Zenosyne #atozchallenge

pocket-watch-560937_1920

Zenosyne; the sense that time keeps going faster. 

I opened the envelope without even realising it was an early birthday card, due to being distracted by the phone call I was dealing with. I stared at the brightly coloured drawing of two half-full champagne glasses with bubbles raising around them then at the fancy pink writing above; Happy 30th Birthday! 

The phone slipped slightly away from my ear, I ignored the still speaking voice from the other end. I glanced around the office, expecting everyone to suddenly burst into singing happy birthday, shoving cards and presents at me. However, there was just the usual chatter and background noises of the office room. No one was looking at me.

I opened the card and a bunch of people had wrote short messages and signed it. I recognised a few of the names from other floors and colleagues from my old role before I’d moved into this one.

‘I’m sorry,’ I said into the phone, talking over the caller’s voice, ‘something’s just come up and I need to go. Can you email that information and I’ll get right back to you. I’m so sorry,’ I added and hung up.

I looked down at the birthday card again in wonder then I picked up the discarded envelope. There were my initials and surname at the top followed by my office floor and address on a printed label. There was no stamp, so it had been sent inside the company. Looking at the card again, I opened it and read a few names inside, just to be sure but there was no doubt that someone had found out and sent this card around.

Putting the card back into the envelope, I locked the draw in the bottom of my desk and opened it. Inside my handbag was safely tugged away. I took the birthday card and shoved into my bag then locked the draw again.

How had they found out? I had be keeping my up and coming ‘big’ birthday a secret from everyone. I pressed my lips together and looked around again, as if the answer was out there. I looked in my in-tray where I had picked the card up with the rest of the post. There were just a few opened letters and papers in there now, waiting to be dealt with.

My phone rang, starling me out of my thoughts. I grabbed for the phone and pressed it to my ear but it was just someone else from another office asking for information on a client. I sighed and went back to work.

I had forgotten about the birthday card, until I got home and was getting stuff out of my handbag. Opening the envelope again, I looked at the card closely, but there were no further clues, expect that only ten people had signed it and I thought more people would have done. I put the card on my bookcase.

‘It’s just a number,’ I muttered to myself, ‘it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t change you.’

I went to bed but couldn’t sleep. It was four days away now and I wanted time just to stop. Could I not be twenty-nine forever?

My hopes weren’t answered and four days seemed to rush by. Before I knew it, I was awaking up and it was my birthday. It was a Saturday, so thankfully no work. Throughout the day, a few people sent me happy birthday messages online and text. I opened all the cards I’d gotten and decorated my bookcase with them.

In the evening, I meet with my family and friends for a nice restaurant meal as planned. Then I went home and to bed. Laying there, I tried not to reflected on how old I was now and what I’d not yet achieved with my life. I blamed my ninety-odd year grandma for asking again when I was going to get married and have children.

‘She broke up with her boyfriend a few months back,’ my mum had hissed at her, ‘remember? I told you. She’s single again now.’

I growled into my pillows and tossed and turned. Typical grandma and mum! It wasn’t that I didn’t want that fairy tale ending, it was just…it was a lot harder to get then the movies made it out to be! I had a flash were I missed my Ex but then I told myself he was more toad then prince and pushed him out of my mind again.

When I got to work on Monday, there were some birthday card envelopes in my in-tray. I opened them and saw that they were from a few different people; my manager, team leader, colleagues and a few other people I knew.

‘It’s you birthday today?’ a voice came behind me and making me jump.

I spun and saw one of my colleagues looking at the birthday card in my hand.

‘It was on Saturday,’ I answered.

‘Why didn’t you say?’ she asked.

I shrugged and swept all the cards into my top draw.

‘Not into celebrating, hey?’

‘Something like that….I’m sorry, I’ve got some clients to phone now,’ I said as an excuse.

The next month flew by and I was grateful for that as most people suddenly knew it had been my big three-oh birthday and had been sending my birthday cards and small presents. I wasn’t ungrateful but I’d rather it was done with now.

The rest of the year just seemed to pass so quickly. Work was busy and I got prompted for my hard work with a difficult client. In autumn, I started dating again and I met this really nice man, who definitely was more prince then toad! Then it was Halloween and soon after Christmas, I couldn’t believe how fast things were going. Time had felt slow before in the led up to my birthday but now I’d put that all behind me things were better.

Advertisements

Yestreen #atozchallenge (Part 2)

evening-3260454_1920

Yestreen; during yesterday evening. 

Finishing the washing up, I moved on to drying. I heard my wife moving around and it sounded like she was tidying the dinning room. I really hoped she was going to go out soon, I needed to phone Bob, Bill and Jim. My memory from yesterday evening was hazy and I needed them to confide in.

Putting the dried plates, cutlery and tea things away, I chased down the idea to question my wife about today’s activities. She was suspicious about me enough. I turned off the radio and went into the dinning room to get my newspaper, I hadn’t finished reading it. My wife had moved it and herself into the sitting room.

I settled into my favourite armchair and took the newspaper from the side table where she had placed it. The TV was on some drama show my wife liked and she was looking through her small diary. I turned the newspaper pages loudly and buried myself once more in the articles.

‘Perhaps,’ my wife said slowly, ‘I’ll go and visit the vicar’s wife. Though, everyone else is probably doing that. Their daughter was in my school, you know and I am a key member of the village council now.’

I nodded, tried of her reminding me about that.

‘Are you going to the allotment?’ she asked sharply.

‘What, darling?’ I asked, lowering the paper.

‘The allotment, dear. Are going today?’ my wife pressed.

‘Yes, yes!’ I cried, she had just given me a great idea and the perfect cover.

‘I’m not deaf,’ she tutted.

‘No, sorry, love. I had forgotten you see…I was going to show the lads my…erm…lettuces! I should give ’em a bell and remind them,’ I added.

Tossing my newspaper down, I hurried to the phone and called them one after the other. Bill, Bob and Jim were all confused at first but I talked them into it without giving away anything. Then I hurried to change and gather my things whilst trying to keep yesterday evening out of my head.

‘I’m off then, dear,’ I called from the front door.

‘Here,’ my wife called from the kitchen before hurrying down the hallway.

She give me a thermos of tea and a plastic box containing sandwiches.

‘Remember, be back before five. I’m cooking lamb chops,’ she stated.

We kissed goodbye and I left quickly. I hurried down the street, caught the local bus and went to the edge of the village. Getting off, I walked down the lane to the allotments’ gate. It was unlocked and as I walked to my patch, I could see a few other people moving about. Luckily, they were all too far away to over hear me.

I unlocked the wooden garden gate and stepped into my fenced allotment. In neat rows where growing all kinds of veg. I walked up down, checking them in the glowing sunny day.

‘Just a little water,’ I mused.

Soon after I’d done, that my friends arrived. We greeted each other and showed them the few things that were really coming up now.

‘What is that about really, Gerald?’ Bob asked.

‘The news this morning,’ I whispered, ‘did you see it?’

‘Of course! The whole village knows about the murdered vicar!’ Bill said loudly.

‘Hush!’ I hissed, ‘look, I don’t remember much, so I wanted to know if any of you saw anything in the church.’

They fall silent in thought.

‘We heard a scream, a thud and someone running out the other door,’ I said to jog their minds.

‘Yes, then we ran the other way,’ Bill put in with a shrugged.

‘We thought we’d be caught too, remember,’ Jim added.

‘I was too drunk,’ Bob announced with a scrunched up face.

‘And we didn’t…None of us saw the vicar?’ I asked.

They shook their heads.

‘We going to the police?’ Bill questioned.

We all looked shiftily at each other.

‘Why? What can we tell them?’ Bob cut in.

‘I don’t know….That we heard something and saw a figure but we didn’t know what had happened?’ I suggested.

‘Then they’ll want to know why we didn’t check the place out,’ Jim replied.

‘And what we were doing there,’ Bill tagged on.

‘Maybe, we should keep mum,’ Bob spoke out.

There was a muttering of agreements.

‘If they ask though…?’ I broke in.

‘Then…we weren’t there,’ Bill declared, ‘we were in the pub and everyone there can confirm that. When we left we dropped Bob off then went our separate ways.’

I flashed back to this morning. I’d rather face down a policeman then my wife.

‘So we agree then?’ Jim said.

We agreed.

‘Look at those clouds,’ Bob spoke, ‘don’t like the look of ’em.’

Looking up, I saw there was a bank of dark grey clouds rolling in. The sun seemed to have dimmed too. There wasn’t meant to be any rain today, but it seemed no one had told the clouds that.

‘I’m off,’ Bill said, ‘I’ve left Molly with the grandkids.’

‘I should mow the lawn before it rains,’ Jim spoke next, ‘Anne’s been getting on my nerves about it.’

‘I..got…’ Bob trailed with a scratch of his head.

‘It’s fine. See you all later,’ I said and waved everyone off.

Watching them all leave, I wondered if we had done the right thing. But what would we really told the police? And surely, because we all intoxicated they couldn’t really take our word? I shuffled around the bed where my carrots were, debating what to do.

‘Did we really witness a murder?’ I muttered.

I tried hard to recall what I’d seen but it was all shadows and dust. Deciding to go home, I finished my tea and packed everything up. As I waited for the bus, spots of rain fell. It seemed I had left just in time. My thoughts were still stormy like the sky when I got on the bus then off it at home.

My wife wasn’t in, I guessed she was still out visiting the poor vicar’s wife. I put the TV and lamps on then sit in my armchair. I couldn’t settle though. Finally, I reached for the phone and called the local police station.

‘Hello, I’d like talk to someone about the vicar’s murder….I have some information.’

Yestreen #atozchallenge (Part 1)

evening-3260454_1920

Yestreen; during yesterday evening. 

‘This says he was killed yesterday evening,’ came my wife’s voice from, behind the newspaper.

I grunted, shuffled my own paper and turned the page.

‘Up at that old church in the glen!’ she added.

Grunting again, I reached around and felt for my teacup. My fingers clinked against the bone china and I groped for the handle. Finding it, I raised the cup and brought it to my lips, taking a few mouthfuls of tea.

‘Dear? Weren’t you up there the other night?’ my wife asked in a pondering voice.

I chocked on my tea little then coughed loudly to cover it up. Setting my teacup back on it’s saucer and my newspaper down beside it, I looked at my wife. She was looking fine in her Sunday best dress which she had worn to church earlier. Her grey hair was curled tightly and pinned up. There was a puzzled expression on her wrinkled face and a demanding look in her blue eyes.

‘What? Er, no. Course not. No where near!’ I spluttered.

Her face hardened, turning into the pinched and knowing look she had been famous for as the headmistress of the girl’s high school years ago.

I felt a wave of guilty school boy in my belly. There was no lying to my wife. I had to be careful now.

‘Oh, maybe we did a little,’ I said, trying to wave it all a way.

‘What did you do?’ she asked sharply.

I shrugged before replying, ‘just stayed at The Woodsman pub, talking and drinking. Played some darts, arranged that golf rematch with Bill. Then four of us went for some fresh air and we took Bob home. You know, he lives close to there…’

I smiled and picked up my teacup again. Dropping my eyes to the small table as I drank, I saw the reminds of our Sunday breakfast; greasy plates, empty toast rack, jar of jam, bottle of brown sauce, the teapot with it’s knitted cosy on, the small jug of milk and the sugar bowl.

My wife ruffled her newspaper again and looked down at it, ‘no details of how he died,’ she muttered under her breath, ‘police still investigating and asking for witness….Who would kill a vicar?’ she said loudly.

‘No idea,’ I answered and got to my feet.

I began cleaning the table, avoiding my wife’s staring eyes. Gathering up the plates and other things on the tray, I went into the kitchen. I put things away then began washing up. My wife had left the radio on and there was some song from the sixties playing. I hoped she didn’t come in here and went out instead. I tried to remember if she was visiting anyone today.

Washing the plates, my thoughts turned to yesterday evening. I hadn’t told her the whole truth. We had been up in the church, we had all been drunk and fancied a laugh. It had been Bob’s idea really, he had a spare key to the door but it had been Ernie who’d come up with the ‘joke’.

At the wooden front door though, we had heard voices shouting, a scream then a thudding noise from within. Bob had flung open the door and we had piled in to see a shadowy figure fleeing through the back door.

To be continued…

Xyst #atozchallenge

japanese-garden-2834191_1920

Xyst; a garden walk planted with trees. 

Escaping from the tea party, I made my way to the tree walk away. It was a place right at the back of the gardens that had been left naturally wild, once my great-great grandfather had finished having the trees planted. His original plan had been to make a wooded area for hunting in but the horses had struggled with the undergrowth and trees.

There had been so many plans over the years to clear the area and make it something else; another ordered garden, a vegetable patch for the servants, a summer house. The tree walk though was too far out to be much use for any of that, plus there’d always been the matter of the cost of it. I, though was grateful that the tree walk had been left alone and was still wild.

Leaving the neatly racked path, I stepped onto a single dirt track and disappeared into the shadows of the trees. Breathing deeply, I left the constraints of the tea party behind me. I was never very good at remembering my manners, sipping my tea and only nibbling at a sliver of cake. It was especially bad today as we had male guests and I didn’t do well when there were handsome men around!

It was best to stay away and let my mother and sisters deal with such things. Mother was determined to marry us all off before the eldest- Elizabeth now twenty three- turned twenty five. At which point, mother believed the possibility of marriage was low. I did not share that view. Perhaps it was my romantic fifteen year old nature but I wanted to believe there was going to be more to my life then marriage and children.

I let my fingers brush against the rough tree trunks and over grown grass. There was no need to be lady-like in this garden. Overhead, the birds sing of spring in a deep blue sky and the warm breeze promised summer. The scent of flowers and earth hugged the air, making me happy. Following the path, I reached the little wooden bridge over the shallow river that created a boarder to our land.

I lent over, watching the water flowing below. I liked the gentle rushing and bubbling noises. Also, it reminded me that when we had been children, we would throw sticks off the bridge and see who’s came through the other side first. This had been our secret garden; six girls just being children and escaping the pressure of adulthood.

How I wanted things to go back to those days! Being carefree and happy with only the distance shadows of a future out of our control. I sighed and wondered how much longer I could stay away. I should have pretended to have a headache or feel faint but then I would have had to go indoors. I wish I could just hide in here for the rest of my life but one can not escape one’s destiny.

I gathered the pale blue skirts of my afternoon dress and checked them for mud. Mother would not be happy if I returned unclean. Thankfully, it had been dry for a good few days now. Brushing the soft fabric off, I walked back to whatever was awaiting me.

Willowwacks #atozchallenge

wood-3330389_1920

Willowwack; a wooded, uninhabited area. 

The small river weaved it’s way around the banks and trees just as it always did. The soft, tinkling sounds the water made as it traveled over rocks and fallen branches was the constant background music to the woods.

The wind made itself know; shaking the newly flourishing branches, roughing up the young flowers and grass. The noises echoing, falling and raising again in an almost pattern like way. The wind blew across the surface of the river but it knew better then to mess with the water, for water is more powerful.

Shy animals scampered or fluttered about; birds in bushes, squirrels in trees, butterflies on flowers and rabbits nibbling grass outside their burrows. All could just be glimpsed if in the right place at the right time. They were heard far more then they were seen though.

I, the ancient but still mighty oak which all this around me, adding it to my fountain of knowledge. I towered over all the other trees; giving shelter to the saplings, home to many animals and a king to this patch of woodland. We were protected because man said I was over two hundred years old and must not be cut down.

With man doing their job, I was left alone to do mine.

Vobba #atozchallenge

laptop-943558_1920

Vobba; trying to work from home whilst taking care of a sick child. 

I was too busy to take the day off, so I fixed it to work from home whilst looking after Kia. She had been ill all weekend, some bug going around the school, it would seem. I got her settled on the sofa; apple juice, snuggle blanket, teddy bear and the TV on the children’s channel. Then I went into the dinning room and set myself up. I had lots of reports to look over and some to write.

‘Mummy! Mummy!’ Kia called.

I looked up from my loading laptop, wondering what could have happened in less then five minutes.

‘What is it?’ I answered back.

‘I dropped Bobo!’

I heard her struggling to reach the bear. Getting up, I walked into the living room and saw my five year old reaching over the back of the sofa. Tutting, I went around, picked up the bear and handed it to her. Kia hugged her teddy and settled down again.

Leaving her again, I sat back down to work. I opened the first report and read through a few pages, making notes along the sides and bottom. I turned a page and heard Kia calling me again.

‘Mummy! More apple juice!’

I rolled my eyes and got up again.

‘You drank that fast,’ I said, coming into the living room.

Kia waved her cup in the air. I took it from her and went to refill it. I heard her coughing and sneezing.

‘That was a big sneeze!’ I told her coming back in.

Kia nodded and took her cup from me. I tugged the blanket around her and left again.

A few minutes later, I heard shuffling footsteps and felt warm little arms trying to hug me. I pulled Kia on to my lap and kissed her hot head. I worked little that for awhile, reading and making notes whilst she dozed against me. Then my legs went numb and I started to get pins and needles.

Gently, I carried Kia back to the sofa and left her napping there. No sooner had I sat down again though, her little voice called out to me. I pressed my lips together and ignored her. I had too much work to do!

‘Mummy!’ Kia called.

‘Working, working,’ I mutter under my breath.

‘Mummy!’

Sighing, I got up and went to her, ‘what is it? I have to work,’ I said.

‘I’m hungry!’ Kia moaned.

She hadn’t wanted anything before, perhaps it was a sign she was getting better? I agreed some toast and made it for her. Back to work again, I started writing my report then from behind my laptop I saw something move. I paused, thinking it was only a trick of the light, but there was now a small long necked green dinosaur seemingly peering around my laptop at me.

Convincing myself it had been there all along, I got back to typing. The next time I looked up though, the dinosaur had moved closer and behind it was a pale red T-Rex.

‘Kia!’ I snapped.

I heard giggling from under the table and bent down. She was hiding under there, a few other colourful dinosaurs scattered around her knees.

‘You are meant to be ill,’ I said.

‘I am!’ Kia cried back, ‘I want you.’

‘What for?’

‘Hugs!’

She reached out her arms then crawled out from the table. We hugged.

‘Now, take your dinos back into the living room and play with them there, okay? Mummy has a big report to write.’

Nodding, Kia collected the plastic models and went out of the room. I heard her clattering around and after a few minutes there was just the background noise of the TV. I tapped away on my laptop, getting some more work done finally. Though, I shouldn’t have started thinking this was how it was going to continue.

‘Mummy! Mummy!’ Kia called.

‘What?’ I replied back as I carried on typing madly.

‘Come watch this!’

‘I’m busy Kia!’

‘But I want you!’ she wailed.

‘I’ll be in a few minutes,’ I replied.

‘No!’ Kia cried and she stumbled into the dinning room.

I turned to her and she burst into tears.

‘What’s wrong?’

She waved her arms around and I had no choice but to get up and comfort her. Carrying Kia back to the sofa, I waited till she had cried herself to sleep then crept off again. No sooner had I sat back down again, Kia started crying again.

I looked at my report and just knew this wasn’t going to work. Closing my laptop, I went into the living room and spent the rest of the day looking after Kia.

Ubuntu #atozchallenge

addict-2713620_1920

Ubuntu; the belief that we are defined by our compassion and kindness toward others.

It was a way of life for all who followed that path; helping those who could no longer help themselves.

Toothsome #atozchallenge

ice-cream-cone-1274894_1920

Toothsome; pleasing to the taste. 

It was a guilty pleasure of summer; ice cream on the beach. After months of being on a diet to fit perfectly into my bikini. The cold, sweet ice cream hit my tongue and I moaned quietly in pleasure. For a few seconds, I wondered if it was too sweet but then I swallowed and could only think about eating more.

I heard my boyfriend chuckling next to me and I glanced over at him as I went for another mouthful.

‘Diet broken?’ he asked, grinning at me.

All I could do was nod, my tongue sticky with ice cream.

‘I don’t mind you being a bit chubby,’ he added.

Shooting him a disgruntled look, I got back to enjoying my ice cream. There was nothing that could bet this cooling, sugar rush in my mouth. I shut my eyes and enjoyed the feeling in my mouth.

What was it about ice cream that made you feel so happy? And ice cream by the summer sea just made it more special. Maybe it was the sweet memories of childhood holidays? That small treat on a hot day?

Well whatever it was, it was worth breaking any diet for!

Spoondrift #atozchallenge (Part 2)

beach-2179183_1920

Spoondrift; a showery sprinkling of sea-water or fine spray swept from the tops of the waves. 

The ice cream went down well and afterwards, Raven let Cody and Kadie go back to playing in the sea. This time though, she watched them closely. The beach was getting busier as more people came out to enjoy the sunshine. The tide was also on it’s way out and some of the waves looked fairly big.

Raven’s thoughts turned inwards and she began to think of her ex-husband. She had been doing well not dwelling on him. The seaside had seemed to wash all those thoughts and issues away but her out burst before had brought it all back. She hugged her knees and just for a moment pictured how things had been four years ago. She had been happy, busy and enjoying family life.

Then her world had come crashing down. She still didn’t have the full picture of what happened, just like a jigsaw puzzle missing pieces. She could hardly remember what Dave had said, just that he was leaving her over and over again. She begged him not to go, told him they could fix whatever it was but all along he was sharing his bed with another woman.

And she had only found out two years later after the divorce when the kids had told her about daddy’s girlfriend. Then the story had come out; how they had met on a business trip and tried not to fall in love but then had given in. How Dave had tried just to say it was a fling, how they had broken up but Dave hadn’t been able to let her go. How Dave decided he needed to be with her and not even his responsibilities family could stop him.

Raven dropped her head and shut her eyes. She took a few deep breaths and just listened to the sea. The sound of the waves rushing back and forth along the shore. The children laughing, dogs barking, music playing.

I want to move here, Raven thought, I need to start over.

She opened her eyes, she felt more determined that she had in awhile. Grabbing her handbag and making sure, she had all her personal items, she took off her sandals. Raven got up and walked on the cool sand. Avoiding a sand castle, she reached the edge of the water and let a small wave tickle her toes.

Kadie pointed her out to Cody and Raven watched as her daughter and son splashed their way over to them.

‘I don’t want to leave!’ Kadie moaned.

‘Just a few more minutes!’ Cody put in, ‘we just saw a fish!’

‘It’s okay,’ Raven said with a small laugh, ‘we can stay as long as you like. I just wanted to see what it was like.’

‘It’s cold but you get use to it,’ Kadie pointed out with glee and held out her hand.

Raven took Kadie’s hand and let her daughter led into the sea. The waves lapped stronger around her and the spray flew up, dappling her shorts and t-shirt. Raven took Cody’s other hand and they jumped a few of the waves, laughing loudly.

Raven forgot her heartbreak and nightmare again, letting the sea take it away on the waves. It was just her and her children and that was all that mattered right now.

Spoondrift #atozchallenge (Part 1)

beach-2179183_1920

Spoondrift; a showery sprinkling of sea-water or fine spray swept from the tops of the waves. 

Raven peered over her sunglasses and book at her two children playing in the sea. They were laughing and throwing buckets of water at each other. She smiled and looked up at the clear blue sky from which bright and warm sunlight was pouring from. Breathing the sea air deeply, Raven felt grateful that she was here. This was just the get away moment she needed.

Last week, she had laughed when she’s heard the weather forecast. How can we have a mini heat wave in the the middle of April? It was snowing two weeks ago! she had wondered. The weather presenter had insisted though and deciding to throw caution to the wind, she had booked a short break in Blackpool.

Leaving the kids, who were old enough to look after themselves for a bit, to carry on playing, Raven got back to her book. She was re-reading some classic novels and Frankenstein was her current mission. It was hard to disappear into the words though.

The beach was busy, other people having decided to chance the weather too. There were other children playing noisily, dogs barking and further up donkeys giving rides. Behind her came the noise from the Blackpool Pleasure Beach theme park; the echos of the roller coasters, the screams and the shouts. Music was playing from one of the restaurants or arcade places on the promenade. Further along the beach, noise was also drifted from the south pier; tinkling of music from the tea room and the rowdiness of fairground games.

‘Mum! Mum!’ a child shouted.

Raven looked up and saw her nine year old daughter, Kadie, running towards her across the sand. Raven put her book down, frowning and trying to see what was wrong.

‘He got water in my eyes!’ Kadie cried.

Raven snatched up a towel and as Kadie fell at her feet, she scrubbed her daughter’s face with the towel.

‘You’ll be all right,’ Raven said as Kadie started sobbing.

Raven looked up as her thirteen year old son, Cody, joined them. He was holding two buckets and looking flushed with the heat.

‘I didn’t mean it!’ Cody said as water dripped off him.

Raven handed him another towel, ‘I’m sure you didn’t.’

The buckets hit the sand and Cody dried off then sit down next to them on the picnic blankets Raven had laid down.

‘You okay now, Kadie?’ Raven asked.

The girl nodded and Kadie wrapped the towel around her. Kadie was sniffing and looked tearful still.

Raven pulled the cool bag over and took out two bottles of juice. She give one to each child. Whilst they drink, Raven found the bottle of water she had started and took a few sips of that.

‘Can we go crabbing later?’ Cody asked.

‘No. You know I don’t like it,’ Raven said.

‘Dad would let us,’ Cody muttered under his breath.

‘Yes, well,’ Raven snapped, ‘he’s too busy! Off with that whats her name, living the life of Riley, not caring about anything!’

Cody pulled a face and drink more juice. Kadie buried her face in her towel.

Raven sighed, ‘I’m sorry, I shouldn’t take it out on you.’

She pulled them both into a hug. Cody struggled against her and pushed his way out but Kadie snuggled closer. Raven breathed in the sea salt and sand in her hair.

‘Who wants ice cream?’ Raven said suddenly.

‘Yeah!’ shouted Kadie and Cody.

Laughing, Raven dug around for her purse.

To Be Continued…