Categories
random scribblings Scribblings teaching Work Writing

Interested?

Just a short story I wrote for my Writing Group at school. The topic was ‘Vampires’ and the challenge was a 1000 word story. Want to read it?
***

Bloodless

The clock chimed midnight. The coffin creaked open, cobwebs straining and breaking. The man inside emerged, his pale eyes glinting through the gloomy darkness. He stood, long dark hair streaming past his shoulders and onto his cape, once rich velvet but now a little moth-eaten around the edges. His coffin obviously wasn’t as air-tight now as it had once been.

The attic was empty. His heightened senses showed him that the entire house was, likewise, abandoned. No humans, no animals, not even a rodent lurking inside a wall. He smiled wanly. His vampiric scent, undetectable by humans but not by more sentient creatures, must have become noticeable during his decade-long slumber, so anything larger than an insect had fled. Still, he preferred the solitude. Bloodlust upon waking could be unbearable if blooded creatures were nearby; it was so much easier to maintain control if brain cells activated before centuries-old instinct. Intellect before everything was his philosophy; control was paramount. Hence his decision to wake today; the day to commence his plan.

He descended to the second storey of his mansion, noting instantly that not all was as he had left it. His eyes narrowed, the only outward sign of his temper flaring. A sign to those who knew him that death – much, much death – was imminent.

He took a deep breath. Yes, since he had fallen asleep, human fools had occupied the house… but his determination to overcome baser passions was strong, and he calmed his wrath within moments. The power of rational decisions over mere instinct. He quirked an eyebrow and intentionally focussed on the changes. 

Someone, years ago, had repainted, and furniture he didn’t recognise lay scattered in random fashion. The heavy curtains he’d chosen, which blocked out all view of the mountainous terrain beyond, were the only feature left untouched. Wise. It could get cold up here – not that he’d felt it once he’d been turned. Still. Whoever the interlopers had been though, they’d long since gone. It looked as though they’d been moving in when suddenly they’d been interrupted. And for whatever reason, they’d left and not returned. Curious.

He continued down to the first storey. More unusual furniture, more evidence of sudden abandonment. Dishes laid out on the dining table, ingredients prepared in the kitchen with saucepans ready on the stove – all long since left to dry up and rot. He snorted. Humans. Limited intelligence, rarely successfully utilised!

The ground floor revealed still more questions, but some answers to others – the family was here. What remained of them, anyway. Two larger skeletons were huddled together with two smaller and one canine. Amongst the jumble of bones, now stripped bare of flesh by insects, he noted that their faces had been either turned toward the main doorway, or averted from it. His brow furrowed. What had happened here? He thrust his senses out further, searching beyond the house for the logical explanation. There may not be any creatures inside – his scent had driven them away – but he knew there’d be owls hunting rodents in the forests outside, foxes stalking their prey, eyes bright despite the lack of moon.

And yet. He canted his head to one side, forcing his senses further, then still further. There was nothing. No blooded creature nearby. No sense of anything. He stopped, noticing his powers were only rudimentary due to his long fast. He’d need blood, and soon, to regain his strength.

He stepped to the main doorway. Its thick oak had stood for centuries now; he expected it would last for many more. It had withstood wars, plagues, even a siege during medieval hostilities, however it had always prevailed. The question of safety fleeted through his mind, however he dismissed it. It was well past midnight on a new moon; it was almost pitch black outside. And although vampiric sight meant everything was visible for him, he’d be unnoticeable to others. Not that there were humans outside. He tried casting out his senses again. No. Nothing and no-one in the immediate vicinity.

The sturdy metal handle felt old, and uncared for. Like his cape, it was showing evidence of age. He sighed. The bolt grated metal on metal as he unlatched the door, swinging it wide, releasing air into the house. And that’s when he noticed it.

The air was lifeless, oxygen-depleted. The forests opposite were gone. The mountains were bare; empty of everything… as far as his eyes could see. No trees, no creatures, just bare grey earth. And the sky wasn’t black anymore, stars shining brightly with the lack of a moon. No, the sky was orange, as if it were burning. The brilliant intensity of the colour hurt his eyes. By the light of the sky he stared out at this unexpected scene. It was desolate. Completely and utterly dead.

He tasted the air again, closing his eyes this time to focus his concentration. And there it was. The radiation he’d missed the first time, when he’d been astonished by the devastation before him. The air was saturated with it – so much radiation that nothing could survive except insects. He even felt his bloodless skin recoiling from its touch.

A faint buzzing nearby made him reopen his eyes. A swarm of gnats rose from the area where the forests had been, racing toward him. They’d sensed his presence when he’d opened the door perhaps? And acting purely on instinct, they’d decided he’d be a worthwhile meal.

Fear shot like a lightning bolt down his spine, and he turned to close the door – too late. The swarm was upon him, biting and tearing, devouring his clothes in seconds, his bloodless skin yielding under their assault soon after.

What had happened to the world he’d planned to conquer? His scheme had been flawless; his intellect had foreseen it!

As millions of razor-sharp teeth ravaged his body, and his mind descended into pain and darkness, he regretted not living by his instincts after all.

Categories
momentous events teaching Work

Happy “World Teachers’ Day”

… to me!

It was last Friday, a celebration worldwide – apparently – of teachers and everything we do. Check out the colourful, covid-safe meal and card (the large poster-sized card signed by the all the students didn’t fit in the photo) and especially the PERSONALISED BISCUIT which I was given on the day! Woohoo!

Have a celebratory day yourself, dear Reader!

  • KRidwyn
Categories
teaching Work Writing

I wrote this!

Check it out – about a seven-year-old student – who I teach once a week! – who was published recently 🙂

Cool, yes?

Have a great day yourself, dear Reader!

  • KRidwyn
Categories
momentous events teaching Work Writing

Grammar rules :)

My childhood memories are few and far between. I’m not entirely sure why, just that they are. But a couple of things stand out from Primary Schooling: learning how to thread a sewing needle in Grade Four, and – even more significant – spending several weeks in Grade Five, copying down spelling rules from the board and listening intently to my teacher as she explained them, and gave us examples. I remember thinking, “This is it! The key to getting things correct from now on! This is what I need to know!” I was so pleased. I’d figured it all out – and I was only 10 years old.

Those lessons were so clear, so concise. “I before E except after C” and so on. Later, in University, when I realised I’d need to teach grammar to my high school English students, oh! How I wished I’d had similar instruction in grammar!

Well, wish no more. I’ve found it. Short, easy, and – most excellent of all – a detailed study of the parts of speech. And the best bit? It’s an online textbook which my students already have access to! So I’m kinda mandated to teach from it, so the parents get their money’s worth. Cool, huh?

So here I am, week by week, learning about classifying adjectives and participles, gerunds and articles, so I can teach them with some authority… and I’m loving it! Finally, something in the world makes sense again!

Now I know you’re all thinking: well, sure. “I comes before E except after C”, except…

… except when your foreign neighbour Keith leisurely receives eight counterfeit beige sleighs from feisty caffeinated atheist weightlifters. Weird.

… unless the efficient concierge of the priciest Ancient Glacier Hacienda serves a society of proficient scientists studying a species with insufficient consciences leading to racier piracies. Lunacies.

… unless you leisurely deceive eight feisty caffeinated foreign heirs to forfeit their heinous sovereign conceits, and (of course)

— unless you’re an eight-year-old planning a heist to seize a surveillance sleigh owned by a sheik at a reindeer farm. [@jjhartinger]

So yes, I agree: there are many exceptions to spelling rules. And little KRidwyn wasn’t to know that the dozen or so spelling rules I was taught in Grade Five weren’t the be-all and end-all to life. That disappointment came later.

So until this crushing disappointment arrived, I was happy in the knowledge that regarding the correct spelling of all words, there was boundary line there; that I knew where it was; and the learnings I’d been taught fit nicely and neatly inside that area. It was good, life was good, and the world made sense.

It was only afterwards I realised exceptions existed. “I comes before E except after C” often… but not always. There were limits to what I’d been taught. The learning was adequate, but it didn’t cover all possibilities, all potential situations. There was more learning there which I needed to know.

Aside: according to Kris Spisak:

At the moment, I’m sitting in a similar ‘sweet spot’ regarding the online grammar program I’m teaching my students. I don’t yet know its limitations; it seems comprehensive enough, and that’s just hunky-dory by me. If I don’t know it, I don’t miss it… until my horizons expand again, either willingly or unwillingly. But at the moment, I’m happy – and that’s enough for me!

Have a happy day yourself, dear Reader!

– KRidwyn

Categories
Random thoughts teaching

Leaping

This came across my Facebook feed the other day:

And when I finished laughing (gotta love those subliminal messages!) I wondered why – from a writer’s point of view – I found it so funny.

I’ve decided it’s because of the leap needed on the part of the reader. The story is headed in one direction (they make each other laugh; they have a good time) but then leaps to a completely different one (I’m in jail) and it’s the juxtaposition of these two ideas that is startling and therefore humorous. We get a clue it may happen (one was a police officer) but the brain does’t immediately think ‘going to be arrested and therefore need bail money’ and so when it happens, it’s a surprise but not an out-of-the-blue one.

Which made me think of my story from a few weeks’ back… again, boy meets girl and mesmerises her with his eyes – but then ends up being a vampire (I tried channelling Twilight with the ‘mesmerising’ bit). And I wonder if this ‘leaping’ idea is why Janet Reid liked my ‘Stillborn story’ where the reader is led in one direction, but then reader understanding is needed to follow the story to the conclusion?

Anyway, just a few random thoughts this morning. Have a leap-full day yourself, dear Reader!

– KRidwyn

Categories
Scribblings teaching Work Writing

Flash fiction – 4 prompt words

Last term, I started a “Writer’s Group” at my school. Interested students – only girls so far! – meet each morning and practise various activities to improve their writing skills.

One such activity was “write a 100-word flash fiction story which must include random prompt words”. My favourite story used the words: Fate; Find; Potential; Fiendish. Below is what I came up with:

It’s fate, I knew it! Jane thought. I knew I’d find him – the stars aligned perfectly this month!

She stared dreamily out the window, remembering last night. Their eyes had met across the crowded bar. Excusing himself from his friends, he’d moved toward her, his eyes – mesmerising! – locked with hers. Other girls, appraising his potential, tried flirting as he passed; he ignored them. He only had eyes for her! And they had a tete-a-tete tonight!

Ma cherie, he murmured into her neck later that evening. Her eyes closed, she didn’t notice his enlarged canines behind his fiendish smile.

I quite liked writing it! Never written a vampire character before. I’m thinking it’s all the manga I’ve been reading for work this year…

Anyway, here’s wishing you a story-filled day today yourself, dear Reader!

  • KRidwyn

 

 

Categories
#blogjune Blogging challenges teaching Work

#blogJune day14

Guess what I’ve had the pleasure of looking at all weekend…

Aren’t they beautiful!!!

Hubby knew I’d had a tough week, so brought these home for me on Friday evening.

Definitely a keeper 🙂

– KRidwyn

Categories
#blogjune places to visit Reading teaching Technology Work Writing

#blogJune day11

One thing I’ve noticed about me recently- my eyesight is SHOCKING! I think I’ve just been doing so much staring at computer screens, I’ve done irreversible damage. Which is sad.

On the up-side, these glasses I bought at Rainbow Beach a few years ago might look a little strange (I think the orange-and-blue colour scheme screams ‘$15 chemist-bought reading glasses) but they’re SO easy to read with and they don’t cause headaches 🙂

Plus, I really rather like the colour orange!

Have a blessed day yourself, dear Reader!

– KRidwyn

Categories
#blogjune teaching Work

#blogJune day9

The first 5 weeks of this current school term was hard – but what I love about my workplace is that everyone pulls together. As in, Day 2 of ‘online learning’ we received a special delivery of hand-made and hand-decorated cookies made by the children of a school family.

And the school contributed $5 per person for whatever they wanted from a coffee/food van they organised to have on-site on a weekly basis…

Just fantastic!

But it was good when the students returned. I missed them!

I hope your day is a surprising one too, dear Reader!

  • KRidwyn
Categories
#blogjune Random thoughts teaching Work

#blogJune day 4

When I first started my current position in July 2019, I was lucky enough to inherit two and a half extra-large containers worth of LEGO. And, of course, the obligatory paraphernalia which always gets dumped in LEGO containers. You know: Connect4 counters; marbles; dinosaurs; assorted playing pieces from various board games; matchbox cars; domino tiles; the odd ear or tongue or feet from a Mr Potato Head; and so on. The containers were rarely used, because when my younger students would dig around looking for pieces they wanted, they’d give up, disappointed.

Fast forward to Term One 2020. My cherubs and I watched LEGOMasters Season One (from 2019) and seemed keen to watch Season Two. So over the Easter school holidays, I lugged home the two and a half extra-large containers, and also purchased a couple of 4-drawer wheeled trolleys, so we could start organising it all.

It took several looooong weeks! But we kept at it, and when the kids tired of sorting, I soldiered on, and finally all the LEGO was sorted. I’ll have to post the photo of the fantastic looking trolleys sometime. But the first ever LEGO photo has to be this:

because it’s something my father made when he first visited, post-COVID19. He and Master11 sat together, building and playing, and it was a lovely sight to see 🙂

Anyway, that’s my LEGO story. Do you have one, dear Reader?

And that’s it from me. Have a great day, and see you tomorrow!

  • KRidwyn