Tag Archives: death

Blues Buster: Stars (Waiting on a Dream)

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Girl Watching City at Night Free Download Wallpaper at chaoswallpapers.com

 Stars (Waiting on a Dream)

From his perch atop the city, it seemed he could see the entire world.

Below, electricity wreathed the ground in a geometric web of light, winking and flickering in the frigid cold, like a supercharged network created by a techno Jack Frost. Twinkling gold lit up the entire spread of community; interspersed with blinks of red and green ruling the roads, and swathes of neon crawling throughout downtown.

The docks rose in the distance, towering cranes, great shadows on the horizon and the harbour lights danced on black water. The river snaked like a python, like a dark chasm amid the lights and city sprawl, and moved silently through the urban spread until it flicked its tail and faded into the glow on the horizon.

He stared intently at the mathematical placement of roads, intersections and buildings, at the strings of lights that threaded the cityscape, before casting his eyes heavenward and releasing a sigh.

Stars glittered and the moon hung in the indigo sky like a silver marble.

He laughed inwardly, his lip beneath his whiskers curling lightly. He shivered and blew into his cold, weathered hands as the dark sky and dotted galaxies sneaked through his coat. He turned his attention again to the metropolis at his feet.

As he drank in the view, he shifted his weight on the park bench and pulled his camel skin coat close. The city had been his for a while, just a while, just enough to make a name for himself, but there was more to life than fame, and more to this city than cold, twinkling lights. There were better things than your name in lights, better things than hard, gold statuettes, better things than this.

He had no regrets, but she’d been gone for a while, and he missed her.

He liked hearing his name on the lips of others, but no voice beat hers. He adored the cheering of the fans, but her smile was worth more. Oscars shone on his mantelpiece, but no accolade was as soft and satisfying as her sweet kiss.

“I’m coming home, sweetheart…” The words barely left his lips, but they whispered in the raw night air and warmed him.

For a few moments his rheumy eyes wandered the city, remembering, and finally came to rest on the small patch of grass before him. He recalled the young girl kneeling there, staring down across the city in wonder, before leaning over to kiss him. He closed his eyes to capture the moment.

The night wind blew across the city, and up the hillside, chilling his bones and messing his unruly white hair, and he smiled. “I’m coming home…”

Snow began to fall. Soft, thick snowflakes slipped from the sky and grey clouds gently moved across the hillside. The morning would come and the city would slumber beneath a blanket of white, and a lone runner, atop the hill, would alert the authorities to the snow-covered mound on the bench. Blue lights would ride up the hillside, despite the snow, and headlines would be made, but it wouldn’t matter to him, because he’d risen far above the cityscape, far above the snow – and had returned home to the stars and to her soft, sweet kiss.

(541 Words)

My entry into Jeff’s Blues Buster over at The Tsuruoka Files. The prompt song is Lee Ranaldo’s ‘Waiting on a Dream’ and my interpretation took a while coming, but I got there!

Five Sentence Fiction: Hunger

Rain © Lisa Shambrook

Rain © Lisa Shambrook

The rain fell, heavy and abrupt, and before Lily had a chance to move she was soaked, the sky’s tears drenching her t-shirt and darkening her mud-splattered jeans. Shaking, dirt-ridden hands hung at her sides and she stared up into the roiling clouds as the heavens wept with her.

Lily bit her lip as her fingers trembled through her straggly tresses then she flung out her arms in defiance as she twirled; starved vengeance served as she whirled. Her hair spun out in heavy, water-laden rat-tails as she ravenously kicked up earth, and the rain danced on her skin and drummed upon the fresh mound under her feet.

Her laugh echoed as she buried far more than a corpse beneath the hammering of dawn’s heavy downpour.

000. FSF Badge  June 2012

Another Five Sentence Fiction for the word prompt Hunger…make of it what you will in its ambiguity!

Visual Dare: Precocious Spirit

Mists swirled and danced, and Qilaq kept moving despite the sugared ice flurries that numbed her nose. The road was long and she tightened her fingers around the wagon’s rope. Her arms burned, but her snowy white llama sat as still as could be. She moved steadfastly on, followed, as always, by her faithful animals.

A hawk swept by, disturbing the roiling mists, crying as it circled, “Keee-arr, keee-arr…follow, follow…”

Qilaq glanced up and grinned.

A tear slipped down her cheek, turning crystalline, and for a moment she paused. Her heart ached – especially where the bear’s claws had torn through so many layers – and sorrow filled her, but her journey was almost finished. The next life was within sight and as her spirit-guide, her beloved hawk, soared through the narrow mountain pass, Qilaq quickened her pace, heading for the light that beckoned her. Heading for Spring as her Winter passed.

(150 words)

00. VisDare Badge

 

I loved this picture as soon as I saw it and wanted to write…take a look at the other few tales over at Anonymous Legacy and Visual Dare.

Sometimes Stars Fall from the Sky – Depression

‘There, but for the grace of God, go I’

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© Lisa Shambrook

Several billion years after its life starts, a star will die. Some will fade into a black dwarf and others will explode in a supernova. I’m not a scientist, nor do I understand astrophysics, but stars die and fade across our infinite galaxies – all the time.

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Orion – Hubble Telescope

Do we notice them go? We cannot even comprehend the size of our universe, let alone its number of stars, but imagine if Orion’s Rigel (Beta Orionis), one of the brightest stars in our night sky, forming the Hunter’s left knee, went out? Or Mintaka, one of stars forming his belt disappeared – it would be headline news.

For each star that fades, light is lost. On August 4th we remembered those who’d lost their lives in World War One. Many flames extinguished amid sacrifice. And yesterday we remembered a single star Robin Williams, who lost his battle with life itself.

The worst thing in life, alone... Robin WilliamsFor each star that falls, we mourn.

More often than not, we don’t control the way we go, but sometimes, our life is in our own hands and this is when death touches me more.

I do not fear death. I’m comfortable with my beliefs and fear not walking into that valley, and it’s a route I’ve considered, holding my precious life within my own hands.

Yesterday felt personal to me, and a quote, from an amazing blog post I read, resonated: ‘…here’s the thing about his death that is hurting so many people right now: when someone who publicly advocates for a disease that you’re intimately familiar with decides the pain is too much to bear – even with every resource available to him – what hope is there for the rest of us who battle this disease on a daily basis?’

Where is hope? According to official statistics, there were 5,981 suicides in the UK in 2012.

Eyes Bekah Shambrook

© Bekah Shambrook

Depression affects a fifth of all adults in the UK. Look around you, that’s 1 in 5 and we hide it well.

We have the highest rate of self-harm in Europe.

Mixed anxiety and depression is the most common mental health disorder in Britain, and 1 in 4 people will suffer some kind of mental health problem within a year.

Several times yesterday, I saw the word choice being used. Yes, for most of us there is a choice, but the black dog and society sometimes remove choice and the black hole of depression offers no alternative. 

When I hit my true lows, when I’m sitting at the bottom of the pit with my head in my hands and my eyes closed – I cannot see those around me, I cannot lift an arm or ask to be pulled up. I cannot see further than the gloom and fog that surround me and sometimes the nothing removes my choice. Depression can be a killer.

Isaiah 41.10

Isaiah 41:10

I am lucky, whether it be my faith, or my family, or my friends – someone is there to embrace me and lift me out even when I refuse to move.

So, why, when mental health issues are so prevalent, are we still so unwilling to talk about them? Why are treatments so difficult to find? And why are so many suffering in silence?

She was drowning but nobody saw her struggleI’ve self-harmed since I was 14. Had 6 months of anti-depressants at 18 and was offered pointless group therapy. I had a nervous breakdown at 32, 6 more months of anti-depressants and 9 months of private counselling which successfully resolved one major issue. I rejoiced, believing my depression overcome. I soon discovered that depression is not something you get over, it’s something you get through, until the next time.

During the next decade, depression and anxiety raised their ugly head time and time again. Anti-depressants are the first thing offered by doctors already struggling for resources. My experiences with anti-depressants are not fun. My family prefer me present though anxious and depressed, than an empty, emotionless zombie. I choose not to take anti-depressants for a variety of reasons: I don’t want to sleep my life away, I need my creativity, and I want to be me! Anti-depressants and meds have their place, and they have worked, short-term, for me.

Trying to keep your head above the waves...Tyler Knott GregsonLast year I was offered ‘Stress Management’ to help conquer my crippling anxiety. I took the 6 week course, hoping to talk about and share experiences and find answers. While I won’t criticise the course, which was presented very well, it wasn’t for me. I couldn’t find personal answers or help during a weekly 2 hour slide show of things I already knew.  If I want to talk or get personal help on the NHS several years will pass before help is offered. Most depressives won’t put themselves on that list, because they believe there are people more worthy, more desperate and in more need than they, which will be true until they become one of the statistics. Help isn’t offered until you do something desperate.

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© Lisa Shambrook/Bekah Shambrook

So my family continue to live with a woman who is flawed, cannot answer the telephone, suffers huge bouts of insecurity and paranoia (even after almost twenty-three years of wonderful marriage to my sweetheart, I still ask “Are you sure you’re happy you married me? Wouldn’t you be better off without me?”). A mother who disappears or runs away when things get too much, who has scars that reappear, who panics, and who slips into interminable black holes.

But you know what made me cry and gives me hope? My youngest listened to a friend who suffers all these things too, and said to her “It’s okay, if you ever need someone I’m here, because someone I love is like you and I know how to deal with it.”  I’m crying because Robin Williams had people like that and still couldn’t win.

Society needs to understand that depression is a hidden illness, and that it’s generally not something you get over.

It’s a lifelong condition.

Someone once said to me “…but you’re okay now, you’ve got over that depression thing…”

You never get over this depression thing – when people understand that, it will be easier for us all to get through, not over, it.

The best way out is through - Robert Frost
Offer support and understanding…and don’t let the stars in your life fall.

Blues Buster: Images of Heaven

Now my WIP is off in the hands of Beta readers…I can relax a little and get some flash fiction down. So today, here’s my Blues Buster for The Tsuruoka Files. The prompt song is Images of Heaven by Peter Godwin.

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Photograph by Lisa Shambrook (Please do not use without permission)

Images of Heaven

Her pink dress fluttered in the breeze, I squinted, my vision blurring as she waltzed closer, not really pink, paler than that, but it fluttered all the same. She’d been dancing all day, ever since I woke, ever since I regained consciousness with a skunk in my throat. I watched morbidly transfixed as she danced across the grass, bare feet stepping lightly and a pirouette beneath the sun.
Sweaty runners hurried by, their neon trainers padding on the asphalt, but even their blur couldn’t hide the dancer.
Tired mothers pushed buggies, and threw glances of contempt my way, hurriedly calling back recalcitrant toddlers who strayed my way. School children filled the path in front of me, loitering and shouting, and spitting and swearing. I glared and they backed away from my shaking fist as I took a swig from my bottle. Businessmen snatched late conversations on mobile phones and glanced at their watches. Businesswomen hurried past with barely a gaze, gulping down coffees from Starbucks and checking their iPads, and I waited for rush hour to fade.
By early evening, I relaxed into the bench, my usual corner, and drank. She danced, showing no sign of letting up and if I drank more, knocked it back, maybe she’d go…
Dog walkers, the park’s evening invasion of choice. Labradors bounded past, springer spaniels pulled at their leads, and a German shepherd walked sedately by its knowing golden-brown eyes boring into me. A little old lady walked a tiny puffball and I let out a guffaw that made the old thing tremble. I shrank as a big black dog on a retractable lead snuffled up to the park bench.  I glared and it replied with a growl baring its teeth, and its owner threw a horrified glance my way before yanking the lead and hurrying on.
But still my dancer danced.
I watched as her small, lithe body balanced on toes, and her arms moved with grace and beauty. As the sun’s ball of hellfire began to set, its golden tones settled on her long, pale hair.
The evening chill thrust through my bones and I shivered, settling back into the bench as the sun pooled in molten gold on the horizon. Before the sun dropped behind the world I leaned forward, and stared at the fluttering gauzy skirt, her white hair and her graceful moves. As the night hid her from me, I recalled a mental image, a photograph in my mind, and I supressed a strangled sob.
A pair of giggling lovebirds wandered past, they paused as they saw me, but I curled my lip and the moon glinted on my bottle. They moved on hurrying away through the darkened park.
The silver moon, a shining sickle, threw rays upon the frosty trees as well as my bottle, and danced on the girl’s shimmering locks. Her pale skin glowed in the dark and her gossamer dress fluttered, as did my chest.
I shivered.
They say dead men are visited by the ghosts of their wrongs. My lascivious gaze recognised the pale pink dress, the gauzy tutu, the delicate limbs and her tiny heart-shaped face. I recalled my wrongs vividly as she visited me that night, the ghost of my forgotten past.
As the early morning sun peered over the trees in the park, and mist swirled across the grass, a Labrador snuffled at the foot of my park bench. The brown bottle chinked and clattered to the ground, released from my cold, stiff hand, and as the dog’s owner stifled a shriek, I faded, disappearing into the eternal depths of damnation.

(601 Words)

‘Those Silly Dreams…’ Beneath The Rainbow Review

Photograph by Lisa Shambrook (Please do not use)
The scariest thing about having a book out there in general public land is not knowing what people will think when they read it, or even if they will read it…will anyone ever read it? 
I’m lucky some lovely people have bought and read my book, and they seem to have enjoyed it! My friend, the lovely Sarah Nicholson at re-ravelling, took the plunge and read Beneath the Rainbow and wrote a beautiful Blog post about it at re-ravelling: here. Like I said it’s always scary when people actually read your book, so I was honoured and pleased to discover her enjoyment!
When Sarah told me she was reading it I knew it was near the second anniversary of the death of her husband, and I had no idea if my book about grief and joy would hurt or help…she writes:

‘Some books forever get caught up in real life events of the reader, something the author cannot predict, but in this instance it made my enjoyment of the book even richer helping me process a bit more of my own grief.

For me this is why I thought it was a great first novel and I would recommend it to anyone grieving because it is so beautifully written and thought provoking.’

I teared up when I read her praise and I was significantly humbled.

Something powerful happens in the mind of an author when they write and they always hope that that power, that inspiration, that something will engulf the reader, but they never know if it truly will.

I want to thank those who’ve read Beneath the Rainbow and enjoyed, and especially those who’ve left reviews whether on their Blog, on Goodreads, or on Amazon. You are so very much appreciated!

If you are interested my book is available on Kindle:
and 
(and other Amazon country variants…)