Monday Motivations

Happy Monday! Here’s a little challenge for you:

Write a story or poem on the theme of darkness. How you interpret the theme is up to you.

Last week, your challenge was to write about the cold. Here are your interesting and entertaining pieces:

Jason Moody‘s story is superb:

Jessica woke with a start and snorted, as the bus pulled away from the lights. An old man sat next to her tutted loudly for no reason at all, but his moment of grumpiness would not infect her mood today.

She hurriedly wiped the window to her right with her coat sleeve. The amount of bodies on the bus that morning would have made health and safety blush. It felt less like a bus, and more like a sauna with all the bodies wrapped in their winter clothes and pressed in like sardines.

With the condensation cleared, she now had a misty window to the outside world. The people outside, pushing through the morning rain all moved as one huddled, shuffling swarm. She was glad, in some small way, to be on the bus. She sweated in places she didn’t know she could, but at least she was dry.

But it wasn’t the outside world she was interested in. Her mind was elsewhere. Her mind was on Gary. Oh, Gary.

From the second she had woken that morning, the events of last night begun playing in earnest. She recounted, in crystal clear detail, every conversation, every subtle, unintentional brush of his hand on hers. She pictured his laugh, his soft, Northern accent, and the way he seemed to hang on every word she had uttered. She had – unless she was sorely mistaken – had the perfect date.

A smile crept across her face, which was completely at odds with the lifeless, near death expressions of most around her. Her cheeks warmed and her heart sang. If she had the room, she would have danced, and revelled in the delicious afterglow of the night before, in her own private bubble of giddy, gut-wrenching floatiness.

Her mind wandered to the prospect of a second date. A second date that was a formality. She thought about what she might wear, how she might act. Would they kiss?

Jessica was jolted from her whimsy by the sudden breaking of the bus and a persistent hissing sound. The driver opened his cabin and peered down the bus.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, this bus is no longer in service, please alight here.”

The bus, already filled with hot air, become more noxious as a rousing sea of groans and sighs filled what little space there was left to fill.

Jessica’s expressions remained unchanged. She quite fancied a walk, she thought.

The bus emptied onto the high-street and Jessica skipped along, blissfully ignorant of the rain and cold, biting wind.

She could feel a small vibration in her coat pocket. Was it him? Had he text? Was this an invitation to meet up again? She so hoped this would be the case. Her heart fluttered and her palms were a little sweaty as she fished the phone out of her pocket.

She wiped the rain from her face, which was now falling quite hard.

She scanned the text.

‘Had a great night last night, I just don’t think there was any spark. Sorry.’

No kiss. No nothing.

In that instant, her stomach was set to spin, her heart felt like a stone, and the joyous, almost child-like thrill that gripped her being was sucked out of her.

The rain and cold compounded her mood. All the colour and the songs had been packed away and padlocked.

She forced the phone back into her pocket and huffed her way back up the crowded high-street. The weight of utter disappointment kept her gaze shoe wards. This resulted in a collison with a young man.

“Oh, sorry,” he chirped, smiling.

Jessica frowned.

“Watch where you’re bloody going,” she snapped.

The rain continued to pour.


Geoff Le Pard has written a stunning poem. Please visit his site to read it:


Due to personal circumstances, Rajiv Chopra missed last week’s slot, so he has treated us to two instalments in his Mary Jane series this week. The challenge a fortnight ago was to write a story on the theme of autumn, with the words red, goldfish and mustard in them somewhere. I wasn’t sure if Rajiv could do it but he did!:

Red. Blood red lipstick adorned their faces as they left that morning. At the start of their relationship, they had considered adopting a signature look, and then they decided against it. Too easy to identify, they figured. So, they compromised a bit. They would wear the same costume each time, but would vary the colour combination each time.

“To the market!” cried Mary Jane.

“Why the market?” queried Harley.

“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe, the market will drum up some surprised. I do love markets sometimes. Always full of the most interesting people, and smells and colours. And, of course, things to choose from.’ She added the last, with a meaningful pause.

“Then, let’s go to the Gypsy Market!” squealed Harley. “I do love the gypsies. Always so mysterious. Always exotic, always singing strange songs, and selling some of the most quirky stuff.

“Oh, but we don’t want to buy things, do we?” asked Mary Jane, with a mischievous smile. “We just want things, and we just want to have fun today. Because, that is what girls want!”

Laughing in the happiest manner, the two of them sauntered off. Harley Quinn was wearing her favourite shorts, a tight T-Shirt, and was sucking on a lollipop. She looked the very essence of a fun-loving college girl, as she danced and skipped her way around the market.

Mary Jane. She was wearing a tight mini skirt. Blood red, to match her lipstick. It almost seemed as though there was nothing below the dress, but she was always just a little bit demure.

They walked around the market, hand in hand. Sometimes, they would eat a sweet, and sometimes would grab another lollipop. The two girls sipped some juice – they were very careful. They ate some salad from time to time.

They were on their best behavior. No explosions or hitting innocent people on the head. Just a hand finding its way to the delights of the morning.

Just around lunchtime, Harley stopped and said, “I am hungry. Let’s eat.”

They walked into a little restaurant, where they were greeted by the most incredibly odd looking little man.

Dressed in somewhat outlandish clothes, with a huge mustache that covered most of his small face, he ushered them in. Smiling in the most ingratiating manner possible, he led them to their table, and produced the largest menu that they had ever seen. It resembled a large, thick school book.

“What would you have, this fine day?” he asked, a sly little smile on his face.

“What do you suggest?” asked Harley Quinn, smiling innocently, and leaning forward slightly. “Tell me, my friend, what should we eat this fine day?”

“If my ladies would allow me,” he said, “I would like to suggest some lightly fried goldfish, topped with some mustard sauce. Ah, and what mustard we have for you. It is indeed, a special mustard, called ‘kasundi’, from the exotic land of Bengal in faraway India.”

Throwing back her head in laughter, Harley said, “Okay, my little friend, let’s have this.”

“I seem to have seen him before” said Mary Jane, with a frown. “But…… where?”

Soon enough, another little man came by, with a huge plate of steaming hot goldfish, with a golden yellow mustard sauce liberally poured over it.

“Smell the aroma, my ladies,” he smiled. Or, did he smirk? Mary Jane was convinced that he had smirked, and she was suspicious. Was something afoot?

Harley leaned forward to take a deep breath, and at that instant, a huge explosion of gas seemed to erupt from the fish.

“Mustard gas…” she seemed to hear, as a hand grabbed her.

Her senses reeling, she was losing consciousness rapidly, and the last thing that she thought she heard, was a manic cackle; a cacophony of insane laughter that she had thought she would never hear again in her life.


Now for this week’s instalment:

Unnoticed by people on the ground, bats had been circling in the air for a long while, and soon enough they returned to the Bat Cave. The Bat had read about magicians in the Third Age, and how they had used crows, ravens and other birds as spies. He had trained bats to be his loyal spies.

He had always congratulated himself on reading a lot of history, especially of the times before The Fourth Age – the Age of Man. He drew much inspiration from these times, and prided himself on being much more than a grim-faced man in a cloak, with a bag of tricks and fancy gadgets.

The news left him cold. He sat alone in his chamber for a while, his blood turning to ice. It hardly seemed to move in his blood vessels, and his face looked silvery blue, almost translucent. He sat there for hours, contemplating his next move, and then abruptly got up.

In their bedroom, Poison Ivy was pacing up and down, wondering where he was, when the door opened. Quietly, every so quietly, it opened, and she stood facing the man who had become her partner, accomplice and lover. He seemed to give off a silvery aura, and she froze at his touch. Looking deep into his eyes, she seemed to fall into the depths of Hell.
Hell, was not just a place of eternal flame. A correction, if you please – Hell was not just a place of eternal, scorching flame. It was also a place of cold, barbaric ice.

She looked deep into his eyes, out her hands on his shoulders, and then closed her eyes. After a long while, she quietened her mind, and stood there in silence. They seemed to stand there a long time, and then suddenly they both opened their eyes at the same time.
Flecks of blue danced in his black eyes, and flecks of red danced in her green ones. Hers was the Hell of the scorching flame, a perfect counterpart to his icy, bitter, cold Hell. They were now were the perfect partners.

Until this moment, they had been joined together in body, and in their passion for crime. They were now joined in their hearts and souls. Their souls joined together in harmony, and seemed to twist around each other – a coiled rope, if you may – ice and fire running up and down the length of it.

“It is time,” he said, “for us to leave.”

“Where to?” she asked.

“We need to teach some errant young boys, who is the master of it all,” he said.

She stepped back, and looked deep into his eyes.

“Do you still love Harley?” she asked

“No,” said the Bat. “Love for her died a long while ago, but I do have a fondness for her. I love you.”

“I love you too,” she replied with a smile. “Let’s go.”

There was a moment of silence, and then she giggled. “Let’s unleash some hell…”

The Bat smiled. “I will freeze that cackling laugh.”



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45 Responses to Monday Motivations

  1. Lynn Love says:

    Great story, Jason – lovely descriptions throughout and you have clearly travelled by bus, as this part was spot on! And loved her bumping into a chirpy young man at the end, subverting our expectations of her ‘next big thing’. Great stuff and an enjoyable read

  2. Distinguishing darkness from light
    Is the primary duty of sight
    The differing shades
    Twixt Heaven

  3. Oops. Try again:

    Distinguishing darkness from light
    Is the primary duty of sight
    The differing shades
    Twixt Heaven and Hades
    Are as varied as daytime to night

  4. DrEMiller says:

    Reblogged this on Write of Passage and commented:
    Today’ Monday Motivations from Esther Newton is here. Read on.
    Thank you, Esther!

  5. Simon says:

    How topical…. A bit of darkness! You know of course that anything i put in will be a little out of the ordinary! 😃

  6. AJ.Dixon says:

    Darkness. How she had come to adore it. She scoffed to recall the days when she used to be frightened of it. Those days were long, long ago, a mere salty speck in the maelstrom of her memories, but she could still recollect them, most likely because they amused her. Darkness…how could she ever bear to part from it anymore? The daily struggle for survival sapped her prodigious, near legendary strength, and it was only in darkness when she could allow herself to drop the illusion of invulnerability. It beckoned with kind, assuring fingers, promising safety, and comfort. The younger ones, so full of vigour and ambition chose to stay out hunting, only retreating to their own dark sanctuaries at the last moments. She was the opposite now, choosing to remain with her darkness for as long as she could. Darkness understood her. Darkness saved her.
    Soon, her hunger would become great again and she must answer its demands. She would rise and stalk the night under the cover of darkness instead of being held in its embrace; a poor substitute in her eyes. Oh, feeding still had its charms as well as its purpose, but the thrill of it had deserted her long ago. She still enjoyed the coppery taste of blood and feeling its warmth flow through her body, but the struggles and cries of her victims no longer delighted her. When once she had prowled the earth like a great huntress she now only thought of her darkness and how to hurry back to it. Whenever she crossed paths with others of her kind they would stand agape, their awe and fear stabbing into her nostrils with irritating predictability. They beheld her alabaster skin bathed in the glow of the moonlight and the luscious dark hair which framed her regal face and saw a goddess in the flesh. She in turn saw only petty distractions and rushed by them. It had been centuries since any could threaten her, so did not waste time toying with them. The darkness called.
    Presently, she must leave her darkness, but she would return and the deafening noise of the world would disappear for a time. She was safe in the darkness. She loved it, and it loved her. She was certain of that.

  7. Pingback: Esther Newton’s Monday Motivations : Parts of a dismembered whole – Word Shamble

  8. Rajiv says:

    Darkness? I live in the dark,,, Here goes

    Darkness engulfed them. They groped about, flailing their arms and coughing in the musty room, and finally their fingers touched.
    Her breath rasping, Harley managed a croak, ‘The Dark Knight will come for us’.
    A tight slap sent her reeling back. ‘You still have feelings for him, you bitch’, came an angry voice in the dark. ‘How could you?’
    ‘No, I have no feelings for him. But, he and I have a legacy, and he will respect this.’, replied Harley. Her fingers reached for Mary Jane’s face in the dark, and she squeaked, ‘Please darling, you must believe me’.
    A long pause followed, and then came a reluctant, “oh, alright” through the darkness that enveloped them.
    Light streamed in through a break in the wall, and a cackling laugh was heard. The room was suddenly filled with blinding light, and the two girls found themselves huddled in a corner of their room, shielding their faces. Ice seemed to run through their veins, and they froze in fear and panic.
    Fighting back the desire to blubber like fools, they lay back, hands held tight.
    “So, you think you could escape us?”, a voice sneered. Mary Jane opened her eyes slowly, to see Spidey sneering at her. His eyes and demeanor had changed, and he was no longer the loving Spider she had known. He was a stranger- arrogant, cocky, insolent and full of anger. He seemed to want to assert his superiority over her at all costs, and he stood there in the arrogance of his pride in having her as his prisoner.
    Meanwhile, two smaller gentlemen appeared from behind his knees. The two hobbits no longer seemed the gentle souls that she had known. A sneaky vengefulness and spite seemed to have entered their mien, and she could not believe the transformation.
    Finally, a foul, cackling breath hung close to Harley’s lips, and she opened her eyes, to look at the Joker. He was on his hands and knees in front of her, cackling with a wild glee.
    A darkness seemed to have come over the four men who beheld the two women who sat crouched in the corner.
    A darkness also entered the hearts of the two women.
    Ah, but The Dark has many shades, and many characteristics. The Dark manifests itself differently in different beings, and brings out some of the essential traits of the person it enters.
    The Dark entered the six people in the room, and what different shades we see before us.
    Let me, Loki – Prince of Darkness, cause the six to freeze for a while, and let me ask you – what do you see?
    Do you see the Darkness of anger and hatred enter the two women? Do you see the Darkness of spite, pride and cruelty enter the men? Do you see the Darkness of sneakiness enter the two Hobbits?
    What will I bring to the table now? What shall you see? Do your eyes pierce the veil of illusion? Or, will you allow yourself be carried gently into the cool night, to seek the direction this tale shall now take?

  9. EDC Writing says:

    I posted this today and find it fits the theme … my subconscious motivated unbeknown to me!

    Shows as camera ready
    Loved-up sky adores
    No feeling in the dark
    Half a day alone

  10. Pingback: Monday Motivation – Eternal Darkness | Planet Simon

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