The Queen of Mountains

29 Jun

Here’s another 100 word story for Friday Fictioneers based on the photo below from Indira. You may find all the stories from a world-wide and wise crew of authors here. Check them out, you’ll never know where the bus or the bus driver will take you.


Darjeeling Express.


We met aboard the bus on the Melli-Nayabazar road. She, from Gangtok, traveling to visit her father in the hospital and I, a fool, seeking a weekend escape from a loveless relationship in Kalimpong.

She grasped my hand as we negotiated hairpin turns high above the Teesta River gorge. I mumbled assurances, lost in the warmth of her touch. When the verdant hills and tea gardens of Darjeeling came into view, her graceful fingers slipped gently from mine.


Beneath the remote splendor of Kachenjunga, I pace the Tiger Hill trail and let my imagination take wing.

Oh, how it soars.


The Queen of Mountains


31 Responses to “The Queen of Mountains”

  1. Lindaura Glamoura June 29, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

    Hello, Doug, I am here in Athens, Greece, occasionally joining the Fictioneers, but still nursing my daughter, trying the sunlight and good spirits of the Greeks. I enjoyed your bittersweet story.

    • dmmacilroy June 30, 2013 at 12:11 am #

      Dear Lindaura,

      Your daughter is lucky to have such a good nurse, though I pray it is only a short time until she has recovered and your services are no longer required. Soak in the atmosphere Lindaura. I’m sure it is redolent with ghosts of the past and the sense of places as the cradle of free thinkers.



  2. rochellewisoff June 29, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

    Dear Doug,

    There is so much, layer upon layer, packed into your hundred words. I both bask and ache in their beauty.

    “Oh, how I soar.”


    Rochelle, SDILYMP

    • dmmacilroy June 30, 2013 at 12:06 am #

      Dear Rochelle,

      How nice to see you again. Your kind comment repays me for the struggle. This story, though it does not show in the reading, put me through the wringer.

      Thank you for all you do for Friday Fictioneers and me, too.



  3. train-whistle June 29, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    I look forward to your words, and am never disappointed. A poignant piece. Thank you.

    • dmmacilroy June 30, 2013 at 12:03 am #

      Dear TW,

      Thank you for adding a breeze to the wind beneath my wings.



  4. sustainabilitea June 29, 2013 at 5:47 pm #

    Simply lovely, Doug.


    • dmmacilroy June 30, 2013 at 12:02 am #

      Dear Janet,

      I’m just trying to counteract that little barking dog whose owner you have to speak with.



      • sustainabilitea June 30, 2013 at 12:08 am #

        I spoke to the older daughter, so we’ll see. When she opened the door, before I could speak, she asked if I were there about the dog. So they knew how annoying it was. They really need to train both their dogs, spend time with them when they take the dogs out and take the poor things for walks! But I was very nice. You would have been proud of me.


  5. Kwadwo June 29, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

    May all our imagination soar.

    • dmmacilroy June 30, 2013 at 12:01 am #

      Dear Kwadwo,

      Well said.

      Make it so.



  6. elmowrites June 29, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

    Love is a moment that lasts forever – that’s so beautifully depicted in this little “Brief Encounter” story. Keep ’em coming, my friend.

    • dmmacilroy June 29, 2013 at 11:59 pm #

      Dear Jennifer,

      And sometimes those moments are all we have to sustain us through the years.

      Thank you for reading. I’ll try to stay on this roll.



  7. tedstrutz June 29, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

    Nice writing, Doug… in fact, Beautiful.

    Dear God… could you imagine Rochelle driving a bus???

    • dmmacilroy June 29, 2013 at 11:58 pm #

      Dear Ted,

      Though I know for a fact she can drive, by virtue of the fact that the FF bus has avoided many pitfalls and hazards, I don’t know how she does it on that pile of phone books.

      Thanks for reading and letting me know you liked my meditation on life.

      I’ll find yours tonight and repay the favor.



  8. valeriedavies June 29, 2013 at 11:03 pm #

    I love your last line Doug… ‘oh how it soars, so bitter sweet…and deliciously wry! so many meanings wrapped in those simple perfect words!
    And what a fabulous picture of Kachenjunga, have you travelled in those romantic places? Even the names sing with layers of misty memories and colonial splendours ??

    • dmmacilroy June 29, 2013 at 11:52 pm #

      Kia ora, Valerie,

      I was fortunate to travel to Darjeeling and begin the Singlila Ridge trek there. Crossed many other ridges and after a fortnight of lightning filled snow storms in the evening and days of rain and slogging, arrived below Goecha La Pass. I’ve seen Kachenjunga from near and far and what impressed me the most was how impossibly high it is. You look at a disembodied white band, thinking it is a cloud bank and then, suddenly, the realization hits that these are mountains way up there above all the clouds. We were mucking about between 14,000 to 16,000 feet and were really in the foothills of the Himalayas. Amazing and beautiful. Darjeeling was cool, lovely and fascinating. Colonial influence was everywhere to be seen and India? Well, if you’ve been, you know… and I’m guessing you do.

      The love is a moment that lasts forever line was a quote that I’ve found attributed to several authors and that anonymous fellow, too, so I could only put it in my tags, alas, but it captures the feel I was looking for.

      I hope the nettle has been grasped and dealt with and that the birds are singing again in the Antipodes. They are here, now that you’ve stopped by to read.



      • valeriedavies June 30, 2013 at 4:26 am #

        Hello Doug,
        Your trip sounds strenuous and fascinating… did you have to get acclimatised at those heights?
        No, I’ve never been to India, one of the few times I’ve agreed with a bishop was when Bishop John Robinson, years ago, said he’ wasn’t strong enough to go to India, which is much how I feel ,in spite of the Marigold Hotel! Have you read naturalist Peter Mathieuson’s book ‘The Snow Leopard”, about a trek across the Himalayas to find one, and to seek out a holy lama at Shey…one of my favourite books…
        Yes, I’ve grasped the nettle and feel as though a weight has rolled off my mind for the first time in months !!!
        I always love to see your name come up in the e-mails…I know I am in for a taste of subtlety, sensitivity, and many layered impressions…all delivered with an exquisite economy of perfectly chosen words.
        Yes, my birds are singing too, love Valerie

  9. rgayer55 June 29, 2013 at 11:49 pm #

    Loved it, especially the last line. It hit home with me.

    • dmmacilroy June 29, 2013 at 11:55 pm #

      Dear Russell,

      Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m lucky to have people like you who read and let me know when one line or another resonates with them.

      I was tail end Charlie this week because I wrestled long with my story and arrived late. I suppose that will make the commenting easier though.

      Will find your story tonight on the long watch.



  10. David Stewart June 30, 2013 at 1:50 am #

    Doug, you have a real gift of evoking strong emotions in your writing. I felt like I was there, experiencing it all with the narrator. This is one of those story that will stay with me a long time.

    • Douglas MacIlroy June 30, 2013 at 9:49 am #

      Dear David,

      Comments don’t get any better than this. Thank you for making my night.



  11. Sandra June 30, 2013 at 9:41 am #

    I’m not familiar with any of the places you name, but that doesn’t matter, their very syllables set the scene for a truly magic moment and a nostalgic reminiscence of what might have been. Lovely!

    • Douglas MacIlroy June 30, 2013 at 9:48 am #

      Dear Sandra,

      You’re so kind to write a comment with such depth. I appreciate you taking the time. I feel the same about your canal tour posts. Lovely to imagine myself there.



  12. freyathewriter June 30, 2013 at 7:42 pm #

    Now this is lovely – the romance of the names (to an English person) is perfect.

    • Douglas MacIlroy July 1, 2013 at 6:08 am #

      Dear Freya,

      Thank you for reading and commenting. Wide and wonderful world we live in, isn’t it?



  13. Dee June 30, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

    Dear Doug
    I feel as though I have travelled on the bus with you, and seen the sights you describe so eloquently.
    Tales of The Himalaya conjure up a world of magic and wonder, a beautiful,place that is truly inspirational.
    Your story is one of those.
    Take care

    • Douglas MacIlroy July 1, 2013 at 6:10 am #

      Dear Dee,

      If I could figure out a way to go live in Darjeeling for a year, I would. Beautiful town in a wonderful neck of this planet’s woods. Thank you for writing and commenting in such a heartfelt way. I very much appreciate it.



  14. Charles Oyeleke Williams July 1, 2013 at 11:29 am #

    Dear Doug,
    It’s nice to be here once more and find this piece of beautiful imagination. Well done!

  15. patrickprinsloo July 2, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    Really poetic. Love that last line.

  16. Sarah Ann July 2, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

    So beautiful.

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