Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Flash Fiction

I belong to a Write Club. I'm actually the only US member as the rest are primarily based in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK. Thanks to Facebook, we are able to facilitate our little band of writers.

Our last challenge was to write a piece of flash fiction - a ghost story set in Blakeney Chapel.

I struggled with this challenge. Short pieces have always been my bane )hence my lack of updates to my blog lately). After several false starts, I finally finished what I think is a decent piece.

Without further ado, I present The Witch of Blakeney Chapel:

A chill wind blew in from the sea and whipped her hair into her face. She brushed the loose tendrils back then rubbed her arms to keep warm as she walked through the marshes toward Blakeney Eye, where lay the ruins of Blakeney Chapel. Though called a “chapel,” no one really knew what the building was, or how long it had been there. Artifacts dating back to the Romans had been found there, and there was archaeological evidence that “substantial time and money” had been spent on building the place. No one knew why it was left deserted, but there was evidence that the main building seems to have suffered a major fire at some stage. That in itself had fascinated Lila, but in truth, there was something about the desolate chapel in Norfolk that drew her in like an invisible string or the pull of a magnet. She had to answer this mysterious call.

Lila crested the sandy Eye and surveyed what little was left of the chapel. As she walked through what was once a small room, she was hit by what seemed like a wave of memory. Her spine tingled and gooseflesh erupted along her arms. She stumbled and stepped into the larger room and the wave hit again, this time stronger. It carried with it sounds of wood and metal and muffled voices. The voices were angry and she was scared.

Lila’s head ached and she felt as if she were being held under water. The world around her rippled she was overwhelmed suddenly by strong smells and loud noises. There were angry people pounding on the door. They were yelling about God punishing them with poor fishing yields, floods and a bad harvest. . She backed against the wall, shaking. They blamed her as these things started after she came to the village.

She was brought here by the old man to whom her father had sold her for a few pieces of gold. He was the wealthiest man in the village. He built this fancy home to house his beautiful new bride. But shortly after it was finished, he had died of the fever. Now, she was alone.

The pounding got louder and more violent. They were trying to break down the solid wood door. “The witch has cursed us!” a voice yelled. “The children started to die when she arrived,” wailed a woman. “We must purge the evil!” An acrid smell filled the air, and she knew they were going to kill her. “Burn the witch!” the villagers cried.

The wood of the door started to burn and smoke began filling the room. She knew there was no way to escape. Even if she were to somehow get out of the building, the men would catch her and burn her at the stake. She decided it was better to die in her own home with her walls protecting her from the accusing stares and shouts of the villagers. She slid down the wall, tears running down her cheeks. The air was getting hotter and she began to cough. Her vision began growing dim and her body felt heavy. Her head hit the floor and the last thing she saw were the flames licking up the walls toward the ceiling.

She was dead.

But then, she was cold. And wet. Lila’s eyes fluttered open. A fine mist was swirling through the air as she lay on the ground next to the ruined wall of the chapel. She stood shakily and brushed the dirt off her clothes as she surveyed her surroundings. There was no fire and no angry villagers. Just a chill wind and the lonely screech of sea gulls and the ruins of Blakeney Chapel.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Women vs. Religion Part 1

Women of the world will never be free of male dominated oppression until the major world religions are either abolished or radically changed.

This begins a series of rants on religion - all major world religions, but specifically Christianity - and how it oppresses women. I've been contemplating writing this for a while but refrained while I got my thoughts in order. The thing that really pushed me to start writing this is the current battle raging over birth control.

The hot issue of birth control right now has me absolutely irate.

Obama announced a Health and Human Services mandate, as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), that Catholic Church run businesses (hospitals, universities, and other non-church related businesses) must provide insurance covered contraception to its female employees with no co-pay. This law applies to all businesses, not just those run by churches. However, churches themselves are exempt from providing this to their church employees.

This is not something new either. Twenty eight states have had similar laws on the books for years. In fact, in 2007, when the Catholic Charities of New York bristled against the New York law requiring them to provide contraception to their employees, they petitioned the Supreme Court, and were denied.

What has me really angry isn't the fact that the churches and the religious right are pushing back, that's to be expected, but that they are calling it an attack on religious freedom.

Excuse me? I must have not read the ACA properly. I missed the part that said Americans no longer are free to worship as they choose.

While this mandate does not impinge any one's religious freedom, the Catholic Church and the religious right are most certainly doing their best to impede the religious freedom of anyone who is not Christian by attempting to force their views upon our lives.

Churches are running businesses and employing people. Their employees have to pay taxes, and the Church has to follow the law as do all employers.  I guarantee not all of their employees are Catholic, so why should they be forced to live according the the doctrines of a faith that is not theirs? As for the Catholic employees... well, most of them ignore the Church's archaic doctrine on contraception and use it anyway. In fact, recent surveys show that they also want birth control coverage.

Furthermore, the majority of birth control pill users take the pill for reasons other than contraception, such as endemetriosis, poly-cystic ovary syndrome, excessive bleeding, hormone induced migraines, loss of bone density, and acne prevention.

Oh, and the Catholic Church's employee health insurance covers Viagra...

This isn't about religion. It is the age old practice of the male-dominated religions putting women under their thumbs. It's the whole Madonna/Whore dichotomy being played on the national stage.

Women must be punished for wanting to have sex for pleasure.

For further reading on this topic:


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Reached my Limit

I've been rather quiet lately. The holidays and seasonal illnesses in the family monopolized my time for a bit. Then current events turned to politics, a topic about which I am passionalte. I have been trying to think of something to write that would not be a rant, but I've reached my limit of the right's bullshit and need to explode forth with the rants. They shall be forth coming...