Glitter #fridayfictoneers

 

Placing the large, sliver glittery jar on the window sill, Ola stood back to admire it. She had loved how in the shop the jar had glowed in the sunlight as if fireflies where inside it. Now as the sun hit it again, light danced across her walls like a disco ball.

Slightly moving the gold candlestick that had been her great-grandma’s, till it was in a better position to catch the light bouncing off the jar, Ola’s couldn’t help but think what the candlestick represented. Originally, one of a pair, it had survived the Second World War and the long journey out of Germany to Sweden. It was hope and freedom in one as well as a piece of her family’s history.

Finally happy, Ola moved away and went off to unpack the rest of her shopping. Afterwards, she got a late lunch and settled in the living room to watch TV. A loud tapping on a window caused her to pause. Glass of water and plate of food still in hand, she looked around. The tapping came again.

Maybe, it was someone at the door? Placing things down, she walked over and opened the cottage’s small door. There was no one there. Confused, she closed the door and went to the back one but there was no one their either. Wondering what was going on, she went from window to window and peered out.

The lane and rolling countryside looked like it always did at the height of summer; trees in full green leave, flowers in their bright colours, the fields in patchworks of greens and yellows against the bright blue sky. The other cottages were covered in climbing flowers and plants underneath their whitewash walls and thatched roofs added to that picture perfect look.

There didn’t seem to be anyone around. Ola went back to her lunch but as soon as she’d sat down the tapping started up again. Frowning, she arose and went quickly to both doors. Peering out of the windows, she saw there was no one there. Perhaps, it was children playing about? Going back, she began her lunch, ignoring the tapping when it started up again.

Finally though, she’d had enough. Getting up and heading in the direction of the tapping which seemed to be coming from the landing window where she had placed the glittering jar, Ola stood for a few moments. Then she saw it. A huge black and white magpie was flying at the window and tapping on the glass.

Ola laughed. The bird was attracted to the jar! The sunlight sparkling off the surface must have caught it’s attention. She watched for a few more moments as the magpie kept trying to get at the jar, then not sure what else to do, Ola rolled the blind down. The jar and window sill fell dark. Ola felt a wave of unhappiness but as she listened the magpie’s tapping slowed then stopped.

Ola pulled the blind halfway up. Thinking that if there wasn’t so much light on the jar then the magpie might stay away. It was a shame not to let the jar glow as it should. Stepping back, she stood by the window for a few minutes. Admiring the movement of the light on the jar, candlestick and walls. The magpie didn’t come back.

(Inspired from: https://rochellewisoff.com/2017/07/12/14-july-2017/ with thanks)

The Basement (Part 4)

Woman in Black Walking in Hallway

(Please be aware this story contains adult sexual content.) 

I awoke my wife in good time for the arriving of the pizza. I kissed her face softly and nuzzled into her, before whispering her name and gently shaking her. Raven moaned and tossed about. She’s a heavy sleepy and it takes awhile for her to come around.

‘Honey, come on,’ I whispered, ‘time to get up now.’

‘No,’ she mumbled.

‘Don’t you want to eat?’ I reminded her.

She muttered something that sounded like maybe.

I ran my hand down the fleece blanket that covered her naked body. A part of me was tempted to slip my fingers underneath and touch her soft skin. Instead, I went back to trying to wake her up.

‘I ordered pizza. It should be here soon,’ I stated.

Raven tried to pulled the fleece blanket up to block me out, but there wasn’t enough of it free as I was laying on it. She made a growling sound and twisted over. Her pretty face screwed up like an unhappy child.

‘It’s still early…’

I checked the clock and it was a few minutes to nine. So not as early as I’d first thought before.

‘Okay, I’m awake,’ Raven spoke.

I smiled and moved out of the way, ‘I’m going down to wait,’ I added.

‘I’m going to try the shower,’ she spoke as she stretched out across the bed.

I nodded and watched her get up and walk naked across the room to a door opposite the bed. It led into a nice master bathroom which wouldn’t have originally been there but the previous owners or the ones before them had created it out of what I guess had been the Lady’s dressing room or day room. It was hard to tell. After admiring Raven once more, I got off the bed, put a t-shirt on and went downstairs.

Turning on some of the lights which took a few moments to figure out, I drifted down the corridor and the grand staircase. No sooner had I reached the hallway, the bell let it a dooming dong. Hurrying, I unlocked and the door. There was as a short, Indian man with dark hair standing there carrying pizzas.

He glanced at me, struggling to keep the slight shook from his face. He mumbled the price and I handed him some notes without really checking them. My stomached had just remembered how hungry it was. I took the pizzas, sides and the free bottle of cola. He handed me my change and walked back to his little blue car that had abandoned at the bottom of the steps.

Juggling everything, I closed the door and went into the first room. The light from the hallway helped me find the table. Then I turned on the lights, sat down and began eating. The pizza tasted glorious even though it was a standard takeaway. A few minutes later, Raven joined me, wearing a plain black lacy dress and we ate our first meal in our new house. Afterwards, we went to bed fully satisfied.

In the morning, we were too excited to lay in, so we got up and spent the day exploring the house and unpacking. It was gloomy outside and it was raining heavily. The house felt cool, so we both dressed in jeans, t-shirts and hoodies. Whilst we were in the kitchen, Raven opened all the doors and began looking through them. I sat at the table sipping a glass of water and watching the rain falling.

One of the doors did led to a big utility room, another was a larder, the third was a staircase up to the first floor and want had been the servants bedrooms. Behind the fourth floor was a staircase going down.

‘What do you think is down there?’ Raven asked.

‘Cellars, I guess,’ I replied.

Raven flicked the light switch that was on the wall up and down. Nothing happened.

‘Where are the torches? I want to go down and see,’ she spoke.

I frowned into my glass of water, ‘upstairs in the bottom drawer.’

Raven nodded and padded out of the room on her mission. I had kept the torches with us in case they had been needed.

Getting up, I went to the door and took my phone out. Using the torch on there, I went down the wooden steps. They creaked under me and I kept my hand on the rail. The air smelt musty and moldy, it hadn’t been fresh for years. It was clear the last owners hadn’t used this space at all, just like a few other rooms; the third floor and the attic, they had shut them away and forgot.

One day, I would confess to Raven how I had gotten us this house and she would forgive me, but for now it was a closely locked away secret. I tried to get that thought out of my head. My wife had always been able to read me very well, especially when I was keeping something from her. Raven would never give up till she got the truth out of anyone.

Stepping off the last step, I shone my little light around. It was hard to breath down here and I couldn’t see much. They were the originally cellars of the house though and where food and wine had been stored. The lowest servants might have had rooms here as well as general storage. This first area seemed empty.

A squeal of wood from behind had me turning so fast I almost lost my balance. I saw the glare of a torch light then Raven’s voice calling my name.

‘I’m here,’ I responded, ‘it’s the cellars. Like I said.’

Raven made a pleasant O sound and came to my side. She handed me the other torch and I turned it on. Together, we made our way through the cellar rooms, most of which were empty. It seemed not even spiders had taken up residence down here, though we did find old webs in some of the nooks. There was a stacks of wood that had once been shelves, bottle racks, bits of coal and writing on the walls.

I became lost and dizzy with it all. Raven loved it; the way the shadows lingered on the walls, the guessing what might have been held in this rack, what could lay behind each door. Finally, we seemed to have entered the last room. I lent against the a wall, taking in deep breaths of stale air mixed with dust and mold.

‘This is strange, Crow,’ Raven’s voice called to me.

I looked over to where she was shining her torch light and there seemed to be a door blocked off in the wall. I walked over, thinking maybe it was just in shadow but also hoping it was nothing so that we could go back up. My mouth was dry and I was sweating even though it was cold down here.

‘Someone tried to hide this door, but look,’ Raven spoke, putting her finger tips on a worn handle made out of dark wood.

‘Maybe, they had a good reason….’ I trailed.

Raven pulled a face. Without warning, she yanked open the door and cream paint surrounding it cracked and began flaking. The door shook but didn’t swing. Before I could get the words out, she had tried pushing and the door flung open.

‘They didn’t do a good job did they?’ Raven said.

We shone our torches inside and found a long narrow corridor straightening before us.

 

To Be Continued…

The Basement (Part 2)

Woman in Black Walking in Hallway

(Please be aware this story contains adult sexual content.) 

Unhappily, I followed Raven out of the living room and into the front hallway. A cold breeze was now circling the house, causing more smells to mingle in the air; old leather, wood vanish, dusty fabric and a faint hit of cinnamon. A door somewhere was creaking above us and something else was rattling gently.

Beside the front door, two of the moving men were bent down, picking up pans and other kitchen things. The plastic box the items had scattered from had been dropped to one side. The men were rudely shoving things back in.

‘Did anything break?’ Raven called, striding over.

‘Not sure,’ came a mumbled voice.

I sighed and tried to quieten my growing anger.

‘It’s fine, love, we got it,’ one of them said as Raven tried to help.

She ignored them and began stacking things back in right. They tried hard not to watch her, but I saw them. I stood guard, eyeing the men like a guard dog until they give up and left Raven to it.

‘It’s fine,’ she announced.

Flicking her hair over her shoulder, she shot me a smile.

It did little to cool my anger though. I picked up the box and carried it around the grand staircase and into the kitchen at the back.

The original kitchen had been build for the bustle of six or more servants. It was a vast rectangle space with a large fireplace in the far corner which was home to a monster of an aga. To the left of which was a small door for the servants to use. Ahead was a large table and chairs. Boxes were all ready taking up most of the room upon it.

Along the walls on either side of us and the right one were blue and grey granite worktops and cupboards. Black and grey modern appliances including a gas cooker and oven were slotted in or on them. Two more doors were in the corner, one was the back door and I think the other led into a utilities room.

I walked in and placed my box by the double metal sink with work tops either side and a window above. The blinds were drawn and I opened them to give more light and also to see the view outside. A long strip of grass framed by tall hedges was all I could see but I knew beyond it there were acres of land and also something else…

‘I got another surprise for you, Raven,’ I spoke softly.

‘Oh?’ she asked and looked up from a box she had been sorting through.

‘Do you have the key for the back door?’ I asked.

She looked down at the ring of keys she had placed on the table. She pressed her lips together and almost went to pick them up.

‘Can it wait till after? I want to make sure nothing else gets dropped,’ Raven said in a quiet voice.

From the hallway we heard the loud voices of the moving men again and the rustle of them bring more stuff in.

I nodded and turned away, so I could hide my disappointment. How many years had I been planning this moment and now it was ruined by moving men! I had wanted this to be as special as our wedding…

Raven wrapped her arms around me and pressed her head into the back of my shoulder.

‘What is it?’ she breathed in my ear.

‘Nothing,’ I responded.

‘Tell,’ she pressed.

She reached up on tip toes and lend into me. I felt her breath, brush of her lips and nip of her teeth in my ear lope.

‘No,’ I half moaned, half hissed.

She bit harder, ‘Crow,’ she growled.

‘I swear,’ I squeezed out through gritted teeth.

Raven’s biting was passing from pleasurable to painful.

She let go and dropped back down. I turned and wrapped my arms around her, trying to keep composed. My wife knew better though. She pressed into me, fixing me with a hard glare.

‘It’s just,’ I began, ‘I wanted this to be special.’

Shrugging, I looked over her shoulder as I saw movement in the hallway.

One of the moving men barged in, dropped a box on the floor and left again.

Raven patted me.

‘They’ll be gone soon enough,’ she whispered.

The moving men couldn’t have left any faster if they had tried. They seemed to carry on forever with their loud voices and banging. Luckily, they didn’t drop anything but they noise echoed through the house anyway.

Raven and I busied ourselves with emptying the hearse and setting up the master bedroom she had picked to be ours. I helped her make the bed but then stayed clear of it, because the urges to have some fun were too strong. I put clothes away in the wardrobes and drawers. The furniture was old maybe a close to a hundred years and though it all fitted the room it was not originals.

The room was huge, three times the size our’s had been in the apartment we had rented. A wooden four poster bed, complete with dark red velvet canopy and curtains dominated the room. On either side were dark oak bedside tables, which had lamps in an old fashioned style on them. A fire place took up the middle of the left wall, but it had been converted into ornamental then working. Then there were wardrobes and drawers on the left.  Lastly, large windows were in the far wall and they looked over the driveway and front garden.

Closing the wardrobe, I drifted about as Raven placed more things away. I went to the window and looked out. The afternoon was still clear, but it was beginning to switch to evening. Time was running out for my other surprise.

‘I’m going to see how the men are doing,’ I spoke, ‘you coming?’

‘Sure,’ Raven answered and she closed the lid of the large bedding box at the foot of the bed.

We headed down the corridor and stairs together. The moving men were gathered in the hallway as if they were waiting for us. Just like servants presenting themselves to the master and Mrs. Finally it seemed they had finished.

‘Just need you to sign off, Chief,’ the leader called me over.

I gladly went and signed a receipt on a clipboard. They give me a copy then wishing us all the best, left. I closed and locked the door behind them.

‘So,’ Raven purred as she came over and wrapped her arms around me, ‘what did you want to show me?’

I hugged her and kissed her hair. I had her all to myself now.

‘Crow?’ she asked and kissed me on the cheek.

‘You got the keys?’ I asked.

She nodded and jiggled the bunch.

I took her hand and led her to the kitchen. Through the mass of boxes we went and to the back door.

‘Which key?’ she wondered.

‘Just use the skeleton one,’ I suggested and pointed out the biggest key.

She used it and the back door opened. We walked out into the early evening. I closed the door behind us and then tugging her, broke into a jog. Raven laughed, her grip on my hand tightening as I raced for the gap in the hedges. Branches scratched at us as we pushed through then without pause, even though I heard Raven gasp at the sight of the gardens spreading before us, I rushed to the left and took her along the hedge.

A few minutes of running and I had to slow down to catch my breath. Raven bumped into me, laughing and also breathing hard.

‘Where are we going?’ she cried out.

‘To there,’ I said and pointed to a hill in the distance.

Raven looked hard, but all we could see was the outline of a fence.

‘How much of this land do we own?’ she asked.

‘Lots of it,’ I said, ‘it’s in the contract somewhere.’

Raven pouted thoughtfully.

I started walking again, seeing that the sky above was dusky but also overcast. Raven slipped her hand into mine and we fell silent.

We went through a patchwork of gardens and plots. Most were boarded by tall hedges or bushes, making each area private. We came to an open stretch and the hill was just off to our right. I took Raven up, along a half hidden pathway, to a set of small black gates.

‘Oh!’ she cried, spotting the headstones behind the fence.

Her face lit up and just as she had done on first seeing the house, she pressed herself to the fence and looked excitedly across.

I slipped the keys from her and unlocked the gate.

‘They came with the house,’ I explained.

I opened the gate and Raven hurried in. She darted around the headstones and went to the family mausoleum at the back. The square squat building with its black glossy stone walls, stood out. I followed her, knowing to keep my distance, Raven hated being disturbed whilst she was looking around graveyards and cemeteries.

She came back and threw her arms around me in a suffocating hug.

‘This is a amazing!’ she shouted.

I laughed and squeezed back.

‘There’s also a pet graveyard in the woods just through there. I don’t know how much of the woods we own though…There’s also a little church too, further that way….You can just see the steeple…’ I pointed.

We both looked together, through the tall trees we could make out an iron cross.

‘What more could we have asked for?’ Raven breathed.

I shrugged and added, ‘there’s an ice house way way back, double garage close by the house and stables a bit further back too. We only own one of the small cottages though.’

Raven looked at me with big eyes and waited for me to go on.

I searched my mind, trying hard to remember what the agent had told me. ‘The cottages were built for the servants and their families, early nineteen hundreds. I think. They were sold off sometime ago or given to the families. They have the little plot of land around their houses too. There’s maybe ten cottages, dotted around at the edges of our land. We own the first one; the grounds keeper’s.’

Raven sighed and kissed me, ‘you did a lot of hard work, getting this didn’t you?’

‘Yes. It’s worth it though seeing your face,’ I stated.

I gently angled Raven’s face up to mine and kissed her hard on the lips.

‘Let’s go back to the house,’ she said huskily.

All other thoughts went out of my head.

To Be Continued….

The Basement (Part 1)

hallway-1245845_1920.jpg

(Please be aware this story contains adult sexual content.) 

The new house was perfect. I know nothing can actually be a hundred percent perfect, but God this place was for us! As we pulled up outside the black Gothic cemetery style gates, the two moving vans slowed behind us and I finally let my wife, Raven, take off the blindfold.

‘You can look now,’ I whispered in the husky voice I use to seduce her in the bedroom.

She giggled a little and pulled the blindfold down so it wouldn’t mess up her long pink and purple streaked curled black hair. I watched her closely as she looked first out of the screen window of the converted hearse then the passenger window. She gasped, her face lit up and she sprang from the car.

‘Oh my God! Really? You got it? It’s our’s? she gushed, the words tripping over each other as they passed her black painted lips.

I got out of the car. Even though I could happily have stared at her large nicely rounded bum in her favourite tight black leather skirt for longer. I wanted to see her face. I came to her side, rested against the hearse and put my arm around her.

‘Yes,’ I answered.

‘Oh, Crow!’ she cried and threw her arms around my neck.

I was suffocated in a tight hug with her breathing hard in my ear. I squeezed her back, loving the feel of her weight in my arms and the softness of her black velvet Victorian frock coat under my fingers.

She moved her head and kissed me hard on the lips. Our noses mushing together. I didn’t let her withdraw but pressed more against her, desperate to be inside her mouth. My hands dropped to her bum, my fingers grasping her leather skirt and pinning her body to mine.

I felt a slice of coldness against my back as Raven tugged the edges of my black heavy metal German band t-shirt up and slipped her hands into the waist band of my black jeans. I had thrown my leather jacket in the car before we had set off. It was a typical warm but wet English summer.

I parted her lips with the tip of my tongue and pressed harder against her lips. Our tongues meet and years of practise let us rub and twist tongues without getting tangled in each other’s piecing. I heard Raven let out a little moan and the urge to remove the barriers of our clothes grew.

A loud coughing came from to the right of us and I had to ease off. I shot a disgruntled glance at the moving men. How dare they interrupt my surprise! Raven wiggled against me and I released my tight hold. Whilst I sighed and shot the men a few more unhappy looks, my wife caught her breath then rushed to the tall gates and wrapped her fingers around the iron bars. She pressed her face close and looked up like a child in pure wonder.

Fighting the urge to run to her and grab her from behind, I walked down the side of the hearse and opened the back passenger door. It was crammed with small cardboard and plastic boxes which contained precious things we couldn’t trust with the removal men. The long back space of the hearse was just as full and there were also suitcases.

‘Can I have the keys?’ Raven called.

‘Of course,’ I answered.

Closing the door I walked back to her and pulled the ring keys from my tight black jeans pocket. Raven squealed softly; a cute excited child sound. I pressed the heavy, dark keys into her hands and watched her study them all.

‘This one has to be the gate key!’ she said proudly, holding up a long big black key.

She slotted it into the large lock and turned it easily. Then together we parted both of the gates. The old metal squeaked a little then settled. Before us lay a wide stone crushed driveway flanked by dead seas of grass on either side. Around the edges a low red stone brick wall ran but it was mostly covered by tall evergreen trees and bushes which hide the Gothic manor house from the road.

I took Raven’s hand and we walked up the driveway. Our new home towering over us was like a Halloween haunted house. It was  actually an classic 1800’s English building but over the years people had added to it, including an American family. The dark brown bricks had been painted black, the fancy Gothic window frames were made of iron and lead. Two small towers stuck out at the sides, their pointed roof tops piercing the sky. There was a wide porch area with a black fence around it guarding the wooden double front doors.

Raven slipped her hand from mine and ran up the rest of the driveway. She went up the long low four stone steps and began searching for the right key to the front door.

I looked over my shoulder and saw two of the moving men, opening the gates and the others drove the vans in. The white, boxy vans looked totally out of place in a driveway made for horses and carriages.

Turning back, I went and joined Raven at the front door, trying not to let my irritation show. I should have asked them to arrive at 3pm instead of coming with us a  hour before hand. They were ruining this moment!

Raven, who didn’t seem to mind, found the key and slotted it into the keyhole. She turned it and with a glance at me, opened the door. The hinges squeaked loudly as all good haunted Gothic mansions should. Sadly, though no bats flew out at us.

Giggling, Raven reached for a rope that was tucked up beside the door. She pulled it and a loud bell give off a doom like ring that echoed through the house. Raven laughed and opened the door wider. I wished that a creepy male servant would appear and welcome us in.

Raven stepped into the hallway then began rushing from room to room. Randomly speaking out about this or that lamp or window or piece of furniture.

‘Look at this chair! The wood panelling is so good! Can you smell that? Cinnamon….Oh wow, that painting! What’s through here…’ her voice faded.

I just stood and took it all in. The air smelt a little musty but otherwise clean, a few old cobwebs still hung in the hardest to reach places. I pictured more of them soon enough and whole colonies of spiders. Raven loved them and was forever rescuing them all.

I looked up at the grand staircase which led to the first floor which was currently in darkness. I searched around and finding the light switch box turned them all on. The soft gloom that we had walked into faded and the glow of old light bulbs enriched everything.

A noise at the front door got my attention. I turned and sighed. The moving men had appeared again.

‘Right, where you be wanting all of this then?’ the leader of the group asked.

‘Wherever you want,’ I replied grumpily, ‘we’ll only have to sort it all out again.’

Leaving them, I went and found Raven. She was in one of the living rooms, looking at a bookcase crammed with old books. Her fingers were running over the leather covers, the few rings she wore making her tapping louder.

I sank down into a leather arm chair that was covered by a dust sheet. Placing my arms on the rests, feet stretched before me and head thrown back. I shut my eyes and smelled this room. The air was heavy with books of course, but also the faint scent of pipe smoke and wood polish.

‘How did you do it, Crow?’ Raven uttered, her voice soft and sexy.

I felt her fingers brushing my hair and face.

‘It was hard,’ I sighed, ‘but I wanted to do it for you. For us.’

Raven eased herself into my lap. I smiled, loving the weight of her plump, curvy frame. I wrapped my arms around her and she started playing with my long black hair. Twice she caught the dangling skull and cross bone in my ear and had to untangle a strand of hair.

‘Must have been a lot of money,’ she spoke into my neck.

‘It was….lots of loans and favours. Don’t worry about it. I promised you I’d give you whatever you wanted,’ I replied.

‘But this house! This actual house! The one we dream of for so long but knew we never could have! How did you persuade the owners?’

I grinned, lend in close and kissed her cheek. I breathed into her ear then whispered, ‘I sold my soul to the Devil.’ At the same time, I slipped my hands down her back  and grabbed her bum.

Raven jumped and cried out. Then laughing, she playfully hit my cheek and said, ‘Crow! you didn’t!’

I laughed tossing my head back, the sight of the dark cream ceiling swim before me. Then I dropped my hand and nuzzled into her neck whilst my hands worked their way around her. I kissed her neck, pressing my lips hard against her skin. Raven moaned in my ear. My fingers trailed across her legs and underneath her skirt. A wave of warmth wrapped around my hand drawing me further in.

A loud crashing caused us both to pause. Raven’s breath caught in her throat then she let it go in a swoosh as we both looked towards the half open door.

Swearing and the raised voices of the moving men could be heard in the hallway.

Raven let the tension go and sank back against me.

‘I hope that was nothing breakable,’ I growled.

‘Maybe, we should go see?’ Raven answered.

She kissed me and slipped from my lap.

To Be Continued…

The Stenham House

crow-1582138_1920.jpg

Everyone has heard of the haunted house at the end of the street and the one at the end of mine was no different. The Stenham House looked ancient and nothing returned there expect for crows. Though the place couldn’t have been older then any of the other houses around. Neglect and abuse had caused it to age a hundred plus years and the fact it had been abandoned for twenty of those years now didn’t help.

Standing before it, I took the place in for the last time. Nature had pretty much taken over and it was hard to see a red brick and white wood frame under all that green. There was no fence and the wild front garden came right up to the pavement. The reminds of a driveway poked through the tall grass. As far as I could tell all the doors and windows were locked and still intact.

I had lived next door to the place all my life and could just about remember the last family who had lived there. Somewhere, I have a photo of me and the three children, all older then myself standing in front of the house. I was about five and wearing a horrible red and white polka dress. The two boys had been in jeans and t-shirts whilst their sister was in a white dress. As an only child, it had felt nice to be accepted into a bigger family.

Then one day they had vanished, left in the middle of the night never to return. No one knew what had happened nor did anyone try to find out. I guess I’d asked about it and my parents had probably told me they had moved away, but I had no memory of it. What I did know was that no for sale sign had ever appeared and the Stenham house had been left to finish rotting away.

I walked around the back, the grass and flowers crunching under my boots. There seemed nothing menacing about the place in the bright summer sunshine. At night though the house became something else…Alive was the only way to describe it. Lights flashed on and off in windows, things were moved about, voices and crying could be heard but never fully made out.

A crow called out loudly, startling me. I looked up, saw flash of black on a window ledge and heard a flapping of wings. Not stopping, I rounded the corner. The back garden stretched like an unexplored jungle. Bees and other insects were buzzing about and a ginger cat was lurking in the shade of a tall bush. I walked into the middle, feeling a touch of dampness against my legs.

The roof had caved in and I could see slices of the rooms on the upper two floors. A thin curtain was fluttering in the breeze and a piece of pattern wallpaper was also moving in the first room. There was the edge of a wardrobe in the second window and the possible grey frame of a bed in the third. On the next floor, I could see children’s wallpaper peeling away and the edge of a wooden bed frame.

I fell into thinking whilst I took this all in. Everyone knew the story of the Stenham house, it was something of a legend in my town. Though really, no one was sure of the whole truth. The house had been built for Doctor James Stenham who had moved from the city with his wife who was also a doctor and their four children in the late 1800’s. They had held clinic in the house and offered illegal services, like abortions.

Across the next ten years, first the children one after the other then his wife died. Stenham tried to save them all though experiments which often involved other dying people, corpses and animals. He went insane, convinced he could bring them all back if he could just discover how to do it. He kept pet crows for company and barely talked to anyone.

Thirty years later, he was found dead at the bottom of the staircase. It had been made to look like he had fallen but he had been murdered. The rumour was Stenham had been killed by a man avenging his lover’s the death after the illegal abortion the doctor had given her.

From then on, only a few people had lived in the house and they had reported the place as being haunted. It had never seemed to be bother me expected for finding it harder to make friends and children telling me strange stories about the house next door. I had never heard the babies crying, the woman wailing or the screams in the dead of night. Nor had I seen the lights flashing in the windows, the sounds of furniture being moved or the footsteps. Perhaps, though I hadn’t been listening hard enough.

Coming back the front, I spotted a crow watching me from the collapsing porch. The black of it’s feathers and eyes looked out of place against all the green. The crow called loudly at me as if warning me to stay away. Keeping to the edge of the grass, I walked back to the pavement. When I reached it, I turned and saw that the crow had been joined by eight others. They were silently watching me.

Hurrying away, I went to say goodbye to the old woman who lived opposite the Stenham house. She had been a good neighbour and my babysitter for many years. I knocked on the door of her nicely kept house and waited for her to answer. I stole a few glances over my shoulder and saw the crows were still there.

 

(Inspired from: https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2017/05/26/first-line-friday-26-05-17 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.

Waiting

waiting

Time had long ago stopped in the castle. The dust lay thick and the silence heavy. Small animal bones scattered the floors and abandoned spider webs clung to the walls. In a stairwell, a forgotten suit of armour and a clock stood waiting to be used again. And in the rooms where people had once lived and worked, sharing a life now lost to the past, there were only echoes of ghosts.

(From a prompt by; https://scvincent.com/2017/01/26/thursday-photo-prompt-waiting-writephoto/ with thanks.)

Postcard #29

black-and-white, boat, mountains

 

My Dearest Darling,

It’s stormy weather again, I’m afraid. Seems every time I decide to come home it happens! Of course, this is the only communication I can find. God damn this island! I hope this note reaches you. I’ve sent my best bird with it. I would suggest waiting until it’s calm to send him back. My research into the new plants isn’t going well. The weather doesn’t help, but it seems the animals here have a liking for the flowers too!

To be honest I’m thinking of cutting this project short and returning to you. I miss you too much to be a part for any longer. Even in the name of Science! As soon as this storm clears up I shall return to you. Perhaps it’s about time I let this hobby go for it’s causing us nothing but trouble!

All the best, Your One And Only.