Posted in Personal, Six Word Saturday, Stories, Writing

An Angel’s Hand

My Saturday in six words:



The coffin was painted blue, decorated with flowers, little stars and winged beings in bright hues. The original exterior – boring white – was dressed in the colors of life, which was a good thing because the person in the casket was not boring either. The woman who rested peacefully within had been overflowing with action, cheerfulness, determination and perseverance. Even from the other side, her optimism broke through the sadness of those present, showering them in sunny African music. Her three beloved granddaughters were sitting on the bench right next to her, their long golden hair united in braided accents, with their mothers protective at their side.

It was quiet. A subdued silence that waited breathlessly. The spell was broken by the sympathetic voice of the minister, who led through the woman’s life. A life with good and bad times, but always lived by one motto: all will be well! Slowly the voices of the choir faded away, voices she had been part of. Now there was a void only she had been able to fill, her voice a tone that stood out by absence.

The sermon was almost at its end and the moment of parting finally came closer – too close, unrelenting and grim. Love nor desire could stop time. Relatives and friends walked towards the blue coffin to pay their last respect, their sadness etching deep, by tears intersected lines. When the last walked out the door, the family looked at each other, desperate with grief. Last weeks’ haze was suddenly wiped away by reality, a gruesome and uninvited guest. Was this really the end? Their Mom was lying there, Granny! They stood around the casket and held each others hands, quiet, waiting, not able to let go.

Then an almost imperceptible vibration, and with a soft rustle of wings the silence came to life. A slight shudder ran through them. Was it their imagination? But no, they all heard it, felt it! Right in front of them the light changed into a new shape, painting a woman who shone in the silver glow. Light enveloped her now frail form with a hint of wings. Her radiant smile bathed her girls in peacefulness for the last time and in her own resolute way she took the hand that was offered her from within the light. The woman – their mother and grandmother – was led away by the hand of an Angel. Angels in whom she had always firmly believed. From afar one last echo in her unique timbre.

Remember to live your life well!


Written for my dear friend Nancy, who lost her mother last week.

< Click the button for more Six Word Saturdays.

Posted in Six Word Saturday, Stories, Writing

Dark Elves

My Saturday in six words:



This weekend we continue our Dungeons & Dragons adventures in the Underdark of Faerûn:. Here are the stories of last session, published at Dungeon DuTchess:

Plus we have our friend’s birthday to celebrate!

Have a peaceful Saturday 😉

< Click the button for more Six Word Saturday.

Posted in Animals, Culture/History, Nature, Photo, Photo challenge, Stories, Writing

Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape

The bag on his shoulders grew heavier with each passing minute and his breath came in ragged gasps. Where was the way out of these cursed woods? Something howled in the distance and the man flinched. Was it a wolf? Were there even wolves in this area? He hurried onward but froze when the stars winked out as a grey shape passed over him on silent wings. He felt the owl’s golden eyes settle on him. The thumping in his chest was like thunder in his ears. Then light filtered through the trees. Could it be… Moving forward again he finally saw the crossing that would take him and his loot to safety.


Once again he had made his escape.


~ please click the photos for a larger image ~

Feel free to visit The Daily Post for more Escapes, a photo challenge by Cheri Lucas Rowlands.

Posted in Inspiration, Stories, Writing

The Way to Happiness

Kellie Elmore has challenged us with a new Free Write Friday Time & Place Scenario

You find yourself in an elevator. The door closes and you see only five buttons. A sign hangs above them that reads: “Find Happiness.” Each button is a different color. Red, blue, green, orange and yellow. There are no other instructions and you must push one to get the elevator to move. Which color do you choose and why? Where does it take you?

Here’s my story:

She stood dead still, hardly breathing. The entrance was right in front of her and all she had to do was step forward. But her feet would not move. Tendrils of doubt were pulling her back. Back towards her old life. Back towards certainty. No! The steel doors hissed with impatience. She looked at the desk, where the clerk was watching her. His eyes tried to burn their way through her spine, but she ignored the pressure.

The hallway was huge. A cold draft twirled through the many layers of her consciousness. Loneliness struck hard. There was nothing for her here. Upstairs would be people. And coffee! Squaring her shoulders, she stepped forward, straight into the gaping maw of the elevator. With an impatient snap, the doors closed and absorbed her. Like a birth canal.

Eighth floor, the instruction said. The intricate carvings on the elevator wall entangled her thoughts with Celtic patterns. She traced the lines with her index finger until she came upon the control panel. Five buttons. The bright colors clashed with the wooden interior in the diffused light. Only five? Impossible! When she looked closer, she discovered an inscription that said ‘Find happiness’.

Find happiness? Was this some kind of joke? She thought of her parents, who had been so worried when she told them about her plans to find work in the city. Moving out. She could still feel the tears in her father’s farewell hug.

Happiness, she could use a bit of that. She would give anything for a moment of wellness. The gray of the past weeks was too overwhelming, was shutting her emotions down until only despair remained. Her bank account was almost empty; there was only enough left for one month’s rent. Now focus, you need this job! Five colors for happiness.

The warm red glowed under her fingers, pulsing to the beat of the blood in her veins. Cool blue, calming her troubled mind. Nature’s green, reminding her of the woods where she used to walk with her dad. The fruity orange of the orchard. A sunny glow of bright yellow. Her heart responded. She had missed the colors in her life so much of late. But which button should she choose? Why couldn’t there be a simple 8?

Suddenly a myriad of lights melted together into one flame, that burned the darkness away. It was as if a shroud of doubts was lifted. One color was missing in these rainbow buttons! The one hue that colored her mother’s eyes. The one color that created her own name. She turned her back on the bright panel and blindly grabbed for the button that would release her from this prison. The one she simply knew would be there. It was the purple button that opened the only door back to happiness. To herself.

Violet went home.


Posted in Animals, Photo, Stories

Domestic Beauty

~ click on the photos for a larger view ~

I can not imagine life without my animal friends.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Posted in Humour, Photo, Stories


Subject A. (on the right) is already waiting, hiding behind his hat and sun glasses.

Then suddenly, subject B. (on the left) arrives at the scene. He is wearing shades too.

After he sits down, he reaches into his pocket and…

… leaves. After a short while, his place is taken by yet another man, subject C. (on the left). Also in hat and glasses.

Could it be…

that he will order coffee too? 😉

I am sorry. These men were simply enjoying a sunny afternoon, talking, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. I do apologize for my over-active imagination. It just won’t hold its tongue.

Photos © Marion Driessen
Posted in Humour, Personal, Stories, Writing

You Shall Not Pass!

Once upon a time, in a Queendom far away, there was a maiden with golden hair who led a happy life. Happy, except for one thing: she had no wheels. And how she needed wheels, for she missed her relatives, who lived in a neighboring province. One day she gathered her courage, contacted the Agency Of Magic Traveling and asked them for advice. A day later, an old wizard appeared at her door. He introduced himself as Gandalf and invited her into a device called a horse-mobile. Mobile. Moving. She liked that. A lot. And she loved horses too.

After a couple of lessons in the horse-mobile, the wizard thought the maiden was ready to pass the driving test and brought along a very strict Wizard from out of state, the Balroginator. After all, a test needs to be honest and unbiased! The Balroginator threw all kinds of obstacles on her path. The rack suddenly moved backward, heavy fog, fast horses, slow goats. He tested her in every way possible, but she didn’t blink an eye and stayed calm, guiding the horse-mobile with a steady hand. At last she was allowed to Pass. With flying colors. Soon she traveled the land, roaming further and further, until she finally settled down.

Two years went by, and the maiden – no longer a maiden – found herself the mother of a sturdy and handsome son. They had a happy life together, the boy as adventurous as his mother. When he became an adult, he expressed his wish for his own mobile.

Son, are you sure? You are only eighteen years old! Won’t you ride your pony in stead?

But the young man was determined.

No mother, I want a mobile, and not just a mere horse-mobile. Those are too old fashioned. Nay, I need an auto-mobile!

The auto-mobile was the latest invention of the Agency of Magic Traveling. The device, still highly experimental, had been invented by the Balroginator himself. The maiden tried to change her son’s mind, but he wouldn’t budge. At long last, the woman turned to her old friend Gandalf for advice, as she had done in her youth. To her surprise, the Wizard told her not to worry, to let go. That he would love to teach her cub the art of the auto-mobile.

The next day, Gandalf pulled up in the brand new Balrogacar, unique in its kind.

The maiden blinked upon seeing the frightening and alien device. She turned to her son and implored him to change his mind. But he had no eyes for her, nor for their horse. His gaze wandered lovingly over the sharp contours of the auto-mobile. He would master the art of driving this magic car, if it were the last thing he did. Get in, son, Gandalf said, let’s take the Balrogacar for a spin! And so he did.

Meanwhile, the Balroginator had second thoughts about sharing his invention with his Wizard pal Gandalf. During the months it took for the boy to learn how to drive, the Balroginator tried to make him lose his confidence by raising the difficulty level of the driving tests. You shall not pass, he vowed silently, I will be the only one to drive the Balrogacar!

The young man failed the first test. The Balroginator emphasized each little mistake the boy made, belittling his driving skills. But he did not give up. Gandalf patiently made sure his skills got better. Again the young man took the Balroginator’s exam, and again he failed. But he would not give up. Years passed and Gandalf brought along a second Wizard-Instructor, who impersonated as the Balroginator, just so the boy could get used to his threatening presence.

Then the day for the third test came. As he had done to the son’s mother, the Balroginator threw all kinds of obstacles on his path. The chair suddenly moved backward, heavy fog, slippery roads, fast horses, slow goats, road blocks and gorgeous young ladies along the road. He tested him in every way possible, but the young man didn’t blink an eye and stayed calm, guiding the Balrogacar with a steady hand. There was nothing the Balroginator could do, other than to let the youngster finally Pass. With flying colors. Soon he would travel the Queendom, roaming further and further, in his own Balrogacar. Which he first had to obtain of course 😉

Today, my son did what the Balrog could not do. He Passed!! Happy congrats, dear, I’m very proud of you 😀

Posted in Animals, Culture/History, Movies, Stories

Into The West ~ Ireland

Into the West is a film from 1992 about two young boys, Tito and Ossie, whose father was “King of the Travellers” until his wife, Mary, dies during the birth of their second son, Ossie. The boys’ grandfather is an old story-telling Traveller, who regales the children with Irish folk-tales and legends.

When he is followed by a beautiful white horse called Tír na nÓg (meaning “Land of Eternal Youth” in Irish), from the sea to Dublin, where the boys and their father now live, the boys are overwhelmed with joy and the dreams of becoming cowboys.

The horse is stolen from them and they begin their adventure to get their mystical horse back. They escape the poverty of a north Dublin council estate, and “Into the West” where they find that Tír na nÓg is not just a horse.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Part 6:

Part 7:



Posted in Books, Personal, Stories, Writing

100 days of daily blogging

Today, after a period of a hundred daily posts, the time feels right to let go of the daily challenge and step over to Post-A-Week-2011 of WordPress.

In these past months of Post-A-Day-2011 I have learned to write when I had inspiration, pouring the wriggling words out. I wrote when my brain was empty, and out of nowhere – triggered by the tiniest spark – still a couple of words found their way to my screen. Tiredness, migraines, illness, nothing stopped my dear sweet muse from whispering words and visions in my ears – to send out to you. Thank you WordPress, for these valuable lessons.

But postaday2011 was becoming a goal in stead of a tool.

So the time has come to use everything I  learned to write my stories and books. They have been waiting patiently while I was blogging, but now they want to be born. And although it seems a simple thing to post every day, still it takes up a lot of precious, scarce time. Finding words, editing them, searching for pictures to illustrate meanings. To groom and shape them into the right form. And I need to spend this time in a different way now.

I will still share my thoughts with you here, at Figments of a Dutchess, whenever the need arises. Plus write a post once a week. Thank you all for staying with me daily. And though the frequency will be less, the intensity and joy will stay.


All it takes is a true friend’s nudge…