Wednesday, 17 October 2018


Welcome to #WEPFF - Write...Edit...Publish October Challenge - Deja Vu or Voodoo

Welcome writers! Are you ready for a spooky challenge?

OCTOBER is the month for screams and chills, ghosts and ghoulies, mystery and fear, and this month’s prompt is DÉJÀ VU OR VOODOO!.

Here is my entry –


The wind blows through the trees as her bare feet graze the cushioned carpet of bluebells, her hair whips around her face, sticking to her lips with their protective covering of lip salve on them.  The breeze lessens slightly as she walks in to the lee of the *copse.  The air hangs and hovers, a feeling of peace envelopes her, stilling her mind, calming her heart.  She becomes one with the earth, grounding herself in to the soil.  The smell of the bark on the trees, the iron musky odour of moist undergrowth assails her nostrils. She breathes even deeper, ingesting the power of the ancient world. 

She touches the gnarled bark of the closest tree with her finger tips, lightly running them over the contours.  She loves the tactile feel of the living plant, her palm caresses the roughness of the wood, sunlight filters through the upper branches and bathes the ground in dappled splashes of yellow.

Her heart starts to beat faster as a battle of men against beasts begins. Spears are flung.  They find their mark grievously wounding a wild animal.  A horde of men dismember the flesh, tasting the warm inner organs, a delicacy, thanking the gods for the bounty they have had the fortune to receive.  The hunters prepare to remove the carcass ready to transport it to their womenfolk.  The meat, once prepared, will feed their tribe for many days.

She places her other hand round the side of the tree, pressing her body against the girth of the tree, too wide in diameter for her fingers to meet.  Through her thin garments she becomes aware of another scene.  This time she witnesses the birth of a young child and her heart is filled with joy and love.  She feels the pride of the father, the love of the mother and the relief from the helpers in the tent.   It is a precious boy, a long awaited male who will take his rightful place, in due course, as the leader of the clan.  A few minutes later the bonny, baby boy emerges through the leather flaps and is held aloft by his father.  The baby opens his eyes as the sunrise peaks over the hilltop.  The encampment let out a great cheer, he is their hope for the future.

She presses her cheek against the bark, it scratches her, marking her skin.  She pulls back, recoiling at the sudden shock of the pain.  Where did the peace go?

Stepping back she looks around her.  There.  Movement at the edge of the wood.  The shrill notes of a mobile phone disturbs the air, discordant, dissonance sounds, a baritone voice answers the insistent instrument.

‘I’ve found her.  Yes, I’ll bring her back to the car, don’t worry, she’ll be fine.’

Michael steps in to the line of her vision, he holds out his hand, encouraging her with a smile to come forward in to his embrace. 

Jane shakes her head.  ‘I’m not ready,’ she whispers, ‘I need more time.’

Michael pulls her gently away from the tree, lifting her up, supporting her as he strokes her arms, strokes her hair. He pushes strands of her hair behind her ears, kisses her forehead.  ‘I’ll stay with you.  You know I love you so much my darling.  I’ll always love you but you know we need to get back.  The doctor is waiting for you.’

Jane nods in acknowledgement.  They think she needs help.  They think she is going mad, maybe she is but she knows what she feels is true.  She does see things.  She does feel things.  Michael thinks all he has to do is to love her more each day and she will get better.

She knows his love will help her to find peace, she knows she will love him until the end of her days.
Another vision fills her mind.  It is too abstract to make any sense of.  She starts to tell Michael she needs to go back to the tree.  His hold is firm on her arm as he leads her to the car park.  He seats her gently and straps her in.   The seat belt is strangling her, she desperately pulls the webbed strap becoming more and more agitated. 

She wants to go back.  She wants to feel calm.  She want to feel peaceful.  She wants to feel love surrounding her.

The doctor greets them both at the entrance to the home.  He welcomes Jane with his kindly demeanour.  He knows how hard this is for her and for Michael.  A nurse settles her in her room as Jane curls in to the foetal position on her bed.  Michael’s tears flow while he watches his wife succumb to the drugs the medical profession deem necessary to bring her back to an ordinary life.

Unknown voices always in my ear
Is that what I hear?
Visions in my head
Is that what I read?

Dreams that disturb my nights
Such ugly sights, such pretty sights
Remembering in the morning
As the fresh day is dawning

Troubles to leave behind
Answers still to find
From the depths of my mind
As yet to be divined.

Searching and seeking my soul
Looking for the loophole
Caught inbetween, stuck in limbo
Is it a friend or foe?

A feeling of peace envelops me
Calmness wraps me warmly
As my angel sits among the flowers
Slowing down each minute of each hour

Will this fog ever lift?
Can I use my gift?
They don’t believe me
They treat me like a baby
They think I behave badly
They can’t let me be

He can’t let me free
He is so loyal and true
He loves me with all his soul
We’ve tried parole
I end up back here
Never to be free
Every year
I still hear
The voices in my head
They invade my sleep
As I weep
Tears of frustration
Unable to take action

*copse – A small group of trees, thicket, grove, wood.

Word count: 991 - NCCO


  1. What a sad and moving story. I've always wondered if people have been treated for mental issues when they may just have an ability people aren't willing to comprehend. I could see this being part of longer story. There must be a connection to the boy in her vision. Great post.

  2. It's a sad thought, but I suspect many people who were merely "different" have been labeled and treated as though they are deranged.

    Nice story! You've painted a whole new picture for the term "tree-hugger." Well done.

  3. I hope she can get a handle on her affliction and move beyond it. His love is killing her, it's time to break free.

    Happy Halloween!

  4. She is so torn! She needs the peace
    Very nicely done!

  5. Heart breaking. I believve it is true for too many. Far too many. How I wish we valued difference instead of stifling imprisoning or killing it.

  6. Hi Sally - so difficult to understand - but so well written ... I certainly want her to be able to go back - for them to accommodate her not dictate. Very sad - well done ... Hilary

  7. What a sad story. Mental illness - maybe we all misunderstand it after all? Mental illness makes its subjects different. But does it makes them deficient? I don't think so, but throughout the ages, people have always been afraid and mistrustful of different, always wanted to make everyone a clone copy of themselves.
    A thought-inspiring story.

  8. Wow. This is so sad and so powerful. Is this a tale of a woman struggling with mental illness, or is it a tale of a woman with a mysterious power everyone else around her misunderstands? We cannot be certain, but I felt her pain. Your descriptions were riveting and pulled me into the story. Well done!

  9. Aw, how lovely and sad at the same time. The "normal" world cannot accept such beautiful differences. Awesome story Sally.

  10. Sally, you blew me away with this one. I just wanted to see Jane listened to, acknowledged as someone other than a mental patient. But alas, we don't understand this world...Caught in between, stuck in limbo as your poem says. This has given me much to ponder. I'll be back for another read...

  11. Really poignant.
    I love the prose+poetry combination - and you have such a knack of pulling it off!
    Like Denise, I too will pop over for another read...

    If you're on facebook, please link your flash fiction to the WEP+IWSG badge that’s pinned to the top, over at the IWSG Facebook page, so that others can read your lovely work.
    Thank you!

  12. I love how you’ve captured a very tricky aspect of mental illness in such a beautiful and accessible way. I adore huge trees, so I especially enjoyed a peak into the tree’s memory.

  13. The impression I get is that your MC inhabits two worlds. The other world is visible to no one but her, so she is labelled 'crazy.' And like most sufferers of 'mental illnesses' would say, perhaps; so many questions and not nearly enough answers. You capture this feeling well, Sally.

  14. An impressive but saddening story. I enjoyed how the main character tried to balance her gifts, versus her reality. Well done.

  15. Quite moving. I feel it could be interpreted in different ways - does Jane have a gift that is misunderstood or is she ill and in need of help? Beautiful use of language, too.

  16. That's a heartbreaking story, because I don't see any good outcome no matter how they proceed. Whether she is mad or not, she seems better off with the tree than loaded full of drugs, but I sympathize with his desire to have her be well and whole, and he's doing what he thinks is right.

  17. Our definitions of 'ill' and 'well' are themselves so narrow. If someone has the gift of dwelling in two different worlds/times/dimensions, is she not more whole than a person who can live in one only? Who exactly is the 'insane' one here?

    A deeply thought provoking and sad entry. And a subtle take on deja vu. Well crafted.

  18. Hi Sally - this is so touching ... poor woman - and I'm sure there are many in life like her (or him) ... desperate. Your writing is superb and I love the poem that follows on ... very clever - congratulations ... cheers Hilary

  19. Hi Sally,

    I don't read mental illness in this at all. This woman clearly has a sixth sense. So sad that her husband doesn't understand this. She needs the safety of the earth to feel whole. She sees previous lives and needs to understand them for her own fulfillment.

    She is a beautiful spiritual woman who should be revered, not institutionalized.

    Many feel this way about artists. Because we are in tune at a higher level we are seen as odd, crazy, or mental.

    Beautiful poem... Love your entry.

  20. Thank you Michael, I hoped the sixth sense, ESP type of thing came across.

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Soft walls… soft floor… a bed no sheets.
      White all around… windows to high to reach.
      Too many thoughts makes my brain run wild.
      Was this my home?
      Have I been here forever?
      Screams so loud they echo in my dreams.
      Is time standing still.
      Will the clock hands show me when I can go home?
      Tic… tic… tic… yes it runs,
      but the hands do not move.
      Laughter… screams… laughter… screams,
      has the word gone mad?
      I will get to go home, they told me.
      I will, I will, they told me again today.

      Though she sees ghosts of past
      Can with them, she rest in peace?

  22. The tree held many memories. People find peace in nature and sad that sensitive people are often not understood.

  23. An unsettled mind is a sad thing and can be a dangerous condition. We don't yet fully understand how the mind works, and some are not treated gently. Yet, a person so afflicted doesn't always think anything is wrong. Maybe they sense something we don't.

  24. Beautifully written. I felt her pain as he pulled her away from the tree. Who would want to stifle such a gift? Those who don't have it...

  25. Peace can come in all forms. Sad that so many get stifled because they see it differently. Just because they do, doesn't mean their wrong either.

  26. Beautiful and sad piece; so well crafted and written. When there is a shamanic bond through the veil to other worlds and times, the medical profession only sees mental illness. That means we writers are mad.

  27. Very deep. It could easily be about me, as I can't stand to be indoors, and tend to get a little batty after being trapped in concrete structures for more than twelve hours at time. The thing people consider normal and ideal, it's just weird to me. Which does make one wonder if people touched by nature are getting locked up and written off because it's not part of the "acceptable normal" of the people who get to decide what that means. Worshiped by one culture, locked away by another.

  28. A fine line between sane and misunderstood or not sane and needing extra mental help. Very scary to be the one going through it. Excellent story choice.

  29. I like the picture of the tree growing around the rocks.
    Deeply troubling, so easy to feel for the character. Good job.

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