Obelisk

After endless days of drifting in the sea, Mongrel spotted something. The sun was just rising, casting a sick yellow glow over everything and the sky was opal blue. Gentle waves were lapping the small wooden boat as if it was a rocking cradle.

‘Look!’ Mongrel cried.

The four sleeping bodies in the bottom of the boat stirred.

‘Something coming!’ Mongrel added.

A head rose up, a hand rubbing at the face and a man’s voice said, ‘what?’

‘See,’ Mongrel replied and pointed at the strange shape arising out of the sea.

Elk, the leader of the remaining Spear tribe family, looked. Frowning, he rubbed more sleep from his eyes then focused on the shape again. It had been so long seen he last seen anything other then water and sky.

‘Is it food?’ a young girl’s voice asked.

‘No. It’s building,’ Mongrel gushed, ‘Row! Quick!’

‘Aye!’ Elk shouted.

There was a scramble in the little boat as two adults, a man and a woman sit on beaches facing each other and took up the battered wooden oars. Whilst a six year old child scrambled over them all to come to Mongrel’s side to see what the fussy was about.

‘Go ahead, Jagger and Thistle!’ Mongrel directed.

After a few moments of floundering, the boat began moving swiftly towards the structure. The oars slapped the calm water, breaking through the stillness that had settled in the night.

‘What is it?’ the girl asked.

‘A totem? A watch tower? Don’t know, Ember,’ Mongrel answered quietly.

Ember huddled against him. Feeling safer snuggling into the bear skin coat Mongrel was wearing in. Keeping her eyes fixed on the building, she watched it growing before her.

Soon, the little boat was close enough for them all to see that the structure was a white stone tower on top of a cliff face.

‘Land,’ Elk whispered.

He licked salt from his lips and moved around the boat to take the oar from Thistle.

She passed it on and moved to the back of the boat to rest.

Sea water began spraying over the boat as Elk rowed fast. The tower grew then they passed it and saw before them a golden beach edged by trees.

‘Land,’ Mongrel cried.

Spurred on, Elk and Jagger rowed harder. The boat bounced over the waves then started to ground in the sand.

Mongrel scrambled out, Elk and Jagger joined him. They pulled the boat ashore.

Falling into the sand, they cried out wildly.

‘This!’ Elk declared, ‘will be our new home!’

 

(Inspired from: https://scvincent.com/2017/05/04/thursday-photo-prompt-obelisk-writephoto/ with thanks)

Toxic Thunder

pexels-photo-67102

It had been raining forever. At least it felt that way. I liked the rain, but I wanted to feel the sun on my face as I had done as a child. I remembered the yellow warmth, just about. The rain was always cold and wet, sometimes it would be a different colour too. When that happened people stayed inside for fear they might become contaminated. Though really, all water was toxic.

They claimed there was nothing they could do about it. It was a world wide disaster and the predicated death levels were higher then the War. That was the price we were paying for chemical warfare, the government said. Still, scientists and others were working around the clock for solutions whilst there was hope left. Everywhere warning signs stated not to drink unfiltered water, to stay inside as much as possible and report all health problems to a doctor.

Today, the rain was a lime green colour which was why I wasn’t allowed outside. Sitting in the window seat of the second floor landing, I watched a few brave people walking the street below me. They held their umbrellas up high and huddled in thick coats, as if that would protect them.

The book I had picked from our small library lay opened but unread in my lap. Since there was no going to school today, father had insisted we self-educate. My two brothers had taken over the library with their historical debates. Father was in the study and Mother had gone to lay down as as the lime rain had given her a headache, or so she had claimed. I could have gone to my day room, the family lounge or the parlour, instead I went to the best spot in the house to see the outside world.

I pressed the side of my head to the wet glass, knowing I’d be told off for getting my curled blonde hair damp. I didn’t care. I watched guards in red uniforms appear and began clearing people from the street. They must have been told that the toxic level had reached a high. A siren began to wail, confirming that. The street quickly cleared and just in time too as the lime rain picked up and started to change colour.

Black rain began falling and in the distance came a rumble of thunder. I tightened my grip on the book. The page corners curling under my fingers. I had always feared storms, but they were worse now. They said sometime toxic rain conducted lightening and exploded. Fires were common during storms and deaths.

I tried to relax my hands, the hard corners of the cover were digging into me. The thunder growled louder, sounding so close. The street before me went dark with only a few dots of light peering out. The lightening flashed, yellow red, capturing the street in that moment. I heard a popping sound and the lights around me all started to flicker.

The smell of gas and burning electricity filled the air. An emergency bell rang though the house, backed by the siren’s call. There was a rush of footsteps and voices. The clatter of things being dropped and doors moving echoed throughout the house.

‘To the shelter, quickly!’ my father bellowed.

‘I’ll get Madam,’ a maid spoke.

‘Where is Miss Victoria?’ another voice asked.

A flash of lighting hit the sky making me jump as it crackled away. I stood up, clutching my book and hurried two flights of downstairs. In the grand hallway, everyone was rushing into the kitchen, shouting at each other. I joined them hurrying into the cellars. My shoulders and skirts brushing maids and kitchen staff.

I tripped down the stone steps, losing a shoe, and my one of my brothers caught me at the bottom. He had to move me out of the way as the last people flew down and the metal door slammed shut. My brother rushed me down the corridors, through the wine and food cellars. My legs and feet hurt as we went further down. Finally, we arrived with everyone else in the last and deepest cellar. My brother hushed me into a corner and left me breathing in the damp air.

Huddling in the dim light with my family and servants, I caught my breath. My mother looking dazed was sitting on a small bed, half hidden by  a curtain. My father was sat comforting her and my brothers were giving orders to some of the servants. I tucked myself into a alcove, hugging my book and praying we would survived.

Horizon #writephoto

horizon

The horizon didn’t look like anything Peaches had imagined it to be. She had thought it was going to bright and colourful, like in the old photos and film reals she had seen, instead though it was a dull blue-grey.

‘Not the promises I was led to believe,’ she muttered.

She lent her too thin body forward and rested her chin on her knees. Her arms were tightly wrapped behind her knees, keeping the long wool skirt in place and stopping the strong breeze from getting in.

Around her all the children and some of the adults from the Church Of The Redeemed Evangelists were splashing in the salty water or playing in the sand or exploring the rocks and caves. Cries of delight but also screams of pain could be heard amongst the babble of voices.

Peaches ignored them all, feeling tried and empty of the hope she had been holding in for so long.

‘What’s wrong with you?’ a sharp female voice asked.

With only moving her eyes, Peaches looked up and realised she wasn’t the one being addressed. Before her was a small woman, wearing the clothes of a Senior Sister; a long black dress which completely covered her body and a black head dress with a grey trim. Next to her was a small girl with blonde hair in a blue wool dress who was crying and rubbing her face.

‘My eyes hurt!’ the girl cried.

‘I knew this trip to the surface world would bring nothing but troubles,’ the Senior Sister spoke loudly, ‘and what have you learnt out here? Nothing. It would have been better to remain in the Temple. Come along, child. We shall wash your face.’

Peaches watched the Senior Sister taking the girl’s hand and leading her away to the little camp set up in a sheltered spot. There were two other Sisters sat there and from their clothes Peaches could tell they were Mothers, the highest of the female order.

‘I don’t want that to be my fate,’ Peaches whispered.

She looked at the horizon again, it still seemed bleak. However, there could only be freedom on the other side.

Peaches cast a long look around then slowly got up. She made as if she was just walking along the rough sand. Finally, though she was out of sight and trying to figure out how she could reach her horizon.

 

 

(Inspired by a prompt from; https://scvincent.com/2017/03/09/thursday-photo-prompt-horizon-writephoto. With thanks).

Still Alive

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

Gift wasn’t sure how long the town had been abandoned as the records only went back fifty years. Crunching glass and fallen plaster under her boots, she entered what had once been a living room.

Looking through the breathing mask’s visor, she spotted the white flowering plant on the window sill. Smiling, she walked over and picked the plant pot up gingerly.

You’re safe now, she thought, clutching the plant, but you’ve got a big job ahead, flower.

Gift stepped outside and back into the war torn grey landscape. Hurrying towards the safety of the underground city, she hoped that one day she would be able to see the green surface world that she only knew from the legends.

 

(Inspired from Friday Fictioneers prompt; https://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/2017/02/01/3-february-2017/ photo by Roger Bultot thanks)

Anomaly

colours

Anomaly; something that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected.

What was that thing in the sky? Dream paused and stared harder across the vast, empty landscape. Against the pale blue sky was a beam of multicolored light. She frowned then pulled out her telescope from her belt and had a closer look. Still though, she could make out nothing further, but the colors looked brighter now.

‘What is that?’ she spoke aloud.

‘Your big butt!’ a voice shouted at her.

Dream rolled her eyes and tutted. Putting the telescope away, she twisted her head, so she was looking back down the ladder. A glow of light showed the way and at the bottom waiting was a figure grinning up at her. Dream snatched a small rock from the surface and dropped it down.

‘Ouch! Watch it!’

Swallowing a laugh, Dream pulled herself out of the pipe and climbed down. Her feet hit the sand and rose a dust cloud around her. Making sure her mask and goggles were secure, she began walking in the direction of the strange light beam.

Minutes later, she was joined by a tall, red haired young man. He punched her in the shoulder then raced off. Dream stopped and rubbed the spot, though her leather padded jacket had taken much of the impact. Muttering revenge, Dream watched him slow down as he saw the thing in the sky too.

‘What do you think that is?’ he called over his shoulder.

‘No idea, Link,’ she replied, ‘I was on my way to check it out when you interrupted me,’ Dream answered.

‘I’m sorry your Royal Highness. Please continue!’ Link mocked and give a fancy bow.

Dream stormed passed him, trying not to hit him as she went. He came to her side moments later and in a awe silence, they walked towards the beam of colors. The landscape rose and fall around them, the yellow sand all that could be seen for miles. The only sound was their footsteps and the wind shifting the fine grains against each other.

‘We’re never going to get there!’ Link broke in after awhile.

Dream came to a stop on top of a large dune and looked across at the beam. She could see it better now, but it seemed to be fading.  The colors were arching up from the ground to the sky were they disappeared into the blue.

‘It looks like a path into the sky,’ she mused.

‘Don’t be stupid!’ Link snapped, ‘I don’t care what it is. Let’s go back. It’s getting too hot.’

‘You go back if you want. I’m going to find where it meets the ground,’ Dream responded.

‘Are you crazy?’

Dream didn’t reply, but walked off. The loose sand give way under her and she half skidded down the side of the dune. At the bottom, she found her feet and carried on walking. From behind her came the sound of Link half running half tumbling to join her.

‘Dream! Stop!’ he shouted.

She ignored him and picked up her pace. Breaking into a jog, she went around another dune and found herself in a maze of sand hills. Taking in a few deep breaths, she scrambled up the first one and looked down.

There below her was the source of the multi-colored light beam. Thanking her luck, she went down and towards it.

‘Dream! Where are you!’ Link yelled.

‘Over here!’ she shouted back, ‘I’ve found it. It’s some kind of crystal!’

Dream knelt down and looked closely at the clear cut rock that was half buried in the ground. Beams of light were shinning off it as the sunlight was touching it. Dream slowly reached out to touch it.

‘Don’t!’ Link gasped as he came to join her.

She looked at him, but couldn’t fully read his expression behind his mask.

‘It’s just a crystal. Like the ones you dig up all the time,’ she said.

‘It might be from the World Before. We shouldn’t touch it. We know what it is now, let’s go,’ Link spoke.

Dream looked at the crystal, tempted by it’s beauty. Link was right though.

‘It could be important,’ she thought aloud, ‘and if we leave it, it might not be here later.’

‘I don’t like it,’ Link muttered.

Dream shrugged and put her gloved hand onto of the crystal. The beam of light disappeared. Dream curled her fingers around the rock and picked it up. It was smaller and lighter then it had looked. She opened her hand and straight away the colors came back and danced around the surface of the crystal.

‘How weird,’ Dream uttered.

‘Can we go now?’ Link demanded.

Dream closed her fingers over the crystal again and got up,’sure. Maybe someone back home will know what this is,’ she added.

 

Story inspired by Sue’s prompt at https://scvincent.com/2016/11/03/thursday-photo-prompt-anomaly-writephoto/ – click to read the other stories.

The Season of Change

autumn, fall, forest

The colorful leaves fall from the trees, dancing to the ground.

I walk through them, admiring the feel of the misty morning on my skin.

Though, it’s just a vision of what once was long ago before the finally war.

 

Here We Stand (Part 8)

Religious Statue in Greyscale Photo

We finished eating and drinking. I settled back in the chair, feeling fuller then I had in ages. Jasmine started to tidy up. She poured the rest of the water from the black kettle into the sink and placed the dishes and cups in. As she washed, dried and put away, an idea came to me.

‘Thanks that was great,’ I said.

She nodded her head at me then carried on.

‘I just remembered some traps I left in the woods. I should go and get them before we leave. Why don’t you pack you things and meet me back at the church?’

‘So you are going to let me come with you?’ she cried, turning from the cupboard and pressing her hands to the top of a chair.

‘Sure…’

I dropped my eyes to her breasts, which were now sadly covered by that t-shirt, but I made sure she noticed the look though. She looked down too, her brain taking a few moments to wonder what I was staring at. She glanced up at me, a small frown on her face. Nothing else needed to be said though.

I got up, picked my hiking bag up from the floor and left the kitchen.

‘My cat is coming too!’ she shouted.

‘Whatever,’ I called back, rolling my eyes.

At the front door, I risked a look back but I couldn’t see her, though there was a lot of rattling and movement happening in the kitchen. Opening the door, I stepped out and closed it again. I heard voices and sounds of laughter coming from the trees, perhaps the rumble of an engine. Then I was gone.

I hadn’t lied to her about the traps. Though I hadn’t caught anything. All six were empty. I secured all the wire nooses and put them back in hiking bag. My jeans were wet from the dew and the damp soil. Wiping my hands, I got my bearings and realized the fastest direction out of here would take me passed the church.

Sighing, I headed that way but kept to the trees. Hopefully, she was still packing or chasing her cat, but even if she was there I could easily move further into the trees. An image of Jasmine’s breasts straining against the frill of that blue dress popped into my head. My feet stopped and my hand reached across the middle of my jeans.

Shaking the thought away and telling myself later, I carried on walking. There were too many cons for her coming with, including my uncontrollable urges to get between her legs. Where witches good in bed? I growled and set everything aside as I navigated the woods. The sounds of motorbikes filled my ears. I was coming close to the back of the church and the graveyard now.

A startled cry came from that direction, making me stop and turn my head. I heard the sound of laughter and voices. Frowning and unable to stop myself, I went to the tree line. I couldn’t see anything other then the side of the church and the beginning of the graveyard. I’d have to get closer…

Sticking to the church wall, I crept over and peered around the corner. My heart sank and all thoughts of leaving Jasmine behind slipped away. She was standing in the middle of the biker gang. The four heavy set guys and two thin girls were grouped around her. They motorbikes formed an out wall, making it seem that they too were ganging up on her.

They all worn black leather jackets with a fading biker gang name on that I couldn’t make out. The girls were both wearing denim bare thread short shorts and tank tops. The men had either leather pants or torn jeans with scruffy t-shirts or vest tops.

As I watched, one the girls, who had long wild brown hair, ripped something out of Jasmine’s hands. It was a plastic animal carrier cage, out of which came a loud meow. The girl looked inside and passed it to one of the guys.

‘Can your cat fly, witch?’ the girl taunted.

‘No,’ Jasmine cried, ‘leave him alone!’

The group laughed then the man holding the cat carrier swept his arm around and flung it away like a Frisbee. The cat let out a long howl whilst at the same time Jasmine screamed and tried to dash after the carrier. Another guy, who seemed to be the leader, wrapped an arm around her throat. She chocked and clawed at him, but he didn’t let go as the group roared with laughter.

The cage landed with a loud thunk, just avoiding a headstone. I looked over and saw that it was close by. Listening and watching, I waited for a sign of life and when the cat mewed softly, an idea came into my head. I licked my dry lips and slipped my fingers down to my right boot. I eased out my sheathed hunting knife and began thinking of a plan of attack.

‘You know for a witch you’ve got a fine body,’ the man holding Jasmine spoke out.

My eyes shot back up and watched as the leader brought his other hand up and began massaging Jasmine’s right breast. She turned her head up and away to look at the tree tops. Her face twisted into an unpleasant, pained look. The leader dropped his head to her exposed neck and licked it with a long, wet tongue.

The other men chuckled, but the two girls didn’t look happy. Jasmine had her head turned too far away now, but my guess was that she wasn’t enjoying the attention at all.

The leader whispered something in her ear then turned back to the rest of his gang, ‘the witch is up for a little fun, I think!’

Laughter rose and they made to move off.

Unsheathing my knife, I held the handle in my right arm and rested the blade against my bare lower arm. Slipping the leather holder back in my boot, I darted out and snatched up the cat carrier. A small yowl rose out of it. Hiding the knife as best I could, I walked towards the group.

‘Hey! I think you forgot something!’ I yelled and jiggled the cat carrier lightly.

Another yowl came from the box as they all looked at me. Frowns and puzzlement appeared on their faces. I approached the circle and went to stand in the middle of it. A large hiking bag with lots of things tied to it lay on the grass close to Jasmine’s and the leader’s feet. I lowered the cat carrier to my side and kept the knife tugged away in my other hand.

‘Who the fuck are you?’ the leader snarled.

I shrugged, ‘just a traveler.’

‘This is non of your business, leave.’

‘It’s cool. I only wanted a piece of the action,’ I drawled and grinned in Jasmine’s direction.

She mumbled something that sounded like my name but I couldn’t have been sure.

‘You know this loser?’ the leader asked, he moved his arm so Jasmine’s head would move towards me.

‘No,’ she sighed.

The leader looked me up and down then said, ‘whatever, but you’ll have to wait your turn.’

‘I did see her first though,’ I challenged and slowly moved close to him and her.

‘Fuck off,’ the leader growled, ‘this is my turf and the witch belongs to me.’

‘I don’t belong to anyone!’ Jasmine shouted.

She brought her elbow up and hit him in the chin. The leader cried out and Jasmine turned enough away from him to give me a clear shot.

I jumped forward and stuck the hunting knife deep into his stomach. I yanked it out and pressed the cat carrier into Jasmine’s hands as he buckled over. I sprinted for the first motorbike I saw, tucking the knife away into the back of my jeans and scrambling on, hoping that Jasmine was behind me. I heard the cries and shouts from the rest of the biker gang and knew any moment one for them would be grabbing me off.

I started the engine and felt a lot of power flowing through me. Then Jasmine was hitting me on the shoulder with the car carrier and I was tearing away. One of the men got in the way, but I pulled the bike to the right. We almost skidded out of control, but then I directed it forward again.

‘They’re coming!’ Jasmine yelled into my ear.

We bounced over a headstone and the massive monster machine threaten to throw us off. I wrestled to get it back under control whilst the sound of other motorbikes filled the air. I drove into the tree line, feeling branches whipping me. I thought I heard Jasmine cry out then shout something.  I ducked my head then deciding keeping it down was the best idea.

Somehow I guided us through the trees and we came out on a road. I gunned it. The motorbike roared beneath me and as everything started to flash by I had a hard time seeing. Tears fuzzed my vision and I was aware of two things jabbing into me on either side. I wanted to risk I glance over my shoulder to see if they were catching up, but it was too dangerous to take my eyes off the worn out road.

A cross way appeared before us and with a quick thought, I steered the bike to the right. The road here was worse and we bumped along for a few moments. I risked a look across then and saw three motorbikes zooming after us. I yanked the bike to the right, angling my body with it and off roading into a clump of trees.

I popped back on the road again and shot down it. I nudged Jasmine who was hanging on to my hiking bag for dear life.

‘What are they doing?’ I yelled.

‘Turning around!’ she screamed, ‘why are we going back?’

Ignoring her, I spotted a turn off coming up and took it. The motorbike, still acting like a wild bull under me tried to launch us off again, but I kept a tight grip and drove it on. My mind raced with all kinds of thoughts and I couldn’t stop it enough to think clearly. The road ahead split to the left and the right. Guessing the right led to the village, I took the left and we passed a burnt out car I recalled seeing on my way in.

I knew how to try and lose this guys.

A few more minutes down the road, which flashed by on the motorbike, I spotted the remains of a bridge. I aimed towards it, remembering that though it was full of holes it still had seemed strong enough. I ploughed on, then at the last moment veered off to the side and down to the river. Above me, I heard the roar of engines and the rattling of the bridge.

I glanced up and saw that they had been unable to turn off in time. I wrestled the motorbike around and we almost ended up sideways. Fighting for control, I got the beast directed backwards up the sloping river embankment and drove back onto the road. I half wanted to stop and see what had happened, but it would have wasted time, especially if they or one of them hadn’t fallen for it.

I drove us on for awhile then spotted another church bell tower poking out of the trees. I looked behind us and saw the road was empty. Maybe it had worked after all? I looked back and saw the line of a road coming up on the right. I turned on to it and drove towards the church.

Avoiding the twisted iron that had once formed a gate and fence, I brought the motorbike to the back of the church and cut the engine. We were sheltered by a lot of tall trees and nature.

‘You still alive back there?’ I spoke softly.

‘Just,’ came a small reply.

I felt Jasmine getting off the motorbike and falling to the ground. I hopped off and knelt beside her. Her face was wet and she was shaking, but she didn’t look hurt. She shrugged off the hiking bag, she had somehow manged to grip. Jasmine turned to the carrier, opened it and took the black cat out. Surprisingly, he had survived. She hugged him to her chest and buried her face into his fur. He mewed and looked at me.

‘Did you see what happened?’ I asked her breathlessly.

‘One of them fell off the bridge, the other two stopped in time. They went to help him,’ Jasmine’s muffled voice came.

‘We need to keep moving. They’re going to come after us.’

I pulled out my knife, which had been badly digging in my back and sheathed it again. Tucking it into my boot, I went back to the motorbike and climbed on. Jasmine said something to the cat and gently placed him back in the carrier. He went in without any fuss then she picked up her bag and the box up before scrambling up behind me.

I started the engine once more and guided the machine around, I was getting use to it now. We followed our tracks back and jumped onto the road again. I looked left and right but couldn’t see anything. The sound of the motorbike made it hard for me to hear, but I took Jasmine’s word of it and drove us off down the road.

*****

Side Note.

Hi there, thanks for reading this story. If you have any feedback of any kind please feel free to send it to me, I like reading and replying to comments. Plus, it helps improve my writing.

At this moment, I’ve no further plans for ‘Here We Stand’ though I’m kind of tempted to turn it into a novel for NaNoWriMo this year, because I think there’s a lot more to tell! I’m not sure yet though, but it would be interesting to here your thoughts.

As with all my stories, I just let them unfold, so it’s hard to predicted how long they’ll end up sometimes. I do feel sad to finish this one though. Elk seemed to be developing into an interesting character and yeah, I know the science fiction-dystopia setting didn’t really come across how I wanted it to, but sometimes I just find it hard to cram everything in to these short stories.

Anyway, thanks for all your support and I really hope you’ve enjoyed reading this story. Here’s to a new month of writing!

Hayley.

Here We Stand (Part 7)

Religious Statue in Greyscale Photo

I stared at her, puzzlement filling my face as her words echoed inside my head. The urges between my legs faded and I forgot about everything else for a moment. Then reality hit.

‘You don’t know me…Why do you want to?’ I asked.

She shrugged and said, ‘there’s nothing here for me now. My gran…’ she touched the cross at her throat and began rubbing it between her fingers, ‘she died a few months back. She was all I had.’

‘Well, I’m sorry about that…but-‘

‘There’s nothing left here! Everyone will move out soon and I…I don’t think they’ll let me go with them…’

I looked at her again, trying to figure out why she believed that. I looked at how pale her skin was and went for a guess, ‘because you’re sick?’

She turned her head way and rested her chin on her shoulder, ‘yes,’ she breathed, ‘but that’s not the only thing.’

I pulled a face, wondering if she had lied to me, ‘so you’re supernatural then?’ it was the only other explanation.

She nodded, ‘I’m a witch.’

Maybe I should have been more surprised, but I was too busy thinking about how much of a risk her coming along would be.

‘I can’t let you,’ I spoke after a few moments of pause.

She put her hands on her hips. Her breasts sticking out even more and gaining my full attention.

‘Why not?’ she snapped, ‘I know how to fight and I got things to trade for food. My gran and I use to travel all the time. And I know how to forge and I can make healing potions to sell and I can tell real fortunes.’

She folded her arms over her chest. Blocking my view and making me look up at her. Her face was set in determination. There was no way she was going to be talked out of this.

‘That’s all well and good. But why me? Why do you need someone to travel with? Don’t you know it’s easier to be alone?’ I asked.

‘Of course it’s easier, but there’s safety in numbers too. Plus, I have more chance of being left alone if I’m with you,’ she added.

A thought slowly formed in my mind, ‘you want a bodyguard?’

She shook her head, ‘a companion.’

‘I don’t know….’

‘The cards said you’d be difficult,’ she sighed.

‘What?’

‘Look, we need to leave. Come back to granny’s – mine and I’ll make us some hot food. We can talk about it more there.’

I frowned and turned my head to look at the line of trees behind me. My feet wanted to go towards them, I needed to carry on walking. She was right when she said there was nothing here for anyone and yet I couldn’t do it. I turned back and saw that she was already walking away, clutching the edges of her dress in both hands. She was wearing knee length leather boots, so I couldn’t actually see anything of her legs. Still though…

I followed her, casting all my thoughts aside. We walked into the clump of trees that the biker gang had come from and I saw a small house just to the left of us. It was sheltered by the trees and other nature, so if you didn’t know it was there you might miss it. We followed a path of flattened grass and arrived at a gate and fence. It was white, picketed and intact. A  plastic red sign on the gate read Healer’s House. Potions and fortune telling.

She opened the gate and walked in. There was a little path running through the front garden and to the front door. On either side plants had taken over and there were little labels sticking up from the ground. I looked around, fascinated at everything that was growing. I heard her unlock the door and go in.

A soft meowing and her muttering voice drew me away. Looking over I saw her holding a small black cat. She was hugging it and rubbing her chin on it’s head. I went over and saw that many things were hanging off the front of the house. There were wind chimes, sun catches dream catches, fluttering bits of paper, ribbon and feathers.

‘Why would you want to leave here?’ I asked.

She shrugged, ‘because it’s time to move on.’

‘The cards tell you that?’ I sneered.

She shot me a warning look then walked into the house. I looked out across the garden then further along the treeline and towards the church tower. My thoughts whirled. Being mean to her wasn’t going to help. My stomach rumbled and I realized how hungry I was. I had become so use to it now though that I just forgot most of the time.

I walked into the house, closing the door which caused a tinkling charm to sound. A hallway ran ahead of me, three doors leading off to rooms. There was a fourth and a staircase to my left. There was so much dark brown wood everywhere it was unbelievable. This place had been untouched by everyone but those living here.

I went into the first room and found a nice, tidy living room. There were handmade cushions and blankets on non-broken armchairs and sofas. An old TV stood in one corner as if just waiting for the kids to come home and switch it on for cartoons. Just like I had seen pictures of and heard stories about. In the far corner was a bookcase, stuffed full of things.

Going over, I felt rugs under my feet and the gentle squeak of floorboard. It had been awhile seen I had seen books. Slowly, I reached out and touched the spine of one.

‘You read?’ she asked.

I half turned, my hand falling away, ‘Barely.’

‘I’ll teach you if you want.’

I glanced back then turned fully to her, ‘this must have taken ages,’ I said indicating the room with my hands, ‘anyone would kill for a place like this. How can you want to leave?’

She looked at the floor and I noticed she had taken the dress off and was now wearing jeans and a loose t-shirt.

‘I must,’ she finally whispered, ‘come into the kitchen.’

She walked away, her footsteps muffled by the hallway carpet. I followed, my fingers unable to stop touching things. The kitchen was warm and bright. She had a fire going in the old stove. I guessed she had light it before going to the church. The cat was curled up on the floor next to it. There was a small table and chairs in the middle of the kitchen and I took a seat.

The curtains were drawn over the windows, but some light still seeped in. Herbs and plants hung above us, drying. There was a collection of small bottles and jars to one side, with recipe book beside them. The air smelled sweet, sugar like, but I had no idea what the cause was.

She made tea and brought it over with a plate of biscuits. Then she went back to the stove and returned with two steaming bowls of stew. She give me a bowl then picked up the teapot.

‘What’s your name?’ she asked as she poured the tea.

‘Elk. What’s your’s?’ I answered then realized I had never asked her.

‘Jasmine. Do you take milk and sugar?’

‘You have them?’

She nodded and held up a small bowl and a jug.

‘How? And yes.’

‘We use to have a goat,’ she said as she handed me a tea cup.

‘Oh?’

‘I sold it and the sugar gran got ages ago.’

I hummed and picked up a spoon. The stew looked good. I had a small sip and it tasted so rich and meaty.

Jasmine sat down and picked up a biscuit. She dunked it into the tea then began nipping on it. I watched her feeling full of mixed emotions and thoughts. How could I leave this girl behind?

But I knew I just had too.

To Be Continued…

Here We Stand (Part 6)

Religious Statue in Greyscale Photo

I walked back through the graveyard, avoiding the nearly hidden headstones. Once the grass would have been cut short and and the names would have been readable. I had never seen an old graveyard like that. People didn’t have time to care anymore and the way of dealing with bodies now had to be fast. The mass burning and burying in cemeteries and parks was easier and better to stop the spread of disease.

My boots hit what had been the pathway to the church. I could smell the motorbikes’oil and petrol  as well as something else. The biker gang had been smoking something powerful and disgusting. I wrinkled my nose at the possible homemade drug and looked into the church doorway. I couldn’t see anything.

Stepping in, I wondered where she had hidden. The church looked the same as when I had fled from it. Rumble was still on the floor, light was peeking through the window and silence had returned. I started walking to the altar and halfway there give up trying to be quiet. There was just too much shifting rumble.

Climbing on to the altar, I stopped and looked left and right. I could hear the dripping water from the sink and settling stones. If she was still here and alive, she would have heard me by now. There was no way she would come out of hiding unless I called out as she probably thought I was one of the biker gang.

What was I even doing here anyway? Why was I making this matter? I hitched up my rucksack and turned to look down the church. I still felt torn for some reason, but finally I convinced myself to start leaving. Maybe the girl was armed and unfriendly? What if this was some kinda trap?

‘Hello?’

The voice was soft and wispy, yet it me like a bullet. I spun, my hand reaching down my leg to the hunting knife in my boot. I never made it, because one look at her made me freeze again.

She was pretty, yet her skin was very pale and sick looking. She had bright blue eyes that looked tried and puzzled. Her lips were making a little frown. The blue dress hung loosely off her, that was why it was more floaty then it seemed. It reached down to the floor and pooled around her feet.

I could see the bones in her neck and shoulders starkly. She was wearing a necklace; a small gold cross. Her really light yellow, almost white hair was swept back, away from her face and trailing down her back. Then there were the tops of large breasts, framed by blue lace which did nothing to hide them.

‘I’m not going to hurt you,’ I forced out as I slowly straightened, ‘unless you’re going to hurt me…’

She shook her head and showed me her empty hands. Then dropped them to her side again. I looked her up and down, my eyes lingering on her moving cleavage. She could have concealed something in the dress, even if it was a baby kitchen knife or a needle.

‘Were they after you?’I asked and nodded to the doorway as if the biker gang was still there.

‘In a way,’ she uttered, ‘They like to bully, but they are all talk really.’

‘What are you doing here?’ Now I had opened my mouth I couldn’t stop.

‘Praying.’

She looked up at the large glass stained window and the hollows. I looked too, but couldn’t see anything there. The window was dark as the sun hadn’t moved around yet. I could make the pictures though; an angel, a man on a cross, people crying.

I looked at her, the next question pressing against my tongue and yet I was worried to ask it. I couldn’t see anything strange about her though, so maybe she was just a normal girl. Still though…

‘Are you an angel or a ghost?’ I asked.

She looked at me sharply, ‘are you?’

I shook my head.

‘Me neither.’

We both stared up again.

‘Why are you here?’ she asked suddenly, ‘I saw you before running from the staircase when the roof give a little.’

‘Oh…I thought there was a cave in…’ I trailed into a shrug.

She looked at me, trying to see the truth in my words and waiting for me to go on.

‘It seemed a safe place to spend the night,’ I added.

She hummed, her eyes going back to the window and though I thought she had further questions to ask me, she kept them to herself.

‘I should go,’ I spoke out.

I made to move, but my eyes met her’s and I stopped.

‘Why did you come back in?’ she asked, her voice still a quiet.

‘I…thought I’d forgotten something, but I hadn’t,’ I answered.

She turned her head and nodded.

I waited a few moments then walked down the altar. I did half want her to call me back, but then I knew the urge to rip the dress off her would be too hard to resisted. I shook my head and tried to clear the images of her away, but they were locked in my memory now. She had stirred me awake.

I reached the door, stepped out and went into the graveyard. Not heading in an actual direction, I walked back through and towards the line of trees.

‘Wait!’

I spun so fast the weight of my hiking bag almost threw me to the ground.

She was standing at the edge of the headstones, her shoulders moving with the fast breaths she was taking. Her dress and hair settled around her, but seemed to move with a life force of their own. Her hands were balled into fist and there was this indecisive look on her face.

I walked back over. Feeling like I didn’t have much of a choice, but at the same time knowing I could easily carry on walking away. Coming to a stop, my eyes dropped to her breasts. They were heaving against the dress and looking like they were eager to escape. I licked my lips and pulled my attention away and back to her face.

‘What?’ I asked gruffly, sounding meaner then I had intended.

‘I want to go with you,’ she cried out.

 

To Be Continued…

Here We Stand (Part 5)

Religious Statue in Greyscale Photo

She stood framed by the arch of the church doorway, looking at me. She was wearing a light blue, long floaty dress. The likes of which I had never seen as girls really didn’t wear dresses anymore. I guess because it made them stand out too much and was not suitable for running. Skirts were okay though, the short the better, but most stuck to shorts and pants. Her hair was long and loose, very light blonde, made even more so by the sunlight.

My exhausted mind tried to trick me into thinking she was a ghost or an angel. Either wouldn’t have surprised me. Too many people were now claiming to have seen so many different things that it was becoming normal. Even if it wasn’t real…

I should go. I need to just stop staring and leave. But I couldn’t. My feet were stuck to the ground and my body felt frozen in place. I couldn’t even feel the ache in my back, shoulders and arms. I swallowed and tried to look away, maybe that would break the spell? Perhaps, she was actually a witch and was holding me in place?

She turned her head, looking towards a clump of trees then darted back inside. Her blue dress trailed after her.

I heard the sound then, the roaring of motorbikes. With a quick glance around, I dived behind one of the largest headstones. My hiking bag scrapped nosily against the stone and for a few seconds I thought about grabbing my hunting knife. The motorbikes arrived before I could though.

I risked peering around the gravestone, keeping my head next to the top of the grass. I couldn’t see much. A number of people on four bikes were pulling up close to the church. I could hear voices shouting and laughing, but I couldn’t make out their words. Was the girl in the blue dress okay? What were these guys doing? Where they searching for her or just passing through?

So many more questions flowed in my mind and I couldn’t stop them. I tried to listen, but they were entering the church. I kept still in case they glanced across the graveyard. I lent back, pressing my head to the cold stone. A part of me wanted to flee, but I desperately wanted to make sure that girl was okay. If she was supernatural, she could take care of herself right? But what if she wasn’t?

I eased my rucksack off and unzipped a side pocket. Slowly, I drew out my sheathed hunting knife. I tugged her into the top of boot, hoping I didn’t actually need to use her. I wiped my hands on my jeans, already feeling a slight shake in my fingers. I shut my eyes and counted backwards.

My thoughts whirled with a plan, but luckily it didn’t come to anything. The sound of laughter drew me and I risked twisting my head around to look. They were coming out of the church; four huge men and two girls, who looked just as mean. One of the men threw a flicker of light into the grass and they all began climbing on their motorbike.

The sound of engines broke through the serenity of the graveyard and woods. I felt my breathe leave in one big swoosh as I watched them spin and leave. Relaxing back, I listened to the sound fading off. I felt sweat on my forehead and under my arms. I wiped it away, adding more to the edge of my t-shirt.

I counted two minutes before I moved. Checking and double checking the area I got up slowly. Collecting my hiking bag, I almost turned and left, but the thought of that girl stopped me.

Be To Continued…