The crowd gathered around the old man as he removed the lid of the basket. He put the small wooden pipe to his lips and played an alluring tune. From the basket, a yellow snake slowly rose upwards swaying in time with the music, seemingly tamed and the crowd marvelled.
It had been a passing comment from a half-heard conversation that pinged the light bulb in Angel’s mind.
‘I wish there was a vintage tea shop like this near me,’ the bride from the wedding party spoke.
Angel stopped with her patterned tray stacked with fancy tea cups, matching saucers and a cake plates. She looked around. The hotel’s private party room had been transformed into a Victorian tea room; white clothed round tables, tier stands stacked with delicate looking foods and huge vases overflowing with flowers.
‘Yes,’ Angel whispered, ‘that could be my own business.’
Mary-Leigh couldn’t sleep. She lay tousled in bed, staring up at the ceiling watching the shadows play. This was the fourth night now that she was awake whilst everyone else slept.
She turned her head to the side and saw that the time was almost half past two in the morning. Mary-Leigh rolled over fully and snuggled deeper down in the duvet. In her head she ran through a list of things; she wasn’t too hot or too cold, she didn’t need the bathroom, she was hungry. Until she concluded there was nothing stopping her from sleeping.
Something though, clearly was.
Throwing the bedding back, she got out of bed, turned and knelt down. Mary-Leigh rested her elbows on the bed, pressed her hands together in front of her and did something she hadn’t done in ten years.
‘Dear God, please let me sleep,’ she prayed.
A wave of foolishness rocked into her and she dropped her arms.
What am I doing? I don’t believe in all that anymore, do I? She thought.
Mary-Leigh pressed her head into the mattress and fought back tears.
I’m lost and I just want this madness to end. Even if I don’t believe and if really there is no God, if I find comfort in praying what is wrong with that?
Mary-Leigh wiped away the tears that had escaped. She composed herself again. Controlling her breathing, clearing her mind, she put her hands together and prayed again. Afterwards and not thinking about it, she got into bed and tried to sleep.
It began as a simple thing after the ship wreak, one of the rescuers put the dead boy’s shoes in a tree. More followed and it became a way to keep count of the deaths. The tree was overburdened and it started to wither. It became a memorial; a memory for those lost.
Bob hadn’t be able to offered a new shelter roof after the storm blew it off. He thought at first that his pub’s clients wouldn’t mind just standing outside. Summer was still lingering and the nights were warm and dry. Weeks later, autumn fully arrived, sweeping and washing away summer.
Bob needed a simple and cheap idea to give people shelter. Umbrellas had come to him as he had been watching the rain falling outside. He stock piled boxes full and fixed them across the roof frame. The shelter looked like the stage of a colourful musical but the pub’s clients loved it.
Butch could swim for hours just like he chased balls, so combined he was in heaven. I enjoyed watching him; his yellow coat flowing across the water, his black eyes and nose pointed towards the ball. When he grabbed the ball, he would turn and come back with no encouragement, knowing his reward would be the ball thrown again.
That was how I would always remember him. Even when the cancer meant he couldn’t walk anymore and everything was a struggle. Saying goodbye to him was the worse day of my life. I didn’t just lose my best friend that morning, I lost myself too.
Walking through the houses of the Old World, Peanut was always fascinated by the items they could find.
Today, she had turned up a dial TV which Grand Pops explained was used to show information in moving pictures with sound direct to people, but it had also been a part of the Old World’s downfall because it had forced everyone to stay inside.
The tale was easy to believe because generations of the last humans had remained behind the steel door and it was only now they were adventuring out to see what they ancestors had left them of the world.