Author Topic: The Starlight Girl  (Read 2981 times)

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Offline Totro

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The Starlight Girl
« on: August 04, 2005, 06:58:08 AM »
This is a collective novel and it starts with the scene setting.

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                                                  The Starlight Girl

                                                               A LandzDown Novel


The Starlight Girl was only ever seen by those who did not look for her. When Andy Milton saw her – he had not been looking for her – indeed he had not been looking for anyone or anything …

It was a sharp frosty night and his breath was puffing out in steamy clouds as he hurried along the footpath wondering what he would have for dinner when he got home.  His face was a sickly yellow from the light cast by the high-mounted sodium lamps that lined the roadway.  Somewhere, far in the distance, a dog was barking and he briefly thought back to last summer when he and Benny, his companion from childhood, had played and romped in the wild meadows beside the watermill at the southern end of the village.

He and Benny had walked the three miles from the cottage, down through the village, to the “Millpark”, as it was known, - as they had done every almost every Sunday since Benny, a golden Labrador, had been given to Andy for his twelfth birthday.  Benny was the fulfilment of a promise his mother had made to Andy, to encourage him to pass his exams and qualify for grammar school.

The dog had been as boisterous as ever, despite his ten years of age and had run strongly for the stick that Andy had thrown for about the twentieth time that morning and despite the fact that the stick had landed in the water below the mill wheel, Benny had launched himself off the bank of the river, forepaws outstretched, as he prepared for contact with the water. The great splash as the dog hit the water was followed by a brief grinning glance over the shoulder, as if to get approval, before paddling off strongly to retrieve the stick which was now being pulled quickly into the backwash turbulence of the mill wheel.

With that unstoppable certainty of simple machinery, the wheel paddles came down on top of Benny - the first stunning him as it cracked his head, the second scooping him under the backwash wall and the third squeezing his now poor ragged body up through the wrought iron filter grill. Mercifully it was over in seconds - Benny was dead from his injuries and did not have to suffer the torture of drowning.

A tear formed in Andy’s eyes, or was it just the watery eyes of one walking in crisp cold air? … At twenty two years of age Andy was not yet immune from the pain of such childhood memories as he recalled their ten years together and then relived, once more, that final unkind day.

The road was darker now as he passed the last of the village streetlights and only a pale iridescence of foggy, mist-filtered, moonlight was present to illuminate the hedge on his side of the road and the frost covered grass verge on the other side of the road.  That frosty grass verge, made seemingly colder by the moonlight, held a sharp contrast to the peat bog drainage ditch that ran through it, like a continuous wide black scar, parallel to the far edge of the road.


The ditches that surrounded all the local moorlands were part of a complex system of irrigation and drainage channels that served sometimes to add water to the rich pasture land and at other times to mitigate flooding and had the additional benefit of keeping stock within the pastures, without the need for further fences or hedges, by forming a natural barrier.  They were very wide and very deep and the water in them was always very cold, even in summertime, and treacherously cold in wintertime.

Everybody in those parts had a sort of “community knowledge” - a respect even - for the ditches and the necessity of them, as well as the dangers they presented.  People always walked and rode their bicycles on the opposite side of the road if there was a ditch only on one side of the road.  When the road had ditches on both sides, everybody walked or rode with even greater care. At night, walkers walked safely in the pitch black by keeping one foot on the hard asphalt of the road and the other on the grass verge.  Over the years children and adults had perished by stumbling into ditches and either drowning or dying from hypothermia.  Some legends had it that trolls and goblins were known to come out of the ditches and drag people back in.  Fairies were often seen dancing in the fields at night especially when the peat bog base of some of the fields was at the right temperature to give off gases - the experts said it was the natural gases spontaneously combusting that caused the “Fairy” lights – but the older folk knew that it really was the Fairies …



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Offline Totro

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Re: The Starlight Girl
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2005, 08:31:11 AM »
As Andy walked along the road he looked across the field to his right and mused on the way the "lights" were playing tonight. He felt no fear of the dark, he had walked this road all his life; but as he watched the strange interplay of light that was dancing tonight, he thought he saw something different - there was a full circle of light off to the right in the middle of the field.



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Offline Corrine

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Re: The Starlight Girl
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2005, 03:08:13 PM »
Andy rubbed his eyes and tried to "shake it off", but to no avail.  When his gaze returned to the middle of the field, the circle of light had not only grown brighter, but had increased in size.  It was now a full circle surrounding . . .   Andy tried to stop his mind from going in that direction.  He knew it couldn't be real.  He closed his eyes and counted to ten, hoping that whatever he thought he saw would be gone when he finished counting . . . 5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . . 2 . . . 1.  Andy knew in his heart that the image had not faded away. His eyes popped open and there she was.


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Offline Totro

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Re: The Starlight Girl
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2005, 10:44:33 PM »
Illuminated from below by the circle of dancing flickering light was a young girl, a long white dress hung from her shoulders - a sort of thin white muslin, that reminded Andy of the sort of nightdresses worn centuries ago. Her hair was cropped short and urchin like. Her pale face turned towards him - huge oval eyes with jet black pupils that returned his gaze but yet showed no sign of seeing him - like being confronted by a blind person who looks at you but does not see you. 'My God' Andy's mind raced, 'how on earth did this poor child get into Watson's field at this time of night? She must be frozen and soaking wet.' - He remembered that the Watson's field was one of many on this stretch of road that had patches of treacherous bog swamp - He couldn't just jump the ditch to get to her - he would have to guide her along the field to the next stile bridge where she could cross to the safety of the road.
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Offline Corrine

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Re: The Starlight Girl
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2005, 10:12:22 PM »
Andy knew that this was not going to be an easy tasek, as the next stile bridge was a quarter mile away.  He took a deep breath and softly called out to the girl, "Hello, Miss.  'Tis a pretty evening but a bit damp and cold.  Wouldn't you like a hot cup of tea?  Please be careful out there on the bog.  It is a might bit dangerous.  Just turn a touch to your right and take a few paces forward.  You should be able to see the bridge from there.  Right you are.  That is the way, Miss.  We'll go toward . . . NO!  MISS!!!  STOP, MISS!!!  PLEASE STOP!!!"


Take a walk through the "Security Garden" -- Where Everything is Coming up Roses!

Remember - A day without laughter is a day wasted.
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart.