Dollhouse #FirstLineFridays

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‘I don’t care what you do with it. I just want it gone,’ Alex said, pointing at the dollhouse.

I withdrew my hand from the dolls’ living room and looked up at my older sister. She had a full black bin bag in one hand and a flat empty one in the other. We were surrounded by so much stuff in my late uncle’s attic it was hard to believe she could just single out one thing to just get rid of.

‘Why?’ I asked, ‘don’t you think your daughters, Sophie and Lucy would like it?’

It was hard to tell in the dim light of a single, dusty bulb, but Alex’s face seemed to pale. Her expression become tighter as if she was holding all her emotions in but I could see she was upset and distressed. She turned away, collecting herself.

‘Fine. I’ll take it for my Millie then. I’ll keep it till she’s a bit older though,’ I added.

I looked back at the dollhouse. It was a fine thing, modelled on famous Victorian ones but made more cheaply. Red brick wall paper covered the outside, only curling a little at the corners, the window frames were white but held clouded glass panes and the chimney was wobbly.

Two doors opened to reveal the inside which was divided into 4 floors then seven different rooms by staircases in the middle. The ground floor had a kitchen and servants’ bedroom. The next floor had a grand living room on the left with a fancy dinning room on the right. The third floor had a master bedroom to the right and a double children’s bedroom on the left. At the top, was an attic children’s playroom.

All the rooms were made of dark wood – walls and floor, some of which was covered by patterned wallpaper and rugs. The pretend Victorian furniture looked original and complete, sitting in the rooms I expected the pieces to be in. There were seven dolls; a butler, a cook, a maid, a gentleman, a lady, a boy and girl. They were all dressed in faded clothes and made of china.

‘You can’t,’ Alex said in a shaky voice, ‘I want it gone. Into the skip now!’

I sighed and fought back arguing, it wasn’t worth it, ‘I’ll get Michael to move it later. It’s too heavy for me.’

Closing the dollhouse’s doors, I moved on to helping my sister sorting through things. The dolls and their house lingered in my mind and when our husbands turned up at the end of the day, I had mine packed the dollhouse into our car with some other of things. I made sure to keep Alex busy so she didn’t see him taking it.

At home, we put the dollhouse and everything else in the spare bedroom to be sorted for later. Sitting before the house, I opened the doors and looked at the little dolls. They could almost be Victorian originals but I knew nothing about that. I carefully arrange them in the rooms they most fitted in; the cook and butler in the kitchen, the lady and gentleman in the living room, the maid making the beds, the children in the playroom attic. Wondering all the time why my sister had just wanted to get rid of it.

The next day, we were back in the attic again and I just had to ask her why.

‘What was with the dollhouse yesterday?’ I asked over a pile of cardboard boxes we were opening.

Alex was quiet then she said, ‘you took it home didn’t you?’

I pressed my lips together and pretended to be busy writing a label ‘glass’ to put on the box before me.

‘It’s fine. It doesn’t matter,’ Alex replied, sadly.

‘Tell me,’ I responded, ‘is it haunted?’

‘No…really, it has nothing to do with the dolls’ house.’

I waited, wanting to break the silence but knowing she needed the chance to open up.

Slowly, Alex began, ‘Before you were born, mum was sick and dad was away with the army. Uncle agreed to look after me and I moved in for a few months. His and wife daughter had long moved out but since he couldn’t bear being in her bedroom, I was put into the spare.’

Her words sparked something familiar; a family story I had heard before about the time our mum was ill in hospital. Alex had been eight then and there had been no one else to look after her.

‘I don’t know why I did it, but one night I couldn’t sleep, so I went into our cousin’s bedroom,’ Alex picked up, ‘I saw the dollhouse and was so drawn to it, I flung open the doors and began playing with the dolls. Uncle found me and he was…so angry…He took me over his knees and lifted my nightdress. He beat me with a slipper. I cried and cried. Then he dragged me out and threw me back into bed.’

‘That’s horrible! I gasped, ‘you told right?’

Alex shook. Her head was down and partly turned away from me. She was quietly sobbing. In the gloom, it as hard to tell if she was crying or not yet. Her hands were wrapped around something; a piece of cloth?

‘The next night, he came into my bedroom, saying how sorry he was. He hugged me and then he started…’ Alex dragged in a deep breath, ‘touching me…it felt wrong, I struggled against him but there was nothing I could do. He said he’d make me feel better. That everything would be okay….’

I bite my lip and tried to reach through the boxes before us, but my sister was just out of touch. She didn’t seem to care though. She was lost to her past thoughts now.

Alex wiped her face and carried on, ‘he told me to keep quiet about it. No one would listen to me anyway, mum was dying. So, I didn’t say anything and he got into bed with me often after that. As praise, he let me play with his daughter’s toys but I found no joy in them. I never told anyone, not even when dad came home and mum got better. Then you arrived and everything changed.’

‘You should have told someone,’ I growled, balling my fists.

Alex rubbed her eyes and stood up. I hurried to my feet too and crossed the distance between us. We hugged tightly.

‘It doesn’t matter now. He’s gone and so have mum and dad,’ Alex uttered.

‘But…’ I trailed, she was right, what could be done now?

‘I can finally move on,’ Alex cut back in, ‘that’s all that matters now.’

 

(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2018/02/16/first-line-friday-february-16th-2018/ with thanks).

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Made It! #1linerWeds

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You know you’ve made it when you can wake up and don’t hear the zombies breaking your door down.

(Inspired from; https://lindaghill.com/2018/02/07/one-liner-wednesday-you-know-youve-made-it/ with thanks).

Chop #FridayFictioneers

As evening arrived, the sound of an axe chopping wood could be heard. The echoing noise carried throughout the night and only fade as first light touched the trees. For months, the chop chop sounds continued and no one could find the source.

In whispers, the rumors started about a woodsman who murdered his family then himself. As punishment the Devil had him cutting down trees to make firewood for Hell.

It’s now said, that if you walk into that forest you would see the remains of the trees the woodsman’s ghost has cut down.

 

(Inspired from; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/01/31/2-february-2018/ with thanks).

Super Blue Blood Moon

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The full moon rose above the Earth, twice the size it normally was and red sand coloured. Humans watched in wonder but I stared in horror. The prophesy the warlock hundred and fifty years ago had uttered with his dying breath was coming true!

I glanced at the gold, designer watch on my left wrist, the thin hands were almost at two AM. A long wolf howl rose from the almost silent night. I gripped the balcony railing and lend out. Below me stretched the ever green pine forest, lit by the glow of the super moon. Another howl from a different direction sounded and even though I couldn’t seen them, I knew the werewolf pack were gathering.

I stepped back into my manor house, closing and locking the balcony doors as if they alone could keep out the cursed prophesy. I went to my vast library, where an unseen servant had light the fire and the gas lamps I still loved so much. Pacing, I tried to think of anything that I could change to stop the full force of what was about to happen.

From one of the hidden drawers in my Victorian writing desk, I pulled out a small leather bound and yellow page book. I had to turn the electrical light on to read my tiny feather quill handwriting. The prophesy was written in full;

On the night when the full moon appears twice in the same month and is monstrous in size and blood red in colour, shall all the evil arise. The world will be consumed, mankind will be over thrown and a new age will begin. Darkness will rule over everything and there’ll be no stopping it. 

I closed the book and pressed it between both my palms. The words; no stopping the evil, spun in my head. I couldn’t sit back and watch this happen! It was partly my fault… I sat down heavily on the leather padded chair and slipped the book away. It’s dark secrets would be safely locked again but my own secrets would be harder to put away.

Leaving the comfort of the library, I thought through all the possibilities as I went to the front door. There was only one way to stop the prophesy and that was to gather all the good forces together to fight this evil. Snagging my cloak and whipping it around me, I stepped into the night and became nothing more then a shadow across the lawn.

Foreboding #ThreeLineTales

three line tales week 104: an abandoned house in the Arctic circle

The abandoned farm house stood on the hill under the starry sky. At first glance it seemed like a welcoming place for a weary traveler but on the second look it really wasn’t. The house creaked and groaned with the trapped souls of the dead.

(Inspired by; https://only100words.xyz/2018/01/25/three-line-tales-week-104/ with thanks).

Numbered

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Greyson got the hotel room were the murderer had stayed. The supervisor had thought it was funny he’d request that number as everyone else refused to stay in that room. It interested Greyson though, not from a supernatural point but a psychological one. Sitting on the bed, he got all the papers he had gathered about the murderer and her victims. He re-read everything carefully, thinking over the facts and figures. It was a twisted case but being in that room helped him to put everything together. Perhaps, there was hope Greyson could help her now.

Last Ride #FridayFictioneers

I thought my mum had thrown all the photos of that day away but I found one in the bottom of a shoe box. Mum had mis-timed taking the photo so instead of our smiling faces were the backs of our heads.

Tears clouded my eyes and I was there once more at the theme park, riding the wooden ‘run away’ roller coaster with my younger sister. Our cries of delight echoed in my ears as we raced around the track and then my sister flew out of the cart as we rushed down the hill. Her fingers briefly touched mine then she was gone.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/01/17/12-january-2018/ with thanks).

The Light

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I hadn’t walked in Crow Woods since we had moved away thirty years ago. Trailing my fingers across the rough trunk bark of the first tree, I took a deep breath. The heavy scent of damp soil and green nature with a hint of pine was all too familiar. Underneath me on the single track, mud coated my boots and there was touch of frost and ice in places no one had yet been.

The sight of all the trees like old friends, made me recall my childhood. Everyday, I’d come here to play, my imagination fuelled by the nature and freedom. I hadn’t needed anyone else or any toys, I had searched and used what the woods had. Sticks had became swords to fight off monsters, the stream became a mighty river that I sailed on and tree hallows had turned into deep caves.

I smiled at the memories. I had been so lucky. Pausing, I looked around and admired the bare trees as they reached skyward. Birds were singing in the distance and there was a breeze now knocking things together. I shut my eyes and thought if I listened hard enough I could hear the ghost of my mother’s voice calling me home.

Mum didn’t like me staying out once it got dark. I had to agree with her as once the light had gone from the sky something seemed to happen to Crow Woods. It was a hard feeling to describe but it was like the atmosphere changed to a dark, grim feeling. You could no longer trust the trees or the ground, they harboured shadows with ill intent. But the light was the worse part.

Reaching the last stretch of trees, I ducked under their shade as if I was a shy child again. Stretching in front of me was a low raise, framed by a rusty wire fence then wild fields surrounding a hill with a flat top. I couldn’t see it now because of all the growth but this was Crow Farm and up there had been the house.

A lingering fear grew in my stomach as I remembered everything. Only once, I had been up to that hill and stood in the ashes of the house. I had told my parents and they had forbidden me to return. It was dangerous and trespassing, if anyone catches you they could shoot you! Despite my fear, curiosity stayed with me but I didn’t leave Crow Woods again. Though I came close countless times.

I heard a woman singing sweetly, often on cloudy afternoons when I had followed the stream too far down. I would go looking for her but I would never find her and instead end up on the boarder of Crow Farm. On Sundays, I would hear children playing and laughing when there was no one else there. When it rained and I tried to go home, some strange wanting to be in the woods would overcome me and I’d have to fight it off.

Then I started seeing the light. It was a single beam from a high window, but it was so strong that it shone out over the trees. It came on cloudy and rainy days, in the evening whenever the daylight was low so that It would be seen more clearly. I followed the light sometimes, when I was feeling brave and I would end up at Crow Farm. There on the hill, I would see the shadow outline of the the house with one of the upstairs rooms lit up.

I didn’t tell anyone. I thought at first it was just my imagination but it was just too real to be. Later on, fear kept me away as I started seeing figures and hearing piano music coming from the house. I stopped following the light and thought that would solve everything. I tried to go back to normal but I could never play in Crow Woods like I could be before.

One winter night, I woke up and found the light in my bedroom! It was shinning through my window and the beam was leading straight out to the farm house. I screamed and screamed but It didn’t stop. Only when my parents came in would the light leave and they thought I was having nightmares. There was no pattern to when the light would come but I knew it was not going to go away.

My parents tried everything; doctors, specialist, moving my bedroom, moving schools then finally we had moved house. Mum had always wanted to live on the coast and it was there that I found peace after six years. The light had become a faded memory, nothing more then a childhood accident that I grew out of.

Standing here now, all that was hard to believe but I knew it was true. The Light was still calling me, it always had been.         

850 #TLT

three line tales, week 101: a gold number eight five zero 850 painted on an old-fashioned chest or suitcase

He had been saying the number repeatedly in German on his death bed but no one knew what it meant. Then it didn’t matter anymore as everyone was too busy mourning. So, it wasn’t until years later that we found out that the number was actually a train that his parents had forced him on to save him from the concentration camp.

 

(Inspired by; https://only100words.xyz/2018/01/04/three-line-tales-week-101/ with thanks).

In The Cemetery Snow

Caspar David Friedrich Monastery Graveyard in the Snow 1817-19

The monks walked slowly through the place they had long ago called home. The once magnificent archway which had dominated them for hundreds of years rose out of the bare trees, a skeleton of it’s former self. The suffocating snow lay heavy on the land and the gravestones making everything seem even more dead. And the eternally grey sky above reminded the monks just how bleak their lives had now become.

(Story inspired by and imagine of photograph of Caspar David Friedrich’s 1819 oil painting Klosterfriedhof im Schnee (Cloister Cemetery in the Snow)