One Shot

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When she picked up the email her heart leaped. This was her chance to prove she could do it and move on from being a plain old receptionist. This job interview was her ticket through a new door and only goodness lay at the other side.

She spent the rest of the day preparing; getting her clothes sorted, reminding herself of what she wrote in her job application, writing down questions and answers and even internet researching things. She felt so ready and like the job was her’s no matter what.

Laying in bed that night though, she couldn’t sleep. Her stomach churned like fish heads in a mincing machine, her back ached as if she was laying on a wooden board and her head swim like a whirlpool. She plucked thoughts out of the air as they whizzed passed; what if they asked a really weird question? what if she messed up a big answer? What if someone else was stronger then her?

She saw the job slipping away from her, like ice melting and trickling out of her hands. Sitting up in bed, she turned on the light and reached for one of the self-help books by her bed. She had recently shuffled them so the one about succeeding in interviews and a new job was at the top. Finding her place, she read for awhile. That give her some comfort.

Sleeping well afterwards, she arose in the morning and went about everything as normal. There were large, scratching butterflies in her stomach and her back was still twinging, but she got by. Then it was finally time to get ready and leave. Reminding herself that the job was as good as her’s already, She give it her all and walked out afterwards on a new path.

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Remembering

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Seeing the quiet French field it was strange to think it had once been so different. The black and white photos in my little book were prove of that though. Once there was only disturbed mud and bodies, the green landscape lost forever. And of course, it hadn’t been quiet; the air had shook with deafening gunfire, shouting and the moans of the dying.

Sitting in the wheelchair which had now become my life, I clutched my book and the woollen blanket in my lap. I shut my eyes and was back there straight away, walking through the smoke. The trench was slick with running mud and rain was tumbling from a dark grey sky. I stepped over a body, a twisted mangle shape that had once been a living man. He seemed half sunk into the mud, face down. I carried on, so use to the sight it just seemed normal now.

My feet were leading the way as the rest of me was numb. I entered one of the shelters and sunk down into a damp camp bed. I didn’t know if this was my place but it didn’t matter. I think there was someone else in the bed above me, sleeping. Without taking anything off, I lay down and feel asleep.

My wish was never to wake up again but each time I did.

Opening my wet eyes, those imagines stayed with me. Bad shakes racked through my body. Someone was saying something but in that moment I had forgotten there were other people with me. None of them had been there, so they’d never understand what it was truly like.

Long Nights

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When the house got to cold the best place to be was in bed. There I could wrap up warm in the winter duvet and blankets, turn on my little heater and wait till I could feel my toes again. I read a library book to distract myself and listened to the fan whirling as well as the noises of the old house. Sometimes I’d hear other things; animals, the weather, stray notes of music. Tonight there were fireworks.

I dozed in-between reading chapters and checking the time. It was far too early for bed, yet the darkness blocking the window was suggesting otherwise. I’d never slept well in this house, even as a child when I’d come to stay with my grandparents which had been too often…

The memories were still heavy in the air, single moments playing over and over again, like ghosts I couldn’t escape from. I hate being trapped here, just like back then, but no one wanted to buy the house and without a sale I couldn’t move into other. So, it was either this roof over my head or none. I’d already been ‘none’ a few times and any roof was far better.

Perhaps, it was some unknown unfinished business holding me here or a curse? I didn’t believe in either thing. It was just the bad luck of my life. Reminding myself to contact a few people tomorrow, I closed my book and turned the heater off. The bedroom was warmer. I kept the lamp on though, I never slept in the totally darkness.

Settling down, I listened to the fireworks still going off in the distance. It was a few days after bonfire night but people still seemed to be celebrating. The loud popping, whizzing, bangs and crackles re-breaking every few minutes. I kept second guessing when it was over till it finally was.

Then, in the house I hated with a passion, blissful sleep stole me away.

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He’d always liked watching the sea so it seemed only fitting for us to bury him there.

The Last Letter

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Dear Lucy,

The sickness is growing, I can feel it and if you’ve found this letter it means the time has finally come. I’m now too sick to sick to talk to you. I’ve gone to my bedroom and will die in my bed. Don’t bother coming to see me, there’s no point. My life has been so empty from the beginning that it only seems fitting that I should die alone now.

I’m trusting everything to you. Underneath this letter is the envelope containing my will. Only you and I know about how I live and that what people say about me isn’t true. I want you to up hold that imagine of me though; the quiet, yet social writer and artist. Who attend a different party or grand opening or some other important event every evening. Who’s house was always full with friends and he slept with different women each night. The too kind, mysterious, rich young man I wish I’d been in my youth.

Please carry on writing my ideas and books for me. You were always so good with new technology. I made it so in my will that you were able to write under my pseudonym, that way you can carry on perfecting your craft. You’ll make a great writer someday and finally be able to step out of my shadow.

I’m sorry to have to leave you like this. You have been like the wife and daughter, I daydreamed about having. I feel I should give you more but you already have my name and career in your hands, so what else can there be?

Good luck.

Bonfire Sparks

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I hadn’t been feeling well all week but I wasn’t about to let it stop me from going to the bonfire night party.  I hadn’t been to one in years and the idea of seeing a professional firework display and spending the weekend with my boyfriend was just too good to miss.

Making sure I wrapped up warm and had everything I needed, we set off and walked to the park. There were huge crowds all ready and the smell of hot food swamped the air. I held my boyfriend’s hand tightly. We walked around, pushing our way through people who were gathering before a circled off area.

I saw they were waiting for the bonfire to be lit. I could see the pile of wood raising against the the dark sky. We found a place to stand and joined the crowed watching as some men light the kindling wood at the base. The flames were bright orange, red and yellow and they took to the dry wood quickly. Loud cracking and popping sounds joined the voices of the crowd.

We stayed for awhile, the fire growing and the heat becoming stronger. My boyfriend then moved us off to place where the fireworks display was going to be. There was all ready a mingling of people there, trying to get a good spot. That seemed silly to me because we’d able to see the fireworks from anywhere in the park. We stood before the rope and looked at the men who were doing some checks.

People began to press against us, loud voices and laughter surrounded us. I took deep breaths but it didn’t help. I felt unwell and just wanted to get out. I tugged my boyfriend’s arm and got him to lean down so I could tell him this.

He looked unhappy but we forced our way out of the crowds. We walked away and I felt better. The air was cleaner and cooler. We walked up a hill and joined a few other people who where there. Sitting down on our coats, he rubbed my back and talked softly to me. Thankfully, the tail end of my illness stayed to fade again.

The first firework screamed through the air and give off an ear shattering pop. I snapped my head up and the bright multi-colours dazzled me. Another firework shot up, exploding in front of the first and adding more colour to the sky.

‘Oh!’ I cried.

More fireworks went off, covering the sky in a wash of colours and deafening everyone with their music. I was enraptured and found it hard to take my eyes away. Then my boyfriend was calling me and tapping on my shoulder.

‘I’m watching this,’ I told him, unhappily.

‘I know, but I have to ask you something.’

I turned to him and noticed he was on one knee beside me. I frowned and then I spotted the small box in the palm of his hand. It was open and there was a silver ring glittering in the flashing lights.

‘Will you marry me?’ he asked.

The smile that light up my face was brighter then any firework that night.

The Olde Coach Inn (Part 3)

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In the morning, we were all too busy so I couldn’t share my experience from the night before with anyone. It was Halloween and we had to set up for ghost hunting. At breakfast which was super nice and so needed, I handed out the scripts I had made to everyone. Lexi and Quinn, who mostly hosted the show, had lines to learn whilst Victor and I had footage shooting and directing to remember.

We had base tests which involved the records of average temperatures, any drifts, creaking doors and floorboards etc, anything that was normal. That way we could either say it was natural or not natural later on. It took all morning to get all the base tests done. We stopped for the lunch time rush – a handful of people travelling through – then Colton closed the bar and we able to start our walk through filming.

Victor did the main camera work and I was on the second camera. We set up whilst Lexi and Quinn prepared then we began making our opening scenes. Everything went well and Lexi was her normal stunning self. She had chosen to wear a tight fitting dress with a Halloween theme on it. The top half was a midnight blue and dotted with white stars then it turned to a purple at her waist and large grinning pumpkins circled the skirt. She was showing too much skin. Her long pink and purple hair was down but off her face.

Quinn had gone for his normal black leather trousers, half open black shirt and roughed up leather biker’s jacket. His black hair down his back and he’d remembered all his lines perfectly. That made recording his parts faster which was great as Lexi need two or three takes for all of her sections.

Once that was done though, Victor went off to double check everything was okay and make a backup of everything we had recorded. Lexi and Quinn took a break in their bedroom. I sat in the snug corner of the bar and looked over the plans for setting out the cameras for tonight and making sure all the equipment and spare batteries were charged.

Taking a few seconds to drink some water, I looked out the nearest window. It was coming up to six and darkness pressed against the frosted glass. I could hear the rain and wind too which meant we’d have to be careful not to mistake any weather sounds for the unnatural.

A floorboard creaked and I turned to peer out of the archway. The gloomy bar was empty. I frowned and looked harder. The creak came again and some of the electric lights flickered. It was just someone moving upstairs or else it was the wind. I turned back to the script and the plans of the buildings I had drawn up. I got the feeling that someone was watching me.

‘Hello?’ I called out.

Getting up, I walked about but didn’t see anyone. Great, I was getting jumpy already. A door in the distance opened. I froze and listened as someone walked through. It sounded like they were in the kitchen. There was a ratting of pans and glasses clinked together as if to confirm my thought.

‘Colton?’ I said louder.

Finding my feet, I moved around the bar and opened the door into the kitchen. The lights were off. I turned them on and found the large space empty. I frowned and walked through, heading to the back door at the end. The signs told me it was a fire exist only and the only handle was the long metal bar which when pushed down would trigger the fire alarm.

I backed away and checked the storage rooms and the walk in fridge. There was really no one here but I couldn’t blame the sound of moving pots and glasses on the wind. Heading back, I tried to dismiss it when the fire door was yanked open and Colton and his brother Dolton walked in. I jumped, screamed a little then calmed myself.

‘Sorry,’ I said, ‘I didn’t mean to. Just I heard, well I thought it was one of you, but then it wasn’t…so,’ I babbled.

Dolton, who looked so much like Colton, I was sure they were twins, shrugged it off and began putting on a white chief’s jacket and hat. Colton came over to me and we both left the kitchen.

‘I’ll get you a drink,’ he was saying.

I nodded and lent on the bar but then I had to turn because someone said my name. Puzzled, I glanced around, expecting to see one of my friends but the bar was empty.

‘They like to mess with you,’ Colton spoke, ‘once they know you a bit, they start with the small stuff. Whispering, moving things, shadows in the corner of your eye.’

‘The ghosts?’ I uttered.

‘Yep. Here,’ he added.

I took the run and coke from him, had a few sips and tried to focus again. It felt like a fog was entering my mind, clouding me over. I didn’t feel tried, just heavy headed and not able to think straight.

‘I bet they’ll be out in full force to night,’ Colton said, ‘there’s no way I’d stay here.’

‘Aren’t you use to it though?’ I questioned.

‘You can never get use to them.’

Footsteps on the stairs ended our conversation as Victor, Quinn and Lexi appeared in the bar. I smiled and decided it was still best not to tell them anything. We got drinks, a bigger table then ordered food. Whilst we waited then ate, we chatted away and finalised everything. We were all excited then Lexi told us about something she had heard and felt before.

‘I heard the bedroom door open and footsteps. I thought it was one of you but when I called out, I heard this raspy old man’s voice say ‘get out’ then I got this cold chill,’ Lexi told us, ‘I called Quinn and we checked it out but found nothing.’

‘Alice heard someone calling her last night,’ Victor chimed in.

Everyone looked at me and I shrugged, ‘I’ve been hearing lots since we got here but I didn’t want it to affect anything.’

‘Always wise of you,’ Lexi responded, ‘let’s get desert then we can get started. I can’t wait! I’ve a good feeling about this!’

After we’d eaten, we set up what we needed too and began filming again. Lexi and Quinn took turns in different rooms to try and communicate with the ghosts. We used a mixture of technology like; spirit boxes, digital records, EMF detector, trigger objects, paper and pens. After three hours we hadn’t caught any supernatural evidence but we did have some nice footage of us trying.

I checked the time and saw it was past ten. We took a break; drinking, eating, changing batteries, checking on the other smaller cameras we’d left recording in the other buildings. The weather was getting worse; the wind and rain both becoming stronger and cause natural sounds to arise within the buildings. Wood creaked louder and more often, the sound of rain dripping and splashing was more dominate and drifts were springing up everywhere.

Re-grouping in the bar, we got ready to try again. I was sat down at a table, Victor leaning in beside me as we checked what needed filming next. Quinn had flung himself on a chair opposite and was looking bored. Lexi was pacing close by.

‘I know something’s going to happen!’ Lexi said loudly, ‘come on, show yourselves!’

‘Wait, I’m not filming,’ Victor cut in, ‘there’s no point if we don’t capture something.’

Lexi groan and turned to me, ‘you try, Alice. They always talk to you!’

‘Okay…Let’s get ready then,’ I said, even though I didn’t want too.

Lexi was right though, some of the best things were had captured had been thanks to me. I had a bad feeling about it this time though, but I knew I couldn’t say no. Our YouTube channel had really been struggling this year and we were relaying on this special Halloween episode to help turn it around.

I took the spirit box and the digital recorder behind the bar and placed then down. When Victor give me the go, everyone fell silent and I started. Turing the spirit box on and letting the static fill the room, I took a deep breath and started with the normal questions.

It took a few tries and a few different places but then up in my bedroom, something came through.

‘What’s your name?’ I was asking.

‘No,’ a crackled male voice came through the speaker box.

We all paused.

‘Tell me your name,’ I spoke.

‘Dev-i lin,’ the same voice spoke, only the word wasn’t so clear.

‘Was that devil?’ Lexi asked in a hushed voice.

‘Sounded like it was to me,’ Victor replied.

‘It was Devilin. That’s the surname of a family who use to run this inn,’ I added.

‘Right,’ the spirit box responded.

I felt chills up my arms then realised I was close to the window. I walked around slowly and asked a few more questions but we didn’t get anything else.

We stopped filming and Lexi let out a big sigh. ‘what is going on here? This is so bad!’

‘You know it takes sometime,’ I snapped back.

‘Midnight and the early hours are always best,’ Victor cut in.

‘I’m going to the stables by myself. Give me a  camera,’ Lexi demanded.

Leaving Victor and Quinn to sort her out, I sat down on the bed. I listened to them go downstairs then outside. I didn’t like being alone when we investigated but I got on with it still.

I set my camera up, making sure it got a full view of the bed. I sat in the middle, crossed legged and using the digital recorder began my own ghost hunt. I spoke to the camera first, stating I was alone and the others had gone to the stables. Then I turned on the recorder and asked some questions, leaving good gaps in between so any ghost voices replying could be caught. When I was done, I played it back and listened closely.

‘Were you here last night?’ my record voice spoke into the quietness.

No reply.

‘Did you move the sheets?’

‘Did you touch me?’

An leery laugh piped up then vanished.

I stopped the recording, took it back and hit play, making sure it was closer to the camera so it could be heard. I asked the touching question again and a male laugh sounded out. It didn’t sound very nice or funny, more mocking.

‘What do you want?’ my recorded voice asked.

There was a crackle then, ‘you!’ a man’s voice shouted.

I felt a blast of cold air then something pushed into me and I fell across the bed, the recorder tumbling from my hand. Scrambling up and trying not to scream, I heard the floorboards around me creaking loudly then the bed started shaking. Pain shot through my head and I saw a shadow figure detach itself from the wall and come at me. I was knocked across the bed once more. I lay still, my chest hurting, icy air covering me as if I’d just walked into a freezer and that’s when I heard the laughter again.

Struggling up, my breath came out as mist and as I turned, I saw a man standing over me. He was naked! He had long, tangled red hair and a matching beard, his face was lined with scars and he was missing teeth. I could see him so clearer and yet I knew he was dead.

I tried to gather my thoughts and put a name to him from the research, I’d done, but nothing was coming expect a panicking. My body felt frozen and yet wanted to flee at the same time. I couldn’t scream or get words out, I could only stare.

‘Alice,’ the ghost spoke, ‘I want you.’

He moved swiftly, climbing on top of me and flatting me across the bed. A scream ripped from my throat and I tried to scramble away. He had a hold of me somehow. I pushed forward, clawing at the bedding, but I was on my back and not able to get anywhere. I felt his ice cube cold hand press into my throat. The fingers of his other hand race down and pressed into my legs.

I gasped, found my voice and yelled, ‘Stay away from me! Get off me!’

His laugh echoed in my ears and head. He pressed harder on my throat and in-between my legs. I felt the coldness sinking into my underwear and I could so feel his fingers stroking me down there!

I tried to punch him, my fist went right through him. I kicked out as well, my legs banging against the side of the bed. Somehow, I flipped over, twisting away from him, but perhaps he let me. I felt fingers tugging my hair, trying to hold me back as he mounted me. I reached across the bed and luckily it wasn’t that wide, so I was able to grab the other side and pulled myself across. I slide onto the floor, the bedding tumbling around me.

I breathed deeply, tears wetting my cheeks and the wanting to get up but I was afraid he’d stop me. My teeth chattered together and wildly, I looked around the room. I didn’t know where he’d gone. I bolted for the door in the semi-darkness, almost tripping but getting there and yanking it open. I ploughed straight into Victor and we both tumbled onto the hallway floor.

‘Are you okay? What happened?’ Victor asked.

I squeezed my eyes shut, I could still feel the ghost’s hands on me. I heard Victor get up, go into the room, look around then come back again. He helped me up, even though I stayed stiff. He kept asking me what was wrong and what had happened, but I just shook my head.

Somehow he got me downstairs and outside. The wind and rain hit me fully but I could still feel that chill behind my legs. I was shaking and sobbing so much, I couldn’t do anything. We walked away, though I wasn’t sure where he was taking me. Then we were getting into the car and Victor was closing the back doors and locking them. He put a blanket on me and held me tightly.

I don’t remember falling asleep in the car, but I must have done. Victor was there in the morning when I awoke, holding me. Rain was falling softly and the wind had cut down to a breeze. I rubbed my face and nudged him. Victor was already awake.

‘How you feeling?’ he asked.

I sniffed, ‘bit better,’ I muttered.

‘Quinn and Lexi are sleeping but I’ll get them up now. We can pack then leave.’

‘I can’t go back in there,’ I whispered.

‘What happened? Do you remember?’ Victor asked.

I nodded then replied, ‘I can’t talk about it just yet.’

When we finally left The Olde Coach Inn I was so grateful I burst into tears. Victor held me and Lexi reached over the passenger seat and patted my arm. Quinn was driving too fast, but I didn’t care, I just had to be away from that place and back in my own bed.

Normally, as soon as we return, we got started reviewing everything and deciding what to edit together. I didn’t join in this time and I didn’t want to hear or see any of what we’d recorded. It had all been too real for me. Victor told me though it was our highest watched and liked video yet.

It was also our last because I was too scared to carry on and that night haunted me for as long as I lived.

The End.

Gone #ThreeLineTales

three line tales week 90: New York subway

On the wrong train! Was in hurry just got on the 1st 1 it’s full of strange people who keep staring at me it’s dead quiet no 1 is doing anything. Should get off at the next stop but scared 2.  

(Inspired from; https://only100words.xyz/2017/10/19/three-line-tales-week-90 with thanks).

Toffee Apple Tasting

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There were a few things that sum up autumn perfectly and one of them is toffee apples. As you do the weekly shop and pick up the normal fruit and veg, you spot the boxes in the last section of the large open fridge. Strolling over, you see sticks coming out of red glossy apples and next to them are chocolate covered sprinkle apples.

Your mouth starts to water as you remember how sweet they taste. You select a few, knowing that next week they might not have any in. Then you carry on with your shopping list but you can’t wait to get home now. At the till, you hurry through packing and paying, keeping up a light chat with the small woman scanning your shopping.

You leave, go to the car and place everything inside then you drive slowly home because the rain is heavy and the wind gale force. When you get back, you see your family is still out. Your husband has taken the kids to a birthday party at a soft play centre. You unpack and twice have to draw yourself away from grabbing a toffee apple.

Once everything is sorted, you chose one of the bright red apples and curl up on the sofa with it. Enjoying the sound of the weather outside, you don’t turn the TV or radio on. You unwrap the treat, the plastic coat so loud as you twist it off. You breath deeply, smelling the crisp apple and sweet, sweet treacle toffee.

You turn the stick slowly, marvelling at the perfect, thick toffee and wondering how did they get it so good. Your own attempts at making toffee apples drifts into you mind, but you shake them away now isn’t the time to reflect on your failures. You bring the apple to your lips and began nibbling at the lip of toffee on top.

A blast of sticky sugar hits your tongue, you shut your eyes and moan softly in pleasure. You nibble more, feeling like you can’t get enough now you’ve started. Then you hit the rock hard toffee and cold apple layers. You go more slowly, careful of your teeth. When you finally bit into the apple, the sweet and softness of it goes perfectly with the toffee as if they were made for each other.

You carry on eating, rolling in the happy feelings, until all the toffee is gone and you are almost at the core of the apple. Saddness creep in under the sugar rush. You wish there was more… You lick your lips, feeling sticky as you look at the apple core.

The sound of car pulling up on the driveway shakes you out of the pleasure. You hear car door and voices; your family is home. Spring up from the sofa, you put the apple core, stick and plastic wrap in the bin and wash your face.

The front door opens and you fight to keep down the sugar rush as you greet your family. They must never know.

Change

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The months fly, the seasons change, we live against darkening skies, awaiting the sleep that falls on all of us.