Sheer fantasy

Charli Mills latest post is  In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a fantastical element or creature. ( Another tester.

sydenham hill woods (3)

the picture from the cover of The Miracle on Sydenham Hill

If you’d asked me before last November I’d have scoffed at fantasy, poo-pooed it. But then something called NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)came into my life and I wrote this YA book called The Miracle on Sydenham Hill which has definite fantastical notes in it; I’ve posted the first chapter in if you want to take a peek; maybe it is time for the second part to be uploaded. I even printed six copies on which was easy and pretty reasonably priced given I only wanted six copies for my family.

NaNoWriMo is a self challenge under which you aim to write a completed work of at least 50,000 words in a month. 1667 a day for the Fibonacci fans out there. Vampires, voices in the head, mysterious Romanian gypsies.

A start but now for something more. This challenge should be a doddle. Shouldn’t it? Well, thinks I, maybe I should add my own little twist. You see, some of the other regulars have been using the characters they have created in more than one flash – flash-hopping as it were. Charli has Sarah and Cobb; Irene ( has her wheelbarrow (my father wrote poems to my mother each year on her birthday, many of which were on the theme of ‘Barbara has gone into the garden again…’ but after Irene’s flash I’m wondering if gardening is such a safe pastime or it is more like something from Stella Gibbons’ imagination  – ‘Something nasty in the woodshed’ perhaps); and I mustn’t forget Sarah ( and her leg under the bed. Well, not her leg exactly… well, I don’t think  so. We still have to find out.

Anyroad, this week I’m continuing with Peter and Milton, the dog he left to fry in the car last time…

Dog days and Phoenix nights


It was morphogenesis; Milton was in flames but not in pain. Peter smiled. What next for the Staffie?

‘He’s smiling, Mum.’

‘It’s the sun. When they turn Grandpa to the window, it looks like he’s smiling.’ Mary slipped past the bleeping machines. ‘Here, I’ll move this.’

A horn grew from Milton’s head; Peter knew now. A unicorn. The flames engulfed the dog, leaving the horn pointing skywards. Peter felt happy at last.

‘There.’ Mary pulled the drip stand from the window so its shadow cut across Peter’s face. ‘I wish, he’d give us a sign.’

‘He’s peaceful, Mum.’

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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16 Responses to Sheer fantasy

  1. Lisa Reiter says:

    So Geoff, did you hear the Divine Comedy on the Radio today as well – “Something for the Weekend”? Had me thinking of Charli’s prompt this week – not that I’ve come up with anything yet – nor will it be as good as this. You’ve got me thinking on all sorts of levels..😊


  2. Charli Mills says:

    First your blazing flash–I was all prepared to laugh, then it hit me how deep the passage is. And combining multiple perspectives in 99 words is amazing, but you did it. I think when we continue with a character we start to go deeper (maybe deeper down the rabbit hole or into the psyche).

    NaNoWriMo has spun magic for me, too. Writing 50,000 words in 30 days creates a writing environment open to any and all possibilities. You have a wealth of writing emerging–keep going!


    • TanGental says:

      Charli you are SO right; I never realised it but by carrying on you can deepen the characters very quickly. Nano as pretty addictive; since my birthday falls on 30th Nov it was a prefect present when I cracked the 50k barrier. I’m not sure the family understood my little jig in my banana suit.


  3. What a great ? ending to last weeks flash. It was like watching a film that finishes leaving you wanting more but not expecting to ever get it and now here it is. I was with you in my thoughts on fantasy but like you a small element of doubt has crept in – there may be a place for it.


    • TanGental says:

      It’s the mystical that I like rather than the purely fantastical. His unholiness Saint Richard Dawkins the Atheist was quoted today in the papers decrying Santa and the tooth fairy and all sorts – we need to teach our children scepticism not a belief in the impossible; his posit being it is more interesting why it is impossible for a fat geezer in a red coat to squeeze down a trillion chimneys every 25h December than to believe he exists in the first place. The sad truth is you cannot make statistics interesting.


      • And they do not bring those expectant bright little faces Christmas Eve on putting out the cake and whiskey and the joy in the morning. You have put me in mind to remember when our workers told us that they had to go and see the miracle on the other side of the island. A woman had 40 babies. On their return sceptical husband asked did you see them crying , how did she feed them and similar questions when told by our workers how they’d seen the babies paraded wrapped up and carried by the men. There was no question in their minds at all. I think there has to be a happy medium – losing the magical altogether would be sad.


      • Annecdotist says:

        Norah has an interesting post on the myths we tell children, including Santa,


      • TanGental says:

        Thanks for the comments and link Anne. It’s interesting and Nora speaks more sense than Dawkins – did you read his interview?


  4. Sarah Brentyn says:

    So, wow. The story unfolds. Love the phoenix rising from the ashes for Peter. I, personally, like this little twist you’ve taken. Neither one made out well last week and so this is kind of a nice magical turn for them. A nice, sad, heart-wrenching turn. But whatever. I’ll take it.

    P.S. Are you doing something biblical with the names here?


  5. Norah says:

    I love the way you have continued the story from last week. The morphogenesis is flaming brilliant!


  6. Annecdotist says:

    Loved this one, Geoff, humourous and deep. Great skill in continuing Milton and Peter’s story, especially as we thought it was finished last week.


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