Author Archives: Lisa Shambrook

About Lisa Shambrook

An author and dreamer who loves dragons... Author www.lisashambrook.com and owner Amaranth Alchemy on Etsy etsy.com/uk/shop/AmaranthAlchemy

Autumn – Season of Reflection and Gratitude

Autumn arrives in a blaze of glory.
It’s a time of reflection and gratitude,
a time to recharge and choose your direction for the rest of the year,
and to enjoy the bounty and abundance from Mother Earth.

I love that moment when I step outside and the scent of autumn is in the air, when the leaves are turning, and I can pull out my favourite jumpers, slip on my boots, and find my hats and gloves again. I love my autumn gems and pumpkins, and it’s time for hot chocolate and autumn treasures.

Dog Walk, Carnelian and Fire Agate, Jumpers, Hot Chocolate © Lisa Shambrook

The moon fills the crisp night sky and the stars seem even brighter. I buy a new hat and watch the squirrels eating windfall apples in my garden. Autumn is a grounding time of year, and I feel my autumn stones, smoky quartz, black moonstone, lodolite quartz and the crystals that offer healing, protection and grounding.

Moon, Scarf and Hat, Squirrel, Smoky Quartz © Lisa Shambrook

It’s a time to celebrate the rich colours: bronze, orange, gold, and brown, and the glorious harvest of fruits and veg. I bury my head in a good book when the weather gets too wet or cold and start baking again!

Pumpkin, Symphony, Cookies, Courgette Bloom © Lisa Shambrook

Light that candle, so many fragrances for autumn: chocolate, caramelised apple, sweet pumpkin, vanilla bean, and berries. Apples and plums, not just for candle scents! Carnelian offers confidence and courage and fits the autumn colour scheme with its burning orange glow. And, lastly, you’ll find me searching the hedgerows, parks, and woodlands for its treasures, bringing home pockets filled with conkers, acorns, leaves, and chestnuts.

Candle, Carnelian, Apples, Conkers and Acorns © Lisa Shambrook

Autumn is me!
What are your favourite Autumn treasures?

Hades Oven – Mid-Week Flash Challenge

Dead End by Svetlana Sewell

It was as black as velvet, thick with stifling heat, and she shuddered at the echoing drips in the narrow corridor. The breath she pulled deep into her lungs threatened to suffocate her in the clammy air. She shook her head, trying to rid her skin of the constant illusion of crawling ants, and tightened the frayed tourniquet tied about her left bicep. Yesterday’s wound was depleting more energy than she’d expected.

Today’s cuts and bruises were more superficial, and she took a swig of murky water from her canteen before stuffing it back into her damp rucksack. She was sweating more than she was drinking.

There was only one way into this broiling labyrinth of brick, and no other way out, and the men still waiting for her and the gem at the entrance knew it. She sighed and leaned against the wall, her head torch wobbling as she slapped the wall in frustration beside her. Her eyes stung as tears blurred her vision and defeat gurgled in her throat. The huge garnet jewel stowed in her canvas backpack, still grey with mud and dried moss, and heavy within its matrix rock, weighed on her shoulders and in her mind.

The gem, bundled inside her jacket, carried value she didn’t want to give up, but trapped inside the tunnels the stories she’d heard as a child were slowly resurfacing as desperation grew. Was the legend worth the aggravation? Could the myths carry truth? And, within the miles of hallway could she find the gem’s fabled haven?

There was always another way out, no one would ever build a labyrinth without an escape route; it was unheard of. And it was – except within the oppressive dungeons of Hades Oven.

She moved on, her fingers trailing over the ruby moss swathed brickwork. Never ending walls stretched through the obscurity, until she turned a corner and a silver doorway greeted her. The door stood ominously open, streaked with broken and decayed latticework shining in her torch light.

She tried to see beyond the darkness, but the rays bounced off the walls, artificial light glinting like a dead end. Fatigue pounded and her sweat turned cold. This was it, the end of the eternal hallway. There was nowhere else to go, nowhere else but back.

The noise of her own blood pumping through her veins thundered through her head as she gazed at the mottled silver smeared across the walls like fog, like ice. A wry smile flickered across her face. Her final moments of torture, as she baked beneath the earth, would be the imagery of ice, of mist, and of cool water running down the bricks. An illusion in her rattled and ragged dried out mind.

Then she moved across the threshold into the tiny room, and pulled the door closed, its hinges creaking tired and worn, until it clicked shut. She slipped her backpack off her shoulders and smiled at the weightlessness she felt as she slipped to the floor, the bag landing with a thud beside her. She took a last look at the small room, the beam of her torch flashing over the silvered bricks, and she switched off her light. Darkness enveloped the room and she sank into the corner to await her end in death’s antechamber.

It wasn’t completely dark. A burgundy glow emanated from her bag. Even through the thick canvas and dirty jacket the garnet smouldered. Trembling fingers tugged open the bag and turned it upside down. Dust billowed and the gem bounced on the concrete, and in the red light a tiny switch shone. She grabbed it and as the lever came away in her hand, bricks crumbled. Light, as white as heaven, flooded the tiny space, blinding her. Then the dust settled and running water crashed past the opening. Still squinting, she pushed out and gulped in cool fresh air. Without another thought she stuffed the gem back into her bag, and stepped out beneath the torrents of waterfall. A valley stood before her, miles away from the labyrinth’s entrance, and offering freedom. She’d found the haven and Hades would have to wait.

Really wanted to write something for this photo provided by Miranda’s Mid-Week Flash Challenge prompt. Something suffocating about this image, by Svetlana Sewell, that needed a story.

Write up to 750 words inspired by the prompt photograph.

Recovering my Authenticity and Living it

At first, I called this post Rediscovering my Authenticity,
but that quickly switched to Recovering my Authenticity.
To learn how to be myself and to be able to live authentically
I had to recover myself. I had to recover what had been lost.

When I was a young child I knew who I was. I delighted in bluebells, fairies, snapping pea pods, dragonflies, curling up with a book, climbing trees, drawing, swinging as high as I could on the garden swing, but very quickly those simple pleasures faded as I concentrated on fitting in, being conformed, and moulded into what other people wanted me to be.

Wand – Mirror – Amethyst – Bluebells – © Lisa Shambrook

As an already world and trauma weary seventeen-year-old, I once wrote: ‘I’ll open my heart and show you inside, but don’t let me know what you’ve seen. I want to be everything everyone wants me to be, but I’m not sure I know how. I don’t even know how to be me…’ (Sept 1989)

Limitless – Dream – Crescent Moon – Stars – © Lisa Shambrook

I spent my childhood being groomed into an overly conscientious teen, bombarded with responsibility and emotional pressure, with a built-in inability to rebel. I spent my twenties trying to be perfect in a world where perfection is unattainable. In my thirties I broke down, but that didn’t stop the internalised and external burdens, and in my forties I began to say no, to question blind obedience, and to realise just how important it is to be exactly who I am. To be who I was born to be.

Painting – Oak Leaf – Magic Tree – Treasure – © Lisa Shambrook

Now, thirty-two years later, I know exactly how to be me.

Lisa – Safe – Green Witch – Carnelian Heart – © Lisa Shambrook

Anyone who reads this blog knows how important being true to yourself is to me, just two of my older posts are:  Never Changing Who I Am – Believe in Yourself, and Losing your Armour – Breaking Down Walls – Embrace YOU. Both talk about accepting and believing in yourself. I was stripped of who I was at a young age, and it took four decades to recover that person. I talk of my trauma and subsequent counselling in this post: My Journey through Different Channels of Counselling.

Carnelian and Treasure – Dusky Rose – Autumn Forest – Nature – © Lisa Shambrook

It takes great courage to be who you are, to stop masking in a society that wants you to behave in their chosen acceptable ways, to reject conditioning – both social and in a faith setting, to step away from that narrow path and live life, to embrace who you intrinsically always were, are, and want to be.

Crystals – Crescent Moon – Wolves – Dragon Grid – © Lisa Shambrook

I could lament many things, and some I will, but, as half a century creeps up on me, I’m learning that life is too short to waste. Life really is about bluebells, dragons, good food, curling up with a book, climbing trees, painting, losing myself in the other worlds that I write, and swinging as high as I can on a park swing! It’s also about stars and the moon, acorns and acorn cups, and dreams. It’s about gems and crystals, mindfulness and crystal grids, magic, and dusky roses. It’s about Coldbackie beach and Greenwich Park, animals, and running with wolves. It’s about walking through forests, splashing through oceans, and standing on mountains. It’s about fighting for equality, for mental health, for loving those you love. And it’s about knowing who you are and being exactly that person, with no apologies, no resentment, and never needing anyone’s permission to be you.

Samhain Grid – Earthy Colours – Forest – Black Cat – © Lisa Shambrook

I’ve recovered the little girl who believed in magic, who thought dragonflies were really baby dragons, and who wandered through bluebell woods looking for fairies. I rescued the child who didn’t need to be perfect, who didn’t even think about her flaws, and loved who she was. That child no longer needs perfection; she doesn’t want to conform, she wants to rebel, and she can! She can see the world as it is and be sad, but also hopeful. She can walk through mossy forests and see Mother Nature smiling back at her. She can gaze at the stars and know that she can reach them in so many ways. I can be exactly who I want to be, because I know how to be me.

Wild – Intuitive – Free – © Lisa Shambrook

Take a look in the mirror and love who you are.

Silver Gilt – Embracing Going Grey and Turning Silver

Three years ago I began the journey of both gracefully and disgracefully aging… making many changes in my life, and one of them was turning grey – adding silver gilt to my hair like fairy dust.

I loved the transformation, but starting the process, getting used to the idea of going grey, is psychologically the most difficult. It throws up emotions and fears of growing older, and makes you confront not only who you are in yourself, but how others see you too. There’s a lot of pressure on standards of beauty and the media’s view on aging can be intimidating. I talk about that and my own worries in my first post: Turning Silver and Going Grey – Embracing your Hair. I said I’d write another post once my process was complete, so here it is.

I loved being brunette, and when I realised I was turning white it was hard to accept the change, but I decided to embrace it and turn silver before I was fifty! I stopped dyeing and watched my grey come through like glittering silver gilt.

Two years later and it’s now 2021 and we’ve been locked in a pandemic for the past eighteen months, and I’ll be fifty in a few months. It’s been a tough time for most of us and Covid19 has collectively affected society profoundly. It seems almost flippant to talk about hair after what we’ve been through, but during lockdown hairdressers and barbers were closed, and hair care became a personal responsibility. Home dyeing was the only way for many to keep the grey at bay, and a fair amount of people decided to lose the obligation and accept the inevitable. Turning silver became much easier for many without access to professional hair care.

I had a head start, literally, and as we entered lockdown I was mostly silver already. If I’d been getting regular haircuts, I’d have kept my hair shorter and I would have been completely white much faster, but as most people did, I let my hair grow long. I kept my brown/bronze tips for much longer. It was a fascinating year as a lot of people let their hair grow or shaved it off! Suddenly news readers all had longer hair, and several celebrities were advertising dye products by showing their grey as they dyed their roots at home. I was happy to let my hair grow. By October, though, I was fed up as my hair gets heavier as it grows, and thin hair works better with a good cut. I didn’t get a good cut, but I did finally lop the last brown ends off with my own hairdressing scissors! It was the moment the last remnants of dye were cut from my hair and I became completely natural.

Now my hair is longer again, and wanting a cut, but I’m loving the colour. I’m told there’s still some brunette at the back, but I can’t see it and most of it has darkened to steel grey. The rest is a white halo about my face, sparkling silver in the sun.

So, after three years, my journey from brunette to silver has finished, and I’ve changed just as much as my hair if I’m honest. These last few years have been time for change, for authenticity, for counselling, developing the strength to be myself, and emerging as someone I truly love and embrace.

I finished my last turning silver post with this statement:
I’m ready to let my silver spirit soar with freedom and abandon.

And I have.

Nature and Mental Health – Soak it in

It was interesting to see that the focus for Mental Health Awareness Week, 10th – 16th May, this year is Nature. Now, I’m not going to put it out there that nature fixes our mental health. It doesn’t. A good health service, access to mental health facilities and services, medication, diagnosis, experts, voting for parties that will increase mental health services and access to the assistance we need, and much more will help our mental health more, but nature does have its place in preserving our emotional and mental health.

There is a lot of scientific and medical evidence that shows that nature improves our mental health and wellbeing. Nature can offer a calming and soothing effect that lowers our stress levels and anxieties. Being outside and bathing in light, sunlight, or just daylight, can improve our production of serotonin and Vitamin D. Exercise increases endorphins, and just walking in woodland, alongside birdsong, or along a beach, listening to waves crashing, can significantly help your general mental health.

Ocean, lakes, mountains, forest © Lisa Shambrook

As someone who suffers from extreme anxiety and has been crippled by bouts of depression, I know nature is not a cure – it would be patronising to claim it is – but it does enrich my emotional state, and is part of my coping strategy.

Put yourself into nature © Lisa Shambrook

It’s been proven that just looking at images of nature can lift moods, and can offer a boost of serotonin. So, to offer support and a moment of lightness I’m going to share some moments of nature that have helped me. I use nature, and pretty things, to keep my anxieties and panic at bay, maybe they can help you.

Bluebells, primroses, peony, aquilegia © Lisa Shambrook
Find trees © Lisa Shambrook
Notice the detail © Lisa Shambrook

Please remember we can be there for each other, not just for walks in parks, but for the serious stuff, the times when darkness invades and our mental health is at the bottom of the pit.

Look to the light © Lisa Shambrook


Ask for help, seek out counselling (it helps, but believe me I know how long you have to wait for it!), find people who’ll listen and support you, accept help, and accept medication if that’s what you need.  Watch out for each other, be kind, offer help when it’s needed, and for goodness sake, vote for the parties that want to help, the ones who want to increase mental health provisions and access to all. That’s how we change things, and that’s how we help. Nature is great, and it’s there for us all, but remember there’s more to fixing mental health than looking at pretty things. 

Ask for help, medication, counselling, recovery © Lisa Shambrook

Find what works for you.

Crystal Grids, Art, Bookpages, and Books

I’ve been incredibly busy with some serious issues, family life, and new business opportunities, so this is really a roundup of where I am right now with my work.

I launched my Crystal Grid prints in my Etsy shop Amaranth Alchemy and had a great response. Many people have asked if I will be stocking cards in the future, so that’s something I’m looking into. I’m very touched by the amount of people showing interest and supporting my new work, I’ve even had commissions and that’s been a lot of fun!

Amaranth Alchemy Crystal Grid Prints

You can find the available prints in Amaranth Alchemy right now, 8×8 inch prints on beautiful high-grade, smooth matte paper. They look amazing!

Amaranth Alchemy also stocks bookpage gifts. I rescue broken, worn and torn, and damaged books and turn them into unique bookmarks, picture frames, and gifts. #BreathingNewLifeIntoOldPages

Amaranth Alchemy Bookpage gifts

And my books are all available to buy too. Signed paperback copies which will enchant you.

My first three books the Surviving Hope series are made up of Beneath the Rainbow, Beneath the Old Oak, and Beneath the Distant Star.

Three girls, three lives, three stories composed with the melody of hope.
Freya’s death sends ripples through many lives.

Meg loses her best friend, and Jasmine, her sister.
Lost dreams need to be found, hidden family secrets need to be unearthed,
and grief must be embraced before ghosts can be laid to rest.
These beautifully composed tales of coming of age, mental health,
and the struggles of finding yourself, begin with grief and culminate with hope.

Lisa Shambrook Books

Beneath the Rainbow is currently available for FREE as a Nook eBook with Barnes and Noble, and it’s sequels are available for $0.99 each ‘til the end of April.

Beneath the Rainbow has also been chosen as one of the titles for BHCPress’s curated list celebrating National School Library Month in the US. Find it here and check out the other recommended books here.

You can find A Symphony Of Dragons and Human 76 in my Etsy shop, and at lisashambrook.com. If you love dragons then Symphony is for you, and if you crave post-apocalyptic fiction then Human 76 is something quite unique which will blow you away! All books are available at online bookshops and Amazon in both eBook and Paperback.

Counselling, Crystal Grids, Chakras, and Editing

I’m busy working through everything I learned while in counselling, creating new things, crystal grids, learning about Chakras, editing The Seren Stone Chronicles, and supporting my daughter’s new art business, please read about her work here. She’s struggling greatly with autism and tourettes right now, and art is one of the things that’s keeping her going, so please support her if you possibly can. Check out her website Bekah Rain Art and her page on Facebook. Look her up on Instagram and Tik Tok too.

Bekah Rain Art – my daughter’s Art Store

Thank you for all your support! You are all amazing!  

Crystal Grids – The Favourites – and Winner of the Draw

Find out which Crystal Grid was your favourite!

Three weeks ago I asked you which of my Crystal Grids you liked the most, this was to work out which grids to order prints to stock in my Etsy shop. I had a lot of lovely responses and votes, and some of the choices matched mine and some surprised me, but the results are in and I’ve made my choices.

Samhain, Fire and Light – Intuition – Wolf Moon Snowflake – Imbolc, Winter Healing © Lisa Shambrook

Two were runaway successes, drawing in the most votes respectively, Numbers 3 and 13Samhain, Fire and Light, and Black Moon. Coming in close behind were 6, 8, and 12Intuition, Imbolc, Winter Healing, and Wolf Moon Snowflake. 18 and 19Holly and Berry, and Valentine Love brought up the rear in votes. Many more were as popular but instead of fighting between them, the eighth grid I chose was my newest, Amethyst Spiral, created for February, as it got a huge amount of love across my social media pages when I posted it.

Black Moon – Valentine Love – Holly and Berry – Amethyst Spiral © Lisa Shambrook

So, I will be ordering a number of prints of each of these grids to place in Amaranth Alchemy. Once I see how these sell, I will consider expanding the range.

Thank you all so much for voting and sharing your favourites with me, it was lovely to read some of your reasons too.

The Draw… and Winner © Lisa Shambrook

I also held a draw for one voter to receive a free print from these once they become available. I drew Eilís Phillips’ name and she will be able to choose a print to enjoy. Congratulations Eilís and thank you!

Samhain, Fire and Light on different sample papers © Lisa Shambrook

Whilst you were voting I send off for sample prints using four different papers so I could choose my favourite to show off the crystals. I tried two photographic pearl papers, and two matte rag papers. The prints of Samhain, Fire and Light came out beautifully and I immediately fell in love with the Canson Infinity Rag Photographique 310gsm. This matte 100% cotton paper creates a smooth, sensual backing to my crystals which makes them feel more like an art print than a photograph, and I love it!

I’ll be getting 8×8 inch prints to begin with, and seeing where we go from there.

I can’t wait to see these Crystal Grid prints in my shop and ready to be shipped
 to homes where the stones and intentions can enhance your life!

Bekah Rain Art – Online Shop Launch – Art to Inspire

Art is important, adding to society in many ways.
It provides decoration, talking points, culture, expression,
creativity, inspiration and so much more.
My daughter’s art at Bekah Rain Art embraces all of this.  

Yesterday, Bekah opened her first online shop to offer her art to the world – Bekah Rain Art. Please pop over and take a look and see what inspires you. Their initial pieces work with Body Positivity, Diversity, People, and Nature. Working with watercolour as her main medium, she has also used acrylics, pen, and is currently working on a large oil painting.

Their ultimate goal with their art is to inspire others to see the beauty in everything around us.

Ink in the Atmosphere – Fine Art Print – Bekah Rain Art

I asked them a few questions to celebrate their launch:

Have you always loved to draw and paint?

I have, it’s been one of the few things in my life that has been a constant love of mine. I’ve been drawing since I can remember and in school if you asked me my favourite subject it was always Art. To the point that when I studied art for my A Levels I lost focus on any other subject I was studying and put everything into my art.

Flame of the Forest, Tears of Mist, Conquer, Essence of Light – Fine Art Prints – Bekah Rain Art

What made you want to focus on body positivity?

I see a lot of nude art that focuses on one body type: skinny, abled, primarily white. I wanted to bring something new to people, every body is beautiful and they deserve to see that in art. I have painted people with different body types, perceived flaws, disabilities. I only have five pieces in my Strength Within collection available right now but I have many more in the works. This collection is about empowering people to love their bodies.

Growing Ethereal – Fine Art Print – Bekah Rain Art

Do you have a favourite medium to work in?

Watercolour, if I had to pick one medium to use for the rest of my life, it would be watercolour. I love how unpredictable it can be depending on the surface I paint on. I love the loose flow it offers me, I find watercolour inspires me while I am in the process of painting.

I love to experiment with other mediums though, I’m currently working on an Oil on Canvas piece which is slow but it’s turning out beautifully. I’ve learned a lot working on that piece.

Bekah Shambrook – Bekah Rain Art

What does art mean to you?

That’s a huge question! It’s expression in its purest form, it’s inspiration and beauty. I think people don’t always value it, they consider it to be frivolous, but everything involves art. Look at architecture, television, books, cars and so on, art surrounds us all everyday and I think that is a beautiful thing. Look what we as humans can create! A world without art would be such a flat existence.

Bekah and Prints – Bekah Rain Art

Bekah is currently offering a discount of 15% off on all sales until midnight 14th March, use code: LAUNCH15 at the checkout on her website.

Instagram GIVEWAY – BekahRainArt

She also has a Giveaway in partnership with Amaranth Alchemy, giving away a Free Print ‘Cocoa and Snowflakes’, Rose Sticker, a Winter Potion Bottle Pendant from Amaranth Alchemy,and a book ‘A Symphony of Dragonsby Lisa Shambrook. The giveaway is over on Instagram BekahRainArt until midnight 10th March, hurry over and join in!

So go and have a look and see what inspires you.

Follow her on Instagram and Facebook for News, Offers, and a look at new Pieces.

Crystal Grids to be made into prints – Tell me your Favourite

I have been enchanted by crystals for many years.
I’ve been studying and learning about them, writing and painting them,
and for the last year I’ve been making crystal grids.

I make crystal grids for several reasons: to manifest intentions, to make art, and to practise meditation and mindfulness. I’ve had some lovely responses and comments when I’ve posted them online, and also been asked if they are available to purchase. I’m really happy to announce that I’m planning to get prints made so they can be available in my Etsy shop Amaranth Alchemy.

1. Positivity Healing 2. Lion’s Gate Portal 3. Samhain Halloween Fire and Light 4. Mabon Autumn Eqinox © Lisa Shambrook

I want to choose the ones that you love the most! I hope you will relate to their meanings so they will mean something to you too. Each print will be on premium paper, hand signed, and on the reverse will be the original meaning and an explanation of each stone used and why.

5. Summer Solstice Tree 6. Intuition Passion, Healing 7. Healing Protection 8. Imbolc Winter Healing © Lisa Shambrook

To help me know which crystal grids to stock, please comment below with the numbers of your Five Favourite grids. Feel free to either just leave their numbers, or to add any explanation as to why you love them.

9. Buck Moon Peace and Purity 10. New Moon Anxiety 11. New Moon Cold Midwinter 12. Wolf Moon Snowflake © Lisa Shambrook

WIN A FREE PRINT – If you comment here on my blog or on the original Facebook, or Instagram, post I will make a note of your name and include you in a draw when the prints become available and one person will win a free print of their choice of the available range.

13. Black Moon Time for New Intentions 14. Harvest Moon Emotional Rescue and Peace 15. Corn Moon Freedom 16. New Beginnings © Lisa Shambrook

If you win I will contact you via your FB, Insta, or Blog profile. This draw will remain open for comment until the 10th of March 2021, when I will be then preparing my range of prints. Prints should be available before Summer at Amaranth Alchemy on Etsy, price still to be decided.

17. Full Moon Light and Joy 18. Christmas Peace and Love 19. Valentine Love 20. Moonstone Peace © Lisa Shambrook

I can’t wait to see which grids are your favourites!

Please choose Five.

Nexus – Mid-Week Flash Challenge

“Do you think it was ever real?” Jeff shifted his face towards me.

sculpture by Hasan Novorozi

“What was?” I replied absently, staring into the distance.

“The horse, the Pegasus?” He lifted off his elbows, rolling onto his side. “That one?”

My eyes refocused, taking in the golden bronze sculpture not far from our blanket.

The lowering evening light glinted like magic and I could almost imagine the creature lifting into the sky, its precision pistons and hydraulics whirring smooth and silent. It would soar on glorious wings, skimming clouds and the far off mountain tops. Then Jeff nudged me.

“Wow, you’re just lost today!” He sniggered.

I tore my eyes away from the monument. I flushed under his gaze. His ice-blue eyes softened and the corners of his mouth curled into a grin. My hair slipped across my face and he stretched out his hand to lift it away. His hand brushed my cheek and my heart quickened.

Embarrassed, or shy – I couldn’t decide which – I broke eye contact and dipped my head, hiding a heady smile. I heard Jeff move closer to me. His arms wrapped themselves about me and I let my body mould itself against his.

“I’ve never met anyone like you, Tansy,” he whispered, his words moving like velvet across my skin and into my ear.

I smiled and his mouth met mine. For a moment I froze, wondering if my inexperience would register with him, but I had nothing to worry about and melted into the kiss, my lips moving gently against his. It wasn’t just our mouths that responded and I let my hands rove, my fingers ending up entwined in his hair and stroking the nape of his neck.

Soft kisses rained down, and his lips explored my shoulder. My back lightly arched and my head dropped to the side as his touch sent tiny fizzing explosions through my body. I opened my eyes and the late sun bathed me in golden rays, and I caught a glimpse of the gleaming Pegasus in the corner of my eye. Its cogs and gears and wheels shone, and the light flowed through its mane and tail, and I almost believed it alive.

Jeff’s mouth sought mine again and then he reluctantly moved aside grinning at me as we untangled. I giggled and he laughed. “You do things to me!” He threw himself down onto his back and stared up into the sky.

I shuffled closer and looked at him, his face rosy with desire, untidy hair, and creased shirt. I smoothed my hand across his chest, slipping it between an unbuttoned gap to caress his skin. He closed his eyes and groaned.

I laughed and sat up, tucking my legs beneath me. Jeff rolled over and leaned against me, propping himself back up on his elbows again. The horse glowed in front of us as the sun disappeared behind the mountain. It became a shadowy figure as pale moonlight took over from the sun, ghostly even.

“So,” he broke the silence. “Do you think it was real?”

I didn’t answer.

“I mean, years ago, centuries ago, before they were banned?” When I still didn’t speak, he continued. “Not just horses, but people, you know – the mechanical ones. They got really advanced, then when they thought we’d not be able to tell the difference, they banned them. Do you believe that? I never saw one I couldn’t tell was robotic.” His voice trailed off as he stared at the sculpture. “If they were real, they sure were beautiful.”

My skin prickled, goosebumps spread across my arms, and my scalp tingled.

“I’d know if I met one. Not that I could, they don’t exist anymore.” He turned to smile at me. “That one, the Pegasus, it enchants me. That’s why I like coming here, and with you –” His fingers trailed across my bare arm. “With you, it’s even better.”

I linked my fingers with his. His hand was warm, sweaty, and real. He gazed into my eyes with such intensity, such adoration, that I knew his naivety was genuine.

I leaned down and touched my lips to his. He pulled me into his embrace and his hand moved slowly down my neck, across my collarbone, and down to the soft cotton décolletage of my dress. Not far beneath the cotton, beneath my silky organic skin, beneath the network of miniscule tubes and hydraulics, beneath the silent whir of cogs and gears, beat my heart, my clockwork heart.

Really needed to write something for this photo provided by Miranda’s Mid-Week Flash Challenge prompt. A sculpture by Hasan Novorozi. The steampunk Pegasus just spoke to me, as do most things steampunk!

Write up to 750 words inspired by the prompt photograph.