The Wishing Tree



Everly's Walk: Part Eight

Now the townspeople whisper tales of curses to the tourists brave or strange enough to come by. They speak of Everly Carrigan, the best Carrigan by far, who fell for a Blythe-Cameron and then fell from her own walkway. It isn’t there anymore, that walkway, they say. It fell out in some storm, leaving poor old Alice trapped in that crumbling-away manor. Except that she had been a recluse anyway, probably knocked the bridge out herself.
They say that every Carrigan woman since Everly has met her death by falling from the Cliff. Araby never believed that, naturally. They warned her, the drunken captains and quiet scholarly types, that she should leave before her turn came. Not that they didn’t want a Carrigan about--most of them could hardly fathom how they’d function without Miss Araby and her lovely money--, but they’d rather have a removed last-Carrigan than a dead one. 
Araby laughed at them, the sound was white-feathered birds on the green sea breeze. Even if she did have wine red hair (far tamer than Everly’s) and a short temper, she’d never go jumping off a cliff. 
But then again, that was the summer before she met Augustus Crane.

The End

This thing had a life of its own when it came to posting it. I hope whoever bothered to read it enjoyed it. Leave a comment if you want.

Everly's Walk: Part Seven

Everly Carrigan met him again only once. And she was cold. Except when she wasn’t. There was fire as she screamed at him, made her throat raw with hurt and humiliation and rage. Caspian screamed back, of course, but by then both their hearts had accepted the breaking to come. She tried to fight him, but he stayed her hands. He tried to touch her, but she flinched away.
The parted ways as enemies up on the cliff tops where the wind clawed at Everly’s hair beneath the gray sky. Caspian walked one way. Everly walked another. She walked across the scrubby plains, a lone spot of scarlet in the gray and green. She walked to her lands and there she started to cry. Or maybe those were rainclouds on her face. It stormed often on the sea shore. 
She walked to where she saw her home in the distance. It was beautiful, finally complete. She pretended that she had not been harboring familial images in that setting as she walked on. The thought of that horrible Blythe-Cameron name inside a Carrigan house was rather ridiculous after all. She walked onto the narrow bridge to Carrigan’s Cliff, rain making the path slick. Thinking of the spiteful promise she had once made Caspian, she still tried not to stumble.
She walked on, but she never set another foot inside of Carrigan House. Everly Carrigan fell to her death from Everly’s Walkway that night in the rain. 
Except that’s not how the story goes: she leapt. 
Except no, actually, she sat down and slid off. 
But then, she never fell at all, simply ran away to a place where she would never have to hear the whisper-screamed longing in the voice of the green ocean. 
But who could know, as she was never heard from again? 
Except when the townspeople heard her ghost screaming and hollering up on Carrigan’s Cliff each night. No ghost can step foot on holy land, so if Everly was a ghost, that alone explained why she never tore down that horrid expansion that some distant relative--
Descendant? Some say that a boy showed up one year, bearing the Carrigan name and a peculiar penchant for merfolk paintings and stylish suits--
that her relative built on Carrigan Cliff.
And as for Caspian Blythe-Cameron--who would have loved the expansion as it housed an entire room dedicated to strange sculptures and art--, he never married that wretched French girl. He never finished his castle either; it wasn’t as fun without Everly around to dissapprove of it. In fact he stopped dropping his bread crumb trails, packed up his suits and went on holiday, finally disappearing a few months later on a hunt in some far dry land where there was no green sea. (It’s funny, but some say that the boy Carrigan who came years later spent many holidays in that land.)
All that can be said for the Carrigans and the Blythe-Camerons after that is that they left a lovely legacy (apart from a new, far more haunting name for Everly’s town), stories to be bought and sold as economy--since they’d built up their towns so poorly. Or perhaps it was the crumbling rock at war with the green sea that was poor in the first place.

Only one more part to go. Not that anyone is reading this anyway.


Everly's Walk: Part Six

Everly made inquiries as her carriage drove them bumpily over the so-called plains between Carrigan and Blythe. Elsbeth complained noisily, muttering unlady-like things in French which she was sure Everly did not understand (Everly did). But between the cursings, she managed to spill a secret or two. It seemed that Everly’s traveling companion simply loved to talk about herself and her dear Caspian. Everly was assured the Caspian was probably waiting at the port in Blythe to greet her. Probably distraught, he was. And oh, but she’d had to leave a dozen trunks behind for the journey, and wasn’t that dreadful? But hopefully her darling Caspian would replenish what she had lost. You’d think he would, you know, considering they were to be wed--
Cold. Everly resolved to be cold. It was all she thought on that long journey to see the man-she-loved-who-was-promised-to-another. If Elsbeth noticed Everly’s sudden silence--No, she hadn’t noticed or she would have taken advantage of what it implied.
Cold. When Elsbeth stepped from the carriage, Caspian’s expression changed from curious, even happy, to confusion, to shock, to--there it was--the flinch of fear. Everly removed herself from the carriage as well. Cold, she reminded herself. Pleasant. Polite. It was fire that had gotten her into this mess in the first place.
Caspian Blythe-Cameron tried valiantly to meet her gaze, but she went home without any explanation from him. It wasn’t as if he had a good one anyway. He did try though, a missive or two dashed off desperately after now-finished-house calls went unanswered. 
It wasn’t as if he didn’t try, with his fancy suits out in the rain that poured for three days and nights after Elsbeth came into town. That was probably the only reason he didn’t pack her off on a boat out of Blythe on the spot under Everly’s aching gaze. Then, after the rain, he’d simply forgotten about Elsbeth Deverauz entirely. He’d never liked her all that much anyway (though his mother had insisted), not in the way he’d hated (loved) Everly Carrigan.


Everly's Walk: Part Five

On the sea shore, where everything is gray and green and the living is hard, nothing lasts. The paint on the circus tent would fade to dusty pastels. The houses would grow water-logged or rust. And the relationship between Caspian Blythe-Cameron and Everly Carrigan was bashed in by a south wind known as Elsbeth Deveraux whose father’s surname had been Crane. She preferred the French though, she told everyone in her snide accent. 
Where had she come from? the people of Everly’s Walk (which was not then called Everly’s Walk but rather “Carrigan Beach”, a title that made no sense since there was very little beach and quite a lot of jagged rocks on the Carrigan coast line) wondered. They knew, of course, that she had come in on a tug boat, making it look dull and busted with her beauty and class. She wore a shimmering dress of many layers and folds with a bodice far too tight and a neck line too low. 
Everly hated her, obviously, but she greeted her with a smile. It was not the custom of the Everly Carrigan to greet every stray who came in from the green waters, but she happened to be down on the docks at the time giving one of the captains, a drunkard with an impressive black beard, an earful. 
That was how Elsbeth first saw the crazy woman with red hair, waving her (admittedly very pretty) hands about insanely, fire in her nearly-violet eyes. She hardly noticed the rather frightened looking man, all brawn and sea-hardened leather skin. She was the type of woman who only notices a threat.
And it was not so much a greeting that Elsbeth received as a snapping-at, but then Elsbeth was not really such a nice girl and she undoubtedly deserved it for some crime or another.
Anyway, Elsbeth inquired where she might find the Blythe-Cameron home. Wasn’t she surprised (and loudly displeased) to find that she’d come in at entirely the wrong port and she should have to go all the way down the coast to reach Blythe-by-the-Sea? After Elsbeth stopped shouting loudly in French and Everly stopped shouting just as loudly back, the tug boat captain was able to have his voice heard long enough to offer the pretty Elsbeth a lift down the coast.
For the first time that day, Everly’s brow clouded; she enjoyed a good fight far too much to have let that bother her. But she did not want this Elsbeth Deveraux (Crane) getting away and taking all her secrets about Caspian with her. So she offered to take her herself.


Everly's Walk: Part Four

Caspian Blythe-Cameron had a penchant for paintings of fat mermaids and mermen. There was a whole room in Blythe-Castle-on-the-Sea--Caspian had made a castle to one-up his neighbor’s manor, but it was proving a rather expensive and impractical endeavor, one Everly observed with endless satisfaction.--dedicated to his collection of such art.
It was in this room that Caspian Blythe-Cameron kissed Everly Carrigan. And she hated it. Except, well, she didn’t. Rather, she kissed him back. And this was very hard to explain to herself and to him and to the watery eyes of fat merpeople surrounding them.
Caspian had run out of things to hate about Everly when he got to her near-purple eyes and now was forced to admit that he loved her rather foolishly. Everly refused to admit the same until she was back on Carrigan soil.
With one boot toe on the walk to Carrigan House, she kissed him again. Fluttering her lashes in that way that makes words, she told him how idiotic her heart was. He agreed, naturally, that her heart was indeed idiotic.
They danced on the walk to Carrigan House, though there was no music, only moonlight. Little white birds with tails like swallows flew around them, eating at the bread trail that led from Caspian’s carriage to his jacket pocket. This was a habitual thing for him to do, his bread trail. It has been noted that he was a strangely quirky man.


Everly's Walk: Part Three

Everly Carrigan built Carrigan House from the ground. Each stone set was there because she’d pointed, drawn, demanded, or placed it herself. Back then, she was known around and about for her wild hair. It was perhaps the only red thing on the entire coast. Until Caspian Blythe-Cameron showed up down the shore and ordered his townspeople to paint their cottages in lively colors (that would later fade to blinding white beneath the sun that somehow only shone on Blythe’s part of the coast) and to whitewash the stones and streets. 
Everly Carrigan hated that smug Caspian Blythe-Cameron with all of her red, beating heart. She would never order her townspeople to do something so foolish as paint, not when she’d already hauled most of them out by their ears and wallets and forced them to live the seaside life. Apart from the tug boat captains and crew (some of whom preferred to live elsewhere, though certainly not in Blythe-by-the-Sea), Everly’s townspeople tended to be business types, accountants and money-making people that Everly didn’t really think she needed in the first place.
Later down the line, when the tug boat industry wobbled, many of those business types left, but a whole crowd of artists and writers and historians and scientists had been drawn out by Everly’s lovely library and legendary wit, intermingling silently with the crowd so that no one saw them come and no one expected them to go. 
(These people even brought with them the famous Carrigan Coastal Circus, a magnificent tent in brilliant colors that sat on the water. Beneath it one could find all manner of wares, entertainment, and even a rather rare and delicate carousel. This was in the prime days of Everly’s Walk, of course, after Everly had died but far before Alice and Araby were born.)
Everly herself, though she never missed a detail, was far too preoccupied with building her home and thwarting that dastardly Caspian Blythe-Cameron to care overmuch that some new people had snuck into their midst. Besides, these people tended to be the only ones of actual interest for Everly to talk to. Apart from Caspian. He was irritatingly quirky.
So irritatingly quirky, in fact, that Everly fell in love with him. Not before he fell in love with her though, she was quick to point out. 
It started out quietly enough, a not-quite-built-house call to judge with his twinkling eyes, an unfortunate run in at the home of some mutually-hired contractor types, perhaps a verbal sparring match over dinner on the edge of Carrigan Cliff--it would have been rude not to invite him to dinner after she’d yelled at him all day. 
Then there were the letters. Nothing more than insults wrapped in romanticisms, they told themselves. But it was true when Caspian said he loved her hair and her hands. Everly had wonderful hands, simply made for pointing and gesticulating.
And it was true when she said she didn’t hate his suits. That it had actually been a lie when she’d shouted that after him down her drive. She also said that she liked his sarcasm, his smirk, his wandering hands. But those were, of course, lies designed to outwit the enemy.
Everly spent a beautiful day with that enemy in the place where the circus tent would be built. He’d forced--literally forced, she would never go quietly--Everly to take a day from building and planning and business-ing. She’d never have admitted that it felt nice to have his steadying hands on her waste as she rode the carousel horse. (Caspian had brought one of his prized carousels from France where he kept them at his mother’s house. It was pink and gold and mint and horrible. Only that was wrong because it was beautiful.) Except she did admit it, in a whisper, with a look from beneath heavy lashes. She didn’t need steadying, naturally; she was an accomplished rider. Caspian knew this because he’d watched her gallop across the scrubby plains on the cliff tops. He’d hated the way the wind sought to unclothe her, flung her curls to the sky, of course. He’d been annoyed by the way she was so sure and confident, so gentle and kind to the beast.
So no, she didn’t need steadying. Except when she did, when she was tipsy on star champagne drunk at dinner in a town where no one knew that she and Caspian hated each other and so they’d probably thought them a couple, and she teetered down the way to her house. The walkway was a narrow, stone bridge that held Carrigan Cliff--which was really more a tower of rock--to the mainland, barely wide enough for a carriage to cross. 
When Caspian Blythe-Cameron told her that he’d hate to see her fall from that death trap, it was true. But only in as much as it was a slight to her poor planning of where to live. Nothing more. Because she annoyed him.
And she swore that she would fall, if only to bother him then. Because he was too quirky and sweet and smart for her to like.

Comment and critiques are welcome.


Everly's Walk: Part Two

Blythe-by-the-Sea was a prosperous ocean town, built on seafood and surf. Made of white houses that dotted the shores like shells, it was a pretty enough place, a fond destination for families on holiday. Even the gulls dared not soil the pristine streets of Blythe, and the sun always shone there, making the water a clear blue-green.
Everly’s Walk was a preposterous ocean town up the shore from Blythe. Built on tug boats and trade, everything in Everly’s Walk was green or gray. The ocean, the glass, the seasick faces of the town’s people (who were notably averse to sea travel), sometimes even the skies, were a pale, unattractive sort of mint. Nothing grew in Everly, and so the ground was always charcoal stone. The houses were old, bent by wind and warped by storm, and, of course, gray. But it was outside of unfortunate Everly, not Blythe, that the once grand Carrigan House lived.
The Carrigans were the sole owners of Everly’s tug boat industry, and the town grew up from their money (which was also green). Though they still made far more than any townsperson in Everly, the Carrigan’s business had faded by the time Araby was born to the dusty glamor of things outraced. No one ever left Everly, and people rarely came. And the people who did come to Everly’s Walk were often the not-quite-right types. That was because the townspeople of Everly’s Walk did not deal in fish or fineries, trinkets or trifles. In Everly’s Walk they traded one thing and one thing only: tales. Not the lovely sort. Well, lovely in their way, but rather melancholy, nasty, stomach-roiling, even upsetting in their own right. 
And there were many tales to tell, most especially the tale of Everly Carrigan.

Comments, anyone? I'd love some feedback.


Everly's Walk: Part One

Part 1

Carrigan House was a crumbling old manor, perched on the edged of a cliff. Or it used to be. Rather, the cliff was perched under it. And then it wasn’t. Chunks of gray stone slipped from their precarious positions and plummeted to the green sea below, and parts of Carrigan House, that once stately mansion, went with them. Over time, the green sea collected enough souvenirs from Carrigan Cliff that a little island began to grow below, bathed in sea foam. 
The right wing of Carrigan House fell into the sea directly, when the first of the cliff began to go. Alice Carrigan, even then an old lady, had always said that the right wing was for those with no spine. That was probably because the right wing was the new wing, built on top of an old graveyard. To Alice Carrigan, the destruction of a graveyard was no fault, it was the cowardice of living on something so safe as hallowed ground that got to her. And all those modern conveniences as well.
The smallest dining room, remaining guest rooms, and half the ballroom fell away with the rest of the straggling cliff pieces. Alice Carrigan, who was fond of cliff diving, went with that batch as well. She left a message making it clear that she would be back when she recovered her home from the sea’s greedy, green fingers and not a moment sooner. Her granddaughter, Araby Carrigan, thought that her grandmother could simply not bear to watch her library tumble into the ocean with the rest of her life, and so she made it watch her leave instead.
They dragged the corpse of Alice Carrigan from the deep, mint pools of shallow water near the rocks that marked the edge of Carrigan Cliff. Araby could see it all from where she stood in the half-destroyed ballroom, wind wrecking her scarlet hair and howling along the jagged marble edges of the fallen-away floor. She refused to look as they removed the body, but still she caught glimpses of the limp, white-clad form, dripping and dead and covered in stony sand. She’d never seen Alice Carrigan look so frail or so free.

The beginning of my new short story, still under editing.


Standing in the Window at Day Change

fall away ashes
on the ground, in the light
pieces of sun and bone and broken
on my face, the skin of my arms
delving between the shallow shadows
it hurts harder than the depths
of drowning in the dark under my breath
consistent in the window
the world smiles through
the silhouettes that mark my vision
and my visage and my broken
wind under the lashes of my eyes
I weep dry tears
my face a dusty field
of ashes

Up North I Was

up north there were a thousand
on a city of white
snow and snowing
in many different words
all crisp on the breaking ice
break even with the path and the odds
but here there are shadows of two
under the storm clouds reaching
dancing on the sea
and boats swim in the thorny waters
that kiss innocently the bows in the rain
running gray and white
foggy sun set still on two horizons
where up north there was a single
compass point
monochromatic symbols under a bridge
and licking the wakes
that walk deep in the water
with their stories of glories in the dangerous
white surf mountains
white is the color of fear on the water
but it is another hue of gray
on the alter
in the storm laughing
overhead the sky