A Gilded Cage is Still a Cage – Flash Fiction

PHOTO PROMPT © CEAyr

Every evening she goes to the beach. I wonder if it’s the setting sun or the sea she beseech.
What does she hear in the sounds of the waves?
The right incantation to keep her loved ones safe?
The right offering to calm the sea?
A safe path for her sisters to flee?

A gilded cage is still a cage. However posh it looks to those downstage.
The pain, hurt and oppression happens backstage. 

However noble your birth. There’s truly just one species of humans on Earth.

Set all those princesses free. They are people just like you and me.

©RedCat


Note: For both effect and for the international women’s day (March 8th) I choose her, sisters, and princesses. But in reality both princes and princesses, and every other royal should be set free.

Photo by Jessica Cortez from Pexels

All week I’ve had this – A gilded cage is still a cage – phrase in my mind. Brought about by one of Sweden’s political pundits comments on the intervju with Harry and Meghan. She (the political pundit) commented that many people have a lot worse life situation then those two. 

And while that is a true statement. If there’s even a smidgen of truth to, for example; the comments about their, then unborn, child’s skin colour. Every caring, equality minded person out there should be outraged!

The phrase stayed in my mind for another reason though. A question that cropped up after reading the pundits comments. Would she say the same – that wealth and standing precludes you from having and/or airing grievances – if we were talking about one of the Saudi princesses

The one’s risking their lives to flee only to be dragged back and locked in very luxurious prisons. Unable to speak freely. Unable to communicate freely. Stopped from moving around freely. Denied to live freely after their own hearts and minds.

I’ve never been especially either for or against royal families. But the older I get, the more the whole thing seems like ancient ludicrous beliefs that many people would be freer and happier without.


Written for this week’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt.

To read other stories inspired by the photo click the frog below.

Click here to read other stories by me.


Fluitschip Zwaluw (2020 Re-post)

Pieter Mulier [Public domain]

Re-post comment:
Last week Wandering the Archives Wednesday I re-posted The Ivory Lighthouse, this week, you’ll get the second part of the story. Enjoy!


Holding fast
He was soon borne away by the waves
and lost in darkness and distance

Mary ShelleyFrankenstein

I

I woke in a steady bed
Not a bunk rolled by the sea
Weak as a baby chick
Occluded like thick fog

A sturdy woman
Probably the cook
Accustomed to being obeyed
Ordered me to have some broth

II

Hers not the delicate hands that bandaged my injuries
Her coarse voice not the sweet note
Who sung knitting chants over my broken bones

I ate and slept
Ate and slept again
Dreaming of Zwaluw
Our lovely vessel
Tossed like kindling in an angry sea

III

On the third day I woke to a vision
Beautiful Goddess
Lilly white arms
Long red tresses
Dressed in forest green

IV

Her musical voice
Shatters the vision

Real
Mistress of the island

V

Sea blue-green eyes
Carrying deep grief
Ghosts of the past
Expressive lips
I dare not dwell upon
Delicate hands I’ve felt upon my skin
Tiny belted waist
Gently swelling hips
I try to keep my eyes from rising

VI

Again those stormy eyes
Not touched by the lips knowing smile

Like she knows the direction of my thoughts
The deep pounding of my heart

Oh, Nehalennia, Goddess of the North Sea
What are your designs
Casting me stranded upon these shores

© REDCAT


Time for another visit to The Ivory Lighthouse.

Written for Poetics: Last Lines at dVerse AND Weekly Scribblings #2: Myth-placed.

Last line quote chosen:
“He was soon borne away by the waves and lost in darkness and distance.”
Frankenstein, Mary Shelley


The ivory lighthouse (2019 Re-post)

Re-post comment:
Time for another Wandering the Archives Wednesday. Today’s been filled with writing stories. So I decided to share one of the first I wrote in poetry form.

Pharos ~ The Lighthouse, Kerry O’Connor, @skyloverpoetry

I

Hurt beyond measure
Faith in humanity utterly lost
She decided to seek solitude
The soothing presence of the seas endless swells
Mist that obscures everything
The cries of seabirds

II

High in the tower snug with a roaring blaze in the hearth
At peace thou outside the winter storms
Wailing presence around her shutters
Safe among her books and scrolls
Content with the rhythmic beacon-light sweep
Reassured by the mourning foghorn sound
Winter swells are not for sailing

III

Then suddenly cries and shouts
Running feet on the stairs
They don’t disturb her at first
The running of the tower, light and horn are the servants
hers the contemplating solitude

IV

The storm has brought a shipwreck
The vessel all in splinters
Among the swells dead sailors
Only one survivor
They call on her to use her healing skill
She mends his bones, tends bruises and sores with salves

V

Once he awakens, she finds a pair of honest eyes
A heart open to life’s joy
A curious mind ready to soar
In her heart she feels an igniting spark
Two lonely souls together for the solstice
Who knows what they have to share
During all those winter months, isolated until spring

© REDCAT


Had a busy week and weekend. Celebrated birthday. Went to a concert and out salsa dancing. Gave myself some time off blogging to enjoy other things in life and not stress out about views.
This is written for Kerry’s prompt on Real Toads ~ Art FLASH! / 55 in December. Already Sunday evening here, but if possible I’ll try to write something in the 55 form also. A third poem appeared in my head and made this weeks contribution to Pantry of Poetry and Prose.

The Academy for Wayward Free Spirited Girls


From a young age I was taught to hide my inquisitive and curious mind. To talk less and smile more. To play the demure woman.
From the same age I was scolded daily for failing. Questions fell out of my mouth at the drop of a hat. I gainsaid adults if they were wrong. I read every book that crossed my path.
Even before my debut into polite society my parents despaired of my chances of finding a husband.

They were right. None of the old families could ever accept such an unconventional girl. So I got dubbed a spinster at sixteen. Relegated to keeping house for my family.

I was bored out of my mind. My only solace the poetry I wrote at night in the inglenook. I started to think about suicide. That would fit a hysterical woman. Wouldn’t it?

As I walked the cemetery deep in thoughts of death. I stumbled upon an old Lady.
She looked me over. Then said.
– Dying is easy young one. Living is harder. Come with me and I’ll show you another way!

I hesitated. Then thought. What do I have to lose?
I followed her to an overgrown mansion at the edge of town. 

There she introduced me to her wards. All girls and women. All behaving contrary to the proscribed rules. The old Lady smiled.
– I’m always looking for a mind at work. For girls who won’t be quiet. Who questions the rules. Who think for themselves.

I just stared in amazement. I’ve never heard of such a thing. Of course I wanted to come.
My father was reluctant, but the old Lady’s power of persuasion was the wiliest I’ve ever seen.

So I took my place at the Academy for Wayward Free Spirited Girls.
Given free rein to think and feel, I realized I never wanted a man at all. I wanted only the soft touch of a woman. The old Lady smiled and nodded.
– I knew you were one of us!
– But it’s a sin! I blurted blushing.

She laughs a full-throated unashamed laugh.
– Love doesn’t discriminate between the sinners and the saints.

History however has its eyes on us.
Waiting for us to change the world.

©RedCat


I was a bit surprised when I realized my muse had decided upon another visit to the inglenook. This time we got the backstory.  

The first time she showed up with her forbidden poems was in Inglenook Dreams, then a Gothic Christmas Carol, and Submissive Embrace.

Written for Weekly Scribblings #59: Wait For It over at Poets and Storytellers United.
For this week’s prompt, we have five lines from the musical Hamilton to inspire our writing:

“I’m looking for a mind at work.”

“History has its eyes on you.”

“Talk less. Smile more.”

“Dying is easy, young man. Living is harder.”

“Love doesn’t discriminate between the sinners and the saints.”

We don’t have to use the exact wording, which I haven’t. I have however incorporated ALL of them in my 369 word long story. 

Click here to read other stories by me.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

The Red Door – Flash Fiction

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

In my mailbox I find a note and a key. It seems like gibberish, until I realize it’s a rebus.

Result when seeking?
Your hair?
For ingress?

And a name, Herengracht. One of the canals surrounding De Wallen.

I take a tram to the city center. This might be a wild goose chase.

Suddenly I see a bright red door standing open. I try the key in the mailboxes.
One opens. Another note.

Over your head?

On the roof I find a table set for two.

– I thought you’d always wanted a rooftop apartment, says my lover with a smile.

©RedCat


The other day I wrote a haibun callen the Dark Stairwell, that would have fitted the image quite well. I played around with the idea of rewriting it from non-fiction to fiction. 

Then after looking at the picture again I ended up wanting to take a memory  trip to one of my favorite cities in the world. Amsterdam. A place that up to the pandemic has been my home away from home. The place I go when I need to get away and recharge. The first place I’ll visit the day traveling is possible again.

Read more about Herengracht and De Wallen on Wikipedia.

Click here to read other stories by me.

Written for this weeks Friday Fictioneers. To read more stories or add your own. Click the frog.


The Rose Garden

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

Waiting for sleep. For dreams. The only place I still see my love. Young and happy, as we once were. Not ravaged by age and disease. Like the day you drew your last breath.

In the rose garden we laugh and kiss. Hug and touch. Making love on soft grass beneath fragrant blossoms. I cry as we cuddle, knowing the dreams are ending. Knowing I’ll wake in a cold and lonely bed.

In the morning I find the rose garden covered in sparkling snow. Like the tears and sorrow of my dreams have fallen outside. Grief translated to shimmering ice. 

©RedCat


Written for Friday Fictioneers.

Read more stories by me here.

Click on the frog to read more stories or add your own.


The Hazel Wood

Golden Apple Tree and Nine Peahens by Arthur Rackham from the Allies Fairy Book 1916

I went out to the hazel wood, Because a fire was in my head.
There I saw the day fade dead. Still a fire was in my head.
So I went to the well to quench my thirst. At the well I saw a start falling.
Burning bright as the fire in my head.

The star seemed to come down by the old orchard. I thought, a real fire will put out the one in my head. As I came to the orchard I found no fire, no smoke.
The night was silent, still.

Then the clouds broke and the full moon light fell on the most beautiful girl.
Pale as the moon, hair of sunlight, curious eyes, radiant smile.
I thought she might disappear if I breathed.

As her eyes met mine, the fire in my head settled in my heart as love.

©RedCat


Written for Prosery: The Song of Wandering Aengus over at dVerse.

Track to the Treetops

PHOTO PROMPT © Alicia Jamtaas

The Cheshire cat pointed her towards some run down tracks. With trees growing in between the sleepers. Branches lifting the track of the ground to soar high.
There you’ll see the iron horse rail. He said. You wanted to find your way back to square and narrow. Didn’t you?
But there can’t be any trains! Said I, as he just smiled and faded away.

Carefully I started to climb. As the tracks got to the treetops it ended abruptly in midair. Behind me I heard a familiar purring laugh.
You didn’t really think close mindedness suited Wonderland. Now, did you?

©RedCat


Klick on the frog to read more stories, or add your own, inspired by the photo.

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