Tales From One Warm Summer Night (Part 1)


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My heart beat faster one warm summer night,

When four friends and I exchanged tales around a fire,

Connie leaned forward in her chair,

“There are fairies dancing there,

Around the old oak tree,

A place that’s magical for them and me,”

Her brown smoldering eyes held me still,

I searched their depths until I had my fill,

“Fairies cast spells on strangers passing through,

Using their magic to make dreams come true,”

Connie, her raven black hair shining in the moonlight,

Said, “I’ll tell you more, later in the night,”

Jim cleared his throat, glanced at the others, then at me,

“I’ll tell you a story about terror at sea,

Of pirates who changed from their plundering ways,

Experienced old salts brave and crusty as they be,

Who saved their own lives by tossing treasures into the sea,”

He paused for a moment to catch his breath,

“Then I’ll close with a ship named ‘DEATH’,”

Rhonda stood up and with a shy little grin,

“I want to tell you about heroic women and their wild, wild men,

How they conquered the West with love, tears, and sweat,

Overcame their fears and stood up to threats,”

Bill couldn’t resist telling about wars with blood and gore,

“Freedom is always worth fighting for,”

He hesitated as if he wanted his words to sink in,

“There’s a change as boys become men,

Cannons boom constantly and tanks shake their world around,

Every man becomes braver as he crosses contested ground,”

I listened and waited to share a truth that was stark,

I wanted to tell them about danger that lurked in the dark,

My story had been forgotten and I lost my chance to speak,

For growls were getting closer and my stomach was getting weak,

I gasped and stuttered but nothing they could understand,

They continued with their stories as I wrung my hands,

Connie looked at me apprehensively, as if I was mad,

“I see you’re preparing your story, but your acting is bad,”

There were murmurs of agreement as she continued her tale,

“The fairies were delighted to find one day,

A knight tired from his journey, under the oak he lay,

On his way to the castle he had fallen asleep,

His mission was to rescue a princess from the keep,

The fairies laughed, they danced, they cast a spell,

They wanted their magic to serve him well,

For he would soon face the witch and the evil queen,

Brave knights who’d gone before were never again seen,

The fairies wove a multi-colored cloak from spider webs and dew,

If he wore it at the castle it would hide him from view,

A second spell they bestowed before he awoke,

The next two he kissed would go up in smoke,”

Her story was entertaining and the fire was going out,

But Jim looked sullen and was beginning to pout,

“Go ahead, Jim,” I said, “I’ll throw more wood on the fire,

Continue your story about the treasures pirates aquire,”

Uneasily I studied the woods for the terror it contained,

While my friends shared the fire and with stories entertained,

“After a brief skirmish with one of the king’s battleships,

The pirates disappeared into the fog and gave them the slip,

They plundered the coast, found treasures to steal,

Escaped angry husbands, had rum and good meals,

The tars watched a hundred sunsets as they traveled by boat,

Then the pirates crossed the Atlantic to lands remote,

Found Spanish ships loaded with gold from the new world received,

The pirates fired their cannons and the gold relieved,

And off they sailed thinking they were safe from harm,

But a hurricane was brewing and no one sounded the alarm,”

While he gathered his breath to go on with his tale,

Rhonda couldn’t wait one minute longer,

“The men in my story were strong, but the women were stronger,

From Boston and New York the men went west,

Looking for adventure, for gold, or land at its best,

Towns sprang up overnight with guns making the law,

It was easy to be dead or quick on the draw,

The last place of civilization was named Kansas City,

Men venturing west beyond that were given no pity,

Uncivilized, untamed, life always in the rough,

If a woman dared go west she had to be tough,

She plowed by day, ran her household by candlelight,

Bore her babies at home, and fought for her rights,

In the fields or on the porch she carried a gun,

But in the bedroom at night most battles were won,

Those feisty women changed each odious law,

Against those in petticoats stubborn men would withdraw,”

“A nice history lesson, Rhonda,” Bill said, “Now it’s my turn,

There was a young man who had much about war to learn,

Both sides agreed about Christmas Day, so soldiers ceased fire,

No guns were deadly as they crossed over barbed wire,

Troops celebrated together but before the sun went down,

Soldiers took their positions and prepared for another round,

Deadly combat began early the next day,

Friends became enemies, no mercy did they display,

This young man, eighteen at most, charged a machine gun nest,

Dodged bullets as he ran, but was more scared than the rest,

He was tired of seeing his friends shot down,

So he dashed across and conquered the ground,

He didn’t want to be a hero but what else could he do,

The war was not over and his job was not through,”

Stories of fairies, heroic women, war and the sea,

Were all suspended while my friends waited for me,

All the people in these stories marched upon imagination’s stage,

Yet a few feet away, more than enough to fill a page,

There was a story ready to unfold,

About a creature hungry and bold,

Perhaps I was the only one who could see,

Those long fangs and those eyes glaring at me,

I had listened and waited and I wanted to share,

But I was transfixed by that malevolent stare,

I wanted to ask if this was but a dream,

Because if it was real, I needed to scream,

One thought on “Tales From One Warm Summer Night (Part 1)

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