Slender Part 3

slenderman

I hit the gas, threw the car into reverse and shot off down the dirt track. At the end, I spun the small car around and roared back onto the side road. Nervously, I stared into all my mirrors then out of the side window. I could see nothing but the road ahead and behind me, at the sides old pine trees clawing at a darkening sky blocked my view. The house was nowhere to be seen. Fighting down the panic and clutching the steering wheel as if I had just fallen off a cliff, I sped away.

Taking in deep breaths and trying to concentrate on the road, I started up the radio and found the connection to my IPod. Snatching up the IPod, I skipped through the new music I had download for my trip to America. I had an odd mix of heavy metal and classic rock, though nothing at the minute would soothe me.

No one was going to believe me. I should have taken a photo of that thing in the window. I shook my head and told myself there had been nothing there and it was only matrixing. I had seen it tons of times in photos of ‘ghosts’ on the internet. People claiming to see a face or figure in a carpet, wall or mirror when it was only a reflection of light creating shapes. That’s all it had been.

Looking down at my IPod screen, I scanned through some more music and finally decided on Barenaked Ladies. As I went to put it on, one of my front tyres bounced over a large rock and I scrambled to gain control as my car went into a spin. I floored the brake and yanked up the hand one as tall tree trunks filled my vision. Branches whipped past me, scratching against the car and shooting out of view. Somehow, I avoid the line of trees and the car came to a spluttering stop facing into the forest.

I let go of the handbrake and the steering wheel. Pins and needles pricked my hands and arms. I opened the door and got out. Breathing deeply, I took in the scent of pine trees, dirt, burnt rubber and warm oil. I looked around and saw the road half a mile behind me. Shaking, I leant over and put my hands on my knees. How had I not hit a tree? Thanking God or whoever as I wasn’t religious and didn’t believe in ‘higher powers,’ I sorted myself.

Getting back in the car, I left the door open and tried starting up the engine. It turned over, but didn’t fully start. I took the key out and lent back in the seat, the shock sinking in. I shut my eyes and listened to the crows screaming around me. Dark patterns danced before me and head ached.

‘Don’t sleep!’ I shouted, snapping open my eyes and jumping up.

I moved to get out and something flickered passed me. I stopped, put my hands on the wheel and lent over to look out. It was probably just a bird or something. Still, I held my breath and waited. A tentacle like shape appeared out the forest gloom and wrapped itself around the trunk of a tree. I dived for my camera, switched it on and began snapping photos.

The images came back blurry, so I got out the car and did two full circles shoots, before collapsing back into the driver’s seat and locking the door closed. It’s crazy, I’m crazy! I shoved the camera down and tried my car again. This time the engine roared into life and slowly, I reversed back on to the road. Shaking, I turned the car around and carried on driving down the road. The radio sorted itself and music drifted from the speakers.

By the time I got into the small town I was staying in, it had begun to rain and the sky was inky black. I parked up outside my motel room, grabbed my stuff and hurried into the room. I hit the harsh lights, dumped the stuff on the bed and stripped to my boxers. I went into the bathroom and showered. When I got out, holding a towel around my hips and water dripping off my hair, the realisation of the situation hit me.

I sink onto the bed and laughed. In the safety of the room, I felt so stupid. I turned on the TV, just to have some noise in the too quiet background and picked up my camera. The battery was low, so I put it on charge and took the memory card out. I turned on my laptop and left the memory card on the mouse pad as I put on a soft pair of pants. I towel dried my hair, then as the laptop loaded, put the memory card in and opened the files.

Putting them on full screen, I tapped through the photos and looked closely into the backgrounds. There was nothing in the first handful and a small voice in my head started up that I was being silly and trying to find something that wasn’t going to be there. However, in the first photo of the hallway there seemed to be a blotch of pure blackness in the centre. Frowning, I went through the next few and found the last one in the hall. Clearly, before my eyes was a long stickman shadow. The breath caught in my throat and my inner voice screamed, matrixing! I zoomed in, my fingers twitching, but there was no deigning the image before me. I clicked off it and cycled through the other photos, until I reached the attic room.

The hairs rose on the back of my neck and I broke into a cold sweat. The child drawn pictures on the walls burned before my eyes and the words I’d not given any focus on before popped out at me.

DON’T LOOK AT HIM

DON’T FOLLOW

HE COMES

AFRAID

DEATH

I shook my head and went through the next lot which were all in the forest. The first few were confusing blurs of trees and shadowy patches and the rest showed only old pine trees, tracks my car had made and the edges of the road. I saved all the photos and removed the memory card. Putting that back in my camera, I took out my external hard drive and saved the photos on to there as well. Closing my laptop, I went back to the bed and sat down. The box Brownie rolled into my hip.

Picking it up, I wondered if there was anything on it and how to get it off. I placed it next to my camera then cleaned the bed of my rucksack and other stuff. I sprawled out on the starched sheets and shut my eyes.

‘It’s not real. Just light tricks,’ I muttered, ‘There was nothing there. Just a creepy abandoned house. The photos? Tricks of shadows and lights. My mind making shapes. Nothing more…nothing…’

My alarm cut through my dreamless sleep and I woke with a start. Shaking sleep out of my limbs, I got up and straight in the shower. The hot water helped me wake further and after dressing, I ate some breakfast fruit bars and finished off a carton of milk. I emptied and repacked my rucksack, grabbed my camera and the box Brownie and opened the door.

A gloomy, wet morning greeted me. Stepping out and rubbing at a tension headache, I went to my car. Unlocking it, I got in, put my stuff to the side and closed the door. Yesterday’s memories that I had been trying to keep back like vomit, surfaced and I pressed my head to the steering wheel. I mumbled that it wasn’t real then started the car.

I drove into the town and focused on something else. At some point, I had seen a one hour photo and camera store. The problem was I couldn’t remember where it was. With my head feeling foggy, I parked in a superstore lot and got out. Gathering my stuff, I walked in and asked for directions. It was right around the corner. Leaving my car, I walked over and found myself outside a very old and run down looking store.

The sign on the door welcomed me in and I went straight to the counter. An old man with puffy white hair, large glasses and wrinkled hands stared at me. I placed the Brownie on the glass top next to an antique looking till.

‘I…erm…brought this at a junk store. I think there might be something on the film inside. Can you develop it for me?’ I asked.

A gnarled hand reached out and picked up the Brownie. The old man looked at it, rising his glasses up and down. He smacked his cracked lips and in an thick American accent I was becoming use to, said, ‘Shouldn’t be a problem. Come back in an hour.’

Nodding, I left not bothering to look around. I felt better outside and wondered back to the superstore to get some supplies. However, my mind was districted by questions; mainly, what images were on the Brownie? I went back well before the hour was up. The old man wasn’t at the counter, so I had a look around. The two walls were lined with thin wooden shelves that had a range of cameras, equipment, other supplies, magazines and books upon them.

I had just found a box Brownie that looked like mine, when he appeared.

‘Ah, I’ve managed to do it. The film was pretty old, but some of the photos came out OK…I fixed the camera too and put in a new roll. Seems to be OK…’

I hurried over and took the pile of black and white prints from him. The first three were too blurry to make out and they looked almost water stained. The fourth one though showed the abandoned house as it used to be with the Ford parked out front. I looked at the tiny attic window, but couldn’t make everything out. Something was there in the next one though; the outline of what looked like someone wearing a pillowcase on their head. My breath struck in my throat and had to turn to the next one. This time the mud room door was open and there was the shadow of the stickman standing there.

The old man cleared his throat and tearing my eyes away, I looked up at him.

‘Sorry, how much do I owe?’ I forced out.

He named his price, I handed him the money then looked at the other six photos. They worked in succession; the dirt track with the house in the background and the stickman just visible in the trees before the house. The next three were deeper in the woods and trying to hide in the background was the stickman. No matter how hard I stared, I couldn’t make out any features other than a round white head, long body and limbs.

I turned to the second to last one and saw the attic. The door was half open and the long figure was standing there as clear as anything. He was wearing a black suit, dark shirt and tie, his face was completely whited out. His arm reached down and out of shot. I scrambled for the last one and others fluttered to the floor. He was in full view this time, taking up all the space on the photograph.

My hands shook, I gasped for breath and dropped it alongside the others. I looked at the old man and saw the fear on his face. I wanted to say something, but my mind was scrambled. My eyes dropped to the scattered photos. It wasn’t possible! It was just a joke! A Halloween costume or someone messing around.

‘Ya need to leave now,’ the old man muttered.

‘No,’ I shouted and reaching across the counter grab the old man by his shirt, ‘tell me it’s not true! It’s a joke, a trick! It’s not real!’

He pressed his hands to mine and surprisingly shoved me off. Gasping, I swept up the photos and the Brownie. Clutching them to my chest, I stepped backwards and fled the store. I ran back to my car, threw everything in and peeled out of there. Like a mad man, I drove back into the forest and to the abandoned house.

‘It’s not real! It’s not real!’ I screamed.

I shot passed the very missable dirt track and had to spin the car around. I tumbled along the track, my whole body shaking and not just because of the vibrations. I skidded the car to a halt next to the house and snatching everything up stormed inside. Ignoring the darkness, I made my way to the attic. Kicking open the door, I stomped in and dumped everything on a small table against the window.

‘Where are you? Come out! You’re not real!’ I yelled.

I scanned the room, deep breaths bursting out of me and saw nothing but drifting dust clouds. Fat tears blurred my vision and I rubbed them away. I kicked a soft toy dog over and it thump across the floor.

‘It’s all fake!’ I added and took up the box Brownie.

I snapped some photos with it focusing on the open door and the walls. Then I took my digital camera and did the same. I looked closely at the screen after every photo, but saw nothing. I screamed and heard the echo of sirens in my ears. I hurried to the dirty window and looked out, two county sheriff cars were pulling up and blocking my car in. I collected my things and rushed outside.

I erupted through the mud room door, slightly tripping over my feet and would have flown at the three officers if I hadn’t seen their drawn guns.

‘Show your hands and get down!’ the oldest of them yelled.

Fear flashed through me and through I was still panicked, I put my stuff on the floor and dropped down after it onto the porch. The tears I had been fighting back overwhelmed me and I sobbed hard. Dimly, I was aware of the officers talking as they came over to me. I felt cuffs going around my wrists then I was dragged to my feet and patted down. I saw the younger female officer bagging my stuff up. I tried to tell her to be careful, but it just came out as blubber.

I was walked to the car and pushed into the back seat. I dropped on to my side then eased myself up and looked at the window. The sheriff and his deputies had moved away and I could see the pine trees retreating deeper into the forest. I drew in a shaky breath, shook my head to clear away the tears and really looked amongst the trees.

He was there, staring back at me.

To be Continued…?

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Slender Part 2

Grey light filtered into what had once been a kitchen. My torch light bounced off half opened floor and wall cupboards. I shuffled in, tucked my torch between my legs and took a few photos. Looking around further, I noticed the gaps were a stove and sink would have been. With a quick search of the cupboards, I found them all empty and nothing else in the room give me any clues of personal items or dates.

Another door, opposite the one I had come in by, filled the fourth wall. I walked over, unable to stop my feet making soft slapping sounds on the rotting plastic tiled floor. I opened the door, my mind racing images of what could be on the other side. Luckily, there was nothing but a long empty hallway, with doors placed up one side and a wide staircase along the other.

I shone my torch around and noticed the abrupt silence surrounding me. I raised my camera, took a few photos and had a brief look through them. The last one caused me to pause. There seemed to a long dark shadow standing at the end of the hall. I brought my torch up and aimed the beam down towards the front door. Nothing caught the light. I took another photo and checked it, but the shadow wasn’t there.

A spike of fear electrified my skin and I struggled to hold my ground. I swallowed, wet my lips and croaked out an ‘Hello?’ The house swallowed my words and didn’t reply. I tried again, getting my throat and lips more wet, projecting my voice so I was almost shouting out the word. This time a small echo came back to me.

Shaking myself, I took another few photos and saw that there was nothing odd about them. I tried the handle of the first door to my right. It gave easily and the door opened. The room was empty and once again grey light was coming in from a dirty window. I took a photo of that and some more of the bare wooden floor, wallpaper peeling walls and cracked ceiling. I laughed to myself and wondered why I had gotten so scared of what had to be just a trick of light.

I walked through the other three rooms and found them almost all the same as the wallpaper and ceiling colours differed. I fell back to enjoying the experience and walking were no one else had been for many years. I took my last photo of the last room and got the open door and beginnings of the staircase in the shot. I noticed a shadow like arm just visible at the left side of the open door. My heart skipped, I stopped breathing and looked nervously upwards.

The darkness beyond the door looked like sticky molasses. I couldn’t see out of it, let alone pick out any shapes. Slowly, I put my torch on the floor, with the light beam angled out of the door and along the bottom of the staircase. I fixed the shot with my camera and pressed down the button. Flash and the image appeared on the screen. There were no shadow arms only the eerie effect of the torch’s beam along the floor.

Laughing loudly, I let the fear out. It’s nothing, nothing, I sing in my head. How many abandoned places had I been in alone? Thirty? Fifty? How many farm houses like this one? Twelve? And in all my ten years of exploring these places what had I found? Dead animals, homeless people, abandoned personal items and unsolved mysteries. Never ghosts. I had never seen, heard or captured anything that could be classed as a ghost. Nor had any companion that had come with me to the other places.

‘So why would you be in this place?’ I spoke out before bursting into another rolling laugh.

I felt better and walked into the hallway. I grab a few more photos of the locked front door and the staircase before heading up. The steps squeaked, but held my weight as I went up. The bedrooms were all like the rooms downstairs and I felt a slight disappointment that the whole place had been cleaned out. Coming out of the last room, I spotted the door to the attic that I’d missed.

Smiling, I hurried over. People always leave things behind in attics and basements. I opened the door and walked up a narrow staircase, which ended in another door. Avoiding the mass of spiders’ webs, I stepped in and slowly shone my torch around. A shiver ran through me as I took in the scene before me. It had been a children’s playroom and everything had been left behind. Toys, covered in dust were scattered across the floor as well as books and over full boxes of other toys.

With my hands slight shaking, I took a few photos that captured everything. Looking at the last one, I noticed the children’s drawings on the wall. In coal pencil was the figure of a long stickman. Frowning, I looked up and focused on the walls. All three of them were covered in the black pencil and paint drawings of that stickman. In some case there were bare pine trees around him, a house in the background and a scrawling of words.

My hairs stood on end and a voice screamed loudly in my head to leave. Hurriedly, I took a circle of photos just of the walls, trying to miss anything out then fled. My slamming footsteps and gasping breath ring in my ears, sweat ran down me like heavy drops of rain. I stumbled out of the back door, almost falling onto the porch but finding balance enough to rush into the grass and past the rusted car. My feet collided with something and I tumbled over. Fighting for breath, I looked down and saw the box brownie camera.

Snatching it up, I ran for my car. I scrambled for my keys, jabbed the right one into the car door and yanked it open. Flinging myself into the driving seat, the brownie slipped from my hand and fell into the passenger’s footwell. Ripping my own camera from my neck, I placed it down there too and started the car up.

The engine spring to life, I wrestled to put my seat belt on and then without really meaning too, I looked up at the house and the attic room window.  A stick shadow figure was pressed against the glass looking out at me.

To Be Continued…

Slender Part 1

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Pulling up outside the abandoned house, I turned off my engine and got my first proper look. The house was old, typical wooden board American farm house, but looked still intact. I grabbed my camera and keys before I slipped out of the car. Closing and locking the car, I put my keys into my jeans pocket and slipped my camera strap around my neck. Tucking my longish hair out from underneath, I felt the slight chill of summer’s last day. I zipped up my heavy cotton jacket and double checked I had everything.

I turned on my camera and started exploring. The nature was thick around the house with the grass growing up to the windows and dead black trees trying to block it from view. I walked around the house, snapping photos and stealing quick glancing to make sure they looked right. I reached the back area and spotted a rust car almost buried by the grass. My breath caught in my throat and I hurried over.

The car was nothing fancy, just a standard Ford from the forties. I took a few photos, admiring the rust and strangely imagining that when the car had been parked up for the last time it hadn’t realised it had just had its last run. I stepped backwards with the long grass whipping around me and my foot hit something.

Freezing, I took a great photo of the car, tree and abandoned house. Then I looked down and saw a leather box. Juggling my stuff, I picked it up and discovered it to be a box brownie camera. Smiling and laughing, I turned it over a few times and looked closely at it. Surprisingly, it seemed to be in good shape. I went to put it down again, the Urban Explorer’s code sounding off in my head. It touched the grass and my fingers wouldn’t let it go. Frowning, I placed it on the floor then let go, but I couldn’t do it. I knelt down and pulled my hand off it. Standing up, I quickly walked away and on to the porch of the house. Turning, I looked back and oddly felt the brownie calling to me, even though I could no longer see it in the grass.

Shaking my head, I twisted back and pushed open the worn wooden door. A loud creaking, that sounded like the house screaming, signalled my entrance. Peering inside, it was pitch black. I switched my flash on and took a photo. Blinking away the sudden blindness, I looked at the camera screen and saw nothing but two wooden walls and a doorway leading out of the small mud room.

I dug my torch out and clicked it on. Hoping that there was some natural light in the other rooms, I gingerly stepped on the floor. The boards creaked, but held my weight. I took a few more steps then walked firmly across towards the door. I grabbed the door knob and twisted it open in a single movement.

To Be Continued…

Apples

I stopped and stared at the apples on display. Some poor worker had taken the time to stack the apples by colour into pyramids. In my mind’s eye I saw a child coming along, taking an apple from the bottom and the whole pyramid collapsing on to the shop floor. How many of those apples would they to throw away? Shaking, my head I walked passed the loose apples and to the already bagged ones. The choice was limited, but I found the kid size apples and put them in my basket. I couldn’t help but wonder as I left how many people would avoid the loose apples today.

Weaving Hearts

She liked the photos on the internet,

So she went and found a pattern

Then she began making them and couldn’t stop.

**********

If you want to make these you can find them here : http://craftsanity.com/2011/02/craftsanity-on-tv-woven-felt-heart-basket-tutorial/

Office Window Part 3

The van had stopped. I came fully to realising this. I had slide down and so had to pull myself upright. Listening hard, I tried to figure out where I was and what was happening. The van doors opened before I time to run through a list. Mr. Ryes stared at me then moved away leaving the door open.

A strong smell of damp and mould drifted in. I shuffled along the bench and peered out the door. We were in an underground carpark. I stood up, my knees shaking and side stepped to the middle. I had to sit down again and push myself towards the edge, before getting out the van. The ground felt good under me and I took a few steps forward.

Looking around, I couldn’t see much due to the dimness. The outlines of a few cars to the right of me and a light stairwell seemed to be behind them. I moved further out and saw Mr Rye and friends sharing a smoke next to the front bumper.

‘Where are we?’ I shouted to them.

Mr Ryes dropped the cig and stomped on it. He came over, swung around behind me and grabbed my cuffs. Without saying a word, he half dragged me across the carpark and towards the stairs. His friends followed us in the same silence. We waddled up the stairs and at the top went through some red double doors. We entered a hospital like hallway and walked down it to another set of doors.

We made it through them and entered an airport security like room. There were two guards sitting in a booth, looking bored. A number of long tables and tall chairs were lined down the room. There was also a fully body scanner and an x-ray machine against the far wall. I felt myself go numb as I was led to one of the chairs.

Ryes left me there and went to the booth where the guards were all ready moving. They talked in low voices and I missed everything they said. Fear was gripping me hard. Finally, Ryes and one of the guards came over to me. I was forced to stand and the guard patted me down. I came up clean and with a shove, Ryes pushed me towards another door and we went through into an interview room. Here, there was only a table, two chairs opposite and voice recorder. Ryes sat me down then took the other chair.  He started the recorder then with a deep sigh asked me to state my personal information.

Feeling trapped, I spoke in a voice I didn’t recognizes as my own and stated my name, age, address, job title, place of work and my mother’s full name, as standard.

Ryes grunted then leaning back in his chair asked, ‘do you deny staring at a drone earlier on today?’

‘I looked at it, yes.’

‘Were you staring at it?’ he spit.

‘No. At least, not really,’ I answered.

‘Are you trying to be funny, Coy? Answer the damn question!’

‘Then, no!’ I shot back, ‘I wasn’t staring at the drone.’

‘Are you a spy? Are you against this government?’ Ryes asked as he pressed a hand to his forehead and rubbed it.

‘Of course not! Do I look like a spy to you? And I actually like the government right now, they’re doing a good job,’ the words came too smugly from my lips.

‘Who was the woman we saw you talking to?’ Ryes asked, seemly ignoring my tone of voice.

‘Woman?’

‘At the office. The blonde. You followed the drone to her desk and we saw you talking.’

‘Oh her! Nope. I don’t know her. I needed something, so I went to see if she had one,’ I replied quickly, the story spilling from me.

‘What was it?’

‘A..erm…staples. Yes, I need staples.’

‘And you couldn’t go to the supply cupboard?’ Ryes drawled.

‘No. It’s company policy. Everyone gets the correct amount of supplies every month. We have to fill in a form to request more and prove usage. Doesn’t that happened here too?’

‘Look…let’s just get through this okay. Now, tell me the truth, what do you know about that drone? What were you doing?’

I shook my head, ‘nothing. I was going about my job. I saw it out the corner of my eye and it startled me. Then I just got back to work.’

Ryes sighed and grabbed the desk tightly in both hands. He seemed to be weighing up his next words carefully. ‘You swear upon this?’

‘Yes. It’s the truth. And there’s still no law against looking at government drones, is there?’ I asked a question for a change.

‘Ha, how do you know it was a gov drone?’ Ryes banged a fist on the table.

‘Well, if it wasn’t why did you bring me in here? Of course at the time I didn’t know that. All drones look alike, especially the white ones. Don’t they?’

Ryes swore and stood up, he stomped out of the room and the door banged shut behind him. I stared after him then settled back in the chair. It was a good few minutes before he came back. Silently, he released me from my cuffs. I rubbed my wrists and thanked him.

‘So, what happens now?’ I asked gently.

‘You’re free to go,’ Ryes snorted, ‘turns out you are a nobody. Leave.’ He waved me away.

‘Just like that?’

‘Yeah, sure. Turns out you’re the wrong person. Luckily old you.’

I frowned and looked around the room hoping to see that this had all been some kind of joke.

‘You are free to go. There’s the door,’ Ryes pointed out.

I stood up and went to it. I reached out for the door handle, hoping he didn’t see my hand shaking and turned it. Stepping out, I felt cold air rush around me. Whatever I was expecting –people jumping out, sirens going off etc.- didn’t happen. I walked back through the security area and saw the guards back in their booth. They didn’t even move as I walked through the doors and into the hallway.

I walked down the corridor through the other doors and into the underground parking. Still no one stopped me. I walked over to the van I had come in and saw a door opposite marked street exit. I went over and easily opened the door and stepped out. I walked up some stairs and found myself back in the middle of the city.

The air seemed so clean and welcoming, I took in a few deep breaths before heading home. My mind tumbled through what had happened and Ryes’ wrong person line. A smile lit up my face and thought how unsuspecting being a ‘nobody’ was.

Office Window Part 2

I can’t answer the door. I stood frozen, cooling water dripping off me. The knocking continued, a heavy fist banging away. My towel began to slip from my hips, my fingers scrabbled to hold on to it and I hitched the towel up. Scrubbing myself down, sweat broke out across my skin. I could easily not answer the door. Whoever it was would go away, right?

I threw the towel on the heating rack and went to my bedroom. The knocking followed me, demanding me to answer it with every step I took. I went to the chest of drawers, pulled out and put on some boxers. Pausing, I wondered what to wear. If I answered the door, I need to be presentable and prepared. If I didn’t answer the door? Comfy clothes.

Shrugging, I went for an in-between and put on jog pants and a t-shirt. I grabbed some socks and put my running shoes on- just in case. I went to the door, the knocking was louder than ever. I unlocked the door and called out, ‘who is it?’

‘Open up,’ a booming male voice yelled back.

‘Who is it?’ I repeated.

‘Police. We need to talk.’

I opened the door and had to look up at the three people now standing before me. They were all dressed in the same dark blue suit uniform, with black shirts and dark grey ties. Their faces all looked the same as they all had the same hair style and short beards.

‘Mr Coy?’ the first one spoke.

I nodded.

‘We need to talk. Can we come in?’

‘What’s this about?’ I asked and jammed myself between the door and frame.

‘Please. Just let us in, Mr Coy. We don’t want to cause a scene, do we?’

‘All right,’ I said and opened the door.

They stepped in and I stumbled backwards. I and the door hit the wall at the same time and I felt a little breathless. The men walked in and looked for somewhere to sit in my almost empty living room. I couldn’t stop myself from thinking that they looked like an elephant in a doll’s house.

I didn’t bother to invite them to sit down, there were only two armchairs and I didn’t have another other chairs. I closed the door and stood against it. Arms crossed, trying to make it look like I meant business too.

‘What’s this about?’ I started up.

‘You were caught staring at a drone today, Mr Coy,’ the first answered. He was busy staring around, trying not to let the look of disgust leak across his face.

The other two were trying to fit themselves into the corners of the room, backs against the walls. However, they just couldn’t do it and so they tried to act casual, but that wasn’t working either.

‘What?’ I blurted.

The first man tugged out a notebook and flipped through it, ‘at around two twenty-five this afternoon, at your office. You looked out your window and stared at a drone. Why did you do that?’

‘I…Well, I didn’t know what it was. It startled me,’ I answered slowly and carefully.

He frowned and his expression made it clear he didn’t believe me.

‘Who are you again?’ I asked instead.

‘Mr Ryes,’ he said and flashed me a badge I didn’t see. ‘So, the drone startled you and then what?’

‘Well, I didn’t understand what it was doing there and it districted me.’

‘But you kept looking at it,’ Mr Ryes pressed.

‘Yeah, well….look what’s this all about? There’s nothing wrong with looking at a drone.’

‘But it isn’t right, Mr Coy. It raises eyebrows and then we come and ask questions. Are you a spy, Mr Coy? Were you born in this country?’

‘What? No and yes. What do you want? This is ridicules!’ I half shouted. I launched myself off the door and into his face without fully thinking it through.

The seconds flashed, Mr Ryes grabbed me and so did his two friends. I struggled against them, but they wrestled me to the floor. Metal cuffs bit into my wrists then they dragged me out. I kicked and screamed like a mad man as the dragged me out of the building and into a black van. They forced me onto a bench and finally I settled. My arms and hands hurt whilst my legs and breathing were shaky.

They got into the front of the van and were a rumble of the engine drove off. I bounced around in the back. My shoulders and back of my legs hitting everything repeatedly. My head spun, what had I done? What did they want? Where were we going? What was going to happen to me?

I felt like screaming, but I held it back. My feet scrapped across the metal floor and the sound was terrible. I took deep breaths and tried to remain calm. I shut my eyes and relaxed. I cleared my head and kept believing that everything would be sorted out and that this was all a mistake. The government didn’t just arrest people for looking and wondering about a drone. God, those things were everywhere now, doing all kinds of things and belonging to a whole range of people.

The van suddenly stopped and I slapped sideways into the bench. Pain shot through my shoulder, I cried out and tasted blood on my tongue. The van engine rumbled beneath me then started off again. I licked my lips and discovered I had bitten my lip and tongue. Sucking away the blood, I tried to push myself back up, but couldn’t do it. I thought about rolling off and laying on the floor, but then decided that it looked harder than the bench.

I struggled upwards, the van’s sides scratching my hands. I felt for something to cling too, but it was smooth metal. I got comfy again and went back to my breathing and believing. The van rushed on under me, but I ignored it and so lost all sense of time and place. My eyes started shutting and I kept snapping them open. Finally, though I give in and kept them closed.

To Be Continued… .

Office Window Part 1

I grabbed my mug as I abandoned my headset on my desk. Around me, the office flowed with voices, phones ringing and the taping of keys. It was mid-afternoon, time for my second cup of coffee and my first sneaky break. Getting up, I stretched and heard something cracking in my back. I sort the slight pain with my free hand and rubbed the spot.

Something flickered in the corner of my eyes and I looked across at the window. The city’s tallest buildings stared blindly back at me. Behind their glazed windows, people like myself were busy at work. I placed my mug down, lent over my desk and looked harder outside.

I could only see a touch of the skyline because the rest was blocked by buildings. A few birds circled passed then I saw it, a white drone. It was hovering a few windows down from mine, it’s four propellers a wild blur. There was black camera attached to the top of it. I looked down, but of course couldn’t see anything.

Grabbing my mug again, I walked away from my desk and counted the windows as I went down. At the fourth I stopped. Peering into the cubical, I saw the blonde head of a woman. She was talking on her headset, but was almost slummed down on her desk. The drone was outside the window and she seemed not to have noticed it.

‘Hey,’ I whispered, ‘hi.’

She didn’t respond.

‘Hello? Sorry, excuse me?’ I said louder.

With a deep sigh, she moved and looked up at me. Her hair was a mess and her face was strangely blotchy. Her makeup was all in place, but it didn’t hide the tiredness etched into her skin. With a single movement, she ended the phone call and turned to me fully. She was wearing a black suit and a white blouse.

‘Sorry. There’s a drone outside,’ I stated when it seemed like she wasn’t going to speak.

‘Oh? There are drones everywhere. Is that all?’ she threw back at me.

‘It seems interested in you.’

She shrugged and turned back to the computer screen. On it was the normal list of numbers and names we had to connect. She selected another number and called it up.

I looked at the drone, trying to see if there were any markings on it. I felt her eyes on me and instinctively, I left.

I went back to my desk then suddenly remembered my coffee and hurried to the kitchen. No one else seemed to have noticed anything and were hard at work cold calling the latest company deals. I made my coffee and went back to my desk. As I went to sit down, I noticed the drone hovering outside. I took my chair, put on my headset and ignoring everything, selected a new number to dial.

Whatever was going on, I didn’t want to know. I listened to the dial tone in my ear and quickly scanned through my lines in my head. Nobody answered the phone. I hung up and went for the next one, my eyes slide to the side and I saw the drone. It was still there, hovering and with the camera still staring at me.

The dial tone rung in my ears, but no one answered. I hung up and took the headset off. I picked up my coffee and walked back into the kitchen. I drink my coffee, acting like I was taking a break. A few people came in and out. I kept my back to the window, not daring to look. My mind whirled, who owned that drone? What did it want? Was it actually tracking me?

I shook my head, called myself crazy and got back to my desk. The drone was gone. Feeling relived, I got back to work. Throughout the rest of the afternoon, my eyes kept glancing to the window. Of course nothing was there, but I couldn’t help it, something was watching me. I knew it. The end of the shift came and I didn’t want to leave. What if something was waiting for me?

I went to the kitchen and tried to delay leaving as much as possible. Someone else had all ready cleaned up and the rest was normally the cleaners’ responsibility. I rubbed my hands and felt sweaty and agitated. I couldn’t leave, I just couldn’t do it. The rumours always spoke about the spying drones before people disappeared. Didn’t they? But weren’t they seen for a lot longer than just an afternoon?

I stopped and noticed I had been pacing. I had to leave. I got my stuff and headed downstairs. My bag banged against my hip and my clothes were stuck to me. I hurried down, passing three other floors before getting to the front doors. The receptionists and security guards didn’t even look up. I walked out, glanced around then rushed for the coming tram.

I expected to hear the drone overhead and people yelling for me to stop, but there wasn’t anything. I got to the station and boarded the tram. It was packed with rush-hour travellers. I hung on and waited for my stop. I hardly remind calm and when I got to my apartment, I fell up the stairs twice before getting to my rooms.

Everything looked the same. Nothing was out of place and no odd smell hung in the air. I firmly locked the door and went into the bathroom. Locking that door, I dropped my stuff and took my clothes off. I ran the shower and waited for the water to warm. Stepping in, I let the water relax me. I felt myself un-tense and began to enjoy the cascading waters.

A buzzing at the front door burst my bubble. I froze and listened hard over the shower. It was nothing, nothing. I turned back and washed my hair. The buzzer sounded again. Ignoring it, I half drowned myself. I got out a good few minutes later and was drying off when there was a knocking on my door.

To Be Continued…

Sunday Bake Day

She was alone and had the afternoon all to herself. She could have done a million things as there was always stuff to do with a new baby in the house. However, after putting her feet up, watching some general TV shows and drinking two cups of tea, she was bored. Glancing around, she pulled a magazine out of the rack and flipped through it.

The house was too quiet, she decided, which she also thought odd since the house must have been this way before the baby. Sighing, she put the magazine back and got up. She swayed a little on her legs, the result of too much gym and yoga throughout the week. Going into the kitchen, she put her mug in the dishwasher and thought about making something for tea.

Her and her husband hadn’t done much cooking later and maybe the baby would finally sleep through the night when they came back. She pulled some books from a small shelf and flipped through them. The gloss photos showed a heavenly delight of things, but nothing drew her. At the end, she reached the deserts and saw a whole range of cakes.

Finally, she settled on making a Victoria sponge and some banana muffins. Putting the rest of the books away and keeping that one on the work top, she rummaged for all the ingredients. Luckily, she found enough of everything and lined it all up. Then, sticking closely to the steps in the book, she made the cake mix and put it into the oven. Feeling proud of herself, she moved on to the banana muffins. It had been an age since she had last made anything, which was easily blamed on the pregnancy. She had lived off jam doughnuts, apples with toffee sauce, some other fruit and veg, nuts, toast and plain pasta.

Now, with the warm smell of sponge rising in the kitchen, she wondered how she had never done it. Smiling and feeling content, she finished off the muffin mix and waited for the timer to ping. When it did, she took the cake out and put the muffins in. She stood over the cake, breathing in the scent of vanilla and sugar.

She placed the cake to the side and imaged that in the future she would teach her daughter how to bake and all the fun they would have.

Candy Shoes

Mini had to send the shoes back. She had no choice in the matter, she really couldn’t afforded them. Placing them back into the white glossy box, she sighed and wondered if she would have to do the same with the dress. Putting the lid on top, Mini heard the rolling grumbling of thunder and rain hitting against the window.

She went to look outside and saw that her small back garden had become flood and the water was almost at the door’s ledge. Luckily, the weather forecast had given her a heads up and she had already sandbagged the doors and window sills. Mini went back to her bed and the shoes. Taking the plastic parcel bag they had come in, she put the box inside and grabbed the duck tape to seal the end.

Her sister wouldn’t be happy, she thought. The wedding was only two days away and even if it did stop raining there was no way the water would have gone down. A lightening flash came in the window behind her, lighting up the room and showing Mini what she’d rather not see – the emptiness.

She took the parcel downstairs and placed it behind the front door. Her fist tightened on the plastic before she let it drop and turned away. The living room was dark like the rest of the house and an uneasy feeling hung everywhere. Mini turned on the light and sat on the sofa. The storm raged on over head as she looked around the nearly empty living room.

Marks on the floor and walls showed were things had once been. The shoe scruffs in the carpet added to all the other hints that she was moving out. Mini pulled the paperback novel she had left of the arm of the sofa over to her and began reading it.

Sadness and tears covered her face and she thought of the irony of her marriage ending and her sister’s just beginning.