JUSTIFICATION

A REEDSY PROMPT

Write a myth to explain a mysterious part of life (such as what happens after death).

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JUSTIFICATION

by John Yeo

 

  I heard it from my Father, who heard it from his Father. The origins of the tale go far back in the mists of time. Apparently, the saying goes that a horse with a horn situated in his nasal area, actually raised his head and spoke. Of course at that particular period in time, nobody understood what he had tried to say.

The Shaman, as the wisest person present, led the creature into a small field attached to his hut. A little later a loud whinny was heard by the assembled villagers. A sound that was enough to send shivers down the spines of the hardest-hearted person there.  

Soon the Shaman came into view and sternly said ‘It is finished.’  

Wiping the blood from a huge sacrificial knife, he said. ‘We must end the line of animals that presume to be equal to us by talking.’

The Chief of the village then came forward and addressed his subjects. ‘Kill any horse born with a horn. Especially the creatures that have the temerity to attempt to speak.’

There was a murmur of approval and cheers from the assembled villagers.

 Following this major event, almost every horse born with a horn was slaughtered.

  I say almost, as there were survivors. A group of three of these unusual animals were corralled and secreted in a valley surrounded by dense jungle.

 Danito, who lived with his woman and lifelong partner Marita were isolated from the rest of their neighbours and treated these lovely creatures as equals. Marita even learned to speak to them in a basic but quite fluent way.

 The Shaman was quite sure that the Chief’s instructions had been carried out and the unusual creatures were gone.

 Until the special day, Marita’s Father decided to pay her a visit to celebrate her birthday. Marita knew her Father was a mystical man, although she hadn’t seen him for many years, she welcomed this visit.

 Unbeknown to Danito and Marita the person who arrived was the Shaman, who happened to be Marita’s Father.

  Suffice to say, when the Shaman had greeted his daughter, there was a huge welcome and a feast was consumed. With wine served from the horns of a strange animal.

    ‘What meat is this?’ asked the Shaman.

  Marita replied, ‘This is the meat of our friendly animals who die and return to us supplying an endless supply of food. We have grown to know them and they have proved there is life after death, by returning in many different forms. Sometimes they come back with wings and fly away. Father, there will always be life after death in one form or another, once we leave this husk of a body behind.’

 The Shaman was overwhelmed with this and kept the secret of his daughter’s location.

 So the story of life after death began as the slaughter continued and the creatures came back in many forms. Sometimes absolutely unrecognizable.

  Thus was born the myth that is fine to eat the meat of animals as they always come back to life after death, in another form.

 

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

 

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BLISSSFUL BLASPHEMY

A prompt response for Master Class ~ Assignment ~ Blissful blasphemy

http://ourwriteside.com/category/prompts/master-class/

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Blissful Blasphemy

by John Yeo

   Horace stumbled as he entered the local bar and nodded to the landlord.

        “You OK mate?” enquired the landlord anxiously. “You seem to be a bit unsteady on your feet! Careful there Sir. What can I get you?”

Horace spat on the wooden floor and glared at the man behind the bar.

        “I’m OK, I tripped over your bloody carpet. I’ve half a mind to sue your establishment.” was the aggressive retort.

  Horace opened his grubby raincoat to reveal a mud-splattered pair of trousers tied up with string around the waist. He pulled a paper bag from his pocket and removed a bundle of notes, peeling off a tenner, he placed it on the bar and said, “Get me a beer.”

  It was then the landlord was overcome with the odours emanating from Horace’s clothes. Stale beer mingled with many other questionable smells that put him in mind of a refugee from a pig farm.
Two or three other customers in the bar instinctively moved to one side as this horrible odour arose and wafted around the bar.

      “Phew!” exclaimed Alphonse the local car dealer, to his glamorous wife Estelle.
“Drink up my love, let’s get out of here before we catch something nasty. I really don’t know what this place is coming to.”

The landlord then interrupted and addressed Horace, quite bluntly.

      “Get out of here you stinking freak! I refuse to serve you. You are already pissed out of your head.”

At this, Horace let rip with a tirade of curses and threats, beginning and ending with the questionable birthright of obnoxious barstewards.

Alphonse said to his wife Estelle. “Come on darling. Let’s go, we don’t have to put up with this tirade of blasphemous language.”

Then, a voice from the corner of the bar that seemed to come from behind a cloud of smoke piped up.

      “When cursing or profanity is uttered colloquially, it is a sin that can be forgiven as a common sin against decency. Punishment should be meted out in response to the level of harm done.”

The landlord then turned and addressed the stranger in the corner.

      “Father if I put a boot up this filthy mouthed drunks rear as I eject him from the premises, will this be punishment enough for his insolence?”

   “Allow me to speak to the gentleman, I’d like to get to the bottom of this.” Responded the Priest.

     “Go ahead.” said the landlord, “As long as you get rid of him for me.”

      “Excuse me, Sir, I feel you have many problems to be resolved. I noticed your obvious wealth when you left that money on the bar. I would like to offer you a drink of tea at the rectory and a chat.”

With a snarl and another tirade of the vilest blasphemy that had ever come close to assaulting the ears of the Priest. Horace staggered out the door, followed by the landlord who landed the sharpest boot up the oblivious tramps rear end.

A few days later a letter arrived from a firm of city lawyers, containing a summons for the landlord to answer charges of common assault on one Squire Horace Batchelor.

The Priest wasn’t surprised at this turn of events as he was heard to mutter to himself. “Blasphemy can sometimes lead to a state of blissful serenity brought on by the proceeds of ill-gotten gains .”

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

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FUTURE HERALDRY

A prompt response for Inspiration Monday ~

ANGEL INVESTOR

http://bekindrewrite.com

 

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Image © John and Margaret

 

FUTURE HERALDRY

by John Yeo

      Horace Weatherall was an extremely successful industrialist, a man who had made millions from his own efforts. Now Lord Horace, since he had received an honour from her Majesty the Queen, he wished to fulfil a need to pass on something special to his children.
  At a meeting of the brightest minds in his organisation he laid out his plans to procure and institute a brand new heraldic presence, for his family’s future.

    “The design must be technologically perfect, something that will stand the test of time and never date!” Said Lord Horace emphatically.

    “OK Boss, I will get the finest minds we can find on the job and see what we can do.” replied Steve. “It could be expensive as the designs will be extensive and intricate, some of these so-called creatives charge the earth for the simplest of designs.”

   Steve Smithers his project manager spoke for the whole brainstorming team present on this occasion.

    “Now look here Smithers , money’s no object to me! Just get the design together, I want my heraldic fingerprint to resound through time forever.”

  “Yes Sir!”

  Six months later in May 2017, in a field in Kent in the garden of England several new heraldic designs were on display awaiting judgement from Sir Horace for the finest most futuristic design. A design that would adorn the industrial battlements of the Horace Weatherall foundation. Every item connected to the company would be adorned with the future company crest.

  The Knights were awaiting the signal and soon they paraded before his Lordship colourfully adorned with the most incredible heraldic livery.

  Thumbs were firmly down, for design after design, as Sir Horace dismissed almost every creative idea, until just two futuristic knights remained. Both knights were in such fabulous attire they reeked of historical futuristic significance, yet bade fair to make an illuminating lasting mark on the immediate future.

  “I find it impossible to make a decision, both designs are equally suitable. I suggest a bloodless jousting tournament between two sets of knights defending their colours. May the best side win and I will offer much gold to the victor and the designers.”

  Cheers resounded around the Kentish field as the tournament began.

  Black and Gold, versus White and Sapphire.

  Soon a silence fell as the match began and the first chess pieces were silently moved across the board. Knight after Knight toppled the pawns and the Bishops on either side as the battle was waged.
Then the final joust as two knights remained on the field. Soon the White and Sapphire knight thundered towards the opponent and it was all over. Sir Horace put his thumbs together steepled his hands in a gesture of pure admiration for both Knights.
    “I choose both heraldic designs, to be flooded throughout the company. We will alternate the designs on a biannual basis. Checkmate on both sides to commemorate a drawn match.”

   At the end of the day the two designs were amalgamated to become one fantastic work of heraldic art that lasted until the sun set on the last day of the future.

 

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

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THE AFTERMATH

The Aftermath 

by John Yeo

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The four walls of a large empty house, can be dreadful to a lady of quality. Since the Admiral had passed on to the high seas of the unknown, his good lady was left high and dry, as it were. Elspeth was terribly upset and it was several months of wearing the required mourning black, and privately drowning her feelings in waves of tears, before she was able to begin to socialise again. Her two children and their families had been wonderful, rallying around and visiting her sporadically, but over the months the visits became more and more infrequent. Then the terrible, shockingly unbearable, loneliness, began to set in. Every knock at the door of the large four bedroomed, detached house, set well back from the road, sent a jolt of expectation resounding through her very being.

 Elspeth missed Admiral Theo, her dearly beloved husband, tremendously; she missed the sociable rounds of meetings with the officer’s wives and the pomp and ceremony of the Naval get-togethers.

  Elspeth wasn’t strictly a religious person. Devout in her own unique way, she would attend church when the need arose. This always seemed to coincide to the times when her feelings of abject loneliness began to take hold and she needed to reach out for human contact.
 The fact was, Elspeth was on the verge of an unmentionable solution to her myriad problems of lonely heart wrenching solitude. 

 One Sunday, a new face appeared in the pews of the fairly isolated village church and a lady dressed in dramatic black arrived alone. Elspeth immediately approached and introduced herself, sensing a kindred spirit.
  “Hi! I’m Elspeth: You’re new here. A warm welcome to you, come and join me on my pew. We must have a chat after the service. They serve a wonderful cup of tea here.” 
     “Oh! Of course. Thank you so much, I would like that it will be so nice to have someone to talk to. I’m Gill, I have downsized our house and I have moved into a cottage along Honeysuckle Lane.”
     “Welcome Gill.” whispered Elspeth, At that moment the Priest led the choir down the aisle to commence the service.
 Elspeth’s mind was racing during the service, she sensed a friendship forming that could blossom into something that could change her life, rescuing her from the intolerable loneliness she had endured recently.
  The two ladies met and conversed intimately after the service. Finding they had a great deal in common, Gill said.

       “Why don’t you come and have some lunch? You will be welcome to join me before I leave.”
 Elspeth instantly agreed, however her face fell when her new found friends words sank in and she realised the implications.
      “You are leaving!” She interjected quickly. “”Already, it seems you have just arrived. Where are you going?”
       “Oh! I’m going on a long sea cruise to the Caribbean, I don’t believe in letting my sorrows overwhelm me. I intend to take the bull by the horns and live life to the full! We only buried my poor darling, Henry a month ago and it has been such a rush moving house and now getting ready for this cruise. Henry and I talked about going on a cruise a year ago and I know he will be with me in spirit all the way.”
  This stunned Elspeth to the core. ’A cruise! I hadn’t thought of anything like that.’ she mused…. 

Then she thought, ‘Dare I? What would people think of me if I suddenly announced I was off on a cruise? What about the children and my adorable grandchildren? Rags, my faithful four-legged friend is bound to miss me.’ 
Then she was about to speak, when Gill suddenly said.

     “Why don’t you join me? I am sure the cruise line could find room for you. They have some spare cabins and we don’t leave for a couple of weeks. Plenty of time to make some fast arrangements.”
       “Wow! Let me think things through Gill, I’m tempted to say yes straight away. Anything to get away from this lonely life, however I must speak to the children, although I don’t see much of them these days.”
    “Sure thing.” replied Gill. “Look,” she continued. “I’ll phone the cruise line and see if they will fit you in, I’m sure they will. You speak to your family, and if you are ready. Let’s go and have some fun.”
   Finally these two new friends, who had hit it off so well from the start accompanied one another on that first sea cruise together. Thus began the many highs and lows and scrapes and narrow escapes of our two sailing friends who traversed the world on the high seas together. 

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

 

THE RELENTLESS SEA

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The Relentless Sea

by John Yeo

  Driftwood, bobbing and bouncing on the top of the waves, was the first clue that Old Tom had claimed another unwary, unsuspecting victim.
Our hearts sank whenever large spars of wood came drifting in on the foamy, relentless, rough waves in exceptionally stormy weather.
Old Tom was the name given by the locals over many centuries to a line of cliffs that were hidden at the entrance to the harbour. Obscured from the sight of incoming vessels by the high waters. There was a large rock, shaped like a giant, hence the name and the well deserved ugly reputation.
Several battered suitcases and wooden barrels arrived bobbing into the waiting arms of the people lining the shore. These wrecks always drew a crowd of locals searching for the remains.
This wreckage seemed to be different than the usual detritus that floated into shore.

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  “I wonder if there were many lives lost out there this time. Last time Old Tom claimed twenty-nine. I hear we must be thankful for small mercies, the rocky arms of Old Tom have embraced many of our enemies in the past and saved us from invaders.” Billy Martindale said to his wife Josie.

   Josie looked pale and drawn, dragged from her customary hard routine of caring for their home, she had always accompanied her husband to lend assistance if there was a shipwreck.
“I sincerely hope not!” she replied.

  Billy and Josie had lived on the cliffs of this perilous coastline for thirty five years, a harsh way of life, that both of them had learned to accept the hard way, as they knew no other. They had two sons Bert and Jack, who had long since left the safety of their home and gone to sea.

The first of the dead floated in.

  Josie gasped, “It’s a baby! Oh no! Look Billy.”

  Then another group of bodies were washed up on the shore. These were families, and the horror set in as the extent of this tragedy began to slowly unfold.

The Coastguards and the Lifeboats returned to shore after a fruitless search for survivors.
The newspapers reported another boatload of refugee asylum seekers had been drowned that day off the rugged, rocky coast.
At the final tally, Old Ben had claimed another forty nine lives.
Sadly the horrors that drove these people to seek sanctuary, seem so ongoing and insoluble that we can only pray for future peace and goodwill in this world.

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved 

SOMNAMBULANCIA

A prompt response for Inspiration Monday ~ THE CITY THAT ALWAYS SLEEPS

http://bekindrewrite.com

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SOMNAMBULACIA

by John Yeo

  The airship landed with a series of bumps that shook the passengers as they were drifting in and out of a querulous doze.

     “Follow the illuminated signs to the customs and the check out points.” suggested the friendly steward.

   As the passengers landed and filed down the steps leading into the terminal they became conscious of an eerie silence. There wasn’t a sound to be heard, even the wind seemed to be holding its breath.

   The first thing that caught the attention was a huge notice that welcomed visitors to the Silent City of “Somnambulancia.”

   The Captain of the airship arranged for some pods to be offloaded to an awaiting fleet of robot controlled vehicles. These were the passengers who were booked to be taken directly to isolation sleeping areas. The remainder of the passengers were in a permanent state of deep somnambulant alternative consciousness.
These citizens were returning to their homes to continue with their lives of total hibernation. Never actually waking but loving, eating, breathing and reproducing in a permanent state of somnambulance.

   This was the inbred way of life for this planetary society. The children were born with the sleeping gene and sleepwalked their way through life, becoming adults in a state of permanent semi-consciousness.

   Yet these people were the fiercest fighters the known universe has ever seen. Living life in a dream they had no scruples about how they looked in reality. Pain is never felt quite in the same way when you are asleep.

    Storms are not experienced ……

      “John!”

  The heavens speak a different language in the land of Somnambulancia…

        “John! Wake up you’ll be late for work…”

   The airship had suddenly disappeared as if one reality had swallowed up another reality.

          “John, get out of bed at once and eat your breakfast, or you will be late.”

        “Morning Mother!”

 

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

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ORPHAN

This article was written for “QUINTET,” our Parish magazine, requesting submissions on the theme of  ~ What’s in a Name?

 

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Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

WHAT’S IN A NAME

ORPHAN

by John Yeo

   Our name is the handle by which we are handled.
The childhood is a time of a happy innocent vulnerability. My early childhood was spent in idyllic peaceful happiness, I was an only child brought up by two wonderful parents. Tom, my father was a gentleman farmer. This self-styled title always amused him as he worked from dawn to dusk on the land.

    “I’m a farmer and a gentleman, ask my wife Molly, how gentle I am.”
My Mother, Molly would gently smile and nod in agreement.

  What’s in a name? Certainly a contradiction, as far as my Dad was concerned.

    “Aren’t gentlemen supposed to be rich and lead a luxurious, cushioned wealthy life?” I asked grinning. At eight years old I was as sharp as a razor and very cheeky.

    “Come on Tom-junior eat your tea. Mind you finish those greens they are the secret of good health.” said my Mum smiling broadly.
Mum was a hard worker helping Dad on the farm. She somehow found the time to support the local WI. Sometimes the farmhouse would resound with her ladies busy chatting together, earnestly discussing matters of great importance.

   Such was our family’s happy life until the day of that terrible road accident that changed my life forever. We were out for a Sunday drive to the next village to visit my Uncle Bob when a huge tractor pulling a trailer full of heavy logs crashed into our tiny family car. My Mum and Dad were killed instantly and I was trapped…. Upside down in the back seat; still alive.

    At that moment my life was to change forever, I instantly became an eight-year-old orphan and a problem for the Social services. Uncle Bob and Aunt Millie took care of me for a few weeks but they were unable to make this a permanent arrangement as they had four children and very little space.

    I had become an orphan, now this is a name that due to our vivid Victorian literature has become irrevocably linked to poverty and pity. A state of unwantedness that generated much hardship and sorrow.

     I was fostered by several kindly families at the start of my new station in life and finally, I was adopted by a nice family.

    Mr. and Mrs. Smithers and their four children, all boys older than me, lived in a huge sprawling house in an acre of beautiful gardens with woods and fields stretching towards the horizon.

     The next few months passed in a blur as I quickly became accustomed to my new station in life. It was a slow degenerative process as I became that orphan, who was not really one of us. Quite unworthy to be a real part of the family. I was bullied by the children and ignored by their parents except for when I was expected to wait on them.

     “That boy will do the work! The orphan will clear the table!” said Mrs. Smithers.

 Somehow I had become a person without a name, a legal slave, fed and watered and expected to wait on the family hand and foot.

      ‘The orphan will do the job!” Was the favourite saying of the oldest son, a cruel vindictive fellow.

  I became insecure and frightened to get up in the morning. I refused to go to school in case I said something that would get me in trouble at home later.

     Eventually, I ran away and made my way back to my childhood family home. I was shy and reluctant to knock on the front door and I made my way around the back. A dog started barking loudly and a lady who I vaguely recognised, exclaimed;

    “Hello young Tom junior; what are you doing here? Come inside and have some tea.”
  At that I burst into tears, this was the first time I had encountered such familiar kindness for ages.

     “You must recognise me I am Rose, we used to come here for our WI meetings to see your Mum. My hubby and I bought the farm. Don’t cry Tom, come inside you are welcome.”

    That was five years ago now. I shudder at the memories of that period I spent as just a nameless orphan.

    I now live here in my old/new home with kindly new parents who have made me welcome. I feel secure in the knowledge that there is always an essence of our departed loved ones around guiding us in spirit.

 Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

FICTION NOTICE
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.