So, scary moment but the time has come. I’ve been threatening to “do something” with my stories and poems for many years now and the time has come to put up or shut up. My writing has been sitting in file boxes for decades. Between 1965 and 1985 (more or less) I wrote hundreds of short stories and poems and even started a novel. I sent a couple of stories to a publisher in the 80s but received two rejection notices. Of course I realize now that’s all part of the process.
Life took me in a different direction and I stopped writing, but I never stopped thinking about those short stories and poems. A few years ago I started retyping some of them in Word. I realized they needed re-writing and editing and even updating… but I couldn’t make myself do it. So they sat on my computer.
I wanted to self-publish but I knew I couldn’t do that without the editing. So, next best solution… post them on my blog. I’ll be doing this in serial form. Eventually I plan to start a new blog for my writing but that’s more procrastination so in the meantime I’ll be posting them here, hopefully every Wednesday as much as possible.
This is going to be a time commitment with Monday Magical Memories and Feline Friday and my already busy life… but we’ll see how it goes. Instead of getting up at 6:00am I may have to get up at 5:00am!
Although many of my stories are written in the first person, all characters and events are entirely fictional.
Uncle Theo – Part One – © copyright Roslyn M Wilkins
When Uncle Theo came to visit that summer it never occurred to me when my mother told me he was from far away, she meant that far away. Or maybe even she didn’t know. All I knew was that it was a very long way from Derring-on-Sea, the small English seaside resort town where I struggled through childhood.
I was ten years and two months old when I first set eyes on Uncle Theo, and except for a small purplish scar on his forehead that contrasted with his bright red hair, he looked like a perfectly normal human being. At least, as normal as any middle-aged adult looks to a ten-year-old child.
He was wearing a red and white striped polo shirt with two buttons when he rang the doorbell at 53 Chester Avenue. I remember because he wore nothing but red and white striped polo shirts the entire time he stayed with us. My mother would throw four or five of them at a time in the washing machine and I would watch them spin around and around, their buttons knocking wildly at the little window in their frenzy to escape… or so I imagined.
“Did you sail on a ship?” I questioned my uncle as he unpacked his suitcase in the guest bedroom. “Mother says you came from a long way away.”
“Yes, Little Bunny, a Long, Long Way Away. And I Traversed the Miles in a Very Special Ship.” When Uncle Theo spoke you could hear the capital letters.
“I’m not a little bunny,” I corrected him. “I’m a girl. A big girl.”
“Then stop Hopping Around!” I thought he was scolding me like Mother but he had a big grin on his face that even his bushy red moustache couldn’t hide. And that is how I came to be known as Little Bunny forever and always.
“Come to my Room at eleven o’clock Tonight and I’ll show you Where I Come From. But Don’t tell your Parents. You know how Parents are! But for Now, here’s a Present for You. Catch!” A bundle of newspapers came flying across the room and landed in my outstretched hands.
“Good Catch!” he exclaimed. But it was the way he threw the package, because I couldn’t catch for toffee!
I unwrapped the newspaper slowly and carefully, layer by layer, intrigued by the strange lettering on the pages. (It was Arabic, my mother told me later, from some previous adventure Uncle Theo had been involved in.) Inside was a treasure, the like of which I had never seen before: a glass sphere the size of a grapefruit with tiny, odd-shaped cuts over the surface. Held up to the light it caught all the colors of the rainbow, and some that no rainbow had ever painted. Triangles, trapezoids, diamonds and circles splashed over the walls of the bedroom dripping reds, blues, oranges, greens, and other unimaginable colors over the bed, the dresser and the nightstands.
“How does it do that?”
“Magic,” replied Uncle Theo.
And that was only the first, and least spectacular, of the miracles Uncle Theo was responsible for that summer.
At nine o’clock I was sent to bed. Uncle Theo winked at me as I left the living room and I giggled as I ran up the stairs.
“She’s usually not this happy to go to bed,” commented my mother.
The light of the summer sky was beginning to diminish but would hold out for a while longer. I lay in bed fingering the surfaces of the glass sphere. When I showed it to my mother earlier she suggested hanging it at my bedroom window and my father promised to make a hanger for it. As I turned it over in my hands I noticed an inscription on the bottom: “In this World is all of Me/Let the Magic set you Free.” I thought it was very pretty poetry but I had no idea what it meant.
At ten o’clock I heard the grownups saying goodnight to each other and footsteps coming up the stairs. I heard the guest room door creak open, then footsteps going towards the bathroom. The footsteps came back down the hall and Uncle Theo’s door clicked shut. It was ten minutes past ten.
I must have dozed off because the next time I checked the clock, the luminescent ballerina’s hands pointed to eleven fifteen. I jumped out of bed and ran out of the room, not bothering to put on slippers or a robe over my pajamas. I saw a green glow emanating from under Uncle Theo’s door and I could hear a humming sound of a smooth-running motor.
I had second thoughts about my uncle’s invitation and wondered if I should just go back to bed and pretend I had forgotten. But curiosity got the better of me and I knocked timidly at the door. There was no answer, just the humming.
I opened the door just wide enough to see inside. Uncle Theo was sitting cross-legged on the queen bed, bathed in a green light. The whole room was green and I thought of the emerald city in the movie “The Wizard of Oz.” I was comforted and scared at the same time. The humming stopped.
“Little Bunny!” Uncle Theo welcomed me. He uncrossed his legs and slid off the end of the bed in one smooth motion. “Come in. I was just Communicating with the Great Cosmos, Getting in Tune with the Brain Waves of the Universe!”
He had evidently changed all the light bulbs to green ones. I had never seen green light bulbs before and I was impressed.
“Why is everything green?”
“Because Green is the Color of Life, my dear. Green is the Color of the Grass and the Trees and the Hillsides, is it not? Can you Feel the Green?”
“You can’t feel green,” I responded. Silly man, I thought.
“Ah, That’s what you’ve been Taught. Come, Feel the Bed. Feel my Hand. Feel the Carpet.”
I felt the bed. I felt his hand. I felt the carpet. Yes, I could feel it all. But green?
“Is the bed green?” he asked. “Is my hand green? Is the carpet green?”
“Yes, of course.”
“Then You Have Felt Green!”
It was all so obvious. In that moment I could feel the green seeping into my body and coursing through my veins. GREEN! I was green inside and out.
Uncle Theo took my hand. “Little Bunny, I Asked you Here for a Purpose. Look out the Window.”
He turned out the green lights and we walked over to the window that looked out on the bungalows across the street to the park beyond. The moon was only a sliver and the landscape was as dark as it was silent.
“Look for the Farthest, Faintest star you can See.”
I squinted my eyes and searched the heavens. I wanted to find it. “Above the tree, right there.”
“Are you Sure that’s the Faintest Star you can See?”
“Yes, I’m sure,” I said, although I wasn’t sure at all.
“Then Beyond that Star, as Far as you can Imagine, is the Planet called Drataur, Second Planet from the Twin Suns, in the Xtl Galaxy.”
“Is that where you’re from?”
Uncle Theo put his arm around my shoulder and we stood, gazing at the faint star above the treetop, and beyond, for several minutes. It was a new experience for me. My father had never shown me such affection. I felt safe for the first time in my life.
“How long did it take you to get here?” I asked, breaking the silence.
“Just the Twinkle of an Eye, Little Bunny. Just the Snap of a Nerve Ending. Just a Wrinkle of the Grey Matter.”
I got lost after the twinkle of an eye, but I took his meaning, even though I didn’t understand how it was possible.
“Close your Eyes. Now Imagine you’re standing in a Lilac Meadow looking at a Tangerine Mountain. Puffy Turquoise Clouds are floating by in a Vanilla Sky. Do you see all that?”
“Yes, I think so.” And I really did.
“Well, that’s Drataur. Now, Where are You? Here or There? Keep your Eyes closed.”
“I know my my body is here in this room but I feel like I’m there.”
“Well, That’s how it’s Possible. But Sometimes it’s Reversed.”
It made sense. But it didn’t. Just like everything else about Uncle Theo.
He switched the green lights back on.
“I think it’s time you went back to bed, don’t you? Your mother’s going to wonder why you’re yawning in the morning.”
But I was wide awake and didn’t think I would ever be able to sleep again. Drataur and its double suns were whirling around in my head. But as I stepped out into the hallway I felt some of the green oozing out of my body.
I had forgotten to ask about the inscription. “The poem on the bottom of the glass ball, what does it mean?” I whispered as he was about to close the door.
“I can’t Explain it Now. But you must Promise to Keep it Always, and one Day the Time will Come for you to Understand.” I was about to protest but he put his finger to his lips.” And not a Word of this to your Parents!”
“No, you know how parents are,” I giggled.
I pulled the covers up over me when I was back in bed and checked the clock to see how long I had been gone. The ballerina pointed to eleven sixteen. No. That wasn’t possible. Only one minute had passed since I left my room. Had I been dreaming the whole time?
I laid awake for what seemed like hours, alternately believing and disbelieving my experience with Uncle Theo. I wanted to believe it was all true. It seemed so real. Each time I checked the clock, only a minute or two had passed. Time didn’t seem to be moving at a normal pace.
I thought about everything my uncle had told me. Of course, it was all nonsense. How would it sound if I told anybody else—not that I would have, of course—it was too preposterous.
Stay tuned for part two next Wednesday.