Dancing in the dark

The room was crowded with couples dancing. It was unbearably hot or that’s how Liz found it. She just wanted fresh air. The French windows were ajar and the air drew her outside. The terrace over looked the golf course and appeared to be empty.

The night air was refreshing and she stood her hands on the rail looking out into the darkness. She could make out the dark silhouettes of the trees and the wide expanse of the freeways.The scent from the lilac trees that surrounded the terrace drifted across on the breeze. She took a deep breathe and enjoyed the heady sensation.

“Care to dance?” A voice quietly spoke from the darkness behind her.

She turned in surprise. She had thought she was a lone. She could not see the face of the man. Its was hidden in shadow. She certainly didn’t recognise the voice.

Liz paused, hesitant to reply. Then said “As long as it’s out here. Not in there.” The hint of mystery added spice to the intriguing situation.

The music that drifted out changed to a slow tune. Liz found herself gripped comfortably in the arms of a stranger. Somehow her head ended up resting on his shoulder. The physical closeness and the smell of the lilac was intoxicating. She had no idea who her dance partner was but felt the excitement of the moment.

The music changed again still a slow song. His hold changed and he whispered in Liz’s ear.

“Do you know Lilac means first love?”

She tried to move away suddenly nervous, after all it was her engagement party. He gripped her tighter. She felt his strength holding her tight. Softly he kissed ear.

“You’re not my first love.” Liz whispered back. Bringing to feel apprehension.

“You’re mine. You were four!”

“Oh! I don’t remember.” Liz muttered in surprise, completely taken of balance.

The hold slackened, her partner turned and walked away.

She saw the figure disappear into the crowded room and she was alone in the darkness. Who was it?

The Good Duke’s Christmas

It was day after Christmas the old man awoke.

He straightened his red night cap which rested on his snow white hair.

He swing his legs out of bed and dangled them above the cold stone floor.

He remembered the days when he had jumped out of bed dressed and then set out barefoot to walk round his Dukedom visiting all his churches and handing out alms to the poor and needy.

Now he just felt tired and cold as he looked down at his feet. Not the tiredness of exhaustion but of boredom with nothing to look forward to on a cold wintry day.

Christmas day had been a sad day. None of his daughters had been able to come and stay with him and to make matters worse the bridge that crossed the river prevented anyone from the town coming to visit or sing carols to him.

Of course he was not totally alone. His cook had cooked him a magnificent diner. There was the biggest Goose in the dukedom. There was always a competition to find who could supply the biggest goose. There was duck and pork and at least 10 kinds of vegetables with 4 different kinds of stuffing, not to mention the different sauces.

Paul the cooks son had been weighed down by the heavy platters as he had carried them in to place on the great table that would have seated 30 people easily.

The old man had eaten alone, one small slice from the goose and just one or two vegetables.

Then there had been Figgie pudding with brandy sauce as well as other desserts. He could not face any of them.

Later he had opened the gifts sent by his daughters. His eldest daughter who now lived in lapland and she had sent him deer skin boots lined with fur. This for a man who often walked barefoot.

His next daughter who lived in Norway had sent him ski poles. Does she think I am old and cannot walk without sticks he thought.

His youngest daughter who lived in Finland, had sent knitted mittens, scarf and a jumper that was too large and brightly coloured and patterned. Does she think I am fat he thought.

He got up and walked to the window and drew back the curtains as he looked out he could see Paul pulling a sledge up to the castle. He could see across the river to the town with smoke coming from every chimney and he thought of all the families gathered round the nice warm fires.

And the old man remembered the times he had gone sledging with his daughters and then came into sit round the fire. Thats what he missed it was the children and their laughter.

In the dining room his breakfast was laid out he just picked at the food.

Later he walked to the dining room window and looked out on the cold winters scene, the snow on top of the bird bath must have been two foot high. No visitors today he thought.

Then he noticed a distant shape, moving in the deep snow. His cataracts blurred his vision so he called Paul and asked him what was moving.

“Its one of the old men from the alms houses collecting wood sir.”

Now how often do we look on a view and see what is there and never see what is missing. Now as he looked the old Duke could see the alms houses and the orphanage and no smoke was coming from any of the chimneys.

“But if the old man was collecting wood would it be wet and not burn well,” he said aloud.

“Sir, with the bridge broken no one would have been able to deliver wood to the houses, maybe they have no other wood.”

The old Duke thought for a moment. “Paul go get your sledge and fill it with logs from our store and send your mother to me.”

It did not take long to load the sledge not only with logs but all the food that had not been eaten on Christmas Day. What they could not get on the sledge they put in two rucksacks.

The Duke put on his new boots. His large knitted jumper, his scarf, his mittens and wrapped his cloak round him and with a ski pole in each hand he set out with Paul pulling the sledge.

It had begun to snow again and the going was hard until Paul could hardly pull the sledge any longer.

“Follow me” the old Duke said and soon they reached the tracks left by the old man who had been collecting which made the going easier. Then two men came, one the old man and the other from the orphanage and in no time they had reached the Orphanage.

The children were cold and huddled together but the fire was soon lit and a great pot put on top of it. The vegetables and cut up meat were put in the pot and in no time the smell of a delicious soup filled the air.

Everyone from the orphanage and the alms house said it was the best soup ever. And they all ended the day singing and dancing.

And the old duke said “this is what I will do every Christmas, I will not be alone I will invite everyone to join me.”

Wenceslas was a Bohemian Duke in Czech in the 10th century

One biographer wrote in 12 century wrote,

On rising every night from his noble bed, with bare feet and only one chamberlain, he went around to God’s churches and gave alms generously to widows, orphans, those in prison and afflicted by every difficulty. So much so that he was considered, not a prince, but the father of all the wretched.

Roman Emperor Otto 1 posthumously conferred on Wenceslas the regal dignity and title and that is why in the legend and song he is referred to as a “king”

Himalaya 7 – Innocent

Story so far

Craig a medical student, had been climbing in the Himalayas during a solar eclipse when he saw two Unicorns who had licked his hands. When he touched an injured climber, Ben he was miraculously healed. Later in Katmandu Craig sat by an unconscious girl holding her hand and telling her the story of the Unicorns. She too was miraculously healed.

Back at University, Craig now feared that either he had been hallucinating or he had the power to heal. Either way he faced problems.

On the first day of term he received a letter from Katmandu. He dropped it and it picked up by a girl, Tania (Titania).

When Craig opened the letter, it also contained a drawing from the girl (Alisha) who he had healed.

The picture showed him, with the two unicorns and also a fairy (Titania) wearing a crown. The fairy even looked like Tania.

Craig’s other letter from his twin sister Ali (Ailsa) she was concerned about him so was moving to be closer to him.

Ben, the climber and a detective came to Oxford because he could now see people’s auras.

Craig met Ben and he discovered that Ben, could now see people’s auras. Ben could tell if someone was telling the truth. However Craig and Tania didn’t have a coloured aura to read.

Craig’s first day on the wards had seemed to have gone well with no one being healed. But later he helped a girl who had had a fall until the ambulance arrived. He also saw Tania were she should not have been.

Craig watched as the ambulance disappeared from sight. The few people who had gathered round had also dispersed. He walked back to the bench where he had left his bike. There was no sign of Tania. Had he imaged she had been standing by his bike?

There was one way to find out. He rang her mobile. “Hi Tania. Where are you?”

“I am on the bench by the river, where you were talking to your friend yesterday.” Tania innocently responded.

“I thought you were in South Park.” A confused Craig answered.

“That’s miles away. I suppose you are going to come up with some fantastic story about a harp driving off in an ambulance.” Tania sounded amused.

Craig was speechless. Tania asked if he was still there. “Just getting on my bike. I’ll be with you shortly.`I got delayed.”

Light was beginning to fade when he finally reached Tania still sitting on the bench. “Hi. Are you OK. I was beginning to worry when you didn’t come to the ward.” Enquired Craig

“I am fine. That’s the problem.” Tania responded cheerfully.

Craig shook his head in disbelief. Could today get any stranger, he thought.

“I wanted to talk to you.” Tania started to explain, “I thought of coming to see you the other night but got cold feet. Then yesterday you had someone with you. I have been so worried I needed to talk to someone.”

“You can talk to me any time.” Craig offered supportively. He was wondering how he had ended up in this position when up until last week he had barely spoken to Tania.

“You’re going to think I am fantasying.” Tania seemed doubtful. “I don’t know where to begin.”

“Start at the beginning. My life has become one long fantasy. So I will understand.” Craig reassured.

It took Tania a few moments to gather her thoughts. “It was in the break I went to the doctors. He sent me to see a specialist.” She paused to see Craig’s reaction. Then she continued, ”They did a biopsy and I have been so worried, I had no one to talk to. I don’t think I had said above half a dozen words to you until the first day of term.”

“You must have been so worried. Don’t you have family to support you?” Craig said holding her hand supportively.

“No. They are in Australia. Anyway I hesitated talking to you. Its kind of personal. Today I went for the results.” Tania went quiet as if not sure how to continue.

“When I arrived you said you were fine?” Craig asked.

“That’s it. I am fine. They kept me for hours doing tests. They couldn’t find anything with me. They just kept double checking things. They couldn’t believe there was no evidence not even a scar. It’s like I never had cancer but the tests from the biopsy they had done came back positive. I had to talk to someone. I didn’t know who else to talk too.”

Craig was stunned.

“Say something, Craig, I am not making it up.” Tania seemed agitated and took her hand away.

“Tell me why did you think I would tell you a story about a harp driving off in a ambulance?” Craig mind was going in circles.

“I tell you I had cancer and you talk about harps in ambulances” Tania angrily stood up and started to walk off.

“Tania wait, let me try to explain. Only you will think it’s fantasy. I can heal people.” Craig paused as Tania turned back to him. “It sounds unbelievable but I healed Ben in the Himalayas. Then Alisha who sent the picture. I thought it only happened in Tibet. But what if I have healed you and a girl with a harp?” Then suddenly he sank back onto the bench. His head in his hands. “There are side effects. What have I done?”

“Side effects?” Tania came back to stand in front of him.

“Ben can see auras. He can tell if someone is innocent or guilty. Alisha can draw pictures of people and things she has not seen. How did you know about the girl and the harp?”

“I sat here and sort of dreamed it. You were helping a girl with a injured leg. There was a boy with a phone. On the path was a harp and a skate board. It wasn’t real. Just a daydream.” Tania sounded doubtful. “I don’t even know why I said that about a harp in an ambulance.”

“But it was real and I saw you by my bike. Then you were gone. The other night I saw you by the fountain in the courtyard. When I went down you were gone and the porter said you had not come into the courtyard. Were you there or did you dream that too?” Craig questioned Tania.

“I dreamt it and you saw me.” Tania was as shocked as Craig.

“It’s your side effect.” Craig tried to make sense of the chain of events and explain it to Tania. “Alisha drew a picture of me on the mountain. I thought I had imagined seeing Unicorns and they gave me the power to heal. Ben was healed, then Alisha.”

Alisha’s side effect is that she could draw you and she made you a fairy with wings. She drew you as Titania. That’s what you can do, fly from place to place and I could see you. You knew what happened in South Park. God! What have I done to that innocent girl. What’s her side effect going to be?”

“This can’t be for real?” a stunned Tania sat back down by Craig. Then another thought occurred to her. “If you can cure people what about all the people you saw today in the hospital?”

“I think I have to both touch someone and think about the unicorns. That’s what happened with Ben and Alisha. The day we had coffee we were looking at Alisha’s picture and talking about it. I must have touched you. The girl in the park had a top with a unicorn on. I was just talking to her to calm her. On the wards I wasn’t thinking about unicorns and most of the time I had surgical gloves on, so nothing happened.”

“I need time to think about this,” Tania was thoughtful. “But if you did heal me, thank you.”

“I have just remembered. I am meeting my twin sister on Saturday. She knows something is wrong. She’s moved down from Scotland because she was concerned. How can I tell her all this? She just will not believe me?” Craig looked worried. “Come with me. She can’t ask too many questions with someone else with me.”

“She’ll think I am your girl friend. How are you going to explain that?”

“I don’t know but that’s the least of my worries.”