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Index: Short guide to this collection of stories

" Once upon a time, last week, I woke late. No. Stay alive! I will tell you our story again, one last time, as you lay on this old bed. Stay with me... Stop it twisting away from me ." Looking for Spring

I like telling stories. G+ is a good place to retell stories. About people and time. And sometimes dragons, for as Tolkien said, " It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him."

So, let me tell you a story.

Here are the stories i have told in G+. At list-end there are stories about the experience of writing here, cunningly disguised as 'guides'.

New, mid 2017:
1. I am finalizing a graphic story/travel book on Australian waterfalls. A pre-publication concentrating on the canyons of the Wollemi is now available for free on my blog site at:
2. The story cycle, the Twilight of the Gods , will be published later this year. This is part of the Umbertales collaboration with +CR Bravo
3. Dragons Eye has been rewritten and expanded. A limited edition hard copy and ebook will be issued later this year.

Novels and Short Stories:

An ongoing short story collaboration with +CR Bravo
G+ Index

Ancora Tu
In Betty's library, some of the books are awakening. In the dark of night they stalk their prey.
But, as they consume other books the stories within twist and turn and the world starts to change.
G+ Index

Freyja, the Seven Stories of the World
In the week after his capture, the Thief told the Goddess Freyja the seven great stories of the world, the stories that bind humans together. While he entertained her, he hunted for his escape.

Dragons Eye A braided yarn:
You say - The dragon must be asleep by now. Go get the gold, I cannot wait any longer.
I whisper - I am not sure. I think its eyes are still a little open.
Book 1: Dragons Eye novel
Book 2: The Eye of the Storm

Three Wishes Maybe a love story. If so, Mary is looking for love in all the wrong places. This time she has woken up a Genie imprisoned inside a computer. However, Mary's dreams of love in the Andalusia of Ibn Sa’id al-Maghribi are complicated by product disclosure laws and the powers that be.

Looking for Spring Scientists are racing to develop drugs that extend life. Jemma has helped develop a drug which will give the rich enough another decade of life. But it comes with a catch. Those who have taken the drug, and perhaps Jemma, are starting to confuse dreams and reality.
This story takes place against the backdrop of Australia's Blue Mountains.

Catalyst A story of heart-lines, time travel, the fall of kings and the elven-path. And 1975. Set in the deserts of Australia's space port, Woomera, and a boathouse near Nowra.

work in progress
Reinventing an ancient art.

In Praise of Summer
work in progress
A continuation of the story started with Looking for Spring.

The Parkes Cycle
A cycle of stories around Henry Parkes, the father of Australia.
Book 1: The Long Tailor: Set around the life of Irish-Australian bushranger, the Long Tailor.

Cliffside Climbing wih drones

An Australian Wedding Reflections on a park wedding.

High Plains Poetry Bring vodka.

Recipes from old Australia

Guides for storytellers:
1. Experiments in story telling on G+, building Dragon's Eye :
2. How to self publish within Google, for free:
3. Starting to write on G+

Image: Portal, near Jenolan Caves, New South Wales, Australia

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Rehearsal 3

(This might be a story about two women who get caught up in an amateur stage production about the last days of the gods. Or perhaps it is a story about the last days of the gods, and by necessary implication, you and i. Fortunately, this bit occurs at the beginning, so we can put of the awkwardness about the end, until later.)

The Chorus had been practicing for a couple of weeks when the leading cast members started to arrive in town. Dora had dragged Pirene along to auditions for the Chorus with promises of fame and fortune, or at least the opportunity to get out of her small apartment. Pirene found she liked the silence of the old playhouse and the noise of the other members. There was strange magic all around.

Dora spotted the first one. He came into the diner with a bike helmet and sat down to read the menu. Dora gave Pirene a shove and nodded her head in his direction. She said in a loud whisper, "That's Mr. Irdos!" Pirene stared. She looked at the young man, bike leathers on, with a helmet. Pirene looked doubtful, "How can you tell?" Dora quickly adjusted her face and went to take his order. Pirene saw them talking together, and then he moved over a little to let her sit down with him. After a moment Dora turned around and called out. "Service!". Pirene shook her head and went to take their order. She saw his eyes dancing and listened to his voice before Dora turned to her and said, "I told you so!"

The second cast member spotted them. The Chorus was practicing the opening of the Third Movement and finally got through a complex piece without error. They heard a soft clapping from beyond the orchestra pit in the darkened audience chairs. The Chorus Director called out, and a shadow stood and walked down the aisles in a swish of silk and bright color, as though a soft spotlight was following her. The director gave a small yelp of recognition and ran to meet MicheleElys. Dora said with a touch of envy under her breath, "Look at her!"

Later that day, as they were trying to keep pace with the concert room piano, new sounds joined the music, filling in the gaps. Sitting next to the piano was a man, dressed in a casual suit. A guitar case at his feet, he was picking out the tune and tapping his foot to the beat. The beat was infectious, as precise as the pendulum on a grandfather clock. There were whispers in the Chorus, "O'Rourke!". and "He's doing the God of Time!" The director, smiling, brought them back to attention, "Concentrate, please. We only have a couple of practices to go."

There was a growl from the sound console, "And you are going to need them all." Another man was standing casually by the equipment, sketching a life-sized female figure on a stretched canvas. He looked at them and laughed. Pirene turned to Dora, "And who is he?" Dora froze. Another woman whispered, "He is Alok - one of the actors." Pirene stepped back, wondering why Dora looked so white, "I didn't realize... And who is he going to sing." The woman shrugged, "I heard him tell the director that he has only come along to eat popcorn."

Pirene tried to remember how popcorn fitted into the story. Her attention was briefly caught by O'Rourke who struck three deep minor Chords, sending a chill through the playhouse. She turned back to Alok to catch him and a woman leaving the theater. Her eyes rested on the canvas he had been drawing on. It was empty.

Dora said in a shaky voice, "I hope..."

Twilight of the GODS: Concept and images +CR Bravo, Story +Peter Quinton
Many of you have helped along the way, with suggestions, thoughts, questions, tunes and voice recordings. This part records our kind thanks to a couple of you, in order of appearance:
+Firdaus Idros, +MicheleElys MER, +Bob ORourke, +Alok Sharma

An index of the the parts published in the G+ space can be found at:

Image: +CR Bravo - the Chorus


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The Fifth Bridge

When a traveler first enters the Lost City, she often remarks on the complexity of the design of the city and its buildings. Nothing is intuitive. To turn right, you must first turn left. In the city itself, you must put aside your conception of 'city,' and 'town' and 'village,' and forget other cities you have experienced.

Your typical city is a bit like a book. Despite their differences in content and appearance, cities are all constructed with similar materials. While books are built with hard covers, end sheets, paste, paper, and ink, the essence of cities is in concrete and metals, glass and fiber. Ordinary cities, like books, vary one from the other by size color social cohesion ethnic, political and cultural differences. Even the ink can be different. But if the Lost City were a book, you would find none of those material characteristics of ordinary cities or books. Instead, those who have built the Lost City have used energy: electrons vibrating with transient frequencies.

After a week, the traveler begins to see a pattern within the complexity of the City. The nine bridges of the City separate the four outer quadrants from the central area and the single exit. Diamonds and gold litter the streets but have no natural value. Amidst the crystal spires of light, residents illuminate the great city towers all hours of the day and night.

From the Fifth Bridge, all things, good and evil, appear possible. But the risks deter few. All the peoples of the world have been pouring into the Lost City for years through cracks in the interspaces of new technology, and as they enter the city limits, they gladly swap all their material possessions for transient value.

After two weeks, the traveler starts to see poverty among the riches. The art of the City is derivative with a sameness that does not inspire. In the slave markets, you can pick up a man here or a woman there. The City excludes no drug nor body modification, the young roam City parks at night in monstrous carapaces, clicking claws and flashing fangs, only to reshape themselves by mid-morning. No excess is too extreme or narrow. Everything is permitted; no community banned. No belief is not enthusiastically catered for and promoted. On the thoroughfares and in the areas, violence and peace is random and commonplace. Despite the violence, no police patrol the streets; no librarians guard knowledge, no teachers instill the will to learn. Those favored by the moment take justice by force and guile.

After a month, the traveler starts to notice that owners often abandon stately homes before they are complete. The City rebuilds ghettos as areas of incredible wealth within days. Sellers of second-hand oil lamps become millionaires even as you watch them trying to trade their wares. Children starve and waste before your eyes.

It is only then that the traveler begins to understand three important realities about the Lost City. Firstly, the city is living on borrowed time. Like all modern human technology it risks destruction by a random flux in a solar flare, perhaps tomorrow or maybe in 50 years time. On the day before destruction, when all might be saved, the City occupants will argue about who should act, and end up taking no action. On the day the city fractures and burns, its occupants will not remember how to repair the city. At first, they will sit in the ruins until they come to understand that there is no one left to save them. Then, those still able will walk away with nothing.

Secondly, despite being full of people, the city is empty of souls, life and meaning.

Finally, while the city consumes the wealth of the world, it offers nothing in return. Just the illusion of a city. 

Image: Dark Aelf
(you may have seen Onesti previously in some of our videos)
extract: I wrote Ancora Tu this time last year. I smile when i think about going back and writing a little more :)


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The lost words of Love

They sat, watching stars populate the darkening sky.

The thief takes her hand and leads her away from her refuge, over fields and to the top of a nearby ridge. They arrive by starlight alone as the final traces of light fades from the sky. He gathers an armful of tree litter and lights a fire. She sits on a flat rock warmed by the glow.

Freyja and the thief sit in silence watching the Milky Way light the sky, slowly moving across the sky. Their faces are touched by the soft golden light of the fire and the dark blues of the high sky.

Freyja whispers, “The world moves.”

He throws another branch onto the fire, hot, bright embers sweeping into the sky.

She continued, “It is Friday. Friday is my day, the day named in honor of me, the goddess of release and abandonment. I want you to tell me a story of love. I want you to tell me a story that stirs passion and awakens desire.”

This is the thief's fourth story, on the day they called Friday, in honor of the wild female goddess, Freyja.

Freyja looks at the thief and motions for him to start.

The thief speaks:

People across the world wait for Friday and venerate it as the last day of the working week; the day on which most are released from the modern curse of wage slavery. People hunger for Friday night. They imagine themselves dancing in freedom, or dancing vicariously, in the reflected light of the young.

On Friday night we imagine speaking words of love and play. Yet, when put to the test, few of us have words to describe the feelings love engenders, whether in quiet passion or willful abandonment. Instead, an industry of writers in the modern era constantly strive to broaden the lexicon of love, through poetry and song. But most of us fail, remaining enslaved by a few well-worn staples. We murmur those silly love songs over and over; those words that feed quiet passion and dreary sentimentality alike.

This is a story about a man and a woman who time (and historians) forgot, but who changed the world. They are long gone to the stars. It is sometimes said that history is written by the victors. But while the present can be polluted by the lies and petty squabbles of academics, the future is not beholden to them.

Imagine a woman. Patyegarang, the gray kangaroo, who was guardian to the knowledge of the Eora, the people of the land. As a young girl, she sat by a fire such as this, learning the stories of the sky, into the morning as the waves washed to the shores of the edge of time. The eyes of the young were valued then because they were uncompromised by the hardship of age. She knew how the stars rotated through the nights and seasons, around the pivot point in the skies from which the southern winds blew. She knew the names of the bright stars, could distinguish the faint star clusters (Molumolu). She studied the two close galaxies that can be seen from the land, Calgalleon, and Budoenong, which today we call the two Magellanic Clouds, and which only a handful of the modern people, and even fewer academics, have seen for the looking.

Imagine a man. Dawes was a seeker of knowledge. He traveled to a far off country, in order to study the return of Halley’s comet, a quest destined to failure because of the confusion of other people. He came to Patyegarang’s land and separated himself from the noise of colonial settlement. He moved out of range of shouts from the Governor’s men to a far point, into the great harbor on which they had settled. There he built a building, a long room with wood, 5 long paces long by 4 paces connected to a circular room on rocks behind the building, 3 paces in diameter. On the walls of the round room, he built a rotating roof, through which he could see the sky and covered it against the weather with heavy sail canvas.

Patyegarang watched him, wondering at Dawe’s interest in the stars.

The man was the first fleet astronomer, William Dawes. Into his world stepped Patyegarang, an Eora woman.

Patyegarang came to his house and asked him about his interest in the stars, but he could not make understandable words. So, she set about the difficult task of teaching him how to speak. He was not beyond teaching. He was a thoughtful man, trained to take careful observations. He had an absolute belief in science and had been taught in war and peace the value of study and absolute loyalty. He spent his night times studying the stars from the observatory room and keeping detailed records of the weather.

The man and woman met on the edge of their civilizations. They were together for a couple of years, and then they were sundered apart.

During that time Patyegarang taught him many words. Dawes wrote their story slowly, every night, by a candle in his diary. Every night, as he learned her language, she would call on him to put the candle out. She refused to learn his language. At first, she taught him the names of the four winds and then the phases of the moon and sun and then she spoke to him of the stars.

(The thief stood, and fed the fire. Then hands on hips he turned to her, standing deliberately between her and the glow of the fire. Freyja felt the cold, and cocked her head, and demanded that he move. He asked, “You feel the touch of cold, when I stand between you and the fire.” She nodded. He moved a little, allowing the warmth of the fire to fall again on her and the golden glow to return to play on her face. He continued, “The language of the first people needs to be understood in the context of the fire.”)

The Eora had words for things we do not. That touch of cold, caused by the deliberate removal of the warmth of the fire was Ŋyínadyımíŋa.

Dawes started to call her Patye. One dreary day, beset by rain, he started to transcribe bits of his diary into a couple of small notebooks. He took each of the words she had every used, and wrote them in the notebooks, and annotated each with the meaning they had agreed upon, the Eora language. We have misplaced his diary but still, have his notebooks.

After a downpour of rain, she removed her clothing and stood by his fire naked. He asked to put her clothes on, and she refused, and said “Gore dyú tágarın.” At first, he thought she meant that she did it to take off the cold, but later he understood that she stood naked in order to get warm sooner. He asked about the ritual scarring on her breasts and the removal of the little finger on her left hand. She asked him what she meant to him.

Then they talked of love.

She taught him words we use every day, and some of the things we no longer understand or forget we once understood.

She taught him “putuwá” (poo-too-wor): to warm one's hand by the fire and then to squeeze the fingers of another person gently. She taught him “boamere” (bo-a-mere): to blow with your breath. She taught him to play, to sing, to wink, to laugh, to tickle, to pinch, to bite, to hug, to kiss and to breathe. She taught him to walk, to talk about last night and to fly. She taught him to undress and how to make love. She taught him about dreams and tomorrow.

She taught him about relationships: how two are enough. She taught him of sweethearts, of partnerships forged by time, and of relationships forged by place. And he told her he would stay for a very long time.

But it was not to be.

Relations between the settlers and the Eora deteriorated. One day, Dawes said that if Patye washed often, she would become white. She threw down the towel as in despair, and said, “Tyerabárrbowaryaou” (I shall not become white).

On another occasion, Dawes asked her why her people had attacked a settler. Patyegarang responded, “Gūlara” (Because they are angry.)

Dawes asked, “Mínyın gūlara eóra?” (Why are the Eora angry?)

She replied, “Inyám ŋal wí̇ white men. Tyérun kamarıgál” (Because the white men are settled here. The kamarigals are afraid.)

He said “Mínyın tyérun kamarıgál? (Why are the kamarıgal afraid?)

She replied, “Gu̇nın.” (Because of the guns.)

When violence led to bloodshed, the Governor insisted that Dawes accompany an armed retaliatory band to kill Eora, without compassion. Dawes initially refused, only agreeing when the matter came to an internal crisis. He navigated the troop into the bush, and away from the Eora. When they returned to town, Dawes angrily criticized the Governor. His principled stand against arbitrary violence at the hands of a senior officer serves as a salutary lesson in humanity. It also made his plans to remain in the colony untenable.

But Patye had one more word to teach Dawes: “Galgalla “ (smallpox). Galgalla spread through the ranks of her people, killing most without remorse.

Dawes has not told us what happened to Patye in his journals, and his diaries have not yet been found. The story of their love and the names of the stars told him by Patye, and recorded in his diaries are still missing in some untapped box in a library or private collection. Slowly his other diaries, metrological records, letters to Greenwich and reminiscences of other colonials are emerging. Or perhaps the story has been blown like leaves before a hurricane in Antigua.

But this man, who could not bring himself to write about the past, went on to join Lord Wilberforce's campaign to abolish slavery and worked to that end until he died, impoverished. At a time when the movement required actual support, he gave it, helping to tip the balance and change the world.

Lord Wilberforce once said, “I don’t believe there is in the world a more solid, honest, indefatigable man, more full of resources and common sense.” But credit here is more widely to be shared.

Freyja lay back on the rock, letting the Thief's voice die into the distance. A train called across the valley. The rising moon lifted his head to light the forest on one side of the ridge while the tollway to Ware lit the other.

The Thief had been stoking the fire, and she could feel the heat of the coals hot and white blue. She looked into the deep black northern sky, searching for a hint of her face. She heard herself thinking, “Compose yourself when looking into the mirror.”

But Freyja could not compose herself. She lifted herself back and said to him, “I am confused. Why did you tell me that story? I do not ask you to educate me; I want you to entertain me.”

He said, “I am telling you the seven stories of the world; what makes us human. I am not telling you how to kiss a fisherman.”

Dimly, lightning flashed in her eyes, and he smiled, “You must let me go.”

She shakes her head, “No.”

I write lots of stories on G+. This is an extract from Freyja and the Seven Stories of the World:

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The last time we rode down to Foxlow Station

The first time we rode down to Foxlow Station it was like a knife through fresh butter. We crossed the purple mountains along the cart track near Count Rossi’s holding.

It was the middle of summer and stinking hot during the day. But evenings in the mountains are cool. Mist hangs onto the hills at night, and a sweet dewy breeze blows gently in the early morning.

The first time we rode down to Foxlow Station the fields were gold with the fragrance of new-cut meadow hay. We caught superintendent Vallance napping. We held him up and took all the station money and six packs of groceries and drapery. We helped ourselves to station spirits and gave all a drink in honour of the day.

When we got back to the Jingera a couple of days after Christmas we hosted a meal and dance at one of the high farms. A bullock was killed for the occasion. We invited the locals, including some of the police and magistrates on that side of the range, to come and share the harvest. John O’Connell and Lucy Hurley danced a jig that night and we all sang and danced till morning light. Our generosity was not shared by some – Braidwood police came a couple of days later, like back in the old country, searching the farms for the stolen loot.

They arrested Lucy and some of the local farmers and treated the women roughly, but the magistrates in Braidwood let all bar one of the O’Connells go.

We rode down to Foxlow Station a couple of times after that. We took horses and cattle when we wanted, and drove them up into the Tinderry bad-lands to the south east. But not before we bailed up the superintendent and liberated his gold and cash, tea from China, fine hats, drapery, flour and butter.

Despite the Braidwood police, we would still hold a party a couple of days afterwards, but we were less free with our invitations. Still, it would bring out a fiddle and an Irish song. We would sit around the rough-hewn seats of the cotter and listen to stories or songs. Stories or songs of some romance or some exploit here or back home in the green country – sometimes about us. There would be smiles on the drawn faces of the scratch farmers on that side of the range. The gold would light up the eyes of the local girls and the children would stand rapt, faces stuffed with sugar and cake.

But it got harder and harder each time we came down to Foxlow.

The last time we rode down to Foxlow Station it was raining. We had word the police were there guarding the station in numbers. So we camped in an old hut, high in hills near the Yandyguinula Creek, courtesy of the old woman who lived there, and we watched the station and waited for an opportunity. We brought her real grub – a break from her scant meals of thistle and plover eggs.

The police did not know we were nearby. The bush had been cleared to 1,000 yards of the station buildings, and the police stayed close to the station. We could see there were three police, none of whom appeared to be on guard. One spent a lot of time in one of the huts courting one of the station girls. Another played cards with off-duty hands in the hut next door. The third in the barrack, cooking or getting wood and water. But they kept their repeater rifles close by, and the one in the barracks was colonial born and a fair shot.

We had some friends down in the station. They sent word of what was in the store, and when patrols would be undertaken. They told us of a heated argument between the three police – the colonial took on the others about their regimental sham and carousing. He loudly argued that they should be out chasing us instead. But the police stayed put, and the risks of riding down into the station with them there, even courting or card-playing or cooking, were too high.

So we tried to draw them out. We stole the station owner’s fat horse and some of the police mounts. We got one of the station hands to report the theft, expecting them to race out and off in pursuit. But all they did was move the remaining horses closer and feed them. They were now on the look-out, and a couple more police, including a senior constable, arrived.

So we went back to the old hut, in the rain, blankets still over our heads. We waited but, for days, the police stayed put. News from the station was grim. The police did not trust station hands anymore. The colonial policeman was reposted. The police maintained their regimental sham.

We took what cattle and horses we could manage and headed back to the Tinderry fastness. There was no gold and cash, tea from China, fine hats, drapery, flour and butter the last time we rode down to Foxlow.

extract, The Long Tailor:

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But the world grows distant.
And the familiar instead fall thrall to other voices.
Voices that do not hear the thump.
Voices that cannot smell the rise of bread.

Twilight of the Gods
Author & Animator +Peter Quinton Artist +CR Bravo
Finished stories and images will be in a book at the end of the year.
Story index:

Have a great weekend!
Animated Photo

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Air touches Fire and a thousand thoughts take wing.
A plague of butterflies rises to explode into the breeze.
In icy chaos Artemis is thrown askew as a familiar figure comes into view threading Edge’s path with simple ease.

Twilight of the Gods
Author & Animator +Peter Quinton & Artist +CR Bravo
Finished stories and images will be in a book at the end of the year.
Story index:

Have a lovely day & evening!
Animated Photo

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They are holding each other tightly. Roya suddenly confessed, "I have never kissed a man before."
"It was just a healing kiss," he says, unconvincingly.
She is silent and shakes her head.
He says, more tentatively, "Or must I seek your forgiveness?"
She reaches into the darkness and gives him a pendant with their pictures and a gem. He accepts it.
"I told you I would give you a love gift tonight."
He says, "And as a token of my gratitude, I grant you three wishes."
Roya smiles, "You told me you would, as we rode home. I have been thinking about them carefully knowing that you sorcerers delight in mischief. My first wish I want to be attached to the locket. I wish that we can come back to these moments through this locket."
Ibn Sa'id concentrates. He holds the locket, and she hears the sound of a distant hunting horn.
She holds his hand, "Before I go further, tell me why I needed to learn about love poetry?"
"Your father and I believe that love poetry echoes the heartbeat of civilization. Every poem, every song, tells us a little about ourselves and our world."
"Does it? Even when it is you or I who is writing it?"
He pauses, "Beggars or kings can write poems. Regardless, they are adaptable, powerful and dangerous. Love poetry is just the language of lovers. Elsewhere it is a way of teaching conduct."
"Is that your real problem with the poet Khayyam?"
"He called on the mysteries of the world to describe love and life. The more you call on meadows, birds, rain to express love, the more it ceases to be real. Instead, it becomes a mystery itself, a beautiful and spiritual thing", he paused. "Disconnected with reality."
"Why do you always overthink everything? Sometimes it is just nice not to be direct. It makes you imagine. It makes the world full of mystery."
"No matter how we dress love or life in allusions, there is still only the underlying reality of skin touching skin."
She comes close to him, holding his head in her hands. "I wish you to love me, both ways. Mystically and practically."
"That is beyond my power. I cannot make a person love another."
"I am not asking you to exercise your sorcerous powers. I am asking you as the woman who loves you. I ask you to honor our kiss."
He shakes his head, slowly at first, "I cannot return your love. It would betray your father's trust of me. My life's work would be set at naught and lost. I wish we had never met."
Tears fill her eyes.
He murmurs, "The love we make will lead to your death. Have you learned nothing?"
She says, "I have learned that there are no answers here for me, just ruins."
The fountains stop running, and the stars blink out.
"But I still have two wishes."
"My second wish is that we forget this time."
"And my third wish, my last wish, is that you send me away, far, far away. 800 years from here."

i write a lot of stories on G+ - you would think that the world is overfull of love stories, but i look around and (like Paul McCartney) see it isn't so.

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"Another black coffee for the guy down the back!" Pirene paused to chalk up the order before turning back to frothing milk for the young couple standing impatiently by the counter. Pirene whispered to Dora as she cut cake for the kids waiting out on the sidewalk, "Where is Aphro? We could use a couple of extra hands right now..." Dora laughed and Pirene caught a whiff of cigarette smoke from the back door.

Dora said, "I saw her around, about a half hour ago." And then Dora stopped and smiled at her, "You have your pretty dress on today. Got plans for later?" before rushing off to deliver the plates with a couple of cold drinks.

Pirene finished making the coffee and gave change to the couple. She took a deep breath as Dora came back to cut a BLT croissant, and started to answer, but the sound of sirens drowned out the words.

Dora laughed at her, "You still seeing Dan?"

Pirene grimaced and shook her head. "Nothing special. Just wanted a change. You know, the last days of autumn, before the sun disappears."

Dora laughed again, "That made no sense." Then she turned conversationally to a older man who had appeared at the counter, "She is looking really cute in that outfit today - what do you think?"

The old man started to laugh but paused, "Your friend looks beat. Those old coffee machines were good in their day, but they are hard work."

Dora glanced at him, "So, we have us an engineer. No use making things easier, they will just find more work for us to do. What you want to order, buster?"

The old man said, "I am in no rush. Finish what you are doing, I will still be here."

Pirene looked at the board and chalked another completed order. She called to Dora, "Table 5. I need some time."

The old man looked at her and said to himself, "I once dreamed that things would be better, slower. That we could pause to savor the smell of a day."

Pirene glanced at him as another whiff of cigarette smoke competed for air space. Dora laughed, "Dreams are fine, but cash makes the world turn. You ordering or writing poetry?" She smiled at Pirene, "We got a poet in the diner! Listen!" She put down a serving tray and held her hands out theatrically, "When you dream my dream! Ha! What comes next Mr Poet? 'My toast is burning? The cheese is melting? The customers are moaning?' "

The old man said, "You are lively this morning. How about...'When you dream my dream, the world moves slower, the air is softer, the tastes are sharper...' "
Pirene began to answer, but the sound of a garbage truck drowned out the words.

Pirene started to pour milk into the old man's coffee. She watched the stream slow silky smooth. She took a breath of soft air. For a moment, everything became sharp. Under the cup, four rings of moisture of past cups, the bitter smell of grinds, and the hiss of escaping steam.

In the background she heard Dora joking with the old man, telling him how she was rehearsing for a play down the road and how, one day, she was going to get out of this place. The old man joked, "And fly south to Florida with a flock of retirees?"

Dora shook her head, and laughed, "No, I am going to Paris." Except she said 'Paris' with a strange Dora accent. And she meant it. Her eyes had a far-away look, full of hope.

The stream of milk shimmered and flickered in the dappled light of falling leaves. She heard a bird call. Pirene thought, "The order board is empty. For just a moment everything is ok. I hope it lasts forever."

She caught the old man's eyes. He was smiling at her. He was talking to her. She could not hear the words. The milk was falling into the coffee, and the level was rising so slowly she could barely make it out. She wondered, "How long will this take? He will be getting impatient."

Then she felt the touch of his smile and she spilt milk over the counter and onto her top.

Dora laughed, "Daydreamer!"

Pirene caught herself with a start. The old man was still looking at her, and the last couple of moments caught up with her as time returned to normal. She passed the coffee to him. As she mopped up the milk with a cloth she heard his question, "Are you rehearsing as well?"


Twilight of the Gods
Author +Peter Quinton & Artist +CR Bravo
Finished stories and images will be in a book at the end of the year.
Story index:

See the image coming to life in the original posts by +CR Bravo at
Stage 2:

Post has shared content
Learning to Fly

Butterfly breeze discordant sharp; ice shards scrape on frozen rocks
"Sister!", Artemis shouts into the sky
"The Edge is here - take care!"
But Hestia answers her cry with a joyful stare
"I will be still no longer. I long to fly"

(Learning to animate a leaping Hestia - part 3 - a fragment from a 20 second take for a complex scene involving 7 other animation fragments:
Animation notes:
1. Animate Twin Falls, early morning with sun rising
2. Hestia emerges from cave as dialogue Hestia b commences. Butterfly stream.
3. Hestia walks to top of fall and leaps into the air
4. Camera swings around 180 degrees and pans away from top of fall
5. Artemis lifts head from water, comes into view and as dialogue ends they touch hands)

notes from Twilight of the Gods, film directions
images +CR Bravo story +Peter Quinton
Guess what Hestia is this Halloween?
Happy Halloween from Twilight of the Gods!

Animation by +Peter Quinton
I love this!!!

Animated Photo
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