Short WritingsPosted by Elizabeth Mills Mon, June 24, 2013 21:01:41
Dawn. The orange sun streaming
in low, slanting shafts through the leafy tops cast a dappled light
upon the forest floor. I had been awake since the
first glow, and had searched for the colours I needed. Before me lay
my collection: purple and yellow flowers, green slime from the pool
and dry, powdered ash from the embers of the fire.
The Priestess would expect me
soon. Carefully I smeared my face and body with the colours, and
plaited my long black hair. I could hear the tribe gathering around
the holy stone, for today, on my eleventh birthday, I would play my
part in the future of my people. I alone held the key to their
I heard their voices beginning
the ancient incantation, and I rose and slowly walked into the
clearing, naked before all the tribe. When I reached the holy stone,
I knelt before the Priestess. She placed her hands on my head and
began her invocation, calling the spirits to grant me power.
When her blessing was finished,
I climbed the steps and lay on my back upon the stone, with my arms
by my side and my knees raised.
voices of the tribe raised in the rhythmic, hypnotic chant,
accompanied by a clapping of hands, and I heard the ancestors
whispering in my head. The Priestess stood by my side, directing the
prayer, her hands waving back and forth across my body.
She smiled at me and asked if I
was ready for the great responsibility entrusted in me. Filled with
pride I nodded, and as the chant reached its crescendo she plunged
her knife deep into my heart.
Short WritingsPosted by Elizabeth Mills Sun, March 25, 2012 23:48:52
Daisy And The Dragon, a
Pantomime © December 2010 Elizabeth Mills
There is a school of thought
that contends that the legend of Saint George was usurped by his followers from a
much earlier account. The tale of Daisy And The Dragon was rooted in
popular folklore long before the English Patron Saint Committee met
to choose someone to symbolise the nation's strength and bravery. In
that previous version, the dragon was a hideously deformed creature
owned by a particularly unsavoury tax collector from Surrey, and the
slayer's name was Daisy. Sadly, after much discussion over many brown
ales at the King's Head, the committee felt that the name Daisy was
just too, well, girly, so they made up a story that involved damsels
and swords and a frankly ridiculous reptile.
To set the record straight, here
is the true account of Daisy and the Dragon.
Daisy was a lad of fourteen, who
lived in an age when poor people had to work to survive, even if they
suffered from, like, stress and nerves and stuff like that, you know?
His parents, bless them, were uneducated, and knew not what they did
when they chose the name Daisy for him.
He was a simple serf; he owned
no land, and made his meagre living from labouring day and night for
his master, Baron Roast of Ruislip. The noble lord had become very
rich and fat by falsifying the accounts of the taxes he raised for
the King, and pocketing a sizeable chunk for himself. He accrued a
huge estate, and ruled over his workers with sadistic greed, aided by
his servant, Split.
Some information about Split
would be beneficial at this point. Opinions vary as to whether or not
he was human or animal, or both. He was huge, and incredibly ugly,
and though he walked upon his hind legs, he did so with a stoop and a
sliding motion, like he was dragging something along behind him.
Whenever Lord Roast set him upon some unfortunate soul, that person
fled in terror, with Split lolloping in lazy pursuit. Though the
creature always returned, his victims were never seen again, and no
trace of them was ever found. The people called him The Dragon, on
account of his strength and bad breath.
Daisy had a heavy
responsibility. As well as supporting himself, he also had to look
after his little sister, Bruce, and keep her hidden from the evil
lord, who had ordered all girl babies to be drowned at birth. Daisy's
parents had disappeared a year earlier, following a visit from Split,
and he was left alone to care for her.
One day, bad Baron Roast was
patrolling his lands, riding on Stephen, one of his magnificent
stallions, with Split at his side, when he came upon the field where
Daisy lived and worked.
Daisy was busy, tilling the land
or whatever it is serfs do. He looked up when his master arrived and
saw with dismay that Bruce was playing outside their mud hut, smiling
at the funny man on his horsey horsey.
He threw down his serfing stick
thing and ran to his sister's side, courageously confronting the lord
and his monstrous henchman, who both glared at him.
“You have been hiding a
girl-child from me,” accused the Baron, his podgy, brown face
contorted with anger. “She has been eating food you should have
given to me. For that you will both die.”
(At this point the audience hiss
and boo, and the Baron turns to face them.)
“You'll be next, if you don't
(Derisive laughter and more
“You will have to catch us
first,” shouted Daisy, snatching up the frail body of his tiny
sibling and running into the woods.
The Baron turned to Split and
nodded, and the creature loped off towards the woods where Daisy and
Bruce had disappeared.
In the darkness under the canopy
of trees, the children ran, panting, trying to get as far away as
possible. They knew these woods well, and made good progress, but
they soon heard the sounds of Split smashing his way through the
thick undergrowth behind them.
Daisy knew they would stand no
chance against the brutal strength of the mutant, and only his wits
and knowledge could save them. Quickly, he circled the swamp, then
stopped on the far side, waiting for Split to appear. He did not have
to wait long before the ugly brute burst out of the thicket, only
fifty feet away. Split skidded to a stop when he saw the children,
and let out a great blood-curdling roar.
“Well,” shouted Daisy,
sounding braver than he felt. “What are you waiting for? Come and
Split lurched towards them,
splashing through the shallow waters at the edge of the swamp. By the
time he realised he was sinking deeper into thick mud it was too
late. He was stuck. He could not move forwards or back and, as his
head sank beneath the black, bubbling waters, he gave a great bellow
of rage, which was suddenly cut off by the sludge into which he
Daisy and Bruce hugged each
other with joy, then set off to walk to London to tell the king about
the evil Baron, but that's another story.
Short WritingsPosted by Elizabeth Mills Sun, January 01, 2012 21:40:51
The Voices © December
2010 Elizabeth Mills
The gentle waves lapped
upon the shore. Jack sat on a rock and watched them, as he did every
day. They weren't always so peaceful. Sometimes they were wild and
angry, rising in towering, menacing surges, then hurling themselves,
exploding against the rocks in heavy clouds of spray. He knew their
every mood. He had seen them cold and grey like slate, and he had
seen them glimmer like sapphires and diamonds in the evening sun.
He was old, now, but the
sea had been the biggest part of his life since he was a child. Oh,
those days when he had waited on the jetty with mam for his pa to
return. Sometimes hours would pass before they saw the gyrating brown
sails of the fishing boats, struggling against the tide and wind to
creep carefully through the harbour mouth into the calm waters
within. Then his father would step ashore, still swaying from the
motion of the deck, sweep him up in his huge arms and hold him and
mam close for wonderful long moments, before they walked home
As the years passed, Jack
grew into manhood, and eventually went to sea himself. He became a
fisherman, too, then a skipper. It was the life to which he had been
born. And when the war broke out, of course, he took his sailing
skills onto the fighting ships.
For three years he
crossed and recrossed the Atlantic Ocean, protecting convoys from
the enemy predators, seeking out the hunters and hunting them down.
Submarines arrived, hidden and silent in the black depths,
despatching their deadly torpedoes at the merchant ships. Though they
hid beneath the waves, Jack developed a sense of their movements,
felt their vibrations through the deck, smelt them in the air. Then,
when he found them, he destroyed them. He was admired by the other
commanders and loved by his crew. They knew they were safe with him,
that he cared for them as brothers.
Jack smiled at the
recollection, remembering the comradeship and the hardships, the
celebrations and the heartaches.
Then, as they always did,
the other memories returned: the two explosions that rocked the ship
and threw everyone off their feet; the flames, red and gold that
leapt out from below and burned your clothes from your body, and then
seared your skin black in seconds; the dark, acrid smoke that whirled
and choked; the creaking and crashing as the hull collapsed. But
worst of all, he heard again the screams of his friends, trapped,
He lived again his
desperate attempts to rescue trapped men, saw again the faces of the
dreadfully wounded colleagues as he carried them to the lifeboat,
knowing they would not survive. And, as he always did, he cried.
Turpin, his First Officer, “Randy” O'Brien, the best radio
operator he ever knew, Tommy Fielding, Albert Farrell, all gone.
Brave men, who risked their lives time after time to bring the
urgently-needed food and supplies from America to keep the nation
going through that terrible war.
He heard their voices
again, talking, laughing. They called to him from the depths,
beckoning him. He longed to be with them once more.
As if in a dream, he
stood up and began to walk. When he reached the line of foam that
swept backwards and forwards at the water's edge, he continued,
feeling nothing except the loneliness of his heart, hearing nothing
but the voices of his friends. He did not stop when the warm waves
brushed against his legs, nor when they lifted him from his feet. All
he felt was the hands of Dick and Randy, Tommy and Albert, taking his
arms and leading him back to the bridge of his ship, and he heard the
cheers of the whole crew as he arrived, back where he belonged.
Short WritingsPosted by Elizabeth Mills Sun, January 01, 2012 21:29:02
The Day I Met The Queen © October
2010 Elizabeth Mills
My name is Ralph; you might have
met me. If you go to the cinema or the theatre, it might have been me
what took your ticket and tore it in half, then directed you to your
I love my job, because sometimes
I get to work backstage and meet the stars. I have worked in lots of
places: the Odeon, Leicester Square; the Gaumont, Edinburgh; the
Marina Theatre, Lowestoft; but the best one of all is the London
Palladium. Oh, that is a grand place, with a lot of class. All the
walls are covered with maroon flock wallpaper, and the pillars have
golden angels. All the top acts have been to the Palladium: singers,
actors, comedians, rock groups and dancers, and I have met quite a
few of them.
Once a year, there is the
biggest show of all, The Royal Variety Show. That is a very busy day,
and all the staff are called in, including the volunteers like me. I
like it specially, because I get to see Her Majesty The Queen really
close. Of course, she doesn't have a ticket to tear, but I always
stand near to the door of the Royal Box, so I can see her arrive and
leave. I love the Queen, she has a beautiful smile. The others at the
home laugh at me, because I always get excited when she is coming,
but I don't care.
One year, I had to help the
stage hands with some difficult props, so I wasn't by the royal box
when she arrived, or when she left, and I didn't see her at all; I
was very disappointed. When the show ended, I sat on a box and cried.
One of the stars saw me sitting
there and asked me what was wrong. When I told him, he said not to
worry, he could fix it for me to see her, but I must promise to keep
it a secret.
I was so excited, as he led me
through the passages and tunnels of the Palladium, that I didn't
realise where I was when we stopped behind a queue of people. My
friend told me to stand up straight and look smart, and the next
thing there was flashlights going off everywhere, and suddenly she
was there, Her Majesty The Queen, shaking hands with my friend. The
producer was with her, and a moment later, they was standing in front
“And this is . . . er . . .”
said the producer, staring at me in puzzlement.
“Ralph, ma’am,” I said,
and she smiled as she held out her hand.