Sorchia's Universe

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Uncle Beau

Copyright – Douglas M. MacIlroy

Copyright – Douglas M. MacIlroy

“You were a stupid kid,” said Uncle Beauregard.

It was the same every time. Comforting, really.

“When we got lost in that cave,” he chuckled. “I sat down and waited to be found while you ran around crazy. When we locked ourselves in the basement, you clawed out the window. I saved my strength.”

I nodded.

“Wasted energy! You’d pretend to throw me in the dungeon and I’d just nap while you tired yourself out. You’ll never get anywhere like that.”

“See you next week, Uncle Beau.” The guard motioned me out, and Uncle Beau went back to his cell.



Friday Fictioneers is a nebulous group of writers who live for the challenge of writing a 100-word story every week. Join the fun at

I had a very hard time with this one though the picture was probably the cutest one I’ve ever seen.

P is for Poppet

Poppet comes from the Old English popet meaning a small doll or person which, inevitably, came from a Latin word pupa for girl. It can also refer to a small and dainty person. Poppet is a chiefly British term of endearment, especially for young girls.
Somewhere around the 13th century, poppet also came to mean a doll or image used in witchcraft. In witchcraft, poppets could be fashioned in the image of a person. The idea was that according to sympathetic magic, what happens to the doll will happen to the person the doll represents. The result could be one of healing or destruction. Back in the day, poppets were used to heal at least as often as to curse. A dolls mouth might be sewn shut to prevent the subject from gossiping. The arm might be bandaged to aid healing. Poppets can be made from roots, twigs, twine, and hair or carved from potatoes or fruit. They can be bits of cloth stuffed with herbs or molded of clay.
During the witch trials of the 17th century, owning a poppet was enough to get you hauled before the court on a charge of witchcraft. After the appropriate persuasion, some even confessed to using dolls to cast curses by sticking thorns into the doll or burning it. True or not probably didn’t matter at the time.
The common idea that poppets are somehow connect to Voodoo is not accurate. Ancient Greeks called them Kolossoi, and used them to protect a village by binding the deity and preventing harm from that source. Native Americans and other agricultural cultures fashioned dolls from corn during the harvest. The dolls were ritually burned and then buried in the field to ensure a good crop next year.
Many religions used poppets for various purposes. The popular conception of the poppet/ voodoo doll was invented in Hollywood. Like most things in that part of the country, the image bears little resemblance to reality.
Hang on for V-day during this A-Z Blog when Voodoo will be the topic.

O is for Omen

The word omen has changed little over the centuries. The Latin word omen meant foreboding and though omens can be good or bad we still think of an omen as a presage for a bad event. In the end, an omen is probably only as strong as you want it to be.

When Haley’s comet appeared in 1066, it was a bad omen for King Harold II but a good one for William the Conqueror. Mark Twain was born as Haley’s comet streaked across the sky and 75 years later when it reappeared, he died.

Breaking a mirror brings seven years bad luck according to ancient Romans who believed the reflection was the soul. Since it took seven years to renew the soul, if you broke a mirror you would be incomplete and unlucky for seven years if you injured your soul by breaking the mirror.

The fear of the number 13 triskaidekaphobia stems from Norse mythology. Loki the trickster was the 13th guest at a particularly unfortunate dinner in Valhalla during which Baldr, the god of joy was killed. Thirteen people gathered together was considered unwise and unlucky since then. Thirteen were in attendance at Jesus’ Last Supper, as well. The thirteenth card in the Tarot deck is Death. Strangely, the dollar bill seems cursed:

• 13 Arrows being held by the Eagle
• 13 Stars above the Eagle
• 13 Leaves on the olive branch
• 13 Berries on the olive branch
• 13 Steps on the Pyramid
• 13 Letters in E PLURIBUS UNUM
• 13 Letters in ANNUIT COEPTIS
• 13 Vertical bars on the shield
• 13 Horizontal stripes at the top of the shield

Three on a match is a bad idea, too, and not just because smoking will kill you. During the Boer war, British soldiers shared matches on the battlefield. Snipers could see the flare as the match was lit. As the second soldier lit up, the sniper took aim and was ready to fire when the third soldier leaned over the match.

The Scottish play is full of bad omens. The horses go wild, a falcon is killed by an owl, darkness when it should be daylight. All signal the chaos caused by Macbeth’s unnatural act of killing Duncan, a guest in his house.

And of course in Just Like Gravity, the magpie rhyme is an omen in one plot line.
One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret,
Never to be told.

Just Like Gravity is on the verge of being published–just waiting for the publisher to solve some technical glitches.  Follow this blog or go to for news.

Cover by Oghma Creative

Cover by Oghma Creative

N is for Numerology

Do you have lucky numbers? Is 7 inherently lucky and 13

inherently unlucky? According to St. Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354–430), “Numbers are the Universal language offered by the deity to humans as confirmation of the truth.” The Aztecs believed numbers were living aspects of the divine. Pythagoras gave them spiritual qualities as well.

Numerology is another way we look for meaning. Some would say it’s a waste of time, but I’ve found it entertaining if nothing else. Numbers are definitely weird. My mind understands words very well. I can diagram sentences at the drop of a hat or revise a paragraph without batting an eye. I love that sh. . .stuff. Numbers, not so much. I like them, respect them, but understand them? Nope. I am, however, struck with the wonderful precision, odd truths, and eternal nature of numbers.

One common way to determine what number is important to you is to add the numbers of your birthday. If you were born on May 8, 1942, you would add 5+8+1+9+4+2. This gives you 29. Now add 2+9 to get 11. Eleven is a master number in some methods and has it’s own meaning. Otherwise you would add 1+1 to get 2 and 2 would be your number. Now you would consult numerology charts to see what that means. The number indicates your personality traits similar to the way your zodiac sign does the same thing. You can also give the letters in your name numbers based on the alphabet and add them up the same way. Interesting, but not earth shaking.

What appeals to me more is the way numbers seem to crop up in unexpected places and ways. If you study the meanings or personalities of numbers and if you can accept the idea that numbers show up for a reason, things can get weird. Notice the numbers you come across in a day. Any repetitions? When you reduce them by adding the integers until you get one number, what do you see? When you look at the clock, do you regularly see three of the same number—2:22 for example?

Number tricks—easily explainable by somebody who gets it—seem to justify belief in the divine nature of numbers. Try this Best Year Of Your Life trick.

Write down the year in which you were born.
Write down an important year during your lifetime.
Next, write down the number of years that have elapsed since that important year.
Put down your age this year on your birthday.
Add up the numbers on your list.
Divide by 2.
Your answer should be the current year.

Some numbers carry special meaning. Three signifies divine perfection in several religions—the Holy Trinity and the Triple Goddess to name just a couple of examples. Biblical number theories abound with 666 being a memorable number.
For a very complete description of number meanings and history, this site is quite useful:
Happy counting.