Getting Ready

blur-1867322_1920

It was getting to the end of the year again and the orders were mounting up. Kate owed a small online pampering productions business. It was her most busiest time for making things and it also meant she had no time for herself. The small house smelt like an any famous bath and beauty shop, the air heavy with essential oils, soaps and baking powers.

Even though it was cold, she sometimes had to leave the kitchen and dinning room windows open to get rid of the overpowering smell. Kate had grown use to it over the years she had been making things, but it did get too much. She also had to keep the cat shut up in the living room or her bedroom. The cat was old and had spend most of her life inside, so she didn’t mind.

Every day it felt the same; get up check the new incoming orders, note them down on her list. Then carry on with making orders. The ones she finished, got packed up and ready for posting. Once a week, on Monday, she checked stock and ordered more as well as her bank account to make sure payments were correct. Sometimes, she would work late into the night or get up early to make sure a product was made in good time or an order ready to post the next day.

It was hard and sometimes she wondered why she was doing this but then she would think back. All the jobs she had done after uni had been dull and not tested her enough. Plus, she had hated working under other people and the struggle to the top always felt out of reach. So, one day she had packed it all in and decided to be self-employed and her own boss.

The going had been tough and a few times she had given up but then things had slowly turned around and every year she had gone from strength to strength. Now, she couldn’t be happier.

Advertisements

Today

rain-beads-2347518_1920

It’s raining today, so I can’t be bothered to write. It’s more of a drink tea and read day.

An Autumn Morning #3LineTales

three line tales week 95: cowboys down under because the first Ashes test starts today

Mist danced in the rising sun which fell in-between the tall trees. The land was quiet, expect for the low movements of cattle and horses. The cowboys tried after their drunken late night and rough sleep, dozed on and off, missing the glory that was around them.

(Inspired by; https://only100words.xyz/2017/11/23/three-line-tales-week-95/ with thanks.)

Bleak #writephoto

The winter had stripped the land bare. The only place to go which the snow didn’t cover were the rocks jutting out of the sea. It was there that I stood that day and wondered what we would do if the winter remained. The wind whipped the lowering tide up and spray wet my flushed cheeks. The sky was dusky and the clouds heavy with another snow storm.

With my gloved hands, I pulled my cloak tighter around me. I was use to the freezing chill now. We had suffered five months of this bleak weather. Balancing on the jagged rock tops, I walked across to the tiny temple which the out going tide had revealed. I had no idea who had built the four short pillars and roof but we had always come here to worship the Goddess of nature and the God of the sea.

Everyday since the snowstorms had started, everyone had visited the temples once or twice a day. They prayed that spring came and that the snow went away. I had gone to but then I just couldn’t face it anymore. So, whilst the starving town and village peoples knelt together and muttered prayers, I came out here, to the edge of the world to look for something else.

Entering the temple, I could see the sea on three sides. The waves were a tumbling mass with chunks of ice floating on top. I watched two larger shards bump together then ride away on the waves. Water was dripping off the columns and there was seaweed on the floor. I picked that up and tossed it away. There were some worn etchings underneath.

I wrapped my skirt and cloak around myself before kneeling down. I traced the patterns slowly. They felt familiar and yet I didn’t know what they said. Perhaps, they were nothing but a pretty design on the floor or maybe a prayer. I hoped they were much more though. A spell maybe, to call upon Goddess’ help.

Looking up at the roof, I could see the same patterns up there and they were clearer. The sea had done less damage up there. There was the imagine of the sun and moon coming together, the sea rising below them and a gust of wind moving them. Then there were other symbol pictures and things that looked like words. If only I could understand!

I hung my head and clutched at my skirt. Even if I knew what it said, who was I to cast a spell? There had been no wizards or witches here for years and the wise women and hermits I knew didn’t seem to be magic users. Hugging myself, I sensed the strange feeling in my stomach. It was warm, fluttering, almost like a warm breeze wanting to take me somewhere deep within myself.

Coming here made it stronger, somehow but no matter what I couldn’t seem to follow the warm breeze. I was too weak to reach it. I pressed my hands to the tiny temple floor and breathed in deeply. I willed that feeling to get stronger, even if I couldn’t do anything with it yet, I asked it to help in whatever way it could.

I believed as hard as I could then I felt a snowflake on my nose. Blinking open my eyes, I looked across and saw that another snowfall was starting. The waves were also rising up and darkness was fast approaching. Getting up, I wondered how it had gotten so late, it hadn’t seemed I’d been here long.

Saying a quick prayer, I left the tiny temple and carefully walked over the rock tops. The wind tugged at me almost as if it wanted me to go back and the snow was making the rocks harder to cross. The rocks gave way to dirt and grass which the snow covered faster. I stumbled on, the strange feeling inside of me gone and my mind only on getting home.

Something though seemed to be happening behind me. There was a blue circle of light growing. Perhaps it was just the sea coming back in? I paused and looked but it was hard to make out. The wind blew my hood down, I gasped an turned back again. Either I could open my cloak, remove my hands and put the hood back or I could keep the warm against my body.

The storm was growing, blinding me with snow flurries and forcing me backwards. I tripped on something and fell down. I pulled my hood up and huddled on the ground, hoping it would be over soon. I saw that blue light again and realised that it wasn’t the sea but magic!

I gasped and forgetting everything else, I reached out for it. The light was warm and fluttery, it ran though my hands then was gone. The wind dropped and the snow slowed. I wiped my face, there were icy tears on my cheeks. The blue light was gone and behind me at the temple was nothing.

I got up and walked home. The snow stopped before I got there.

And that was the end of winter.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2017/11/23/thursday-photo-prompt-bleak-writephoto/ with thanks.)

Forbidden (Part 2)

light-clouds-grass-ground

It wasn’t until I got home after emptying my car and leaving it at the garage, that I finally looked at what I’d brought from the antique shop. Sitting on the sofa in the living room, the blinds down, I opened the paper bag and took out a pink tissue wrapped thing.

Unwrapped, a black plastic circle sat in my hand. There was a small dint to slide a nail in and open it by. The lid flipped up and I realised it was a woman’s compact. The bottom disc was empty and wiped clean of the powered it had once held. The top part was a mirror.

I slapped the compact shut. Mirrors were banned! A generation ago they were all smashed because it was claimed they had started to show peoples’ true characters. The New Age Government had passed a law declaring it so. Of course, there had been people denying that and claiming it was another front to suppress us.

I don’t really remember it. Though in one of the memories I have of my grandma there’s a big mirror. She use to sit and brush her hair before it. From time to time, I’ve seen people with small ones and on the screen when old TV shows and movies that weren’t banned were being shown. I had never owed a mirror.

Thinking was beyond me, so I re-wrapped and put it back in the paper bag then I went to my wardrobe. Moving clothes aside, I unlocked the small safe and placed the forbidden item in there. I closed the safe door and sat there for a few minutes. I would have to get rid of it tomorrow. Find some place to smash and dump it. The longer the mirror stayed in my house the more chance it would get discovered during a random police search gang.

A shiver ran through me at that thought. It had been awhile since the banging had come at my door in the early hours of the morning. I hadn’t reached it in time and the police had broken the door down. They had searched my whole apartment, moving furniture, breaking things, making holes in the walls. They had left empty handed and gone to join the other policemen who’d been through my neighbours’ places.

The search gangs were a fact of life but you never got use to them. If they found anything banned you were arrested and taken to jail. So, if they came tonight….

‘No!’ I cried and lunged for the safe.

I scrambled with the lock and put the numbers wrong in twice. Pulling away, I took a few deep breaths then tried again. The safe clicked and I grabbed the paper bag from inside. Clutching it to my chest, I felt a sensation of fire. I had to get rid of this now. Closing the safe and the wardrobe. I went into the kitchen and found a rolling pin. Placing the compact mirror on the floor, I repeatedly hit it.

I didn’t hear any breaking but I was too scared to check. Putting the rolling pin back, I stuffed the now ripped paper bag in my handbag and left. I wasn’t sure where I was going and the weather was so bad. I went to get into my car then remembered it was at the garage being fixed.

I looked back at the apartment building, the wind whipping around me and the rain soaking through my skirt. I couldn’t go back. Walking on, I thought about a location I could take the mirror too. There were some alleyways, a small children’s park, a few bushes pushing out of people’s front gardens….A sign rose above me directing cars on the one way road.

Ahead, the town centre and business distract and to the left the cemetery. That’s where I could bury the compact! I hurried on, huddling in my coat and hoping no one stopped me. The pavement weaved around and around, small house lining either side, many had lights on in their windows. I felt numb with the cold and weighed down with the rain. Turning a corner the houses started to drop away and the further I walked the less there were.

A sign, rattling in the wind, pointed onward and also declared this was a dead end. A few moments later, I could see the open gates of the cemetery. I broke into a slow run, desperate to complete my task. I went through the gates and almost stopped at the first row of headstones. It would have been too simple though. I headed in deeper. The rain dripping of the weeping willows and bending the tall grass. I passed statues of angels and saints who seemed to be crying.

Somehow, in my fogged mind, I remembered a curved wall of names that might have been from a war or from a religious group. It was at the bottom of this pathway and fenced off from the other graves. There was an arc doorway in the centre that might once had opened and led into a tomb. Reaching the fence, I saw a large gap and just squeezed in.

At the side of the stairs leading up, I dug up the grass and soil with my bare hands. I dug as deep as I could then pressed the compact into the earth. I refilled the hole and hoped the rain and wind would cover my tracks. Back through the fence, I located a tap and washed my hands.

Home felt a long way off but I made it back. I didn’t think anyone had seen but it was so hard to tell. There were secret cameras and spies everywhere. I showered, got warm and then dry. I couldn’t eat so I went to bed and just lay there in the dim light, thinking.

I knew the feeling of being found out would never go away. I’d always be looking and wondering for the rest of my life. One other thing was clear to me now though and that was that I couldn’t report the antique shop. If I did, they’d investigate me and I wouldn’t be able to lie.

Forbidden (Part 1)

light-clouds-grass-ground

The antique shop had only been open a few days and from my office window it had seemed busy. There had been a continuous flow of all kinds of people going in and out. Sometimes they carried paper bags but most of the time they came out with nothing. A few people in the office had been and they whispered about the things they had seen behind their hands.

I had no interest in anything the shop was selling. The front window display looked like a posh jumble sell just without the clothes. There were a few tables, bookcases and chairs filled with a variety of items; old books, lamps, dolls, teddy bears, ornaments, vintage toys, clocks etc. Far too much to look at.

Getting into my car after finishing work for the week, the engine wouldn’t start. It was pouring with rain and a snap of winter freeze was in the air. I called my breakdown service and the waiting time was an hour. I looked miserably back at the office building. I could go in and do some more work…or…I glanced across at the antique shop.

With a shrug, I got out of my car and hurried across to the door which was lit up like a lighthouse. Going in, a bell ring over my head and nice warm air hugged me like an old friend. Stepping through, I saw the shop was more packed then the window display! There were tables, bookcases, cabinets, shelves holding all kinds of things that everything blurred into one.

In the center was a square counter and till area. Three old women were stood there helping customers. There was a hushed chatter as if secrets were being spoken. No one looked at me, so I just began moving around. I noticed a staircase to my left with a sign above it saying more things up here. At the back of then room three doors led off but one was marked staff only.

I drifted around, looking but not looking, wondering and frowning. The air smelt of old attic and dried flowers. Sort of comforting but also chocking. Then through the mass of things, I began noticing items that shouldn’t be here and had been prohibited by the New Age Government. Banned books, items related to cigarettes and alcohol,  banned music, statues and sketches of nudes, ‘too’ modern art, fantasy and mythology items. I looked at a model of a red and yellow dragon rising out of flames then I quickly moved on.

That would explain why this shop had seemed so popular! People were looking and buying prohibited items! I hurried into one of the back rooms and found a dark corner. My head was tumbling. If I got caught here that’d be the end of me! The end of everyone in this shop! Having prohibited items meant jail time leading to death unless someone bailed you out.

I shut my eyes and tried to calm down, but I was sweating badly. I took in deep breaths and told myself, I just needed to walk out of here and not come back. I should go and wait in my car for the breakdown man to come. Then when I got home I should report the shop as was my duty. But I couldn’t move.

‘Hey! What you doing!’ a gnarled voice demanded.

I opened my eyes, not sure if I was being addressed or not. There was an old man before me, the light was dim but I could still make him out. He had red cheeks, an angry face and was wearing a tweed suit. He was also carrying a lit lantern.

‘Nothing…I got lost…’ I trailed.

‘You buying something or what?’ he snapped.

‘Oh, erm…This…’ I uttered, without looking I picked up the first thing my right hand touched and showed it him.

He snorted and waved at me to move. I did so and he followed me to the counter. I had closed my hand around the smooth, light object. I kept my eyes up as I placed it down on the glass top and paid for it. Then on receiving a small paper bag, I rushed outside. The rain and freezing cold hit me in the face, whipping the warmth of the shop from me, but I didn’t care.

I got into my car and sit there huddled and shaking. The paper bag clutched my hands like a bomb. A knocking at my window made me jump and I shoved the bag onto the floor and opened the door. It was only the breakdown man, who kindly took me home.

To Be Continued…

 

(Inspired from; https://thewriteedgewritingworkshop.wordpress.com/2017/10/19/writing-prompts-for-monday-october-23-2017/ with thanks).

Season Change

wintry-1959267_1920

The tree didn’t blow in the wind. It just stood frozen at the end of the field.

Fanning The Flames #fridayfictioneers

‘It’s sabotage, you know,’ said my wife.

I pulled a face as we carried on looking out the window. In the street below our apartment two fire engines were putting out the fire engulfing the only house on the block.

‘They’ve been trying to knock down that house for years so they can build another complex there,’ she explained.

‘It was probably an accident,’ I responded.

‘Hopefully, they had good insure and can built another house then,’ my wife added.

A few months later, my wife was proven right.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2017/11/15/10-november-2017/ with thanks).

Haven #writephoto

The sun rose over the little seaside village. The bright yellow, orange, pink and purple colours giving the clouds a rainbow haze against the dusky blue sky. I drove home from my night shift watching as the darkness faded to light and another late autumn day was born.

Glancing over at the sea, it looked calm today. The dark blue, cream topped waves lapping against the crunchy sand shore. The rising sun creating beams of light as the clouds moved. There were no boats or people to be seen just yet. It was too easy to see why this place had been called Haven.

Entering the little road that led into the village which was made up of a handful of fisherman’s cottages, one shop, post office and four holiday homes, I drove past them all and to the larger house that stood by itself on a hill. Originally built for a Navy Admiral who had only lived in it a few years before being lost at sea, the house had then become a hotel and local pub. When that failed, my great grandparents brought it and made it a family home.

Parking up, I just had the energy to get out and make my way into the house. The smell of the sea was heavy and there was sand in the hallway again. Going upstairs, I took everything with me then abandoned it on the chair in my bedroom. I got into bed naked, loving the freedom and feel of the cold sheets.

By the time the sun was fully up and most people were too, I had made a nest out of all the bedding, I settled back and was almost asleep. A car horn sounded and voices shouted. I looked across at the window but of course I couldn’t see anything due to the black out curtains.

I had to wait until the neighbours had driven off or gone back inside before trying again. Being exhausted after a twelve hour shift on the hospital ward helped and I was asleep before I even knew it, safe in my own little haven.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2017/11/16/thursday-photo-prompt-haven-writephoto with thanks).

The Paper Mill (Part 3)

pexels-photo-416326

I went home, got my college stuff and caught the bus. Resting my head against the wet window, my thoughts drifted and before I knew it, the bus was stopping outside the college’s gates. Getting off, I headed straight for the library which was either going to be packed or….empty.

There was no one in the lobby, not even a librarian at the desk. I turned back, checked the open sign in the window then with a shrug walked though. The tables and sofas running down the left side were strangely empty. Tall bookcases set up like dominoes were on the other side. There was a staircase straight to my right which I went up.

Pushing through the double doors, I heard whispers of voices and saw two woman at a table with books scattered around them. Feeling better that I wasn’t alone, I went to the section of books I needed and starting gathering more research for my essay. It did take a little while but soon, I was totally focused on my studies.

By the time I left the library, due to the fact it was closing early, the sky was so dark it seemed to be the middle of the night. I huddled in the bus shelter with three other people- a girl and two guys- who held a mixture of conversions. My bag was heavy with books as I’d taken out so I had some more to get through the weekend with. I kept switching shoulders with it then finally give up and set it down my feet.

It was raining lightly now but the wind had really picked up and I could feel the cold through my winter coat. I looked at the bus time table again and noticed the bus was late. I hope they hadn’t cancelled. If the weather and the darkness had been better I would have walked again. The paper mill came back into my head and I hoped the girl was okay.

The bus emerged from the black road and came to a stop before us. I hurried on and took a seat close to the front. There were a few other people on the bus and they all looked as wet and cold as us students did. During the drive, I thought about getting off at the stop close to the mill, but I decided I was too tried and hungry to do that. Plus, I’d have to walk back too.

Arriving at home, I showered and got changed, so I was warmer, then I heated up a can of soup. Eating before the glow of the TV, I blocked out the loneliness of the house. My grandparents had gone for a month and wouldn’t be back for another week. Perhaps, that was why I was so desperate about the homeless girl? I was too tried to think any more.

Leaving the hall light on, I went up to bed. I read for bit before laying in the dimly lit room. The wind was still howling outside and the rain was hitting the window. I thought it would take me awhile to sleep but it came on my quickly. I didn’t have any dreams and I felt refreshed.

Getting up and ready, I saw it had stopped raining. I made breakfast and decided I had to go back to the abandoned mill. I packed up some more food- things that were going out of date from the fridge, some fruit and more tins. This time I also went into the attic and found an old but still good sleeping bag and a pillow.

Walking over, the sky threatened more rain and I past a few cars driving about. At the rows of houses there was more activity as children played outside and parents unloaded shopping. I got a look off an older man and it took me a few moments to realise he was wondering where I was going with a sleeping bag in one hand and a pillow poking out of a carry bag in the other. He’d did’t say anything though.

The paper mill looked the same though in the morning light I could see more of the decay and nature taking over. I crept in, across the courtyard and inside the main building. There was water dripping somewhere and the creaking of wood. I didn’t need my torch this time and I was able to got the right way too!

The girl was still in the room and as I entered the doorway, I saw her piling damp wood closer to the fire pit. She was wearing the coat, bobble hat and a pair of trousers that I had given her. My heart leaped and I felt better.

‘Hello,’ I called.

She stopped, give me a nod and set the wooden planks down.

‘Do the clothes fit?’ I asked walking in.

She give a shrug and said something that I missed.

‘I thought maybe you’d like this too,’ I said and held out the sleeping bag and pillow.

She came and took them from me and whilst she was looking at them, I took the rucksack off and began emptying it. I set all the food down then zipped up the rucksack and slipped it on again. I smiled at her.

‘Why…do you keep doing this?’ she said slowly.

‘I guess because….’ I frowned and really thought about why.

‘Are you sorry for me? Is that why?’ she demanded.

‘No!’ Well, maybe a little…’

‘I don’t need your pity,’ she snapped.

She crossed her arms over her chest and turned her head away.

I pressed my lips together and replied, ‘I’d have been throwing all this away anyway…’

She didn’t responded. I shifted around on my feet and decided it was time I admitted the truth to her and myself.

‘I’m lonely. I guess that’s why…’ I said.

Our eyes meet then she looked me up and down.

‘I don’t believe you,’ she answered.

Sighing, I spoke, ‘guess that is bit odd but it’s the truth.’

‘I don’t need friends. They only stab you in the back,’ she explained, ‘I’m happy alone.’

Nodding, there was nothing else to say. I began to leave.

‘Don’t come back again,’ she said quietly, ‘I won’t be here.’

I glanced over my shoulder at her. The dirt on her child-like face and her unkempt dark hair stuck in my mind. Going home, I reflected on our conversion and decided I need to make more effort in class to make some friends.

I managed to stay away from the old paper mill for a week but then I had to go back again. I went empty handed this time because I just needed to know if she had left or not.

When I arrived, there was a new metal fence around the mill and signs warning people not to trespass and beware dangerous building. I pressed myself to the gate, looking at the mill and I saw that the doors and lower windows had been boarded up.

‘I hope you found somewhere else to go,’ I whispered.

Turning away, I went to catch the bus to meet my new friends for lunch.