she speaks Jap. She might be able to translate our perps words.”

Sam looked at her. “Okay, but don’t get freaked out by what you see in there. It’s all for a higher purpose…”

When the boys walked me in, the room was dank, dripping, black and darkest grey, rotting. The Japanese man was tied to a chair in the middle with rope, his face bleeding and eyes piercing. Under him, there was a huge pentagram in what I considered to be his blood.

Shocked, I moved forward towards him emphatically. “Doshita no?” What happened?

Bitterly, he spat out a response. All I heard was, “Anata no tomodachi wa…” before a string of words punctuated by anger spewed from his mouth.

“What did he say?” asked Matt.

I turned back to him. “I don’t know,” I admitted. “All I caught was, ‘your friends’…”

“Yeah, right, okay…”

I turned back to the man. “Anata wa… nani ga hoshii desu ka?” What do you want?

He spoke again. He repeated ‘your friends’, but one other word stuck out particularly. “Shinu?” I cried.

“Shinu!” he repeated adamantly.

“What’d he say?”

“He wants you dead,” I repeated, still staring at shock at him before I turned to Matt.

“That’s it, he’s dead –”

I spread my hands out, protecting the Japanese man. This was not World War Two, and this man was not evil.

“Get out of the way, Emily,” said Matt.

“No,” I said. “You brought me in here to translate his words, and that’s what I plan to do. You really wanna go ahead and kill him just because he wants you dead? Look at him! You’ve obviously tied him up and tortured him, what do you expect from him? You wanted information, right?”

“She’s right,” said Sam.

“I don’t give a damn!” cried Matt. “She can’t tell us anything anyway, so barely speaks it! Get out of the way, Emily. I promise you he deserves it!”

“She was able to tell us he wants us dead,” said Sam. “Maybe she still has some use.”

Matt looked between Emily and Sam resentfully. “Fine,” he said, “I’ll give it one more shot. But that’s it, alright?”

“Got it,” said Sam.


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The Final Trifecta: In The Cold

I can’t believe Trifecta is finally ending! Well, after all the entries I’ve contributed to our community, it’s only right I should come back for just one more. I wrote this back in February, but now I’m repurposing it for this final hurrah.

She huddled against the cold, clinging to the one tiny pocket she had in front of her and chilled to the bone everywhere else. She had been forced into this corner, once having all the luxuries of a bed and now forced into the cold hard floor in the middle of winter. Just outside the door, she heard voices. Full of bitterness, she listened.

“Do you think there’s any hope for her?”

She could see his face, just imagine it in her mind. Her brother. She felt nothing but hate for him, something he would never understand through all his little denials of the weight of his guilt. Nothing would ever be enough, not anymore. Her hate for him was the only thing that kept her strong.

“There could be,” explained a stranger. Could he have brought her some doctor to take her away? “I mean, from what you’ve told me… that is, she won’t agree with me, but I feel like I can understand…” A shuddering breath. So maybe not a doctor.

“What she said about… hating you being her only strength. I mean, yeah. I can get that. I think right now, her family’s her only hope. She doesn’t know it now, but there can be more… if she can find the strength in hate, maybe she can find a different strength. Not in you, perhaps, she hates you far too much for that, but her family… if she can find some love in them, maybe there’s still a chance for her to one day… forgive you too.”

The very thought made her furious. Forgive him! There was nothing in all the world to make her forgive him, not if she lived for a hundred years! She would never forgive, she never could, she refused! He had taken everything from her, her entire life! And there was nothing shameful in strength from hate. She would do anything, if it meant that she would be strong; anything, if it meant she would never be weak again! It was worth it in the end…

“I hope so,” he said, and she wanted to tear him from the earth. “But even if she doesn’t… it’s okay. I just want her to be happy again.”

He had everyone else fooled, but he didn’t fool her! He had all the strength of luxury, while she suffered in the cold! And even if she suffered it all, he remained blind to what it truly felt for her. He would never understand, so she could never forgive him. Just the very thought made her stomach turn.

He could never be forgiven. Her mind was too far gone for forgiveness. It rose like bile in her throat.

She curled harder into herself, desperate from that little bit of warmth to spread just a little further. She was freezing.


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BlogFestivus #5 – Tiny Tim

I figure I owe you this dinner. You saved my life five years ago.”

Tim grinned. “Does that make me your saviour?”

“Don’t get ahead of yourself,” said Scrooge. “I was depressed, anything might have done it. All you did was give me your hand. I’m the one who pulled myself out.”

“Yeah, whatever. I saved you, just admit it,” said Tim. “Anything might have done it, but nothing might have happened, either. You could’ve died.”

“This is my thanks, this dinner,” said Scrooge. “Don’t rub it in.”

“So tell me the story,” asked his father, and for the briefest blink of the eye, Scrooge saw his own father staring back at him, that constant judging look, that never-wavering stare that caused lesser men to break down in front of him. But then it was gone in the blink of an eye, and there was Timothy’s father, smiling brightly with an odd light in his eyes.

“I was at the end of my rope,” explained Scrooge. “I hated the world around me and everyone in it. And yet, even after I tried to brush him aside, your son didn’t relent. Now, I’m not like one of these depressive kids these days out for attention, but what he did was open me up again to the world. I decided then and there that it was time to change.”

“Inspiring story,” Tim’s father agreed. “We could all learn from it.”

Note: This is a little late, but I got stuck without internet for about half a week. Better late than never, I say!

happy-blogfestivus-2013

Linda penning at linda vernon humor
Tom over at Shouts from the Abyss
Maria-Christina blogging at MCWhispers
Dylan of Treatment of Visions
Sarah from Parent Your Business
Dawn blogging at Lingering  Visions
K8edid from k8edid
Eileen from Not The Sword But The Pen
Lindsey at RewindRevise
Kandy of Kandy Talk
Theodore from This Blog Needs A Title
Sandra writing at In Love With Words
Natalie from So I Went Undercover
Jen at Blog It or Lose It
Amelie from In the Barberry
Cee Cee blogging at Cee Cee’s Blog
Ashley from LittleWonder2 (this is me)
BD writing Blogdramedy


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BlogFestivus #4 – Christmas Future

Scrooge had somehow been saved.

He had almost been a statistic; suicidal rates at Christmas skyrocket, everyone knows that. But he wouldn’t have thrown himself off a bridge or jumped in front of a car. He would’ve just walked out into a world he had grown to hate until it buried him.

It wasn’t that he had been particularly touched by the little boy who had talked to him once, or suddenly believed in the kindness of strangers. But as he thought of the sight of him walking away, something had risen in his chest. A bright little ball of hope, that he didn’t even have the spirit to damn it the way he always had.

It wasn’t just some cheesy line, no, it had been somehow real, and not anything like he’d ever assumed. Scrooge was nothing if not ambitious, and that hope turned into a new goal in his mind.

He still hated his family, but they weren’t the only ones that existed. There were people out there that might understand him. And he had found them.

“Pass the turkey,” said Scrooge, sitting at the dinner table.

Familiar old hands complied. After five years, he had met that special little boy again, after Scrooge had pulled himself out of his slump, and now he had a whole new family.

“Of course,” said Tim.

Note: This is a little late, but I got stuck without internet for about half a week. Better late than never, I say!

happy-blogfestivus-2013

Linda penning at linda vernon humor
Tom over at Shouts from the Abyss
Maria-Christina blogging at MCWhispers
Dylan of Treatment of Visions
Sarah from Parent Your Business
Dawn blogging at Lingering  Visions
K8edid from k8edid
Eileen from Not The Sword But The Pen
Lindsey at RewindRevise
Kandy of Kandy Talk
Theodore from This Blog Needs A Title
Sandra writing at In Love With Words
Natalie from So I Went Undercover
Jen at Blog It or Lose It
Amelie from In the Barberry
Cee Cee blogging at Cee Cee’s Blog
Ashley from LittleWonder2 (this is me)
BD writing Blogdramedy


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BlogFestivus #2 – Christmas Past

“Give it back!”

Scrooge had just unwrapped his biggest christmas, and now he was gripping it tight, struggling to hold on to it as his brother tugged it back and forth between them. He was well aware that his father had only bought it for him in an attempt to buy his love, but he didn’t care. He never wanted anyone else to have it. And he certainly didn’t want to share it with his older brother, because he knew for a fact that if he ever did, he’d never see it again.

“No!” his brother spat.

“Dad! Make him stop!” cried Scrooge.

“Now, now, son, if he wants to borrow it, you should be a good little brother and let him.”

“But dad –”

“No buts,” he said. He pulled his hand off his own present, allowing just enough so that his brother could finally pull his present from his hands.

By the time Scrooge was nine, it was a well-known fact that that toy train had always been his brother’s. Scrooge never quite stopped hating his family for it.

“I hate you, I hate you!”

“Now, now, son,” his father said. “If Santa got you coal for Christmas, it’s only because he knows what a bad boy you’ve been this year. Just think of all the things you’ve done to your poor brother.”

“It’s not fair! I hate you!”

happy-blogfestivus-2013

Amy penning at Fix it or Deal

Tom over at Shouts from the Abyss

Steve from Stevil

Maria-Christina blogging at MCWhispers

Dylan of Treatment of Visions

Sarah from Parent Your Business

Dawn blogging at Lingering Visions

K8edid from k8edid

Dave bringing it at 1pointperspective

Eileen from Not the Sword But The Pen

Lindsey at RewindRevise

Kandy of Kandy Talk

Sandra writing at In Love With Words

Natalie from So I Went Undercover

Jen at Blog It or Lose It

Amelie from In the Barberry

Cee Cee blogging at Cee Cee’s Blog

Ashley from LittleWonder2 (this is me)

BD writing Blogdramedy


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Dull On My Feet – Daily Prompt

Dull – Daily Prompt

Perhaps I should explain this. I went with my mum to the local Uni recently; I looking into going next year to study a Double Major of Japanese and Creative Writing. This scene was when we were in line to talk to Admissions.

My feet are sore; strained, burning heels. I rock back and forth, fidgeting. How much longer?

“Do you need to go to the toilet?” mom asks.

“No, I don’t,” I say. I don’t say I’m fine, because I’m bored, and my feet ache.

How much longer? When are these people done? How much bloody longer, already?

Finally, someone is free to ask. “Can I help you?” she asks.

Before I can respond, mum says, “We’re just waiting.”

Oh, that is so cryptic. I hope the woman understands…

“Okay,” the woman says, and passes on.

Dammit, mum, you had one job! I should’ve just talked.

“Can you help us?” mum calls, and the woman comes back.

Relief. Answers, finally.


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A Sombre Drama… My First Funeral

Recently, my nanna died. I’ve been tossing up whether to write about this or not, but I feel like I just had to.

A little backstory: Because of something my dad did years ago, we’ve been cut out of his family’s lives. It was a stupid decision, one felt not to be in nanna’s proper interests, and one that made him — and the rest of us, by association — hated by them. They didn’t even tell him four years ago when one of them died.

So recently, we travelled down from the Sunshine Coast where we live (except for my sister, who lives in Brisbane) to go to nanna’s funeral. Gladly, we weren’t hit by outright abuse; two of the women closest to nanna (known hereafter as V and A) simply treated us civilly. One of them, though, an old friend of nanna’s, slipped dad a hate note just before the service. So now, at least we’re clear on their feelings against us…

For clarity, I’ll be keeping certain members anonymous, by referring to them by the first letter of their names.

This is my story.

We were the first behind the hearse. After everyone had arrived, it was now time to drive to the grave site. Aunt A and K were there, and they’d seemed civil enough, but all I could help thinking was how Anne must feel about us being first. Dad had arranged the funeral too; no doubt she probably thought that was her area.

“Are we going the right way?” asked mum out loud.

“I don’t know,” said dad. “I think the driver must be a little confused… I don’t think we came through this way before…”

Actually, we had. I recognised the rows of Jewish graves that we had passed, now out the left window.

I was just wording my response in my head, sorting out the markers in my head when mum exclaimed, “Oh, yes we did! We passed that Russian building before…”

It was more like a huge gazebo, with pointed dome shapes for window frames. It was blue and white, with a bench inside the middle.

And she was right, of course, we had passed it. But I could’ve told her that we had passed this whole section if I’d told them earlier. Speaking of which, why didn’t I? What was it exactly that I saw before…

We arrived soon, and parked away close by. I took the bouquet we’d bought earlier, half carnations and half yellow roses, and carried it over.

The reverend, who was now there and dressed in his long white garb, looked at me as I arrived. “Will you be placing that with the coffin?”

I looked around at my family and mum filled in the question. She then took the flowers away, and opened up the wrapping. She wanted each of us to take a flower. Dad and I took a carnation; mum and Kristi took a yellow rose.

Mum hastily or messily wrapped the bouquet up again and placed it on a field of green tarp where a number of other bouquets had been placed. It looked haggard compared to the others.

As we stood around, waiting for everyone to arrive and the service to start, nanna’s old friend V slipped a note into dad’s suit pants pocket. “To be read after ther funeral,” she said. It sounded important.

Casting the odd sight aside, I took my position facing the modern line of graves, where the reverend would be addressing an intimate audience of those seven of us and nanna’s nurses at the home where she’d spent the last years of her life.

“Mina lived for 91 years. Now, looking around at all the faces here, I can see all kinds of people who knew her. She was a wonderful sister, mother, wife, grandmother and friend. Everyone here will have different memories of her, but I doubt that everyone here will have known her for all of those 91 years.”

“Hm,” I agreed, nodding.

“I give my deepest condolences to those she left behind, Ken, Tami, Kristi, Ashley and –”

My attention perked up at the mention of my name, and as I finished listening to the names he gave, I noticed he didn’t say A’s. She wouldn’t like that, either I thought.

I looked over at her. She was leaning into K, an open frown on her face, her eyes rimmed with tears. That made sense, at least. She loved nanna, it was the whole reason she hated dad, and what was a funeral without tears and mourning?

The reverend had now started on a list of meaningless events that had happened on the year she was born, 1921. I didn’t think that would help anyone, certainly not A, with her memory. I tried to listen anyway, but these things meant nothing to me. I don’t know so much about the 20s.

Then he handed it over to dad, who took charge as he always does. The first thing he said was bring up one of those events, the only one I really heard, “because Mina really liked that. In reality, she was just like The Little Rascals too…”

And proceeded to tell a story I never knew, that nanna had apparently told all the time, about how she or someone else had lopped off the toe end of someone’s shoes…

As the service went on, and the reverend started to speak again, I remained silent, even through the prayers, playing with the leaves of my flower, looking over at A a few more times, who didn’t change much.

Then finally, “I see that some of you have flowers. Would you like to place them on top of the coffin?”

I had seen it happen, that the tarp with everyone’s bouquets had been laid aside and that the coffin had been placed on two flat bars over the open grave and looped through with rope.

Dad went first then, nervously, me. Everyone else with flowers lined up after and had their turn, and my family grouped up on the other side.

When all the flowers had been placed against the coffins bouquet, the coffin was held with the ropes, the bars removed, the coffin lowered.

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”

Finally, the tarp, placed over a metal grate, covered the grave. The service was over.

People gathered in groups now, talking. I saw A take her and K’s bouquet off the tarp and offer it to the nurses at nanna’s old home. In turn, others also took their bouquets away. Only ours remained. Mum thought, and I agreed, that nanna should have at least one bouquet for herself. Messy as it was, it was hers now…

A soon cheered up after the service at least when I saw her talking with the others, and eventually she made her way to us. She learned that Kristi had gotten married last year, to great excitement and congratulations on her part. Then she asked me what I was I was up to. Great.

“She’s currently looking for work right now…” mum filled in for me. “And she’s also writing a book.”

“Oh, what’s it about?”

I looked down. In the first place, I was too embarrassed to mention the book. In the second, I always had trouble with that question, even if I knew.

“Vampires,” said mum.

“Oh…” said A, distaste in her voice.

I shrugged. Whatever. It didn’t change the fact that Dawn’s a lot like Anne.

A hugged Dad and Kristi when we left. I was afraid to go in for a hug in case she didn’t want to. “Do you mind if I hug you?” mum asked.

“I do mind, actually,” said A, seeming to hug herself in discomfort.

I nodded. Fair enough.

In the car, though, we found out what V’s letter had been. “I can’t believe that she lumped me in with you,” mum fretted. Soon I learned what she meant. “The letter. She told us both to rot in hell.”


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Friday Fictioneers – Deserting Home

Copyright - Janet Webb

There was no going out tonight. Not here, not ever again… I couldn’t even take my writing. I left my dress hanging out over the balcony, and my notebook there on my bed.

I felt a tug from my heart as I left my bedroom for the last time. We could take nothing with us. It was too poisonous, the radiation already exceeding the Ukraine.

I was just a teenager. I didn’t want any of this. Leaving everything I knew and loved. My mama held me in her arms. Within hours, the streets would be empty.

Time to leave… Chernobyl.

For Friday Fictioneers.


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Writing is like Exercise

I was recently rewriting my About Me page, when I started thinking about hobbies I enjoy. One of them, which I didn’t mention, is Boxing.

Recently, within the last two months, I’ve started eating healthily and exercising. I now go to the gym and I have a personal trainer named Jess. I often do boxing exercises when I work out with Jess; I find it motivates me, I enjoy it, and I’ve always carried a store of anger with me that it lets me express.

Exercise also helps me in my writing, if for no other reason than my characters live active, dangerous lives, and working my body helps me put myself in theirs.

But I’ve also begun thinking recently that, although many writers don’t do a whole lot of exercise — indeed, for a while in my own writing, I’ve used the fact that I’m a writer as an excuse why I didn’t have to exercise — the two activities aren’t so different.

Both require discipline of sorts. Both are beneficial; one to the mind, and the other to the body. I’ve even begun to think that the two things together are important to the whole, that a person needs both to be a satisfied or balanced person.

Balance, I’ve thought for a while now, is important in anyone. Not extremes, which makes you biased and closed-minded, but a medium between them.

Of course, I believe that bias is inevitable in any person. No matter who you are, I believe there’s always something to overcome. But the point is, in the case of brain vs. brawn, of athletes versus writers, there need not even be a contest.

If books are soul food, then exercise is just as important for movement. That feeling in your muscles… is life speaking to you. And that’s just as important as the words you use to describe it.