Grartor Party #TaleWeaver

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Molly’s seven year old son, Ben, emptied his school bag on the dinning room table. Molly caught a pencil as it rolled her way then eyed the mess of school books, papers and other items. Ben had a habit of collecting things.

‘What’s this?’ Molly asked picking up a blue envelope.

Ben shrugged and his eyes drifted to the TV in the next room. His three year old, twin sisters were sat before the screen watching cartoons.

Molly opened the envelope and took out a thin slip of paper.

‘Your invited to a grartor party,’ she read aloud slowly.

The handwriting and spelling were clearly a child’s. Molly looked at the name and address at the end, but didn’t recognise them.

‘Who is Riley?’ she enquired.

‘He’s new,’ Ben said.

‘And what’s a grartor?’

‘Don’t know.’

Molly looked at the date, the party was tomorrow. She checked the address again, it wasn’t far from their house and the start time was 2pm.

‘Do you want to go to his party?’ she asked, ‘Ben?’

‘Okay. Can I watched cartoons now?’

Molly nodded and Ben rushed over to join his sister. Molly sorted through the other stuff on the table. She flipped through his work books then piled them to one side, placing on top the book he currently had to read. There was a letter from the headmaster about head lice, a letter from Ben’s teacher about an end of year trip to the zoo and a maths homework sheet due in on Monday.

Molly re-packed his school bag then added things to her calendar. Then she did an internet search to find out what a grartor party was. Perhaps, this Riley was from a different country or religion and grartor related to turning eight or something like that?

The search engine told her it wasn’t actually a word, did she mean something else? Molly scrolled down the suggested websites hoping that it appeared as some kind of new child craze like fidget spinners but there was nothing.

This is why you don’t let a child write their own party invitations! Molly thought.

She looked over at her own children and decided she’d just have to find out tomorrow.

 

The next morning after breakfast, Molly got Ben ready for the party. Leaving her husband with the twins, she took Ben shopping and got a suitable birthday present for Riley. At half twelve, she drove over to the address and parked up.

Letting Ben out, they walked up the steps to the front door of the house. Bright green balloons weighed down behind the two large flower pots, greeted them. A banner over the door read, 8 Today! and an inflatable crocodile lay on the lawn.

‘Are you excited? Molly asked.

Ben pulled a face and clutched the wrapped birthday present.

‘I bet there’ll be cake and jelly and ice cream. Your other friends will be here,’ she pointed out.

Molly rang the doorbell and it was answered by a tried looking man who had a crocodile glove puppet on his hand.

‘Hi, I’m Molly Black. My son Ben was invited to Riley’s party. Sorry, I didn’t reply to the invite, I only found it in his bag yesterday. I hope you don’t mind us coming,’ Molly explained.

The man nodded, ‘Rory James, Riley’s dad. Please come in.’

He held the door, Molly and Ben entered. The house looked freshly moved into. There were green balloons tied everywhere and in the kitchen was a table covered in party food. Rory led them into the back garden were a few children where bouncing on a  green jungle themed bouncy castle and inflatable crocodiles were dotted around. Two woman were stood talking close by, drinking out of wine glasses.

‘I want a go!’ Ben cried, cheering up instantly.

‘Sure,’ Rory answered.

Molly took the present and Ben’s shoes then he ran off onto the bouncy castle.

‘What time should I come and pick him up?’ Molly asked.

‘Oh, you’re not staying?’

‘I’ve left my husband with our twin girls,’ Molly explained.

‘Five, I think it said on the invite. My wife can confirm that. I’ll introduce you then I must get back to finishing off the cake,’ Rory said.

They walked over to the two woman and the one wearing the blue dress with the mass of blonde hair was Rory’s wife, Celina. Rory introduced them then left.

‘Can I get you something to drink?’ Celina asked.

‘No, thanks,’ Molly replied, ‘I must get back home soon, I told my husband I wouldn’t be long. We are taking the twins to the park.’

‘Oh okay.’

‘This is for Riley,’ Molly said handing over the present, ‘I wasn’t sure what to get him. So, I let Ben pick it. Young boys tend to like the same things, I’ve found.’

‘Thank you,’ Celina spoke with a smile and took the gift.

‘What is a grartor party?’ Molly asked.

‘Riley came up with it. He said it meant a great gator. He’s obsessed with alligators!’ Celina laughed.

Molly nodded, the whole green and crocodile theme clicking into place. She talked for a few minutes with other parents who were arriving then she said goodbye and drove home.

At five, she returned and picked up Ben who chatted away about the good time he had had at the grartor party.

 

(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2018/08/09/tale-weaver-183-making-sense-of-nonsense-grartor/ with thanks).

 

 

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A Summer Storm #WritePhoto

In fields full of flowers we would spend our summers; playing, talking, reading, kissing. Standing at the edge now, I could see her still, running in a flowing white summer dress, the hem brushing the steams of the flowers as her hands trailed across their petals. She was laughing and looking back at me as I chased her.

A soft rain began to fall, darkening my clothes. I ducked under an oak we had used as shelter many times. If I pretended for a few moments, she was on the other side of the trunk, counting as we played hide and seek.

The rain came down harder, dripping through the leaves above. A rumble of thunder echoed across the fields. I shivered and wondered, why had I come back here? Had I really thought she would be here waiting for me? Lightening lit up the grey sky. The hairs on my arms stood up, it was unsafe to stay here.

I began running back to the village, the rain soaking me and the thunder clapping. I was crying, my chest hurt, I felt crushed with wanting what I could no longer have. She was gone forever and she would never run through those fields again.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/08/09/thursday-photo-prompt-summer-writephoto/ with thanks).

 

 

Reflection #FFfAW

She didn’t want to go to the park but she had no where else. Sitting on a bench next to the duck pond, she wondered, how have I hit rock bottom so hard? Wiping tears, she told herself she’d get through. She would find the strength like she always did.

 

(Inspired by; https://allaboutwritingandmore.wordpress.com/2018/08/07/fffaw-challenge-177th/ with thanks).

Tea #TwitteringTale

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In the time it had taken to break off the engagement the teapot had go cold. I wasn’t bothered, never be a fan of tea. I picked up a wedge of Victoria sponge cake and ate. Strangely, my mind was clear, it had been the right decision for us both.

(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2018/08/07/twittering-tales-96-7-august-2018/ with thanks).

Track #WritePhoto

Children’s laughter followed as she walked through the woods. The smile on her face grew and she spread both her arms out so that her fingers could brush the moss covered tree trunks and tall bushes.

Summer hung heavy in the air, carrying the heady scent of flowers, enough to drown upon. The low river tumbled passed, eager to get to the seaside. Bees buzzed, birds tweeted, squirrels scampered and the children played.

She felt at peace here. It was far from the busy city and her home, quiet of people but loud of nature. She could be anything she wanted amongst the trees with no one to judge her; a princess or a child again and not the gnarled old maid.

The children were calling, telling her to come back and see what they had found. She hadn’t gone far, not being able to walk well now. She totted back, wondering if they would show her shiny fish or wiggly worms? She reached the pebbly river bank where she had left them but it was empty.

She shut her eyes then opened them again. The ceiling of the hospital glowed white above her. Sirens wailed in the distance and the hush of nurses’ shoes crept along the nighttime corridors.

It hadn’t been real, none of it had.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/08/02/thursday-photo-prompt-track-writephoto/ with thanks).

 

Raindrops On Glass #TwitteringTales

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He only came when it rained, coming off the moors to seek shelter. I would sat in the library’s window box, reading by gas lamps. I would try to ignore the sounds of him moving around. I had nothing else to say to him nor him to me. We were ghosts to each other.

(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2018/07/31/twittering-tale-95-raindrops-on-glass-31-july-2018/ with thanks).

Dear Diary #47

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Dear Diary,

Strange things have been happening in the new house. I’ve not really had the time to write since our first night because we’ve been busy unpacking and buying things.

It’s four days later now and expect for the first night, though of course something could have happen but we were too tried to notice, something has been going on.

The second night, soon after midnight when I had put baby back to sleep again, I heard noises in the quietness. It sounded like someone moving things in the attic – a wooden trunk bring dragged and footsteps.

I woke Blaine up but we heard nothing. A few hours later, I heard a soft crying and woke up thinking it was Poppy, but she was fast asleep.

The next day, our second full day in the house, I went out with Poppy for a walk. Blaine had returned to work but I still had another month on maternity.

The park across the road is really nice. The duck pond is clean and the ducks even look posh. Is that an actual thing? Maybe, it’s because there were two white swans gliding about.

There were large patches of grass and trees, two playgrounds, sport areas and a skateboard bowl. From across the way, came the sound of children playing and I could just make out the primary school behind the high hedges.

When we got home, I knew something was wrong. I closed the door, took Poppy straight from her pram and walked through the house. The back door in the kitchen was slightly ajar.

Thinking someone had broken in, I went over and found that perhaps, I hadn’t locked the door and the wind had pushed it open. The back garden gate was secure and the fence too high for someone to climb over.

Then though, I found all the upstairs doors open and I knew I had closed them. Nothing seemed to have been taken. I told Blaine and we agreed to get all the locks changed and things secured.

That night, I heard things moving in the kitchen. It didn’t sound like a person though, it seemed to be more like the wind rustling things and making stuff creak. Trying to remember if I’d left the window open, I went downstairs and there wasn’t anything. I had left the light on and the window was closed.

Poppy was awake when I got back, wanting changing and feeding. Blaine slept on and I let him, I know how tried he was having to juggle being a new dad, having a new job and having to move.

I tried to get to sleep again but I don’t know. I just felt too awake which is strange as since weeks before Poppy arrived I’ve been so exhausted. I listened to the noises of the house, water dripping somewhere, pipes rattling, a door creaking, the stairs creaking, a door handle rattling…

I sat up and listened hard. Perhaps, it had been nothing. There are lots of noises in a new house. but I just have this feeling that it’s not just that…

I don’t know. I don’t believe in ghosts, I don’t even like watching horror movies or reading stories. I don’t have time for such nonsense. It’s properly just a side effect of the tiredness and stress. In a few months, it’ll just be normal and the house will feel like it’s always been ours, at least, I hope so.

#WritePhoto

It was too hot to walk on the tops today, but Judy had to get away. Out here, with the heathers, few trees and mother nature all round, she could escape. She didn’t have to put on the brave face anymore. Didn’t have to laugh along with her co-workers jokes or agree with their complaints. Didn’t have to pretend that everything was normal when her world had crashed.

Judy walked over to the big standing stone which seemed to stand proud against the aqua blue sky. It was the hottest day of the year and Judy was really feeling it. She had dress in shorts, a vest top and trainers. In her rucksack was two bottles of water, some snacks, her mobile phone and purse.

Reaching the stone, she sheltered in the shade it offered. Sitting down, she had some water then soaked up everything around her. The birds and crickets where singing, a lazy warm breeze was drifting around the heather and there was nothing else.

The tears were unexpected but she let them fall. It seemed there was nowhere she couldn’t escape the course of things. Her brother was gone and there was nothing she could do about it.

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/07/26/thursday-photo-prompt-stone-writephoto/ with thanks).

Stone Circles (Part 4)

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It started to rain more and it turned into drizzle. The stone did not offer much shelter but I was too tried and growing scared to move. The deepening darkness made it harder for me to see and for some reason I began thinking about ghost stories governess had told me over the years. You could hear children crying on windy nights and women wailing when it rained, ghost horses pulling carriages during storms and also the howling of the devil’s dog.

‘Rosy! Rosy!’ I cried, ‘please come back to me! I want to go home!’

I started weeping, knowing it was not gentleman or boy like, but unable to stop myself. The wind began whistling around the stones and half thought I could make it whispering voices. Was that the neighing of a horse? I pushed back my head and got to my feet. It sounded like it could be but it was hard to tell where the sound was coming from.

I shouted for Rosy with the last of my strength then listened hard. There was more neighing and above the wind and rain, hoofs racing across the moors. I heard my breath and stared through the gloom. There was something brown coming towards me, was it Rosy or something else?

Leaving the stone circle, I cross the short grass and went towards the growing shape. It was a pony for sure but was it Rosy? I called her name again and made my way over. It was her! Galloping over, reins loose about her neck.

‘Rosy! Where have you been!’ I cried and rushed to embrace her.

I wrapped my arms around her warm, damp neck and cried hard into her fur. Rosy nuzzled me and whined softly. The drizzle dripping off her. She seemed unhurt and just as glad to see me.

‘Do you know the way home from here?’ I asked her, ‘can you get us back?’

I stroked her and climbed up on her back. The saddle was still tight in place but wet with the rain. I clutched the reins and told her to go on. Rosy turned away from the stones and walked into the gathering darkness.

I had no idea where she was taking me but I had to trust her. She had come to find me, had she not? Surly, she would take me home now? I shivered with the cold and tried not think so much. I wonder if Molly had lit the fire in my room and what would be for supper instead.

Rosy sometimes walked or trotted and I let her go. The rain turned heavy, the wind stronger and the moors darker. I lay down against her mane, dozing on and off. The flickering of lights in the distance called my attention and I looked upwards. It was hard to tell what was growing ahead of us at first. Perhaps it was lightening?

I felt Rosy speed up under me and I held the reins and saddle tighter. Had she heard thunder? I could not hear anything and the yellow lights ahead were becoming more stable. Could it really be Trenworth Manor at last?

And then it was! I saw the manor looming against the darkness, a solid shape against the sky.

‘Go, Rosy! Go!’ I urged the pony.

Rosy stepped onto the narrow road which made it easier for her to gallop on. The archway door still stood open and we went through. Rosy tottered across the gardens and went towards a small cottage and a stables that stood in the shadows of the manor. Mr Marsh had left the stable doors open and Rosy went in.

There was no light inside, so I climbed off her in the dark and hurried to knock on the cottage’s door. I banged loudly on the wood, the door opened before I stopped. Mrs Marsh stood in the doorway, famed by the glow of fire and with the scent of hot food drifting out.

‘Master Dunnington! What an earth-‘

‘I got lost on the moors!’ I cried, ‘Rosy wondered off without me but then we found each other again and she brought me home.’

‘Oh well, now, we did wonder where you had gone…’

‘I’ll take him back to the house,’ Mr Marsh said coming to the door with a lit lantern.

‘Thank you!’ I said.

He walked ahead of me and I followed the lantern light to the back door of the manor. Mr Marsh had borrowed the key, so he let me in to the kitchen. There was still some warmth in the air from the dying fire.

‘I will go to see to Rosy. You should get to bed now,’ Mr Marsh said.

He lit me a candle then left. Locking the door behind him. I hurried through the dark quiet house to my rooms. Once there, I lit a few more of the candles and also the fire. It should have been Molly’s job to do this but she was not round and I was not use to calling upon her.

I got out of my wet clothes and into something else then warmed myself by the crackling fire. A linger of fear was still going through me but I put that down to being cold. Once I was feeling better, I got up and went into the next room, hoping that Molly had remembered to leave supper on the light table for me.

Lighting more candles, I saw there was something. It seemed to be soup but it had all ready gone cold. I ate it anyway and the bread because I was hungry. Tiredness wrapped itself around me and I barely blew out all the candles and crawled into bed before I fell into a deep sleep.

I dreamt of the moor and being lost. I kept calling for Rosy and for help. The wind howled around me, deafening me and the rain fell, blinding me. I could hear children and women crying and wailing, their fingers brushing me, trying to keep me back. I stumbled onward and almost walked into a tall stone. I felt my way around and realised I was inside one of the stone circles.

Was I still there now? Had my return home been the real dream?

I tried to leave the stone circle but I seemed unable to get out. The stones closed around me, blocking the moor off. They rose above my head, making a roof as they touched together. I think I scream and bashed my hands against the stones.

The sense of falling and spinning took me, I was flying and the stones were scrapping against me. I hit the floor of my bedroom hard and struggled to untangle myself from the bed clothes. Dim morning light crept around the room and somewhere I could hear a servant’s bell ringing.

I got up, looking around dazed. Was I really back? Had it all been a dream after all? I went to the window and looked out. The moors were still there, looking welcoming in the light. I watched a flock of sheep going past, chased by a dog and two men. I looked down at my hands and saw the faint scars left by the cane. Everything looked normal but I did not feel it.

Something had changed and if it was due to that nightmare or my time being lost on the moors, I was never sure. Maybe, it had something to do with the stone circles? But I always felt less confident after that and I never wander Bodmin Moor alone again.

Stone Circles (Part 3)

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I rode Rosy the pony across Bodmin Moor. The breeze in my hair and in her mane and tail. I let her go where she wanted. Rosy had been born on the moor and found as a foal by Mr Marsh. He had taken her in, like he did with any young or hurt creature he found. She was fully tamed but also spent nearly all of her time out here, so she knew her way around better then I did. She was also more sure-footed then I ever could be.

We passed sheep, cows and other ponies – wild and tame- that roamed the land. Only once or twice did I see another person; a farmer rounding up sheep and a gentleman riding a big black horse. We heard the sounds of the quarries and saw the tall stone towers rising upwards, wheels turning. Rosy kept her distant and I agreed with her, those places were not for a gentleman to visit, unless he had urgent business there.

Some time a lot later, Rosy found a small stream and lowered her head to drink. I slipped off her back, feeling aches in my legs, back and arms. I stretched and knelt down beside the stream. The water was so clear! I cupped some in my hand and took a few sips. It was pleasant and refreshing. I drink some more then settled down to eat what Mrs Marsh and Margret had given me for lunch.

There was a hunk of fresh bread, slightly warm to the touch still, a lump of cheese, cut offs of the cooked ham, two apples, a sweet cake and a carrot. As if they had know that Rosy would be with me! I give her the carrot and one of the apples. The pony seemed grateful then wandered off to nibble at the moor grasses.

I ate everything, the moor air making me extremely hungry. I drink from the stream with I needed too. Rosy came over once more and I give her the rest of my apple. After, I folded the cloth carefully away and splashed water on my hands and face. It was a warm in the sun and waves of tiredness floated over me.

I laid down, watching the clouds going by. Rosy nudged me then carried on grazing. She would not wander far whilst I slept, she was a loyal friend, the only one I had in Cornwall. I shut my eyes, breathed in the moor deeply and let it carry me away.

It was hard to till how much time had passed when I woke up. There were more clouds in the sky and some of them had turned dark grey. The air had got chiller and the sun was struggling to get around the clouds. The weather had turned as it often does on the moors.

I rubbed sleep away, drank some more cool stream water and splashed some on my face. I climbed to my feet and looked around for Rosy.  The chestnut moor pony was no where to be seen.

‘Rosy! Rosy!’ I shouted.

Scanning the rolling landscape, I expected at any moment for her to reappear, trotting over to me. The only thing that moved through was the heather and rough grasses. I gathered my things, thinking that she had started home with it me. Perhaps, if I kept calling, she would come back?

Shouting as loud as I could, I set off in the direction I thought we had come from. After a few minutes though, I was not sure. Stopping, I looked around, trying to recall anything that would be familiar but the moor all looked the same. I felt fear growing in the bottom of my belly.

I looked back towards the stream, trying to think if Rosy had walked in a straight line towards it. There was a good possibility. Walking off again, I tried to look for anything that might be pony shaped or house shaped or even person shaped. Convincing myself, I was going the right way, I quickened my pace.

Above the blue sky was turning dark with grey clouds. The idea of being lost out here in the dark made the fear grow. I tried not to think about it. I would find Rosy again and she would take me home, she knew the way well. I felt a rain drop splatter on my hand.

‘Rosy! Rosy! Come here, girl! Rosy!’ I screamed.

I was not a young gentleman any more but a lost child. I ran, half tripping over spiky bushes and long plants. I prayed that Trenworth Manor would appear over the next rise but every time there was just more moorland.

How far had Rosy and I travelled? Why hadn’t I paid more attention to where she was going? Why hadn’t I tied her up before I fell asleep? Because I had not thought she would wander away from me, she had never done before. What if she was hurt?

I stopped, my body aching and my breath painful. I tried to gather my thoughts. It was not likely that Rosy had tripped or got tangled in something, she was so surefooted and built for being on the moors. Maybe, she had heard some wild ponies and gone to see them?  Or perhaps, sensing the change of weather and not being able to wake me, she had trotted off home.

I wiped my face, not realising I had been crying. A few more drops of rain fell. Trying to stay calm, I carried on walking. Perhaps, I would find the road back to the manor or something else that would set me on the right path? If it got darker and wetter before though, I could find a hollow somewhere and rest there.

Something that was not a normal part of the moor was growing in the distance. It did not look like a pony or a house though, it was something tall and grey. Hurrying over, I got closer and saw it a large stone. Then there was more, a number of them making a circle, no, three stone circles almost touching each other. They stood in a huge patch of moorland that had been cleared away so there was only light green grass around.

I stopped on the edge, starting in wonder. What where they doing here and who had put them like that? Stones do not stand naturally in a circle. Had they once been enclosures for animals? Maybe the layout for houses of the past? I went forward and looked closely. The stones were old, weathered with some moss growing at the base. The circles were incomplete; some stones had fallen over and there were gaps were some should have been.

I had no memory of the stones and surely, if Rosy had brought me this way I would have seen them in the distance? I walked around the outside of them, looking this way and that. I called Rosy a few times but all I heard was the gathering wind and sheep bleating somewhere.

Getting cold, I stepped inside the first stone circle and rested against the biggest stone. Too many thoughts ran through my mind so that I could not think clearly. I kept coming back to the same problem though; how was I going to get home?

To be Continued…