Thursday 18 October 2012

Weeping willow (Complete- this is a long post)

October 18, 2012
Prince of Wales Hotel
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada
9:00 pm.

Anne looked across the party room, 
resting on the face of her fiance, Ben

Around her, chimney fire and voices swirled and crackled
with secrets and haunting stories of people who have lived and 
died in this land over 200 years ago - the Watcher, 
Sophia Shaw and General Isaac Brock. 

Torn and razed to the ground, this town was
the battleground between British and Canadian soldiers, 
against the invading American forces.    

October 1812
Fort George, Niagara 
7:30 pm

your face is cold but your lips 
warmly scented with coffee and cream,  
silky soft as the night, now quiet from gunfire burst        

tomorrow is uncertain, much less dawn's light  

the blustery wind is fierce, as is your ardor for 
battle of our soil and water, for our Motherland  

so give me the kiss of forever - 

stinging bite of intoxicated bee, 
lush taste of forbidden plump fruit 

that i will savor again and again

on my tongue, sweet nectar and rain
on my limbs, musky earth and autumn leaves    

i gather - fiery storm, impetuous clouds -   

for this night, unclasp my bow, lift me up 
that i will remember how strong and brave

you are, my soldier 

and when they bring me your body   

stone cold, gunpowder and bloody mud on your red coat of arms  
i will weep

a broken petal, lost soul  

along the cobbled streets and blue lake,
beseeching for your return

October 19, 2012

BrockamourManor, Niagara-on-the-Lake
5:00 am

Morning coffee, fresh and black, warms his chest    
as he waits for the service car to bring him 
to the airport for an early morning flight for business

Perhaps it is the lack of sleep or too much wine

but without warning, a prickly sensation like an ice drop
on his nape, startles him into awareness that someone might be 
behind him -- 

Ben turns around quickly but it is just 

his shadow and silence of the house, circa 1809, 
nestled amongst the gardens off the main tourist road
Hearing the door closing along the corridor, he calls out quickly,
probably a staff, “Thanks for the coffee.   I really appreciate it.”

But there is only the wind

now rising like sand storm, whipping the fallen leaves
into a frenzy, straining the sounds
of someone crying

Sounds are coming from the second floor,
heartbreaking in the pauses
after a moment’s hesitation, Ben goes up the stairway
leading to the bedroom where Anne is still sleeping

Midway up the steps, he feels the energy -- 
pull of strong currents surging past him, like someone rushing
downwards in a hurry
He is taken aback for a moment and sees a shadowy tail of
someone going towards the foyer
He follows the movements and notes that the main door 
is now ajar in the cold wind,
the mist from the lake, giving the house an eerie vibe  

Slowly he walks outside and sees in the murky darkness
two outlines:  back of the woman standing near the horse 
and the horseman on the saddle
The blurry shapes confuse him and for a moment, he feels like an 
intruder watching an intimate farewell scene - a replay of that fateful night,
200 years ago.

Quickly the horseman in coat of arms, gives a nudge to the horse and is 
gone in the whirling fog, in the dark dawn, towards the main road
where his destiny and choice will collide

Ben shivers as the galloping hooves hit the dirt road, making it all too real for him.  
The woman’s back is steadily looking at the horseman until he is out of sight.
Involuntarily, Ben murmurs in admiration, “He is a brave man, our hero.” 

Slowly the woman's back turns towards him-- 
her profile now clearly visible --
she is wearing a long dark dress, cloak heavy on her shoulders, but  
it is the expression on her face -- eyes -- 
that he will never forget.

Then in the blur, she fades in the mist  

October 1812
Queenston Heights
7:04 am

under the blood stained blankets,
your face is cold, as well as your hands
fearless soldier, hero -   
you have fallen where you wanted to be –

fighting valiantly in the cannon lit dawn
one hundred yards west of the road of Queenston
leading the battle of 49th men,
not caring of your personal safety

your voice a bold call to arms
thundering like hard rain in hearts of the enemies
you stood on the crest, fatally wounded,
until your heart broke into a thousand pieces 

falling down on autumn leaves, moistened tears
and trampled heads of wild-flowers,
you lay in the organ notes of the battle, shouts
and shrill-war cries of the Mohawks

I wept under my heavy black veil, 
For all the days that could have been
For all the children that you and I could have raised   
And the willow trees wept along with me  

October 2013
10:00 am

Ben opens the car door to help Anne in the backseat of their mini-van.

After the fateful encounter with the ghosts, Ben had gone up
to check on Anne, who was still sleeping in the bed. 
Though they made plans of getting married next year, 
the specter of death and separation became heavy in his heart.
The face of the woman haunted him-- no, he decided not tell Anne
nor anyone what happened to him.  
Instead he prayed silently - a vow - that he will try his best 
to make her happy --
every single day and moment of their lives.

“It’s so beautiful here.”  Anne said, gazing at the autumn leaves and blooms.   
“Yes, it is.”  Ben smiles, marveling at joy and serenity on her face.     

She had insisted in visiting the manor house again on their way to Niagara Falls.     
“After all this is where he was conceived.”    
He is their baby boy, sleeping contently in her arms.  

Posted for Romantic Friday Writers:   House of Horrors - Word count - 994.  This is probably my longest piece.  Please check out the other stories in Romantic Friday Writers ~ MPA - Feedback is appreciated - which part is your favorite ? Thanks for the visit. 

Loosely based on love story of Sophia Shaw and General Issac Brock.   Brock was the great general of the British, and the most important strategist for Upper Canada's resistance against the Americans.  They were devoted to each other but Lady Sophia's parents refused to allow their marriage. Though an elegant hero Brock was not born of nobility. Their affair continued and General Brock swore he would return to marry her. Tragically, the general was killed in battle on October 1812.     Sophia never recovered and stayed true to Brock, never marrying. For those final few years, people in town did not see Sophia.  Instead they would only hear her cries from a second floor bedroom in Brockamour.  She is commonly spotted wandering the halls of the manor house crying in despair, longing for the man she loved. Her sobs are heard reverberating throughout Queen Street, giving her the name "Sobbing Sophia."  Source

More on the Ghosts of Niagara-on-the Lake here

Picture from the Movie -Pride and Prejudice


  1. gosh grace...i dunno what to say...this is fascinating...has some really great elements...i am glad you expanded it...a fun story, a mystery a bit the weaving of the two....its just very cool....

    1. Thank you Brian ~ This was quite a challenge for me as my attention span as a writer is short ~

  2. Wow
    Quite a story grace
    The characters really come alive
    Living it seems, within each other
    I like the archaic feel

    1. Thanks Rick ~ I hope it wasn't too syrupy sweet for you ~

  3. Awww...this is amazing, the movement between now and then is lovely, the baby just cements it all at the end. Great writing!

    1. Thank you Bren ~ I appreciate the lovely words ~

  4. absolutely beautiful! your telling of this tale was entrancing.

  5. It's wonderful that you could take such a heart breaking tale and give it such a beautiful ending.

    Well done, I really enjoyed this one!

  6. Heaven...this is why literature matters, this, in short, is IT!!! Beautifully concluded! Kudos...all the best!!

  7. Your writing is so descriptive Heaven, I think I'm beginning to seriously love it! I just adore how every nuance of what's going on is described in great detail, it's so good and well worth reading despite the length, the length makes it even better in fact because nothing is rushed!

    1. Thank you Matthew ~ I am glad that you like the story ~

  8. Long? Please! You've seen my blog. =P

    I love how you went from the past to the present and then to the future to take us on their journey. It truly was romantic, Heaven. You tied in the theme beautifully and my favorite part: "falling down on autumn leaves, moistened tears
    and trampled heads of wild-flowers" For me, it spoke of the hurt of war, the hurt of lost love on the innocence of the open wilderness. ~ Yeah, I know...geeky.

    As alway, thank you, Heaven.

  9. This is cleverly done. I love the prose and poetry mixture and the baby at the end, I love happy endings.

  10. You are getting as long as the cat, he likes that. So much history you weaved into it too and some haunting imagery as well, really well done, should do more long ones at your cell.

  11. Wow. A sad haunted house story based on tragic history. I'm really glad it had a happy ending and put a smile on my face. Well done!

  12. Dear Heaven,
    First, thank you for your kind words about my story. I drink in every word and it helps me keep going.

    You have woven a beautiful tapestry! I love the blend or juxtaposition of the two stories from the different times, and how they overlap or dovetail. And you gave this ghost story a happy ending! Not the easiest thing to do!

    Well-crafted poetic prose with a sensitivity for how language changes over time. The part from 1812 is written in a style with a feeling for that period of history; and the part from 2012-13 is written in a modern style that is still appropriate for the formality or solemnity of the subject matter.

    Well done! I'm impressed!
    Best wishes,
    RFW No. 46 - 'Jenny Holland's Robinson Crusoe Halloween'

  13. This is brilliantly contrived. The form of it exactly right. The language too is spot on for its purpose. I found it compelling and was completely satisfied by its authenticity.

  14. I enjoyed your art of mixing prose with poetry. Nicely done. :)

  15. enjoyed this...keep it going Grace

  16. Heaven, I've commented on another post. Now I see your direct link. I'll be back for a proper read after I've had lunch. It's taking so long today with the 1,000 word count! I can see why we usually have 400, although the stories/poems are much better!

  17. Grace, this is SO AMAZING. I love how you time traveled with this story. And that you loosely based it on true events/people. This always gives a story more oomph! Many of us would know very little of this history - I speak for myself - so it is always great to learn something new. This is a great entry for the horror 'fest. Happy Halloween! (I'm going to delete your first link and add a new direct one - the first one won't work...) :D

    1. Thanks Denise ~ This was quite a stretch for me to write, so I am glad you like it ~

  18. Best of luck with the judging! I'm glad it's Ann and Nas who have to choose from this awesome lineup! :D

  19. I love the poetic format, and the words are quite beautiful, great job, I definitely felt the emotion

  20. i could read you forever grace. seriously.

  21. Sweet story in verse, beautiful descriptions. :)

  22. Hi Heaven
    This is absolutely beautiful. I loved this line; warmly scented with coffee and cream. The comparison between the modern and the distant past was heart wrenching. Well done.

    A side note. Just think, if Canada had become a part of the US then you too would have to watch a million nasty commercials for the next President. Really, I'm ready to move someplace else.

  23. You tied the two separate lovers together perfectly. The sentiments were heart wrenching, the characters endearing. Awesome how Ben used the ghostly ladies heart ache to draw closer to Anne. Very well done.


  24. All I can say, WOW. Great writing...I loved your descriptions and creative means of formatting your piece (Is it verse? A poem? A story within a poem?). I also enjoyed your use of present tense. It made me feel more present in your story and closer to the characters.

    Apologies for being late; I am just now getting through all of the House of Horrors excerpts. Hope you're having a great weekend so far!

    ~Wendy Lu

    The Red Angel Blog

  25. Historical romance with spook element..! Just what the doctor ordered on a winter afternoon. The post script and all the details made me sad.

  26. Back and forth, 200 years apart, reminds me something about Time Machine, very imaginative of expressing love!

  27. Oh wow! How very vivid and captivating! Thank you!


Thanks for your visit and comments ~ I appreciate them ~