A piece from my long running story, In Sommnia.

Fiction, philosophical, mystery, fantasy…

Reading Age – 16+


In Sommnia

Teddy knows best


“You didn’t…?”                                                                                                                                                         

I nodded.

“It’s not good what you’re doing.”

“I know”.

“What if you get caught…What then?”

“I can’t stop”.

Teddy stared hard at me from across the darkened room.  I looked away, unable to meet his eyes, guilty for upsetting him.  And Teddy Always Knew Best.

Teddy’s face was sort of immobile ~ obviously his mouth could smile (upward curve) or grimmace (horizontal line) ~ but I could read a 1000 emotions in those fixed black eyes.

I emptied the pocket of my jeans, a rainbow of colours scattered and bounced across the glass top of the low table.  20 tiny, hard, rubber balls.  Inexpensive.  Of no use to me.                                                                                                                            

From the shadowy corner which is barely lit from the one lamp 12 feet away in the opposite corner, I heard Teddy sigh.  I knew without seeing that his mouth was in a horizontal line and that he was wringing his paws.  Outward looks can be deceptive but how can a 15 inch short teddy  bear be so wise, so human

Slowly he padded across the carpetted floor towards me (mouth now a serious line, paws awringing), then passed me on his way to the cupboard situated in the wall behind me.  I turned to watch him as he widely opened the cupboard door that had been left ajar (this is just as well since he would have had an arduous job reaching for the door handle). 

There was a sudden landslide of brightly coloured small balls, quickly transforming the dark green carpet into a playful abstract of colour.  I shouldn’t, but I smiled.  The rubber balls were 2 or 3 inches deep, pooled about us in a 10 foot area. 

I couldn’t remember collecting so many.

As if stealing my thoughts, Teddy says: “I didn’t realise you stole so many”.


::: to be continued :::


Copyright / by Faith 2009


A piece from my long running story, In Sommnia.

Fiction, philosophy, mystery, fantasy…

This extract contains the threat of violence.

Reading Age – 16+


In Sommnia

Too much Mud


The frantic thudding of my heart, the pounding of my feet on hard earthy ground, a blur of pine trees.  Darker and darker shadows engulf me as I run to hide in the bowels of the wood.

I feel him everywhere.

In another world there was a picnic in sunshine, a woman and a man in love; a simple and ordinary moment, but a happy lie.

There are two men, competely different from one another.  The one: sweet and loving…and the other: controlling, subject to sudden rages, unjustified jealousy, and cruel acts.  How can both of them be the one person?

I’ve never been more terrorfied.  The fear of death has slowed down time, sharpened my senses, kickstarted my adrenalin rush for survival.  I can’t believe this is happening to me.

As I run – hoping it is the right direction, away from danger – I think of the home we’d made together.  Think of the good times and how all of this has been recently ruined and I can’t fathom why.

My pounding feet hit the asphalt of the road, houses to the left and right of me, brilliant sunshine dazzling my vision.  A pleasant warm August day but not a soul about.  No one mowing the grass, tending the flowerbeds, chatting over the fence to a neighbour, washing the car, enjoying and basking in the sun.  No child plays in the garden, cycles a bicycle, and no dog barks a warning as I pass.

There’s an uncanny feeling of life not existing.  Everything looks normal on the outside but it isn’t right…  Sweet surbubia turned sickly.

Out of breath I slow to a walk, turning the corner to the road where I live.  With him.  I can’t remember how I got here.

There’s an urgent shout, he is calling my name.  I turn and look, scanning the road, the gardens of the neighbourly houses.  I am surprised and sickened to see him standing at the gate in our garden.  How did he get there?  I didn’t see him pass me on the road.

There’s a friendly smile on his face.  A face that is no longer marred and twisted by rage.

A worm of  caution twists in my stomach:  Be careful!  Think what’s best to do…but think quickly, there’s no time in being leisurely…think what to do now.

The gate out of the garden is opening, he is stepping onto the road; I begin to run again. 

As I’m running the length of the road, the empty houses flanking its sides, I’m thinking where can I run to?  There is no person who will provide me a sanction, the only option is to hide.

I hear his footfalls behind me, I picture the fake smile on his face. 

He is faster and stronger than me, I will need to find somewhere to hide fast!

Then the ground turns sticky and my speed is hindered.  Strange.  The ground is no longer feeling like hard asphalt.  I look down…and gasp in horror.  I am trying to move in thick mud!

A hurried scan of the immediate area proves the whole road has somehow turned to mud.

Dark mud that looks like treacle and sticks to me like glue.  I’m no longer able to run, so I slowly tread through it, picking up each foot with effort, trying to move forward as fast as is possible.  However my difficult trek is continuously slowing…I’m almost at a standstill now.

My eyes dart round for him.

I feel him everywhere; he’s saturated my being, taken over my world.  He is everywhere – I sense him like he’s not a mere human but an evil all-pervading spirit.

I’m unable to get an accurate fixture on him.

I might as well face it:  I am stuck.


Copyright / by Faith 2009


A piece from my long running story, In Sommnia.

Fiction, philosophical, mystery, fantasy…

This extract contains physical violence.

Reading Age – 16+


In Sommnia

Life is a picnic – of sorts


I’m witnessing an abundance of butterflies – The Admiral? – a pleasing start to our picnic. 

Dejavu time again.

I’ve never seen so many clustered together before, their glorious wings outstretched, quivering in the August sun, delicate feet momentarily touching the cups, plates, blanket, hamper, food.

The one I trusted and loved smiles with his eyes.

This is a happy place, with him , right now.  I choose not to remember the nasty things he said; cruel words for the moment are conveniently pushed into drawers. 

Always listen to your inner voice!

But I want things nice and normal.  This is a special time, I’d prepared the food and chilled the wine, and not forgotten the blanket.  Want to show him I love him, want to prove to myself I can be happy.

And then he clumsily drops the mustard jar and the skies darken.  The nagging voices rise to the surface.  The butterflies are frozen but my hands shake. 

He curses the mustard, he curses this – what was to be a happy picnic; he curses himself and he curses me.

“Of course you knew this would happen.”  Says a nagging voice.

“Why would you expect anything different?”

“A leopard doesn’t change his spots.”

“You know it’s not you!  It’s him!”

“He is sick.  I don’t understand why he behaves this way.  What have I done wrong?  But he was so loving!  He may lose his temper with me, but he would never hit me…He told me so, at the beginning: I have never hit a woman.”

He is now standing, his face red, his eyes ablaze, a person I don’t recognise.  The mustard jar at his feet, a blob of mustard yellowing the picnic blanket.

I’m feeling vulnerable sitting so I stand and he strikes me to the floor.  I crumple the picnic things, I’m thinking what a mess I’ve made, I hope I haven’t broken anything.

He’s yelling obscenities.  I hope I can get up without being struck again, I need to get away.  Wobbling, I get to my feet and he strikes me again. 

No, better to crawl on my hands and knees.  Try to get to safety.

Abruptly, I am pulled to my feet and slammed to the ground again. 

I crawl.  My vision is marred by tears.  I hear a desperate whimpering, feel wet soiled clothes.  Again I am seized and there’s screamed accusations of me being like her.  Try to wriggle free but he has me in his strong grip: Now it’s carousel time.  He is swinging me round by the roots of my hair.

Need to get away!

He will kill me if I don’t.

He lets go, tired of the swinging.  Back to the punching. 

My head hits the ground, I’m on my back and he is atop me striking my face.

Will this ever end?  Will I come out of this alive?

He curses my desperate cries of help.  He is ordering me to stop.  (What so no one will possibly hear me, will possibly come to my aid?)

Please God, Don’t let me die!

It is dark and cold.  Bunched up clouds, such a pressure in my head.  The butterflies are dead, the spread of the picnic ruined, and he is watching me from somewhere, although he is gone.

Spying on me through the black branches of trees.  Am I the deer caught in the open about to be hunted and duely slaughtered?

I scramble to me feet, slowly turning round, trying to figure out where he is.  Can’t see him, I will just have to follow my instincts, run and hide in the woods.

So I run.


Copyright / by Faith 2009




A poem about not being able to sleep.

Reading age – Any age.


…~~~The Slumber Chant~~~…

The night is for sleeping,

there will be no peeping until the morn…

journey under the covers to a fantasy world of unicorns,

princesses, pirates with looted gold

and castles and dragons and knights so bold

wizards who sourcer, witches who spell

long ago memories, old stories to tell

flying carpets and the phoenix so old

story of a silver lamp that was sold…

The night is for sleeping,

there will be no peeping until the morn…

when you will awake, afresh and yawn

no doubt forgetting the dreams of the dawn…


Copyright / by Faith 2004



A dark mysterious short story about loneliness…and a toad. 

Reading age – 13+


He sat alone, his world afore him; the balance having finally toppled.

The sluggish toad with its gold rimmed eyes, stared at him from a far corner of the table. He wondered how long the now familiar creature had been keeping him company, at this place. Other than the toad he was quite alone. Completely alone. Not a soul was present. Just him. And the toad.

It must be a week now since he and the creature of the bog had made each other’s acquaintance. It must have been the day he got “let go” from working at the factory, because he’d been walking home in the sunshine, and normally he never saw the light. Normal was working the night shift. Was.

There never is much employment in a rural area. Most of the town worked at the factory, or in the care home for the elderly, or, not at all. It wasn’t an especially beautiful or striking or characterful place – Tombland didn’t dangle the tourist-carrots. Most inhabitants had moved away, especially the young, who’d left for cities that promised fun, money and open doors. An alternate world. Tombland’s present population: 301.

This life he’d had was all he knew. He had never known anything other than the factory and being lonely. He worked the night, slept the day, sometimes he saw his brother; when Carl was at home. He’d accepted these cards Life had dealt him. No questions asked.

Until the day he met the toad.

The toad is blinking it’s gold eyes, looking hungry. There are enough flies buzzing about. Surely his long, adept tongue will lash out and steal one?

He shifted in his wooden chair, the seat was hard, quite uncomfortable. In this room, the walls were packed with books, there were shelves packed with books too. He couldn’t remember coming into the library.

Apart from the annoying buzzing flies, he was quite alone.

Why wasn’t even the librarian present?

His normal route from home to work was a 3 mile walk from the old farmhouse – which had seen the lives and deaths of two generations of his farming family – down the steep hill, where barren fields flanked the narrow road, which then turned an oblique right, to run alongside the bog. The bog stank, but it’s thriving community of gnats, flies, frogs and toads did not seem to mind. They were thriving but farming here was dead. With the last farmer gone, it seemed the sparkle had been quenched from Tombland.

The bog, to the left of the road, ran on for half a mile or so into the dense copse beyond where the black trees scratched the sky. Following the road, with further empty fields either side, a mile on, to a square of houses; and a little further still, stood a small shop selling the usual daily produce like bread and such, a tiny dis-used school, and the factory. Nextdoor to the factory, Tombland’s cemetry and church.

But the cemetry had never worried him.

And yet he had never liked the bog. As a young boy of six, walking alongside his older brother of ten, on the way to school, he had even feared the bog.

Carl told him not to let the bog worry him. The bog stank, wasn’t pretty, but it wasn’t a threat.

Ah, back to the toad!

Life had been staid, flat, colourless, until that day they told him they didn’t need him anymore. For the first time, he felt fearful of his future: what was he to do now? He knew nothing else. He was afraid of something else…And, it was while these thoughts jumped about inside his head, that the large toad jumped out from the bog, and sat before him, in the middle of his path, blinking gold rimmed eyes.

He had never seen such a large toad before. He had never contemplated both their ugliness and beauty before. But this one made him think.

Suddenly, he didn’t feel alone. Fear evaporated like mist.

From that day on, the toad followed him about, almost everywhere. At nightfall it disappeared, he presumed back to the bog at the bottom of the hill. At dawn it was there again, at the foot of his bed, contemplating him, above the bed sheets.

He started questioning things. Why was he here? Where was everyone? Where had they gone to? What was he to do now? And, really, WHO was he?

While perspectives alter from one being to another, and indeed shift, he had never had any real sense of being…identity…who am I?

Why the toad had brought this all on, he didn’t know.

Oh, the library is full of flies now…they are thickening the air, turning the space black – a writhing mass of tiny insect bodies – making the air too thick to breath…

Why doesn’t the toad catch them? He hasn’t even caught one.

He hadn’t seen Carl for days now. He also questioned his absence. Why? Where? What…?

The librarians told the people to make space, the doctor was called – he was in the building at the time, returning a book for his young daughter – he rushed to the man’s side and found him dead. It had been too late. No one had noticed, no one had cared. The man had been a misfit, a loner, strange and even a little frightening. Alone without family or friend, his only brother, Carl, whose fate had been the swallowing bog ten years ago.

Copyright / by Faith 2006


Copyright / photography by Darren Melrose
– – – Click on the Toad to visit his Blog!

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