I want to lock it away. I want to forget. If it’s locked away I might forget. I want things to go back like before. I want it to have never happened. I want to forget. I will forget, I must forget….
Lock it away, lock it up well and lock it all away forever. It can never come out again. No one must ever know nor find the door or the key. Keep it all hidden, keep it safe. Help me to forget. Lock it away. Lock it away!
Throw the key into the sea. Throw the door after it and IT too! Let the sea claim it. Or, bury the key and the door in the ground. Deep in the ground as deep as the dead. Never to return again. Never to be seen again or thought about. I must forget….
Out of sight, out of mind. Lock it away. Melt down the key, put the door through a wood shredder and blow up the walls. Reduce it all to ruin, wipe it off the face of the Earth. Let me forget it, let me go! Go far forever!
I was hurrying home after a quick run to the shops, not that there was much left on the shelves as everyone was panic buying but I had got as much on my list as I could.
Passing the costume shop on the corner of the high street, the window display caught my eye. Normally, there were bright colourful costumes, sometimes children’s character themed or old pop/rock stars, their Halloween and Christmas displays were great.
However today, there was a huge head to foot black cloaked figure with a 1600’s grey plague doctor’s mask covering the face. It looked scary, threatening and close to an imagine of Death himself.
I frowned and noticed the other three manikins were dressed as a mad scientist, a doctor and a sexy nurse.
Someone was really trying to get into fun of the health pandemic mode.
The couple on the top floor had been arguing again. I could hear their voices echoing through the apartment. I poked my head out of the door and looked up the twisting staircase, not that I could see anything other then the fancy design of the stairs and gold brass hand rail.
Just as I was going back inside, a large house plant in a clay pot came sailing over the railing down towards me. I jumped back as soil, broken pot and snapped off leaves flew everywhere.
I looked at the mess in wonder then up again towards the arguing couple and their door slammed shut.
‘Poor plant. It wasn’t your day, was it?’ I spoke, ‘well, we can’t leave you like this.’
Slowly, I searched out a new plant pot from my balcony and scooped as much as the soil up as possible. Re-potting the plant took some effort as it was heavier and taller then me.
‘There. That’s better now,’ I said and patted a leaf, ‘come into your new home now, safe away from those too. I hope they move out soon, worse neighbours I had for awhile.’
Carrying on my muttering, I took the saved plant inside.
I couldn’t sleep, so I lit a lantern and went to the beach. The sea was calming itself down after the storm, the dwindling swell was lower on the cliffs. The sound was powerful still, reminding me of the dangerous of being here.
I walked along the edge, picking my way but my feet knew all the right places to step. I had been walking this path since birth. In the pool of light, I could see seaweed and shells on the edges of rock pools.
The lighthouse, way out in the bay was flashing it’s beam and when that light came by it helped aid me. I hoped it was aiding other people too.
Stopping, I held my lantern high and looked out as far as I could. Somewhere out on that surging sea were my husband and oldest surviving son.
Their fishing boat had been gone for over two months and I couldn’t bear the worry anymore. What could I do though? It was woman’s curse to bear this waiting, this unknowing and the grieve of loss.
The sea brushed against my bare feet. I returned home and held my other children tightly whilst I wept.
Lucille carried her head high as she walked down the railway tracks. Her suitcases were heavy but she was use to carry them around. At each city, she was faced with the same thing, ‘you want to be a star? No chance!’ and the doors were shut in her face.
She walked on, not minding where she ended up next. Every city was the same after awhile and she could always find a place to stay and a little work to do. Lucille had many talents built over the years. Also, she had power over men that most woman envied and it didn’t involve the promise of her body.
Lucille smiled to herself as she totted on the wooden planks and stones of the tracks. She never lost hope and carried her dreams in her pockets. She kept trying and didn’t let anything knock her down for long. There was always tomorrow and one day, her fortune would change, Lucille knew it. Then she would show everyone what they had missed out on.
Oliver peered nervously out of the window and saw a sea wave crashing over the wall and on to the road outside his house.
The white foam tops of the waves clouded the air and sea spray mingled with the falling rain. The sea roared with an untameable lust that deafened everything nearby, only challenged by booming thunder.
The weather forecast had said it was going to bad on the coasts and flooding were likely. Of course, Oliver had prepared with sandbags at the doors and low windows. Most of his furniture was stacked upstairs and his car was parked up at Raven’s Edge cliff carpark.
Oliver thought that he should have stayed with his car because it was safer but he would have been fretting too much about his house being flooded.
Listening to the sea bashing about as the wild wind stirred the waves up and rain poured down, Oliver realised it was too late to do anything else. He would just have to hope that the sea didn’t rise anymore and his house didn’t flood.
Cati looked for a place to sit. A soft, almost invisible drizzle was falling, masked by mist that hung above the sea and cliffs. From up here, the view was like a window onto nature.
Cati rested on a rough rock. She was wearing waterproofs and covered in beads of water. She took off the hiking bag and searched for her thermal of tea and packet of trail mix.
Having heard rustling, Teddy, a Bernese mountain dog, appeared. He was big, fluffy with a tricolour coat and looked like his name. He loved exploring and walking as much as Cati did which made them best friends.
Cati give Teddy some dried chicken and poured him a bowl of water. Then, she drank tea and ate her snack. Wondering if she should make camp early, Cati packed up. The weather didn’t seem to be clearing and cliffs, like mountains, shouldn’t be walked at night.
‘Let’s go,’ Cati said and rubbed Teddy’s head.
They continued hiking; Cati looking for a sheltered spot and Teddy tracking rabbits. Soon, she found a place under tall pine trees and the sea, rain and a campfire became the background to their evening.
There was a buzz in city. The streets smelt of Chinese spice and stir fry vegetables as cookers worked over gas burners in little marquees. Red paper lanterns were strung up and gold steamers waved above the crowds.
Music echoed, drums beating and cymbals crashing. Gasps rose from the people and they parted like a breaking wave as along the road came a golden dragon. He was rising and falling with the beat of the music. Bells that decorated his flashing scales tinkled and his yellow mane blew in the breeze.
He fixed his large eyes onto the crowd then downwards as a child darted before him. The dragon regarded her slowly then he opened his mouth wide. The child placed a red envelope on his tongue and the dragon clamped his teeth shut.
A joyous cry roared through the crowd. The dragon shook his head and started to dance once more, welcoming the Chinese new year in.
The blizzard arrived like they said it would. The snow and wind came down blindly fast. Things ground to a stop like the rusted cogs of a clock. People battled against nature, trying to get on. Children free of school were sledging and building snowmen. It seemed right to join them as not much else could be done.
Days, weeks and months past by. At first it had been fun and slightly annoying but now the blizzard was frustrating and angering people. Cars and houses were snowed in. Transport was limited. Buildings were closed due to burst pipes or lack of heating or it being too dangerous to open.
Homeless people were frozen solid in the street, buried under snow moulds that became too much effort to dig them out. Rubbish piled up around them, unable to be removed as the roads were too blocked up. People who dared to go out risked tripping over the hills of such things.
Other people froze or staved in their homes. Their bodies left because even if they could be recovered, how could they be buried?
Those luckily enough to move away did so and soon that was the only answer. The snow kept coming, the city turned to stone, trapping the people that remained.
The windows were crazed by icy lines as if a spider had gone hyperactive and spun it’s web madly. Frost lay inside the house as well as out, showing that this place had long been abandoned to nature.
My breath fogged before my face and I had cover my mouth and nose with my scarf. Dust lay thick and a crumbled calendar on the wall was dated ten years ago.
I didn’t fear the homeless, drug users or anyone else who might be here because the house wasn’t suitable. It was colder then outside and the water was frozen in the pipes. Plus, this house was far from anywhere else. My guess was it could have been the game keeper’s home from what had once been a big estate before the land had been sold off for the building of new houses.
I photographed what interested me, taking my time and enjoying this experience of untouched urban exploring.
A lone mug stood on the windowsill as if someone had been drinking tea whilst looking out at the winter snowstorm. I captured that moment feeling like it summed up the atmosphere in the house.