Nap

The afternoons were getting harder to get through. The time dragged and it felt like waiting for paint to dry. I had tried to fill the time with watching TV, gardening and looking out of the window.

Still though, I caught myself dozing off sometimes and even woke myself from sleep, confused by what I’d missed.

Maybe, it was lack of sleep in the night or the strangely warm autumn. Perhaps, it was a sign as there had been others, of the old age I hated admitting too. I brushed it off, blamed it on other things.

Sleep though didn’t seem to want to let me go. I felt like I was having an never ending battle with keeping my eyes open and my thoughts in one place. I would nodded off and jerk myself awake, I’d get up and shake off the blanket sleep had tried to wrap me in.

Sometimes though it was too easier to give in. I didn’t have the fight like I use too and my energy was lacking after morning activities. So, a little sleep helped me to get through the rest of the day.

The days were getting shorter and darkness always seemed close at hand. My excuse for sleeping was justified; it’s cold and dark, I liked to be warm and feel safe. Plus, the growing aches in my joints were eased when I laid down. – Not so great when I stood up though!

Stretching in my basket, I looked at the clock then the TV and tried to see if it was time for a walk. The old man had fallen asleep in his chair again, his head was on his chest and his hands were in his lap. It seemed unfair to wake him up.

I was comfy and too warm. I yawned and snuggled back down. Maybe, I should just give into these day time naps? They didn’t seem that bad really.

Apple Tree

I looked up at my neighbour’s apple tree and my mouth started to water. The thought of the first bite of sweet crispiness called to me and it was a temptation I answered.

I pressed against the wooden fence and cast through the leaves. There were a lot of apples on the branches that over hung my garden. A few apples were in easy reach too but I wanted one that was ready.

The lowest apples were the ones that had seen less sun and they were not ready. The highest ones were but they were out of my arms reach and it would be too suspicious if I stood on a ladder.

I choice an apple that was at the height of my reach. It’s red and green colours were splashed together and it felt heavy in my palm. A quick twist and it was mine!

The barking started before I could officially claim my prize. I looked across my neighbour’s garden and saw their dog. It was a terrier mix and making one hell of a racket.

I swiftly lowered my arm and put the apple into my pocket. The dog bounced over, knowing he’s territory had been entered and he slammed into the fence.

Shooing the dog away was useless and I know my neighbour would appear to see what the noise was about because their back door was open. Hopefully, they would think it was a bird the dog was chasing after.

I rushed back to the lawn mower I had abandoned and turned it on. The engine drowned out the dog’s barking and I hurried about my task once more.

A few minutes later, I had finished and packed away the lawn mower in the shed. The dog had stopped barking. Sitting on the shed’s step, I took out the stolen apple and had my first bite.

It was just as good as I had imagined.

Steps #Writephoto

My granny use to say, ‘if these steps could talk what stories they’d tell!’

I’d laugh and say ‘tell me a story then.’

She would whilst we sat on those steps outside her house with the summer sun on our faces and people waving as they went by.

Granny would spin truth and fiction together, making her simple life exciting for my childhood self. There’d be stories of her dancing the night away with my granddad, long days working in the cotton factory down the road and her adventures as a nanny in London.

My favourite stories were the ones set in the war. Granny was a teenager and whilst her brothers, baby sister and mother moved away to the Devon to live with cousins, granny stayed in Manchester and worked in a factory making uniforms and other clothes for the soldiers.

There was something that fascinated me about that time. It seemed a different world with secrets still unknown.

Years and years later, the sad time arrived and granny’s house was for sale. My parents lived in Devon and though I had stayed in the Manchester for work, I had my own place. I did debate having my granny’s house but too much work needed to be done and I couldn’t offered that. It was easier to sell the place and try to move on.

‘Is there anything else you want to take?’ one of the moving men I had hired asked.

I looked back at the house and saw the front steps. I nodded and said, ‘I want those steps.’

The man was confused and I realised it did sound little silly.

‘I think that’s slightly above me,’ the man replied slowly.

Argument bubbled on my tongue but I swallowed and told him to go get the others and I’d help.

After, with the worn stone steps heaved into the moving van, the man told me that was properly one of the oddest things he’d had to shift.

My granny’s steps are outside my front door now. I sit on them with my own children and tell them all kinds of stories.

Some true and some not quite.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2020/07/30/thursday-photo-prompt-worn-writephoto/ with thanks.)

Spy In the Garden

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I had to know what he was doing, it was like a addiction. I thought about him all the time since he’d left me. How was he doing? Was he eating okay? Did he have a new girlfriend yet?

I always tried to squish that thought down. Of course, he hadn’t moved on yet. He promised to always love me. How could there be anyone else?

From the bushes outside his parents’ house, I watched him sitting a table eating whilst his mother talk to him just out of view. I couldn’t hear what they were saying.

The bruises on his face were fading. He looked happier, he was smiling and nodding.

When was the last time he had smiled at me like that?

I balled my hands into fists, dried blood still in the lines and soil buried under my nails Anger filled me, burning in my chest like an immortal fire. I wanted him back. I needed him back! How could I live without him, my one true love?

I got out of the garden and went to the front door. I rang the bell.

Putting my hands behind my back, I fixed a smile on my lips and waited.

He answered the door.

His face turned white, his eyes growing large and his mouth trying to form words.

‘I’ve missed you, honey,’ I spoke in a breathy voice.

He shook his head and stumbled backwards.

‘Are you going to invite me in?’

‘You’re dead,’ he gasped out, ‘I killed you!’

Insomnia Sunrise

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Sleep was a stranger to me, she was an elusive muse, a reflection out of reach. I did all I could to dance with her; exercise, diet, no screens or reading, no coffee or tea, mediation and just laying there waiting. Nothing worked.

I decided not to waste this time with trying and waiting. I turned to quiet actives; reading, writing, jigsaw puzzles and box set watching. Sometimes I would doze off and other times I would be awake to hear the breakfast time news.

The idea of seeing the sunrise came to me one morning when, watching from the curtain covered window, I saw how the first sunlight changed the colour of the room. I thought, how many people actually see the sunrise?

The next night, I looked when the sunrise was timed for and an hour or so before then, I went out to a local beauty spot which was a large lake.

There I saw a glorious sunrise. so many colours touched the calm water as the sky melted from black to blue. My breath was stuck in my throat and my eyes couldn’t behold the raw wonder before me. I felt the first brush of warmth on my skin like a lover’s arms wrapped around me in a gentle embrace.

I took photo after photo trying to capture what I saw but the imagines couldn’t compare to the real thing. I didn’t want it to end but of course it did. All the blurs of colours settled and became what everyone saw during each day. The lake’s magic vanished and the water became a normal blue again like the sky above all the colours had gone.

I stayed for a long time then left but that first warmth came with me and every time I closed my eyes I saw all those colours dancing again.

That night I slept.

Dear Diary

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Dear Diary,

It’s been over hundred days since I went into isolation to protect myself. From my window, I have watched the busy streets of Manchester city centre slowly empty and then become almost bare. The streets are filling up again now. Cars and buses on the roads, people hurrying to work or going shopping and the homeless huddling down where they can.

In the rain, umbrellas crowd and bash together whilst the rain washes the dirt away. I love the sound of the rain dripping off the pipes and tapping against the window. When the window is covered in rain drops it reminds me of being in an underwater world and looking out at the above space.

My doorbell rings and I go to see who it is. A delivery! Getting the box and setting it down sends a thrill of excitement through me. Of course, I’ve been ordering things off the internet a lot more then I did before. Mainly that’s because I’d go out and buy stuff but also, I’ve been getting things to help me pass through the time.

In the box is; two novels, three dvds, a large cross stitch of a white tiger and a colouring book.

I place everything on the coffee table, look through them then place them in their new homes. I put the box out for recycling.

It’s lunchtime. There’s lots of choice for me to pick through. I’ve been getting a food box once a week, other people have also been sending me things and I’ve got a shopping delivery date sorted for once a week. Food and other supplies are not in shortage here.

The problem is I don’t feel like eating. I pat my stomach and wait to feel hungry, but I just don’t. I feel sad and pointless. I make soup but only eat half of it then I curl on the sofa and watch TV but I can’t focus on it so instead I go to sit by the window with a book and listen to the rain whilst I read.

It’s just another day in lock down.

Cave

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As Jay’s hand scrapped against the hard stone wall of the cave, he wondered if he had made a mistake coming in here. It had been fun at first showing off to the girls and proving he was braver then the other teenage boys but he hadn’t expected the cave to be so long.

The light of his phone lit only a patch of the floor and base of the other wall. Minerals shone under the glow and dripping water echoed making Jay feel disoriented at where the sound was coming from.

I should get out of here, Jay thought.

Something though made him carry on. Deeper and deeper, passing through narrow and wide sections, the dripping water calling to him like a Siren.

Jay’s feet splashed into water. His phone light danced along the surface of a dark pool. Ripples lapped against distant walls and small waterfalls made their way down the sides and into the pool.

I should stop, Jay thought but he couldn’t.

Water rose over his shoes, soaking his socks and ankles. Strangely the water was pleasantly warm even though Jay knew it should be icy cold. He tried to stop and turn but he couldn’t. It was like his feet were stuck on the track of a ride.

Right before the panic hit him, Jay heard the loveliest singing he had every heard. Soft female voices song words he couldn’t make out or were in another language. Calmness came over him and Jay felt himself drifting, lulled by the singing.

His legs splashed through the water then he was up to his stomach and he could no longer touch the floor. Jay began swimming, knowing only that he had to find the singing women and nothing else mattered anymore.

 

Summer Rain

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The rain dripped off the cafe’s canvas shelter. I looked up and just listened to the soft, steady beating noise. It was nice and calming and eased my anxiety more then the hot chocolate in front of me.

There was only handful of people on the street and they were hurrying about their business, masks on their faces and shopping bags crinkling beside their legs. Of the cafe tables, two or three had people sitting at them, the rest, spaced out were empty. Inside the cafe no one was allowed to sit, it was outside or take away only.

Two staff were behind the counter, masked and gloved and working as best they could. No food was on offer today, so the chocolate chunky muffin or slice of banana cake with thick frosting, I would have got to accompany my drink wasn’t there.

‘You okay?’

The gentle voice of my boyfriend broke in to my thought.

I nodded, ‘just adjusting. The rain’s helping. How’s you tea?’

‘Fine,’ he said and took another few sips.

Watching a man and his dog walk by, silence crept between us again.

Normally, we’d have lots to chat about and catch up on but this wasn’t a normal date. It was the first time we had been outside in public in twelve weeks and we decided to move in together before, perhaps that had been too soon but things had been fine.

‘We can leave whenever you want to,’ he spoke again.

‘I know. I’m okay.’

I picked up my hot chocolate and took a deep drink. It was nice and rich, the chocolate heavy but creamy. The warmth spread in my chest and I felt better.

Empty Chair

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Old Max had for many years sat in the chair outside his front door and watched the world go by. He waved to people he knew and yelled at the kids who played too loudly.

He had a dog called Bill, who loved to bark and charge at passersby.  Old Max would laugh and just say he was playing as Bill bit someone’s leg or tore someone’s coat. When Bill became too old to chase, He would sleep at Max’s feet and growl in his dreams.

Bill passed away and the loss made old Max angry and grumpy then before. Max ran after the children in the neighbourhood and took away their balls and other toys. Parents would go over to take to him but Max was close the door in the faces.

For a few months, Max was seen to yell at no one and people said he was crazy. There was little anybody could do though but tell each other to stay away from the old man who seemed to be working his way through something.

It wasn’t until winter fell that Max stayed inside and the children rejoiced in their outside playtime. From his windows, he watched them and grumbled at their fun. What so delighted them about the cold snow and icy pathways? Max thought he could dimly recall from his own youth but it had been so long ago and his memories were full of holes.

Old Max went to bed on night soon after Christmas day and didn’t get up again.

For years, his chair sat empty on his doorstep weathering away until final the house was able to be sold and be brought back to life again.

Taking The Boat

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Light touched the rippling surface of the lake. Small boats, bobbed on the water their ropes creaking. Birds called up the sunrise and other animals stirred awake in the stillness of dawn.

She was running. Running from her home and following the path downwards. Her dress floated out behind her, caught in the air rush from her movements. A bed sheet, turned bundle bumped at her side and weighted her down with supplies.

Her feet were bare, easier and silent to aid her running. The dew grass wet her feet and the last of the warmth from her bed left her.

She reached the boats, placed the bundled into the closest one, then gathering all the skirts up into both her hands, she quickly stepped into the boat and had to catch herself before she almost fell into the lake.

Crawling to the front, she untied the boat, sat down and began rowing. The light of the dawn lay across the water as if it was guiding her. She wasn’t a strong rower, but the rush from her escape and the knowledge she would soon be with her lover spurred her on.

 

From the castle window, her matron sat at the window. The old woman couldn’t see her young charge running then rowing the boat away, but she could see the yellow light touching the lake and the tree tops which sang just as her heart did that she had done the right thing in aiding the girl’s escape.