Serenity, Solitude and Sunset

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“To go out with the setting sun on an empty beach is to truly embrace your solitude.”

– Jeanne Moreau

Sun’s Dying Light (150 word flash fiction)

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It had been their last day together. The magic was failing. Silently,,they had walked along the deserted beach, savouring the sun’s warmth as it began to set. They reached their tree at the end of the beach beside the picnic area. Wistfully, she traced her finger over the initials he had carved in its bark after their first kiss. With his back to the tree, he drew her into his arms. The golden light of the setting sun shone through her gossamer wings. He bent to kiss her. Slowly and passionately their lips met for one final moment. He held her hands and gazed into her violet eyes, wishing the moment could last forever. She started to speak but he stopped her. Silence said it all. Beside them, the sun had almost reached the horizon. At the first touch, the spell broke. He stood there alone. She was gone.

 

(credits to the owner of the image- photo is tagged)

Lunch with Riley J ( a Silver Lake inspired interview)

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In early November, I was fortunate enough to be in the audience at the Gramercy Theater, New York, for Garrett Court’s live show to launch his new album, Young Hands, Old Hands, Same Strings.
It was an amazing night of music from Garrett and, in fact, from all the musicians involved. I mean, who can resist Silver Lake’s Jake Power?
One incredible new talent to take to the stage that night was a young lady called Riley Johnson. If you weren’t lucky enough to hear Riley sing on the night, check her out online. You can’t miss her with her distinctive emerald green hair!
After a few enquiries, I managed to track this mystery songbird down and arranged to meet her for a chat. Much to my surprise, Riley suggested that we meet up at Garrett Court’s music store in Greenwich Village.
It was around lunchtime when I arrived at the store and I quickly spotted Riley behind the cash desk. Seeing that she was busy with a customer I took a few minutes to browse the various instruments on display. If you’re in the market for a new guitar, you could do worse than drop by. Garrett’s Store is a veritable Aladdin’s Cave!
Eventually, Riley was free. At her suggestions we headed to a nearby diner to chat over lunch. (I’ll not lie- I was disappointed not to be invited up into the infamous Gothic Palace above the store.)
Sandwiches and coffees ordered, we settled ourselves at a secluded corner table.
“So, Riley, tell me how you came to be appearing on stage last November with the legendary Garrett Court?”
“A combination of luck and a lot of help from Dr Marrs and Jake,” she revealed quietly. Up close Riley is younger than she appears on stage and is a rather shy young lady.
“That’s some pretty big names. Tell me more.”
“Back home, I took a summer school music workshop last summer,” began Riley. Despite her youth, Riley has an amazingly warm husky voice. “Jake was the teacher and, as part of the workshop, he took us out to JJL to record the songs we’d written. There were ten of us. That’s where I met Dr Marrs and Garrett. Garrett helped out for a day while we were in the studio.” Pausing to take a bite out of her sandwich, Riley continued, “A couple of weeks later, I got a call from Dr Marrs asking if I’d like to sing some vocals for Garrett’s record. Trust me, he didn’t need to ask me twice. I jumped at the opportunity. The following week I spent a couple of days out at JJL recording some stuff. It was just Dr Marrs, me and the sound engineer. No Garrett. I recorded four or five songs over the two days. One made it onto the record.”
“Which one was that?”
“Black Heart Dark Mind.”
“Then I guess it was Garrett who invited you along to perform at the show at the Gramercy?”
“No,” revealed Riley with a smile. “It was Jake who set that up. He was up here helping Garrett out. They needed a vocalist and Garrett mentioned some “green haired girl” that had sung on the record. Up til then I don’t think Jake even knew I’d been involved with the album. He recognised me from Garrett’s description. Reached out through my high school principal and, well, here I am.” The teenager giggled. I must say, Riley has a very infectious laugh.
“And now you’re working in the music store?” I enquired, curious to learn the full story here.
“Not so much working as helping out,” Riley replied a little evasively. She paused then said softly, “It’s complicated.”
“Complicated?”
“Things at home weren’t great,” continued Riley, keeping her head bowed. “When Jake called to invite me up here, I grabbed the opportunity. I saw it as my chance for a fresh start. I talked to Garrett. Explained my situation and we reached an agreement. He’s agreed I can stay on at the Gothic Palace, arranged for me to finish up school here. He was real strict about that part. In turn, I help out in the store. I’ll also be going on tour with him later this month.”
“I assume Rehoboth Beach was home? Why couldn’t you go back there?”
“That’s personal. I’d rather not talk about it.”
“Apologies. I didn’t mean to pry.”
“You’re a journalist. It’s your job to pry.”
Riley is a very astute young woman. Changing the subject, I asked, “How is it living with a music legend?”
“Quiet,” giggled Riley. “Garrett is a creature of habit. You could set your watch by him. He’s happy for me to stay but there are a few golden house rules. It’s kind of cool living there though.”
“And what about Jake? Are you still in touch with him?”
“Yes! He’s been awesome. So has his wife. I spent Thanksgiving with them at the beach. They treated me like family.”
“So, would you say Jake was your mentor?”
“Definitely,” Riley replied without hesitation. “I’m going back to stay with him this summer. He talked to Dr Marrs and I’m booked into JJL to record some stuff. The hope is we can pull together an EP or something. We’ll see where that goes.”
“So what does the immediate future hold for you. What’s next?”
“After the tour later this month, I need to focus on finishing school. One of the conditions of staying in New York with Garrett is that I maintain a B+ grade average and graduate from high school.”
“Sounds like a sensible condition. You’re in sensible hands there.”
“Oh, I am!” Riley gushed. “Garrett is more strict with me than my Dad ever was. Jake also keeps a close eye on my grades.”
“And where do you see yourself a year from now?”
“Singing, playing and writing music,” replied Riley before draining the last of her coffee.
“Thanks for your time today.”
“And thanks for lunch. This has been fun.”

I walked Riley back across to the music store. As we walked and talked, she let slip that Garrett was also giving her music lesson and that she had an essay to finish for her History class.
This young rising star is somewhat of an enigma. On the one hand, she’s a very confident musician then on the other, she’s a normal teenage girl fretting about her homework assignment. If she puts as much dedication into her studies as she did into her performance last year on stage at the Gramercy Theater then she should have no issues maintaining and exceeding that B+ grade average.
Details of Garrett Court’s forthcoming tour are available on his website and tickets are on sale now. I’ve already got my ticket and strongly advise you to grab yours before these shows sell out.

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(images sourced via Google – credits to the owners)

2019 the end is in sight…..

2020 looking forward

As the end of the year approaches, there are two choices- look back and reflect on the year that’s coming to a close or look forward to the year that is about to dawn.

Personally, I’ll look forward if that’s ok with you.

I’m looking forward to sunrises, sunsets, beach walks and new paths to travel.

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Oh… and the goal for 2020?

It’s a simple one….to write the last part of the Silver Lake series.

Happy New Year to each and every one of you. Thanks for the love and support and I look forward to sharing the journey through 2020 with you.

love n hugs

Coral xx

 

 

A Little Piece of Silver Lake for Christmas

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Sitting at the kitchen table, Melody was very carefully writing her letter to Santa Claus. On the opposite side of the table, Lori was helping Jesse with his letter. At only three years old, the little boy couldn’t write yet so Lori had helped him to cut out the pictures of the toys he wanted to ask Santa for from the flyer that had been in the Sunday newspaper. For once the little boy was content to sit still and use the glue stick to add his Christmas wishes to the sheet of paper. Lori had already written “Dear Santa” at the top of the page and “love from Jesse” at the bottom, warning her son that the pictures had to fit in between.

“Hey,” called Jake from the doorway. “What’s going on in here?”

“We’re writing our Santa letters,” replied Melody, holding hers up for her daddy to see.

“Very neat, Miss M,” praised Jake with a smile. Like her mother, the little girl was a perfectionist. “Do you want to go into town to mail them after lunch?”

“Yes!” shrieked both kids loudly.

“Ok,” said Jake. “We’ll walk into town later. There’s a special Santa mail box near the bandstand.”

“Mommy, will you come too?” pleaded Jesse as he glued the last picture to his letter.

“No,” said Lori, putting the lid back on the glue stick. “I need to do some work this afternoon.”

“Daddy, can we go get hot chocolate with marshmallows after we mail our letters?” pleaded Melody, gazing up at him with his big blue eyes.

“Maybe.”

 

It had snowed over the area the night before, blanketing the beach and surrounding area in three inches of soft powdery snow. As he walked along the beach, Jake watched the kids run on up ahead, smiling as they occasionally pelted each other with snowballs. Every few yards they would flop down into the snow and make sandy snow angels. He smiled, treasuring the precious moments with his family. Both kids were over excited; both of them counting down the sleeps until Santa came.

“This way, you two!” he called as they reached the path that led up to boardwalk near Funland.

Much to his surprise, they both came running towards him, slipping their tiny hands into his without being asked.

“What are you wanting Santa to bring you?” asked Melody as they reached the boardwalk.

“Oh, I don’t know,” replied Jake, stalling for time. “Some new running shoes. Maybe a new guitar.”

“You’ve got lots of guitars, Daddy!” stated Jesse bluntly.

“And you’ve got lots of trains but you still asked Santa for another one, didn’t you?” teased Jake.

“I think Mommy wants a new computer,” said Melody, changing the subject. “She was calling hers some bad words.”

With a laugh, Jake admitted that Lori had indeed called her laptop some choice names after it crashed and deleted two days’ worth of work.

As the family group walked along the snow-covered boardwalk, the kids dragging Jake over to explore each of the small Christmas houses that had sprung up. The red Santa mailbox stood on the boardwalk opposite the bandstand, suitably lit and signposted.

Carefully, Jake removed the letters from his jacket pocket and handed them to the kids. Pulling his cell out too, he took some quick photos of them mailing them off to Santa then suggested that they pose beside the town’s large Christmas tree for more photos.

“Ok, guys,” he began as he slipped the phone back into his pocket. “Who wants hot chocolate?”

“Me! Me! Me!”

(Credits to the owner of the photo Elliot MacGuire Photography- photo is tagged)

If you want to catch up with all things Silver Lake then the links are below:

Amazon.com links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSQHG71

Shattered Hearts – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

 

 

Amazon.co.uk links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSQHG71

Shattered Hearts – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

 

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Have you got Christmas all wrapped up yet?

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It’s that time of year where your life is ruled by lists – gifts still to buy, food to buy, gifts to drop off, friends to visit ….. I could go on and on but you get the picture.

I decided to throw extra chaos into my Christmas preparations by heading off on a mini-UK tour doing 3 rock shows (more on that story another time) so life has been super busy over the last few days.

But, for this week, I’ll keep it short and simple.

Books make great last-minute gifts!  And they are a great shape to wrap and make the perfect present, especially if its all topped off with a festive bow.

If you’ve asked for a Kindle for Christmas, they are also quick and easy to download.

So, in case you’ve missed them, here’s a few links to help with that last-minute gift idea or to treat yourself to a good read to chill with on Boxing Day.

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Amazon.com links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Amazon.co.uk links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VXDSC1M

 

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Amazon.com links –

Impossible Depths https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0GS30K

Amazon.co.uk links –

Impossible Depths https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01C0GS30K

 

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Amazon.com links –

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSQHG71

 

Amazon.co.uk links –

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSQHG71

 

Plus there’s the recently released Shattered Hearts

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Amazon.com link

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

Amazon.co.uk.link

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

 

And let’s not forget about Ellen

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Amazon.com link

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FYHKR44

 

Amazon.co.uk link

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07FYHKR44

 

You can never have too many books!

 

 

 

 

Silently Watching at the Long Night’s Moon

 

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It was one of those rare crystal-clear sunny December days and the air around him was crisp, the cold biting on his cheeks. There wasn’t a living soul to be seen for miles. Eyes fixed on the road ahead, he ran. Mile after mile, he ran hard and fast, grateful for once to be free to run at his true pace, instead of running at a pace fitting of his physical age. He was angry. He was frustrated. He was scared… no, not scared… uncertain about what the future held for him.

Over the quarter of a century that he’d followed the monthly ritual to the letter, there had been many changes in his life. He’d watched his children grow up, leave school, graduate from university then venture out into the world on their own. Each of them had left home before they graduated in their chosen field; each of them had emigrated and were now scattered to the corners of the globe. Without them, the family home grew quiet. Fate dealt him a cruel blow when a short illness claimed his beloved wife. In the five years since her sudden death, the family home had grown empty, void of life. Now that he had finally retired from his job, his never-ending future stretched as endlessly in front of him as the road he was running along.

Life was lonely.

In all that time, he hadn’t aged a day. By the time he reached his late forties, he’d had to “fake” ageing to prevent questions being asked. Adding grey to his hair had been easy. Explaining the lack of wrinkles had been harder but he’d dismissed it as “good genes” to curious friends and colleagues. Hiding his physical abilities had been frustrating, to say the least.

Hiding his vampire urges had become a way of life. Initially, he’d used the excuse of “checking out a new trail” as a convenient cover story to travel further afield to hunt. He’d even resorted to creating fictitious non-local running buddies to allow him more freedom to seek out fresh blood. Now that he lived alone, he could come and go as he pleased. In his heart though, he missed the days of “lying” to his family about his excursions. Over time he had grown adept at covering his tracks, choosing his victims with great care.

Reaching the cattle grid, his chosen turning point, he turned for home, the sun now behind him as it sank lower in the sky. Pounding out the miles, he tried to ignore the two pain points on his back. Gradually over the weeks, the sites of his wing buds had grown hard and tender. Over the past few days, he had become aware of the skin stretching and tightening to the point of being painful. Now, as he pounded his way up the final steep section of his route, he felt the taut skin split and tear. He howled in pain across the empty landscape.

His wings had begun to emerge……….

 

Perched on the church roof, the dark angel sat watching the sun set. Over the years she had tried to nurture her fledging and ensure his safety but he had proved to be more strong-willed than she’d anticipated. In the early years, he had been an attentive student, proving to be a quick learner, but, once he mastered feeding himself, their paths had rarely crossed. With a heavy heart, she had been forced to watch from afar. Occasionally, she still followed him at a discrete distance purely for the pleasure of watching him hunt. There was a gracefulness to his movements that she had come to envy.

In her heart, the dark angel knew that she had broken many of the rules laid down by the Court of Elders when she had created him but she had gone to great lengths to keep her tracks well-hidden. To the best of her knowledge, they remained blissfully unaware of the runner’s existence.

And, for both their sakes, it had to remain that way.

A steady pounding rhythm echoed through her and she turned to gaze up the hill towards the railway bridge. Smiling, she sensed his return as he ran up the street towards his home.

Blood stained the back of his running top when he twisted to look in the bathroom mirror. He hadn’t really needed that reflection to tell him his shoulders were oozing blood. Carefully, he peeled the sweat-soaked t-shirt over his head, wincing as the soft material grazed the broken skin. As he stepped under the jet of hot water in the shower, he cried out in agony. He could almost feel the wings growing and bursting through. Could they really be developing so fast?

He hated to admit it but he needed to see her. Needed to see the dark angel.

Next morning, after an uncomfortable and largely sleepless night, he walked down the hill towards the graveyard. He’d picked up a small white pebble from a plant pot beside his front door and was turning it over and over in his hand as he walked.

It had been almost three years since he’d last summoned her……

When he reached the cemetery, he bounded up the steps then walked purposefully towards the bench, placing the pebble in the centre of the slatted seat.

Without a backwards glance, he headed home to wait.

Late afternoon, as he enjoyed a cigarette in the garden, he watched the sky redden as the sun set. As the yellows turned to gold then red, he wondered how long it would take the dark angel to respond to his signal.

Sensing a subtle movement in the air behind him, he spun around.

“Son of Perran,” greeted the angel warmly. “It’s been a long time.”

Glancing round, he checked that there were no lights on in any of the neighbouring houses and that none of his neighbours were in their gardens.

“Relax,” she purred. “The shadow’s hiding my presence from prying eyes.”

“Come inside,” he invited, indicating the open back door.

“No, thank you,” she declined politely. “I prefer to remain outside. Now, you summoned me?”

He nodded.

“Are you going to tell me why or am I going to have to guess?”

“Come inside and I’ll show you.”

“If I must,” she muttered, reluctantly following the runner into the house.

With a small smile, he watched as the dark angel wandered around his kitchen, a curious look on her face. She ran her slender hand over his granite countertops almost marvelling at their smoothness.

“Not what I expected,” she murmured before turning to face her fledging. “Now, what did you need to show me? I’m sure it wasn’t your kitchen.”

“This,” he said as he pulled his loose hooded sweatshirt over his head.

Slowly, he turned around and stood with his back to her.

“Oh,” she said, taking a step towards him.

From the two designated spots in the Celtic tattoo that spanned his shoulders, two small wings were forming. Having burst through the skin twenty-four hours earlier, his wings were now growing rapidly. Already the first feathers were clearly visible.

“Well, are you going to magic me up a potion to reverse this fuckup?” he growled as he felt her run her cool hand over his blossoming wings.

“No.”

“No?” he echoed sharply. “What do you mean no?”

“Son of Perran, I told you twenty-five years ago that there was nothing else I could do,” she explained.

“So, what am I meant to do?”

“Let them grow. Let them flourish,” she said casually before adding, “Then learn to fly.”

“Fly?” he yelled. “Fly? You think I want to fucking learn to fly? How am I meant to live with wings? Please tell me that.”

“Enough, child!” she snapped, her patience finally worn thin. “The time has come to accept who and what you are! For over a quarter of a century, I’ve watched over you. I’ve taught you. Some lessons you learned better than others. Now though, you are on your own. I can’t protect you anymore.”

Pulling her own majestic wings around her, the dark angel moved towards the open door.

“Wait!” he called out.

She paused.

Taking a deep breath to calm his anger before his Rabbia Sanguigna surfaced, he said, “I appreciate that you’ve tried to help me after this transformation went wrong. I do. I know I broke some of the rules but they were rules you never told me about until it was too late. So, humour me a few moments more, please.”

With her green eyes blazing with ager, the dark angel nodded.

“How long will these things take to grow?”

“About a week.”

“How easy is it to use them?”

“You’re athletic. It’ll come easily to you.”

“Is there anything else you should have told me or taught me before now?”

His last question hung in the air. For a moment or two, he wondered if she was going to answer him then she bowed her head.

“Son of Perran, I have failed you,” she spoke slowly. “I broke many rules when I created you. A price will need to be paid in time. For now, my final piece of advice to you is to leave. Go into hiding. Avoid large gatherings. Avoid cities.”

Before he could reply, she slipped out of the door.

When he went to look for her, she was gone.

Closing the door, he realised that the time had come and that he needed to move on. The time had come to close up the family home indefinitely and move into his private “bolthole.”

Several years before he had seized a rare property opportunity and purchased one of the fisherman’s huts on the shoreline. Over time, he had renovated the semi-derelict building, ensuring that it was water-tight, warm and furnished then he had left it empty.

The time had finally come to take up residence.

Over the course of a week, he put his affairs in order, circulated a rumour that he was going travelling now that he had retired then began to sort through his belongings. He kept it simple – keep, leave or trash. There had been numerous trips to the local recycling centre as he disposed of his old life box by box. Under the cover of darkness, he carried the boxes of belongings to be kept down the narrow, overgrown path from the main road to the hut.

As the days passed, it felt to him that the more of his old life he eliminated, the more his wings flourished.

By the following Thursday, under the watchful eye of the Long Night’s full moon, he left the family home for the final time with a heavy heart but without a backwards glance.

It was almost midnight by the time he had walked from the village to the hut. He had sold his car earlier in the day, handing the keys over with a wrench of pain rattling through his soul. It had seemed the more sensible option to travel along the longer, darker coastal path, feeling secure in the knowledge that most of the journey could pass unnoticed in the shelter of the forest.

Under the cover of the trees, he didn’t need to hide his wings. Despite his initial disgust at their growth, he had to concede that, now fully formed, they were majestic, rivalling the dark angel’s. Much to his amazement, the feathers had grown in varying shades of russet, brown and gold, their tips a bright emerald green. In a twist of fate, their colouring reflected the colours of nature that he loved among the trails that he ran so relentlessly.

He breathed a sigh of relief when the low hut finally came into view. Luck had been on his side and he hadn’t seen another living soul since leaving his former home behind him. As he unlocked the door, he glanced out across the still river, marvelling at the full moon’s perfect reflection on its glassy surface. A familiar warmth welcomed him into his new home.

Using only the light of the moon, he busied himself unpacking the last box of personal effects that he had brought from the family home. The last item to be lifted from the box was a framed photo of his wife and children. It had been taken on their last family holiday. Precious memories of those two weeks in the sun made him smile as he set the frame on the shelf beside the bed.

An unfamiliar noise outside spooked him. Every sense was suddenly on alert. He glanced out of the small side window across the enclosed courtyard adjacent to the hut. Beyond the boundary wall, there was a bench that sat on the grassy verge facing the river.

A hooded figure sat there alone.

With his heart pounding in his chest, he stepped outside to investigate.

If the midnight visitor heard him approach, they gave no outward sign until he was two strides away from the bench then they looked up. Even in the pale moonlight, he could tell the cloaked figure was a beautiful blonde woman. She was staring at him with piercing glacier blue eyes.

“Son of Perran?” she asked, her voice soft but almost void of any discernible accent.

Slowly, he nodded.

“Sit. We need to talk.”

 

(imaged sourced via Google – credits to the owner)