Just a short story I wrote in an hour…

Lace, China and Original Pictures

Today wasn't a particularly different day for Morgan. He woke up, dragged himself down the stairs and greeted his family. Sixteen years old, the eldest of the four children and the only boy—there was him, Wendy, Cadi and Gwyneth—and they didn't notice anything different about today either. He sat at the kitchen table and let out a great yawn. There was their father—the greatest wizard in the country, the world maybe, Wizard Howl—making their breakfast, not yet been in the bathroom... very odd for their vain father. He served the breakfast out and sat down silently; it was only once the children began to eat he spoke up:

"Kids, do you know what day it is?" The four heads shook but listened with intent—their father never mentioned days unless they were important. He smiled and sighed, "It's the anniversary of your mother and my marriage."

It suddenly hit Morgan—so that's why he hadn't got ready yet and that's why he was the one making breakfast this morning. Wendy, the eldest girl, flicked back her red hair, so much like their mother's and asked, "How many years, Dad?"

"Twenty," he thought for a moment, counting up the years in his head, his eyes then brightened and he said with a smile, "It would be twenty years now. I married her when she was still young and stupid—only eighteen; I don't even know; even today why she married me. I was a heart breaker and she was a hat maker's daughter with magical powers, but she still married me, and she accepted my faults and never tried to change me…"

Morgan shifted in his chair, he hated it when his dad was like this: "So what are we going to do, dad?"

He stood in a quick shot and went over to the bathroom; he only stayed in for twenty minutes which wasn't uncommon for him on this day. Mother had never liked his vanity and wanted him to be as natural as possible. Yet, she understood that vain was natural to Howl, and she never forced modesty on him. Wendy took Cadi and Gwyneth, both just entering their teens to get ready, while Morgan looked for Calcifer. He was always there for this day… Always! How could he not be?

"Calcifer!" he cried, "Calcifer!"

There was a knock at the door.

Morgan saw Uncle Michael come towards him up the drive way with a whole bunch of roses. "I thought you might like these from our garden—I know that your garden is much nicer but, Martha and I wanted to do something." He handed the flowers to his nephew; Morgan counted them—twenty-six roses.

As he looked at all of them, he smiled, "Mother will like these. She was always fond of flowers."

Michael came in and greeted his three nieces, all dressed up in beautiful clean white dresses that their mother had made once for herself and her own sisters—there had been three of them too. So there had been Sophie, Lettie and Martha, there was now Wendy, Cadi and Gwyneth.

"Where's auntie?" Wendy asked, giving her uncle a kiss.

"She'll meet us there—she's bringing the triplets but the twins are staying at home with the new nanny," Michael explained, giving Wendy a tight hug in return. Uncle Michael and Aunt Martha had five children; the elder three were the triplets Lily, Violet and Daisy while the younger two were the twins Ash and Oak. Sophie had always questioned Martha's choice for names but never said anything.

Cadi, who was considered the most beautiful out of the three sisters, took the flowers from Morgan, and she looked so stunning with her blondish hair, white skin and white dress again the pure red roses. "Oh, they're so glorious, uncle!" she cried, "Mama will be happy."

Sadly, Aunt Lettie and Uncle Ben and their daughter Amy couldn't be there as they were travelling the world in search of new magical cures, but they sent a message to the rest of the family by magic, wishing them luck. On the other side of the family, Howl's family tended to keep out of this day—whether it was because they disliked Sophie or they just didn't want to get in Howl's way is unsure. Then again, they couldn't come—they didn't even know about this world. It became a shock all together for Megan when Howl came back to announce that he was married.

Twenty-years-ago, Sophie Hatter had been eighteen-years-old and became the woman who Howl ever truly loved. Mari took to her quickly and even Neil came to love her too, and once Morgan was born it seemed that Neil had found someone to pass on his greater knowledge of torturing sisters.

Today, Morgan was sixteen, Wendy was fifteen, Cadi was thirteen and Gwyneth was twelve—twelve years—that's how they knew… It didn't seem so long ago.

The entire group went out onto the flowering wastes once Howl was ready. Morgan linked hands with Wendy, and Cadi with Gwyneth, which seemed to get more and more beautiful every year, especially in the last twelve years. They said that Sophie had life giving abilities, she could talk life into everything—at first it was just objects, but then it was plants… finally, it was people. She made her name for being a life giver to the poor and ill…

It's too bad that… Morgan thought when they finally came across his mother. Wendy knelt on the ground and touched strange flowers that sprouted at her mother's feet. Morgan and his sister stood in front of her and smiled lovingly, even Gwyneth—the selfish and spoilt one—who never knew.

"Even though it's been twelve years" Howl said to his children and family, "It seems as if she's still here with all of us, don't you agree. Watching over this place… because since she left us, the waste has bloomed into a grassy green where all in our country can me proud of. She breathed life into all of us, returned the heart to all of us and accepted all of us for what we were…" he knelt beside her and sighed happily, "Even me."

She had died giving life to Gwyneth, it was tragic but she was happy that in her death another life was given, and everyone else thought she was right. There were no tears of sadness but of joy… Sophie was greatly missed by everyone yet they didn't cry for her because she ordered them not to. "You must never cry over me," she had told them twelve years ago, "Never think of this day as the day I died but as the day we became a true family."

Morgan smiled, trying to force back tears for his departed mother, and Cadi placed the flowers on the grave. Then, floating above their heads was Calcifer doing something that fire demons just didn't do; he was crying. Sophie hadn't made him promise not to cry.

Twenty years since she married…

Twelve years since she died…

At the age of twenty-six… one flower for each year

I know it's rubbish but, I don't think it's too bad... a bit sad maybe but I've never been one for bubbles and Pollyanna tales in my stories.