Zoanthropy #atozchallenge

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Zoanthropy; a form of madness involving the delusion of being an animal. 

Dr Amy Percy stirred in bed and slowly came awake. There was a familiar ringing in her ears. Rolling over, she looked at the alarm clock and saw it was a two thirty eight AM. Wondering who was phoning her at this time, she reached a hand out and picked up her mobile.

Peering at the screen in the darkness, she saw it wasn’t on. Tutting, she placed it back and grabbed her work’s mobile. The screen was lit up with an incoming call from a patient; Tim Banks.

Her finger hoovered between the green answer button and the red end call. She hit answer and pressed the phone to her ear.

‘Doctor?’ a low desperate voice asked.

‘Yes?’ she answered.

Amy rolled onto her back and fixed the sheets, so she was more comfy.

‘It’s Mr. Banks. It happened again! I’ve just woken up and there’s a dead bird on my bed. My window is wide open too….’

‘What kind of bird?’ Amy asked sleepily.

‘It’s like…erm….a blackbird? Yeah. It’s neck is broken. There’s feathers everywhere! What should I do, Doctor?’ Tim demanded.

‘Throw it out in the garden. Vac up the feathers then go back to bed, Mr. Banks,’ Amy instructed.

‘I need to see you!’

‘It’s the middle of the night….phone my office and make an appointment.’

Amy ended the call and placed the phone back on her bedside table. Settling down again, she prayed that she was fully booked tomorrow so she wouldn’t have to see Tim Banks.

God didn’t answer her prayer. Walking into her office and across the small waiting room, she saw Tim wanting for her. He was wringing his hands together and was sat far away from her actual first patient of the day; Camilla Brown.

Amy went up to the receptionist and waited till the older woman, Mrs June Meakings, who was sat behind a long desk looked up from the computer screen.

‘I’ve squeezed Mr Banks in first,’ June whispered, ‘I hope you don’t mind? He seems in a such a state. He said he’d been phoning here since six.’

Amy sighed. She could feel a headache coming on all ready.

‘I have his file,’ June added.

She selected a pale yellow folder from the top of the pile and handed it to Amy.

‘I’ll take Mrs. Brown’s too. Does she mind waiting?’ Amy asked with a quick glance over her shoulder.

‘No,’ June replied.

The phone started ringing, cutting through they conversation. They nodded at each other and Amy walked into her room.

She took a few minutes to set things up and flip through Mr Bank’s file. Then she picked up her phone and asked June to send him in.

Without knocking, Tim entered and went straight to the red long, low backed sofa. He sank down then began pouring his heart out to the doctor.

‘I can’t take it any more! I’m not myself! I worry every day and night. What if I change in front of people? What if someone sees me and recognises me? What if this doesn’t go away? I can’t live like this, but I don’t want to go to the insane asylum!’

‘Who said anything about an asylum, Mr Banks?’ Amy asked, looking over at him.

She had been taking some brief notes and her pen was paused in the middle of a line.

‘Well…that’s what happens to mad people, isn’t? You lock them all away!’ Tim explained, flapping his arms about.

‘Maybe in the past. Today it’s different…’

‘Drugs? I’ve tried everything! Nothing works. Maybe it’s supernatural. Like werewolves. I’m a werecat!’ Tim declared.

‘Now, Mr Banks!’ Amy snapped, ‘there’s nothing supernatural about your condition. Were-creatures don’t exist. Just like vampires and ghosts, it’s all fiction. People like to attribute their mental conditions to the supernatural because they find it easier to understand and blame. We’ve been through this before.’

‘I know Doctor! But do you really know that? What if the supernatural is real and we are in denial? What if you have powers?’ Tim asked.

Amy stared down her nose at him, ‘Mr Banks, I can assure you I don’t have any powers. Now. Let’s go over what’s happened since last time I saw you, five days ago. How many times do you think you’ve….changed?’

Tim thought, his eyes studying the ceiling before he answered with, ‘about three times, maybe more.’

Amy wrote that down in her notes then asked another question, ‘What have been the rough times of these changes happening?’

Once again, Tim give it some thought before answering, ‘Well, it’s been the same as normal. Mostly at night. I always go to bed at ten on on the dot, as you know. So, around midnight maybe? Or in the early hours? Though I think there’s been two in the afternoon for sure now.’

‘Oh, really?’

‘Yes. Doctor. I had a nap you see. I’ve had a bad cold and with not really sleeping at night, I decided to have a doze in my back garden. The first time I awoke and was soaked wet through! It was like…pond water and I smelt of fish. It didn’t rained at all and it was blazing sunlight.’

Amy pressed her lips together, but didn’t say anything. Tim went on.

‘When I got changed, I peered over the fences of the nearest houses and the one right on the end has a large pond with fish in it! Well, I broken in and looked around the garden. I found a dead fish beside the pond and the stones were all wet.’

‘Another animal could have done that,’ Amy mused.

‘The next day I had my second nap,’ Tim continued, he’d not heard her, ‘and when I woke, I was soaked again and there was like slime all over my hands. The fish smell was worse too. I went back to the pond and it was empty of fish! I think I’ve eaten them all!’

Tim dropped his head and pressed his hands to his face. His shoulders were shaking. He took in a few deep breaths and seemed to compose himself again.

Amy pulled a face and scribbled some more notes down. This was a complicated case and she had been out of options for awhile now. She had contacted other doctors in and out of the field, but they had been stumped too. A man who fully believed he turned into a cat wasn’t something that could be easily fixed.

Youniverse #atozchallenge

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Youniverse; a particular person has knowledge only of him or herself, their universe consists only of them.

That geeky looking woman was on the bus again! I clutched the handle bar and glowed at her. She was taking up two seats! Her rucksack was on one and she was bent over it reading a book. She had headphones on too and her back to everyone.

I knew that signal; don’t disturbed me. But how could you be so rude on a bus this busy?

Sighing, I struggled for arm room against the people I was sandwiched in-between. I wondered if anyone else had clocked her? A glance around told me not really, everyone else seemed in their own bubbles too.

Frustration and angry waved off me. Today was the day, I told myself.

After a bus stop which no one seemed to get off but more people got on at, I weaved my way over to her.

The headphones were padded, so only touching her would get her attention. I did so; lightly tapping her with my fingers.

She looked up and around at me.

I pointed at her bag. She glanced at it and turned back to me, sliding a headphone off.

‘Can I sit down, please?’ I asked her.

She frowned and seemed to be struggling for words. She was clearly surprised I’d spoke to her and it was as if she suddenly realised she was on a bus full of people and not by herself. Thankfully, she then picked up her bag and shuffled across the seats.

I sank down, balancing on the edge. She was a large woman which was the other reason why she took up so much space. I recalled when I’d been over eighteen stone too. Now I was closer to twelve stone and much better off. So, I couldn’t judge too harshly.

She got back to reading and I had a far better bus ride. There’s nothing worse then standing on a bus in tall heels!

Xylography #atozchallenge

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Xylography; the art of engraving on wood.

He liked to make things out of wood. People said he was talented, but it had never brought him money or fame. He lived a humble life on the edge of the woods in the countryside. He looked after an abandoned farm and was a handyman for the town which brought in extra money. His garden was covered by his wooden sculptures which was mostly hidden from the public. So, it wasn’t until his death that he actually became famous, like it seems with every creative person.

Werifesteria #atozchallenge

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Werifesteria; to wander longingly through the forest in search of mystery 

Walking through the trees in the dimming daylight I was careful to stay as quiet as possible. There was a beast hiding in this forest and I was determined to gather enough evidence to prove it’s existence. My heart knew it was here and my head went along with it because of all the reported sightings throughout the years.

Having done my research, I’d found the records went back to 1809. The first report had been by a miller owner. He’d been passing through the forest in the early afternoon on a autumn day to delivery flour to the next village.

He was attacked by a beast which he described later as having long brown fur, kind of like a bear but not. It was standing on two feet and had long claws and sharp teeth, both stained with blood. The beast had thrown his cart over then killed his horse and carried it off into the trees.

Of course, the surrounding village men had all searched the forest but nothing had been found. Perhaps the miller was mistake? Or lying?

I had double checked him, like I had done with all those who’d claimed attacks. He’d been a very religious man with a wife and two children, they’d been more but they had died, he earned a good enough income and had respect from many. There was no reason for his account to be wrong.

I stopped by the river and took a long drink. I also filled up both canteens that I was carrying. Looking at the sky, I knew I’d have to set up camp soon. I’d been out here for almost a week now. I hadn’t found much; a few broken trees, a large footprint that I’d dismissed as an actual bear’s and an abandoned rusting car which had been so far gone it was hard to make out what make it had once been.

I knew I was getting closer though. It had been hard to map the points of the beast’s attacks. They were scattered across the whole of the forest and of course over the years the forest had grown, shrink and moved place. The river though which was a constant feature on all maps helped.

Pulling out my map of the forest which I had written across and made dots were the attacks had happen in a colour key, I worked out where I was.

A few miles ahead was one of the areas were most of the attacks had happened. If I could make it before the light faded I could camp there and perhaps I’d see the beast! Rushing off, I crossed the river on some slippy stones and carried on walking forward.

The trees were dense and the blocked the weak light from the setting sun. I stumbled over roots and clumps of bushes. The calls of animals began to fade and the wind dropped.

Twice I checked the map and saw I was still on the right route. Night came on too fast though and I didn’t make it to the centre of the attacks, instead I had to stop on the edge. Disappointed, I set up my tent and built a small fire to warm up some soup. Then siting in the tent doorway with my lantern, I read through photocopies of the most recent beast reports.

The latest one had been only a week ago; Miss Ivy Jameson, twenty-four, had been coming home from a friend’s house and had cut through the forest to enter her back door which faced the edge of the treeline. She had heard growling but thought it only a dog.

Then something had knocked her off her feet and as she rolled, she describe a creature with long shaggy brown fur, standing on two legs with large claws. It seemed to be like a human dressed in an ape costume. Only, it wasn’t.

Ivy had survived only because she had thrown a rock at the beast eyes and dashed off towards her house. There her family and the police had searched, however nothing had been found.

I suspected the chief police officer had covered it up though. I’d heard within hours on the radio of the attack and I came straight out to it.

I found broken tree branches which made a trail away from Ivy’s house. The ground had been really disturbed, almost as if someone had tried to remove something and there were jeep tracks too.

Going further into the forest, I found that police had given up a few miles in. There were the reminds of their tape clinging to a tree trunk and fluttering in the breezy. I had walked on and found undisturbed evidence; more broken tree limbs and trodden dirt. Following that on had led me to the path I was now walking. Luckily, I had been prepared for this hunt.

I settled down for the night and as normal it took my ages to sleep. I didn’t want to waste any power though, so I lay in the dark and just listened. I like the sound of the owls and other birds, the howling and yowling of other animals and the scampering of the small rodents. I had never heard the beast nor any strange sound that could be it.

How many more days could I last? I began tallying things and came to about three days. Maybe five at a push but then I’d have to return home after. That was a disheartening thought! To be so close and to have to give up….I couldn’t do that. Suddenly feeling well awake. I got up and went outside the tent.

It was cold and damp outside now, it was drizzling and also pitch black. Not great hunting weather. Looking around, I couldn’t see anything. Ignoring the urges to grab some light, I just stood there and listened.

‘Where are you beast?’ I whispered.

The cold and rain woke me up further. I felt I was so close to seeing the beast that I almost walked off into the trees. Standing my ground, I let the minutes tick by. Then I was too wet and cold, so I went back in the tent and changed my clothes.

Getting into my sleeping bag, I lay there once again again and listened to the night. Slowly, I fall asleep, hoping that tomorrow I’d see the beast.

Vellichor #atozchallenge

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Vellichor; the strange wistfulness of used bookstores.

What is it about used book shops? You go, you browse, you pick up a few books, you read a few pages, sometimes you buy book/s and other times you don’t. You might stay for coffee if they  have a cafe. It’s a meeting place, a talking point, a land of discovery.

You like the smells that whiffed from the shelves; old ink, yellowing pages, dusty attic, dampness and salty tang. You like running your fingers over cracked spines and flattened leather. You like pulling random books out and seeing what they are. You wonder who the previous owner/s and why they give this book up.

You enjoy a good mystery and there is always just more then the story inside to be had. You adore supernatural and horror too; ghosts give you chills and vampires have you shaking at your knees. You love adventures to far off lands or under deep seas or high in the sky. Science fiction always makes you ponder if this is what the future will really look like even though it’s your less favourite.

If you could you’d live in the used book shops. In fact, your home is slowly turning into one. Your bedroom is floor to ceiling with books! You’ve read most of them, but there are others still waiting to be read and still you go to the used book shop to see more. It’s an addiction, a terrible terrible addiction and yet, its harmless.

Ukiyo #atozchallenge

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Ukiyo; ‘the floating world’, living in the moment, detached from the bothers of life. 

It was a taste of freedom to be floating so high without a care.

Tsundoku #atozchallenge

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Tsundoku; buying books and not reading them then allowing unread books to pile up together.

I entered my granddad’s house and my heart filled with panic. I was surrounded by piles and piles of books. They reached from floor to ceiling and were stacked everywhere. Narrow passageways lead to each room and you had to sideways step through. I held my breath as I squeezed down the hallway into the living room.

Four walls of books met my eyes. They must have been stacked three or four deep! In the centre was an old, comfy armchair and a reading lamp, but that was all the furniture there. I looked around, titles and book spines flashing before me.

Maybe further inside the house wouldn’t be as bad?

I was wrong! There were books filling the kitchen, the bedroom and the bathroom. It was as if a large library had been packed into a two down to up terrace house, only someone hadn’t realised there wasn’t enough space.

What was I going to do with it all?

I sank on to the armchair and looked around. My head began to come up with ideas; from the simple – getting a skip- to the more extreme – opening my own bookshop or library.

I knew my granddad had been a hoarder of books, but I could never have imagined this.

Somnambulist (Part 2) #atozchallenge

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Somnambulist; a person who sleepwalks.

As soon as they were done eating, Chase tidied up and Faith dug a paperback romance novel out and began reading it. The camping lanterns glowed softly, casting just enough light to see by. The night was growing cold though and Chase wished they had matches.

‘I’m going to check again,’ he announced as he left things to dry.

Faith looked up at him, slight confusion on her face.

‘For the matches,’ Chase explained, ‘maybe I just missed them?’

‘Okay. I’m going into my sleeping bag. To get warm,’ Faith spoke.

Chase nodded and went over to the tent. He unzipped it and began looking through the bags again. Faith brushed past him, wiggling out of her boots as she did so. Chase heard her moving things around and the air bed squeaking.

‘I know I packed them,’ he muttered.

Faith sighed and said, ‘forget it. Come to bed. We’ll keep each other warm.’

‘It’s still early,’ Chase pointed out.

‘You got any better ideas?’ she snapped.

Biting his tongue to keep silent, Chase grabbed the other lantern and arranged it next to the one Faith had brought inside, so that they had a large pool of light. He zipped up the tent and took his trainers off.

Not being a reader, he hadn’t brought anything to do and he felt too awake to sleep. He changed clothes, noticing that Faith hadn’t bothered to get out of her jeans and hoodie. Chase put on some PJs pants and an old Star Wars t-shirt then got into his sleeping bag.

‘I guess we are going home tomorrow, then?’ he asked slowly.

Faith glared at him over the top of her book, ‘Looks that way,’ she answered.

‘I’m sorry, okay? I wanted to have a break from things and money is so tight right now, I thought this would be a good idea. If I’d remembered the matches it would be fine. What else can I do?’ Chase demand.

Faith was silent for a few moments. She turned a page then put down her book to look at him, ‘I don’t know what you can do, Chase. I knew this was a bad idea from the start. What’s wrong with another weekend in anyway? I’m too tried to fight about this now. I’m going to sleep.’

‘Well, I can’t!’

‘Here then, read this,’ Faith stated and handed him her book.

She turned off the lantern next to her and rolled over.

Chase took the hint and began flicking through the book. It was a simple romance story of a lonely girl meeting a heart throb man and the two of them slowly falling in love. Chase turned back to the began and read the first few pages.

‘This is boring. How can you read this?’ Chase muttered.

Faith hushed him and snuggled more down in the sleeping bag.

‘Guess I got nothing better to do.’

Chase turned another page and read a good few chapters. The story still not grabbing him, but at least it had made him tried enough to try and sleep. Putting the book down close to Faith, he turned out the lantern and drew her into a hug.

Faith, who had been dozing on and off, shuffled about so they could be comfy together. She sighed into his arm and fell asleep soon after. It took longer for Chase, but being warm and comfy helped and he dozed off.

Chase came slowly too, fighting to stay asleep, but he didn’t make it. Opening his eyes, he looked into pitch blackness. He wondered what had awoken him then realised he had to go. Growling, he fumbled in the dark for his trainers, put them on and felt for the tent zip.

Letting himself out of the tent, Chase grabbed a lantern and went out into the woods. He turned the light on and found the nearest tree. A cold wind blew around him, stealing away the warmth from the tent. Setting the lantern down, so the light pooled around the tree roots, he relieved himself.

Collecting the lantern, he headed back into the tent. Pulling his trainers off, he turned the light off and snuggled back down with Faith. His hands sank through her empty sleeping bag.

Puzzled, he felt further to the side, but he found nothing. Chase grabbed and turned on the lantern again. Light shone down, showing him that Faith wasn’t inside the tent.

Maybe, she went out too? he thought.

Looking around, he spotted the other lantern and her boots which she clearly hadn’t taken. Chase unzipped the tent and standing on the edge, shone the lantern around. Faith wouldn’t have gone far. She clearly, trusted herself to find the way back more then he had.

She disturbed me going out, Chase thought, maybe she was so desperate she didn’t have time to grab her things? She’ll be back any moment now.

Watching out for her, Chase studied the shadows that the light was casting over the grass and trees. Trying not to think what was further out there in the darkness, he debated what to do.

Shrugging, he placed the lantern down outside of the tent, left the half unzipped and climbed back into bed. At least, Faith would be able to see the light now. Settling down, Chase fell into fitful dozing. An hour or so later, he awoke and saw Faith’s sleeping bag was still empty.

Panic floored him.

‘Faith?’ he cried out.

Scrambling, Chase put on his trainers and grabbed the other lantern. He unzipped the tent and got out. Leaving the first light as a beacon, he scouted the edge of the clearing calling his girlfriend’s name.

He heard and saw nothing.

Ploughing further into the woods, he roamed a large area. Low branches scrapped his face and arms, he stumbled over half hidden tree roots and startled small animals. He switched from shouting her name to screaming it. He tripped through a patch of brambles, feeling thorns snag on his pants. He tugged himself loose and hurried down to the river.

In the lantern light, he could see the shallow water slowly moving over large rocks. He walked downwards for a few minutes then turned and walked back up. He looked as far as he could and checked the other side of the river too. There was no sign of her or anything else that indicted she had been here.

‘Faith,’ he yelled, his voice growing horse, ‘where are you?’

Pausing, he caught his breath and tried to calm himself. Ideas about what had happened raced through his mind. Had she fallen and gotten hurt? Had someone kidnapped her? Had she really got lost in the woods?

Chase wiped his face, feeling his cheek wet with tears. He calmed himself and decided to check back at the tent. If Faith wasn’t there, he could take the car until he got signal on his phone then he could call the police. Heading back, he kept a look out, but tiredness had hit him.

Half way back to the tent, he heard the sound of voices and laughter. He stopped and listened hard. Turning to his right, he walked slowly over. The voices grew then as he got closer they fell silent. He paused then heard Faith’s voice saying something.

Crying out her name, he pushed through the undergrowth and saw Faith sit on the floor, with her back to a tree.

‘Faith? What happened? Are you okay? I’ve been looking everywhere for you!’ Chase gushed.

He knelt down before her and began checking her out. She seemed unhurt. There was a dreamily look on her face and her eyes were shut.

Chase shook her, but she didn’t respond.

‘Faith?’ he called.

He pulled her into a hard hug, feeling at a total loss. Barely holding back tears, he tried to figure things out, but he couldn’t.

‘Chase?’ a breathy voice whispered in his ear.

‘Yes?’ he said, pulling back from Faith.

‘Where are we?’

Chase looked at her. Faith’s eyes were half opening and she was struggling to stay awake and move.

‘In the woods. You left the tent and I’ve been looking for you,’ he explained.

‘I don’t remember….I was having this strange dream about fairies…’ Faith uttered.

She shut her eyes and lent against him, exhausted.

‘It’s okay. I got you now. Do you think you can get up?’

Faith mumbled something and Chase pulled her up.

‘Let’s go back to the tent. You’ll feel better soon,’ he added.

Grabbing the lantern, they slowly made their way back and once there, Chase put Faith to bed and spent the rest of the night watching over her.

Somnambulist (Part 1) #atozchallenge

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Somnambulist; a person who sleepwalks.  

Hammering the last of the tent pegs into the soft ground, Chase felt glad to finally have put up the four man tent. Sitting back on on his heels, he made sure the tent wire was tight and the peg firmly in. The thin rope give off a high pitch twang as he flicked it. Nodding, he got up, mallet slowly swinging in an arm that had gone numb with the strain of working.

‘Tent’s up!’ he called cheerfully.

He walked back around and saw his girlfriend building a fire a good few meters away. She had made a rock circle and was now building up a pyramid of branches. An range of camping things were around her as if she been searching through them.

‘You okay, Faith?’ Chase asked.

‘I can’t find the matches. You did pack them right?’ she said over her shoulder.

‘Yes. They were on your list.’

Faith pulled a face and turned to carry on building the fire, ‘You better find them.’

Chase put the mallet back in the tent bag and came to her side. He began searching through the bags. Everything had been in order, but Faith had messed things up. He found the pots and pans, the BBQ stuff, beach towels, tins of cola and clothes.

‘They’re not there are they?’ Faith said, sounding smug.

‘They might be in the car,’ Chase answered.

Leaving things more of a mess, he walked back to the  small red car, which they had parked just out of view in the shade of the trees. The clearing they where in was a jagged circle shape, boarded by tall trees. It was a sheltered spot but very accessible by the little road that ran straight through it from the main one. The clearing was a well known camping area, but most people came in summer or the warm nights of autumn.

Chase had decided that April would be warm and dry enough for this little get away. As he opened the car door though, he had his third doubting moment.

If there are no matches, we’ll have go home. Sure we can do without them, but cold meals? And if it gets colder later? Faith won’t like that. Maybe we could stay the night? I don’t want to take the tent down now I just got it up, thought Chase.

He began rummaging in the car. Hoping that the matches had fallen out or he’d put them somewhere safe before they left. Finding nothing, he double checked everywhere. Maybe, they had slipped down the seats? Maybe, they had gotten to the back of the glove box? Under the foot mats?

Nothing. Sighing, he stood up. Closing everything and locking the car, he went back to Faith.

‘I can’t find them,’ he announced.

Faith sighed deeply and tossed the last of the wood down. She got to her feet, cleaning her hands on the knees of her jeans.

‘You better get rubbing two sticks together then,’ she stated.

Chase shrugged and replied, ‘I’ll give it a shot.’

‘I’ll sort and put things away,’ Faith added.

Chase sat down and began looking for two sticks that would be suitable. Faith collected the bags and began moving stuff into the tent. Around them, a gentle breeze shook the newly leafing trees, birds sing the last songs of the day and the sky was turning dusky. Hardly anything else could be heard, even if a car drove past, the road was a good few miles away so the sound was faint.

After a good few minutes of rubbing sticks and trying to make sparks with stones, Chase give up. He sprawled out over the just dry grass, exhausted. He shut his eyes and tried to think of what to do.

It’s not the end of the world. We have camping lights and cold food we can eat. Can’t cook meat though…or heat up marshmallows. 

‘Have you given up?’ Faith’s voice cut into his thoughts, ‘I’m going to the stream to get water. It’s all ready going dark. So decided what we are eating.’

Chase opened his eyes and raised himself on his elbows. Faith was framed nicely by the dusky pink sky. She looked dirty and tried though.

‘Fine…This isn’t the romantic weekend I had planned,’ Chase responded.

‘That would have been a hotel,’ Faith uttered.

Chase heard her, but he let it go. It was an on going argument, he had given up on.

‘Want a hand?’ he said instead.

‘No,’ Faith declared.

She grabbed the things she needed and stalked off. Chase flopped back on the grass and watched the sky turn into twilight. After a few minutes, he got up and dusted himself down. He walked over to the tent and saw that Faith had all ready pumped up the double air bed. She had put the sleeping bags and pillows on too, making the bed look inviting. 

At the foot of bed, Faith had put the other bags and suitcases. Chase started looking through them then remember that all the food was in the car. Grabbing a tin of cola, he opened it and walked over to the tree line. 

The wind picked up, shaking the trees and the bird song died. Chase paused, feeling a chill across his bare arms. He frowned and glanced around, but he couldn’t spot anything. 

Night has arrived, he thought. 

He went to the car and got out things to make sandwiches and the picnic snacks. He went back to the tent and picked up the camping lanterns. He turned them on and set them by both sides of the tent door. He got making sandwiches. By the time he had put things together for a simple cold meal, Faith arrived back with a bucket of water and another bucket filled with water bottles. 

‘Dinner’s ready,’ Chase declared. 

‘Thanks,’ Faith said, she placed the buckets down next to the abandoned stack of wood and joined him. 

Chase handed her a plastic plate filled with tasty things then started to eat his sandwich. 

‘Chase, have you been here this whole time?’ Faith asked slowly.

‘Yep,’ he replied around a chunk of sandwich, ‘why?’

‘Whilst I was getting the water, I felt like someone was watching me and then after, when I went to….I heard whispering.’ 

Chase paused and looked at her. Faith’s face was full of puzzlement and she hadn’t touched her food. 

‘I called out and there was nothing. I looked around, but I didn’t find anything,’ Faith added. 

‘It wasn’t me and nothing happened here,’ Chase pointed out. 

Faith nodded and began eating. 

To Be Continued…

Rubatosis #atozchallenge

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Rubatosis; the unsettling awareness of your own heartbeat.

The silence was deafening. There was nothing for miles, the desert was seemingly empty of life. And yet, I was here, driving my jeep over dunes, around or through rock formations, heading for a place that always seemed just out of reach like a mirage.

The Archway to Heaven, the locals called it. I had come out all this way to see if it was true. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to find anything but it would be nice if there was an angel waiting for me or if a flight of stairs shimmed up towards the sky.

Finally, I made it to the arch! I cut the engine, got out and climbed up the dune. I stood under the arch and listened. I could hear my heartbeat hammering away and once I’d stilled my feet on the shifting sand, my heart was the only thing I could hear. I felt disturbed and the knowledge that I was alone out here weighed down on me heavily.

The last of the daylight left the sky, the dim gold colours giving over to total darkness. I looked and above me, I saw Heaven.