A MIDWINTER NIGHT’S MADNESS

Alice Wetherby Pimms physically felt time pass in the coursing of her blood for as long as she could remember. Every second -tick, tick, tick- was like an invasion of needle-nosed imps nipping at the underside of her plump flesh.

Each and every moment they poked from inside sixty-thousand miles of cerulean veins, prodded the chambers of her brick-red heart, and pricked the crimson roadmap of arteries and capillaries fanning her petite frame.

 

Tick. Tick. Tick.
Poking. Prodding. Pricking.
Each moment slipping into the past, only to slide forward into the future.

Tick. Tick. Tick.
Seconds. Minutes. Hours.
Poking. Prodding. Pricking.

Her governess called her fidgety. Her father deemed her agitation the symptom of a restless spirit. Her mother, God rest her soul, knew of her child’s uncontrollable impulses early on, even the obscure ones. “Gremlins,” she’d called them. “Curious sprites with voracious appetites. Nothing a steady diet of exercise and supervision cannot sate.”

Tick. Tick. Tick.
Seconds. Minutes. Hours.
Days. Weeks. Months.
Poking. Prodding. Pricking.

Until one bone-chilling evening last January, against the dead woman’s warning, the child was, indeed, left untended. It was only for as long as a wee trip to the loo would take Nanny D to navigate. Alice had been resting, nestled in the corner of a plush wing-backed chair made especially for her. An odd thing for the child to be doing. Resting, that is. And thinking. Or really more like fantasizing about what it would be like to spend summer with her mother and Auntie Sylvie in the nest they had been banished to for three consecutive life times, their punishment for cursing the gods.

 

Tick. Tick. Tick.
Poking. Prodding. Pricking.
Day-dreaming turned to stirring, stirring to delight.
Some say the imps escaped that night and wound the girl up tight.

Tick. Tick. Tick.
Poking. Prodding. Pricking.
Alice gave her cracked, dry lips a mighty generous licking.

Tick. Tick. Tick.
Red tip scratched friction strip.
Sulfur smell foreshadowed hell. The stick burst into flame.

Time stopped.

For a moment.
Perhaps two.

With her gremlins now fed, Alice’s appetite grew, whetted by a wave of serenity that quelled her jitters, cleared her head, and caressed her cheek.

Before long, Nanny D. P. Endable and Alice stood upon the heath watching the stuffy, outdated structure crumble into a heap of smoldering ash. Nanny D’s face flushed with splashes of anger and guilt over the infirmity of both her resolve and bladder, while Alice’s countenance creased with smiles of satisfaction over having decided to set her plan into action from inside her father’s library, thus adding fuel to the fire, if you will, of her resolve to always get her way.

“Father,” she cried, bounding into Mr. Pimms’s scorched, limp arms. “Look! Mother’s plans for our new home.” Alice waved the pristine rendering in his soot smudged face. “Now there’s nothing to stop us from building her dream house. There’s even a chair at the window, just for me.”

Oh, that Alice! She certainly is a handful.
Thank you for spending a moment of your time with us today.
Now get outta’ here! The clock’s ticking…

List of Alice’s Antics to date:

THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE

RUMOR HAS IT

A MOST DUBIOUS COLLECTION

TRANSMOGRIFICATION SIMPLIFIED

DID SOMEONE SAY CHOCOLATE?

Fairies in a birds nestPhotos are my own:
The first, Fairies in a Bird’s Nest by John Anster Fitzgerald, taken at the Legion of Honor Museum, San Francisco, CA

The second, an art gallery in Sausalito, CA.

The latter of which I, unfortunately, did not take note of the artist or the gallery 😦

About Donna Gwinnell Lambo-Weidner

I am an adventure seeking ponderer of the mysteries of the universe, writer of children's books (represented by Stephen Fraser of the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency), and lover of anything involving armor, archery, or swashbuckling.
This entry was posted in ADVENTURES, HUMOR, VIGNETTE and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to A MIDWINTER NIGHT’S MADNESS

  1. Nicely done! Great fun to read. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Victoria Eller says:

    Once again,Fabulous descriptive writing! I LOVE the idea of making a book out of Alice’s “Adventures”!!!

    Like

  3. Susanne says:

    This was a delightful genre bending story. A bit of poetry, a bit of prose, some tension and mystery, an unpredictable main character. Fun! Were you inspired by the paintings?

    Like

  4. Lyn says:

    Don’t think I’d like Alice’s gremlins nibbling on me.

    Like

  5. How delicious that was! A striking way to create the opportunity to do something new—set the old on fire!! Thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. samvanm says:

    Through the kindness of a friend – and her “once upon your prime” blog – I have chanced upon Alice and your clever way with her. I am eager to explore her antics and your craft. Thank you!

    Like

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