Lochbyrne Hall

The Lake District

Adapted from a photo by: Tejvan Pettinger

October 17, 1805

Dearest Emily,

Cousin Margaret has repaired to the country and to Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner at Ramblehurst, and has sent a letter to London to ask me to join her. She is to be ward to Mr. Gardiner  where she will continue her studies under a tutor whose services have been arranged between Uncle Benjamin and Mr. Gardiner. The city air has exacerbated the lung ailment that has plagued her since girlhood, and it was upon the orders of her physician that the Lake District envrons would be more forgiving. She told me before she embarked that she relishes the thought of a lengthy stay in the land of Misters Wordsworth and Coleridge, hoping perhaps to see the good gentlemen on their rounds as they go about gathering their immortal visions as inspired by the grandiosity of creation. I share in her enthusiasm of such a possibility, although I am not as convinced that such a thing as a meeting with the immortal poets could come to pass as she. Yet, perhaps a visit from their Muse may not be so far from the realm of possibility.

I am not to travel alone, fortuitously as Mr. and Mrs. Ralston of Mayfair are visiting their maiden aunt in the village of Birthwaite in Cumbria and I have been invited to travel with them. When I reach Birthwaite, I will meet with Mr. Bodkins, Mr. Gardner’s man. It is Mr. Bodkins who will take me to our beloved Margaret at Ramblehurst. I know you think me headstrong, and impulsive, being my older and wiser sister. Yet it is these very characteristics that also sharpen my wits and my senses, making me the ideal candidate to keep our Margaret company until winter passes in scenic Cumbria. Even at fifteen, I feel the moorings of childhood unfastening inside of me, and I am of the belief that the voyage to womanhood calls. It is time for an adventure, however small. I believe that my influence will bring Margaret out of her shell and I shall endeavour to make her my constant companion in whatever unfolds. Continue reading

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Blondi’s Last Bark

“Who’s a good dog, then?” Fritz said in his most charming manner to the big German Shepherd who licked his fingers. He felt a little silly trying to charm an animal. The dog would see through the act, in any case. But he couldn’t act like everything was perfectly normal, could he?

“Who’s a good dog? You’re a good dog, Blondi.”

It was a little dim in the kennel pantry, but Fritz shrugged and was thankful that they still had electricity at all. Those who still remained above ground just a few blocks either way would not have this most fundamental of modern amenities. Then he wondered whether it was truly a fair trade. Continue reading

Personal Appearance

Crowd

Photo: ToGa Wanderings

Arthur Grable been hailed as a genius before his tenth birthday, and had attained the highest educational accolades before he’d seen the end of his teens. And now his name was used in households all over a world that he had utterly transformed for the better. But Arthur Grable had done it all behind his desk, in the comforting glow of his screens.

This was his real domain; the velvet darkness of his apartment and office. He’d run the whole operation from here as a human conduit of ideas that would not stop. Arthur Grable was a free man. He could wander any of the floors in the gleaming Grablecorps building, an edifice named after himself. He could wander its manicured gardens far below. He could stroll the streets of any city in the world unhindered, if he’d chosen to do so. Because although his was a household name, he hadn’t been seen in public since his twenty-first birthday. That was five years ago, and since then he’d become a figure of messianic mystery. Many rumours of his death abounded, but many more suggested nothing short of transfiguration. Continue reading

Bloody Dangerous Liaisons

In retrospect, I let this dance of deception go on for far too long before confronting Count Dracula with my suspicions. I cannot say for certain whether my motivation for letting it carry on was a matter of professional courtesy, fear for the future of my career or a desire to avoid personal embarrassment. Perhaps it was a mixture of all of these factors. In any event, I write this journal with trepidation that it may be discovered by someone of ill character and unsympathetic mindset, or worse, that I might endeavor to actually submit it to my employers at Hawkins & Harker Co. out of genuine guilt. Continue reading

Marriages

Cup of tea

Photo: The hills are alive (Taking time off….)

Roger Chapman was a squat, broad man in his early 50s and known for a loud booming laugh that reverberated around the hall of the Gentleman’s Club. Despite his outward vulgarity, he seemed to have no trouble keeping a collection of compatriots loudly joining in. This was possibly because of his position at Regency Oil as Vice-President of offshore development.

Roger had overseen a number of drilling projects in the North Sea, and highly lucrative ones at that. This had gained him something of a reputation as a man who could get things done, often barreling his way through in order to do so. He was amiable to his friends, yet slightly cruel as well. His outward appearance was that of an adventurer for which no challenge was too daunting. He ruled his corner of the club, holding court after rounds of racquetball, beaded in sweat that no post­­­-match shower could eliminate. His booming laughter that was recognizable from anywhere within the building, and not a short distance without it. His squat yet egg-like head was a bright shade of pink, with his blue eyes bulging with determination. In good moods, his attention was like the gaze of the sun itself. In blacker moods, that same gaze was rarely challenged. Those who surrounded him awaited the sound of that laughter as a sign that they too should begin laughing immediately, half a beat behind Chapman’s own. It was much safer this way. Continue reading