Her limbless alcoholic slurred-speech Russian grandfather spent his overdose of spare time playing Backgammon with the novice nurses who ran the makeshift field hospital during The Siege of Sevastopol. The orphan girl, Dasha who had traded a promising career sowing up holes in the woollen socks of sailors for vinegar and strips torn from her very own clothing to clean and dress the soldiers’ wounds, was by far and away the angel he cared for most, a vestal Bear’s mandarin who far outshone Albion’s rufous nightingale on the heart-throb scale.  In terms of proficiency, insofar as the game of Backgammon went, Dasha was hopeless and it was likely that that one small fact was her justification in persistently declining his ‘but I might die tonight’ request that the pair play ‘strip backgammon’ in the privacy of a moonless dead of night and to the enduring music of the weeping and groaning consumptive invalids.

Scroll forward 100 years or so, and now grudgingly ensconced in the institution for the barking mad she called home, young Eve without realizing it, was talking to herself (again), “I wonder if Dasha was just shy? After all, from the photographs I’ve seen of granddad, even without arms or legs, he was the most handsome fellow.”

Earlier in the day Eve had spent some little time questioning how a world free from the invention of mirrors might have panned out. In such a world one would be able to perceive instinctive beauty before them, yet never know whether or not such beauty had been bestowed upon self. “What a perplexing world that might have been,” her passing mumble. In the event, she was conscious of the fact that she was ravishing and had once confessed to an all-ears debased priest the abstract pleasure being every so often ravished had afforded her. Before her fall from grace she lived in a house of mirrors. As of now Eve was not permitted even a puny looking-glass in case she smashed it and thereafter slashed her wrists, a notion that had never crossed her mind.

Come a cloud laden nightfall, full of lethargic pills and health-giving potions washed down with murky Adam’s ale she lay back and thought of Sevastopol, strip Backgammon, full length mirrors and where, oh where she might find the sanity she had mislaid when racing away, hell bent to escape an exasperating innocuous future of shopping lists, small children’s snot and parking fines.

In the premature hours, still drowsy, a sweat stained sheet dancing over a slothful, on a good night, merciful mattress she remembered her exemplary ravisher and in an instant recalled that he was her rock keeping her sanity out of harm’s way. Alas, she knew not his current whereabouts.

Lastly, my new book, ‘Notoriously Naked Flames’ video synopsis below;

Notoriously Naked Flames from Mike Steeden on Vimeo.


  1. You weave tales of legendary status. Congratulations again on your book and this promotional video. Seasonal bliss and blessings to you and Shirley.

    1. I agree Carolee. Without mirrors I could pretend to be whomsoever I wanted. Still water would, as you rightly say pose a problem. It is likely I would move home to a desert environment.

  2. another magnificent post that should be held up as a prime example of genius in any serious school course of creative writing – as an aside, “sewing” instead of “sowing” ?

    1. Cheers Paul. I did eventually get it…now you know why dear Shirl reads everything I write before it gets a public outing. By the way, your latest book is a true gem.

  3. I marvel at your imagination that conjures up ideas like a world without mirrors. But it still would not have saved Narcissus. Wonderful bit of a story – like a bite of a delicious desert.

    1. Your kind words are appreciated. The working of the mind and the tangents it sometimes takes born of circumstance or fate have always fascinated me. I hope it stays that way, at least until the day the men in white coats turn up at my door!

  4. My son woke up obnoxiously early (Bash loves the book covered with kisses) to talk about the Ghost of Christmas Future, so let me just say your prose continues to delight the senses, and transports me–child-speak in the background–to wherever your language dictates. Such a gifted wordsmith, you are. xxxxxxxxxx

    1. Kind words, Ms Lee and good for Bash. Tell him I owe him one! I attended a family gathering with grandkids there yesterday. I’d quite forgotten how hard parents with young children have to work.

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