Operation #TaleWeaver

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I sat at a desk in the cleared dinning room which was now the reception of a imaginary hospital. I shuffled blank pages around to pretend I was working.

‘Hello!’ my seven year old daughter, Adile spoke.

I looked across at her with her waterfall of blonde hair and pink summer dress on. In her hands she held her favourite teddy bear. He was a medium size, with curly brown fur, a red faded bow tie at his neck, one ear and two black eyes.

She slide teddy on to the desk then with a determined but grim face began telling me a story, ‘we need to see a doctor. Teddy had an accident and he’s got a huge cut in his side and all his stuffing is falling out! You aren’t feeling so good, are you Teddy? So, we’ve come to the hospital to make him feel better.’

‘I see!’ I cried, ‘right, I’m sure we can make teddy better. Let me get some details down then I nurse will come and to assess you then the doctor will examine teddy.’

Adile nodded.

I grabbed a pen and piece of paper, ‘name please?

‘Mr. Teddy Bear.’

‘Age?’

‘Erm…five!’

‘Address?’

‘My house.’

‘Which is what?’ I asked.

Adile recited our address carefully.

‘Phone number?’

Adile thought and repeated the numbers of our house phone.

Then, though it was silly, I took Adile’s name and details, so it seemed this make belief game was real. Then I questioned what was wrong with teddy and wrote the details down.

‘Can you draw me a picture of his injures?’ I asked and handed Adile pencil and piece of paper.

Adile nodded and got to drawing a teddy like shape with a hole in his side and a cloud coming out of it.

‘There!’ she said and give it back to me.

‘That’s good. Please take a seat and wait for the nurse to call you,’ I said and pointed to the dinning room table chairs which were lined against the wall.

I put the paper I had written on and Adile’s drawing on a clipboard then I got up and left the room. Going into the living room, I changed my pink jumper to a blue one and put a nurse’s hat on my head.

I walked back in, stopped in the doorway and looked at the clipboard, ‘Mr. Teddy Bear?’ I called.

‘Here!’ Adile answered with her hand up.

‘I’m the nurse. This way please,’ I said and lead them into the conservatory. I sat down on the floor before the coffee table and Adile sat down on the other side. Teddy on her lap.

‘So, what’s the problem?’ I asked.

Adile launched into her story of teddy’s injury again.

I nodded along then asked to look at him. Adile placed teddy on the coffee table and I looked at the large hole inside and some stuffing poking out.

‘That looks sore,’ I said, ‘does it hurt a lot?’

Adile lent her head down as if listening to teddy whispering to her then spoke, ‘he says it hurts loads.’

‘Oh dear!’ I cried, ‘let me take your vitals and we shall rush you through!’

From the children’s doctor’s kit, I got a stethoscope and listened to teddy’s heart. I wrote some numbers on the paper. Then I took his temperature and so forth, as if I was a real nurse carrying out all the needed tests.

‘Right, that looks okay, Mr Teddy. I’m going to speak to the doctor right now and then we shall get you into surgery.’

‘Is it that bad?’ Adile shouted.

‘Yes I’m afraid so. We need to stitch up that cut and give you a stuffing transfer right away!’

‘Oh no!’ Adile moaned and hugged teddy tightly.

‘It’ll all be fine. Teddy won’t feel anything and afterwards, he’ll be as good as new. Can I leave to get the doctor now?’

Adile buried her face in teddy and nodded.

I left the room and went into the living room once more. I changed jumpers to a white one, took off the nurse’s hat, put the stethoscope on, my reading glasses on and tied my hair back into a ponytail.

I walked into the conservatory and announced, ‘I’m the doctor.’

‘Doctor!’ Adile cried, ‘please fix my teddy!’

Tears sparkled in her eyes and she was on the edge of a crying session again.

I knelt down and took both Adile’s hand and teddy’s paw.

‘It’s all going to be okay,’ I said gently, ‘I know just want to do. Would you like to come with me now? You can stay with teddy whilst I operate.’

‘Yes, please!’ Adile spoke.

I helped her up from the floor and we went into the living room.

‘Mr. teddy, please lay on the table here. Don’t worry, everything is going to be fine,’ I spoke.

Adile lay teddy on the coffee table and I handed her the nurse’s hat whilst asking, ‘would you like to be the nurse?’

With a nod, Adile put the hat on then patted teddy to comfort him.

‘Here’s a mask for you, nurse and also one for me,’ I said and we both put the green masks onto our lower faces, so our mouths and noses were covered.

‘Firstly, teddy let’s give you some special gas which will make you sleepy,’ I said, ‘nurse? Let’s count to ten together whilst I do this, okay?’

I picked up an empty paper bag and place it over the bear’s face. Then I gently and slowly pressed the bag inwards, so it crumbled and became flat. Adile and I counted to ten.

‘Mr teddy? can you hear me?’ I spoke.

Adile lent in then shook her head, ‘he’s a sleep,’ she added.

‘Good. Right. I got some stuffing here and I’m going to put it inside the wound now.’

I put a few handfuls of stuffing inside the teddy. Felt it and added one more handful.

‘Is that enough?’ Adile asked.

‘Yes, I believe so and now I’m getting the needle and thread….’

Adile gasped and put her hands to her cheeks, ‘No!’ she wailed.

‘It’s okay,’ I answer soothingly.

I thread the needle with brown thread and got sewing the hole closed.

‘Oh, teddy, oh teddy, please be okay!’ Adile muttered.

She started sniffing and sobbing. I reassure her as best I can.

I finished sewing the hole. I tied and cut the threads then smooth teddy’s fur to hide my handwork.

‘Nurse, I’m all done. You can wake him now,’ I say.

Adile gently shook teddy a few times whilst calling his name. I sit him upright and handed him back to her.

‘Teddy? Are you well again? Let me see!’ Adile said and she carefully inspected my sewing, ‘he’s fine now,’ she concluded and give him a tight hug.

‘Teddy needs some fresh and sun now. Can you take him outside to play? He should be able to now.’

Adile nodded and come over to hug me. Her warm arms wrap around my neck and I hugged her back. I took off the nurses’ hat and mask and kiss her cheek.

‘Thank you, mummy,’ Adile said.

‘Your welcome,’ I answered.

Adile rushed off and I tided things away and straighten things out again. In the conservatory, I paused and watched my daughter and her teddy bear playing in the sandbox, the sun bouncing off her blonde hair and her face full of happiness.

 

(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2020/03/26/tale-weaver-268-medical-26th-march/ with thanks).

Always A Book By My Side

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I promised myself this year I wouldn’t buy anymore books. The bookcases and shelves were bowing under the weight of so many books, they wouldn’t take anymore. I had moved on to filling storage boxes and then to piling books on the floor by my bed, sofa and desk.

Most people held maps of how to get to places in their memories, I had a map of where each book was in my house instead. If there was one title I wanted to read, I was able to go to the room and shelf or box or bookcase it was in and after browsing through, locate it.

Most of the time, I took my next book from a current reading pile and moved through them that way. When I went out, the book came too and so I was never without one. There was something comforting about the weight of a book in your bag and also if you needed to wait you could read for a bit.

I had calculated I had enough new books and ones I wanted to re-read that I didn’t need to buy anymore books for a few years. So, I thought to try and read what I had and save the money I would have spent on something else. So began my new year resolution.

Within a month I had broken it. There were two books I wanted that I had missed the release of. I brought them and told myself to get back on track. Another two months later and I went to an art and craft fair. I meet an self-published writer who hadn’t sold a book all day. I felt bad and so brought his book and also another which had been on my list for awhile.

I told the writer of my book buying ban and thought it a hard task to do. I agreed and said this was the second time I had broken it now but I was determined to keep trying. I told myself if temptation came again I was to turn away.

It didn’t work! A few weeks later, I found another book I couldn’t live without and had to buy it. A new addition to my library and other world to escape into when I got around to it.

Why couldn’t I stick to my ban? Why did I have no self control? Why was I so addicted?

I pressed a book to my face and breathed in deeply, loving the ink stained pages and weight in my hands. I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t stop, I needed more books.

Storm Ciara

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When the news said there was an amber weather warning, I knew that Ciara wasn’t going to be friendly. She was coming over from America with the full force of a winter storm. At least, the British weather wasn’t as bad as the USA.

Ciara woke me up on Sunday morning by driving hailstone on to my window. I heaved the winter duvet and my massive Great Dane, King, off me and looked out of the window. The wind was fifty to sixty miles per hour, everything was moving violently and the surrounding bare trees were really showing how strong the wind was. Rain thundered down and the wind whipped the water into a frenzy.

I got up and sorted for the day. My bachelor mind doing it’s normal voice off about how nice it was not to have a wife or kids being noisy but also how worrying it was not to have those things.

Letting King out into the garden, the wind blew ice into my face and I was grateful that within a minute King was back inside. I dried him off, wondering how he could be so wet!

King sulked off to his massive dog bed in the converted dinning room. Dispite him being a huge dog – he came up passed my hip and I was six foot two, he could easily rest his head on tables too – King hated the cold and wet weather.

Getting a large mug of coffee and some toast, I went to my study and began working on my different writing tasks. I had a novel to complete, creative writing lectures to plan, students’ essays to mark and journal articles to finish. It might have been a Sunday but writers and teachers never stop.

Storm Ciara erupted throughout the whole day. She hit against the windows desperate to get in. She threw out everything she had; wind, hail, snow, rain, thunder and lightening. I glanced up often from my work and watched the storm from the small window.

King joined me at some point, he put his dark grey head into my lap then curled up tight under the desk. When the thunder started, he yowled and only hugs and comforting words soothed him.

I tried to take him out at lunchtime but a quick trot to the park entrance at the end of my street was it. Storm Ciara was still bad in the afternoon and darkness came early. I took King out again and we embraced the gusty wind and drenching rain together. I tugged him along, trying to convince him that a longer walk was what we were going on.

The trees above swayed violently and the branches cracked. Deep, long stretching pools of water were either covering the grass or the pathways of the park. As we passed the children’s playground, a creeping feeling crawled along my skin. The swings, roundabout and the rocking animals were moving because of the wind but for some reason I thought of ghost children at play.

The wind was whistling through the climbing frame, slide and other things, making ghastly sounds. Rain was dripping off everything and it was all so eerie, almost abandoned looking.

We hurried home and once safe inside, I got use both into a hot shower. King sit, drinking the shower spray and I enjoyed the warmth spreading on my icy skin. After, I got the fire in the living room going and feed King. I just had some soup then we both sat by the fire, watching TV.

‘What is it, King?’ I asked as he raised his head and whined.

Then I heard it, the monstrous groaning and cracking of a tree. There was almighty snap, crunch of metal and shattering of glass. I felt a tremor running through the house and King threw back his head and howled.

I rushed to the window and saw a tree had come down across the street and was laying across a number of cars.

There were bits of tree and car scattered across the road. The wind was picking up the lighter things and blowing them away. Doors of the houses opposite opened and people stepped out. I couldn’t hear them but I could see the shock on their faces and in their body language.

King pushed me out of the way and looked out of the window too. We stayed there for awhile. Watching the crowds of neighbours gather and soon a fire engine arrived. No body had been hurt but some of the cars were write offs for sure.

‘There’s not much we can do,’ I said to King, ‘looks like everything’s under control. It’s snowing again. Let’s go back to the fire.’

Settling down again, King sprawled across the sofa and myself. His head and front legs on my lap, pinning me down. I felt safe like that, even though King was a rubbish guard dog. I guess just having a massive dog and his heavy weight on me was enough comfort as storm Ciara raged outside.

 

(Inspired by current events; https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/02/11/storm-ciara-commuters-warned-snow-ice-across-parts-britain/)

Dear Diary

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Dear diary, it’s snowing!

I woke up this morning, confused as normal about the darkness and what time it was but then I saw it was after nine and time to get up. I drew back the curtains and saw huge flakes of snow that were falling quickly to an all ready snow covered garden.

It made me happy. Snow always has that effect on me. I guess because it reminds me of being a child and all those winters spent in snow covered countries skiing with my dad. I’ve not been on a slope, real or fake since his death four years ago.

It still hurts too much because that was our thing. The one activity that my mum couldn’t take away from us. I’ve not actually spoke to her since his funeral. I want to forgive her, I really do but it’s just so hard. She ruined my childhood with all her venom for dad.

I know though that in the next few months she wants to a solid part of my life again because of the baby. I’m hoping that might help fix things between us. She has repeatedly told me how sorry she is and how she’s moved on. I know things weren’t all her fault and it’s not like dad caused their marriage breakdown.

They were just teenagers, first time lovers, when mum got pregnant with me. They married because that’s what mum’s dad wanted. Granddad was old fashioned and wanted right done by his only child. Eight years or so later, they decided they couldn’t be together anymore.

Mum said dad ruined her, if she hadn’t got pregnant, if she hadn’t married, she could have had a life, a better career and met someone like her current second husband who was far more suitable for her then dad had ever been. And that’s what I heard all throughout my life even when I had grown up and left, the little contact I had with mum she would always have to bring stuff up like this.

Lately though, mum’s contact has all been remorseful and calm. She said she felt I was old enough to understand her position better now that I was married and pregnant myself. She hoped I’d have sympathy for her, be able to let everything go and we could start again because she did want to be a grandmother.

I would like that. I would like to fully trust her and for us to have a relationship. I know dad would want that too, he was always telling me not to blame him or mum for them hating each other. They were young, they were forced into things. Everyone makes bad choices, it’s the way of the world.

 

Smoke #Photochallenge

first cigarette

She took the pills and washed them down with strawberry vodka. Laying on floor with the empty bottles, she lit one last cigarette.

Dozing and watching the exhaled smoke, she imagined that soon she would be floating away and fading into nothingness.

 

(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2020/01/28/photo-challenge-300/ with thanks).

Not Today

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The writing won’t come today. I have words and ideas enough in my head but they won’t come out onto paper. My headaches with trying, my hands shake with holding the pen tightly. I shut my eyes, try to relax, to clear my head then focus but the paper stays blank.

Fume #WritePhoto

The smoke rose above the trees. That was how he was able to find them. He followed the smell of burning wood and cooked beans.

He moved through the night like a shadow, staying strangely silent for a beast his size. He knew how to quieten his feet, body and breath. He knew where everything lay in his forest and could avoid the nosiest bushes and dry branches of fallen trees.

It was always best to wait, he knew that but sometimes there was no time. Tonight, the people were camping, sleeping in tents. It was the perfect and easiest hunt.

He arrived, slowed and took in the scene. The fire was burning low, orange embers against the black ground. The two tents were together, sheltered under the trees but not from him. He listened and could tell they were sleeping by the sound of their breathing.

He licked his lips and crept forward. All ready he could taste their blood.

He pounced. The tent collapsed underneath and he ripped into the fabric.

Screams rippled through the air then faded into night.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2020/01/02/thursday-photo-prompt-fume-writephoto/ with thanks).

Sale!

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It was that time of year for the madness to be began again; the New Year sales were on!

Dear Diary

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Dear Diary,

It’s always strange waking up on the first of a new year. You think things will have changed but nothing has. I can imagine the number of people who woke up this morning and got on with their New Year resolutions.

Diets, give up smoking, stop drinking, save money, start a family, get a new job, whatever people choice to do. I didn’t pick anything. There was nothing I can think of that I want to achieve this year. I guess that makes me boring but no one has actually asked me so I haven’t had to make anything up.

I guess I would have said that I wanted to go on a diet and that one with the shakes I had seen on the TV the other day was what I was going to do.

Or maybe, I might have said that I wanted to take up a real difficult hobby like leather or metal working.

How long can you wait to decided what your resolution is going to be? How did it all come about anyway and why is there pressure to have one?

I don’t know. I guess I should just pick in case I’m asked. Someone at work is bound to want to know.

So, my 2020 resolution will be to give up buying books for the year.

That’s harsh and different but useful to me. I have a library of books to read and not buying any new ones will save some money that could be nice to use to go on holiday with.

It’ll do.

Winter Sea

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People loved the sea and they loved coming to see it but most of them didn’t stay so only a few knew what it was like to live on the coastline during winter. And it wasn’t all just ‘look at how the sea is raging and how flooded the harbour is!’

It was a dangerous time of year and I having spent my whole life in a Cornwall fishing town knew it well. We had been flooded, power failures, cliffs had fallen to the sea, people had drowned in riptides or huge waves, boats had been dashed like rotten wood on rocks and the harbour warning bells were always ringing.

From my attic bedroom as I lay in my bed trying to sleep, I didn’t need to look out of the wind to see that a storm was beginning. I could hear the wind like the blades of a helicopter whipping everything it could pull up into a tornado. What sounded like a tree branch bumped along the roof then was gone.

The rain hammered on the slates like men breaking stones in the quarry a few miles away. The windows rattled, dripping and water stained. There was a knocking as hailstones joined in, the ice chips bouncing away as they hit.

The sea was making the most noise as if in competition with everything else. All that separated my house from the sea was a road and a wall. I could clearly hear the waves bashing the flood defences and trying to climb the wall.

Wondering if we would be flooded, I rolled over and tried to sleep again. It wasn’t the storm keeping me awake, I was use to the weather. It wasn’t the night light casting multi-coloured stars on to the ceiling and wall, that was meant to help. No, it was my phobia of the dark.

Nyctophobia, it was called. I was on a never ending cycle of things to try and help me or cure me. It came and went, some months were easier, sometimes of the week were better then other but winter was the hardest to get through. It was dark for most of the day and my mind was never at rest from the fear of what might be waiting in that darkness.

Giving up sleeping, I turned the light and read my book. It was strange but I loved horror stories and true horror things. I liked reading about the supernatural, ghosts were one of my favourite subjects – fact or fiction. Tonight, though I was reading about true witches starting from the earliest historical records to now-ish.

Of course, I realise how ironic this is because loving horror and being afraid of the dark don’t go together! Some people said that reading and watching horror themed things was the cause of my problems but there was more to it then that. It wasn’t that I believed the things in the horror books and films could be waiting in the darkness to grab me, it was more that in the dark you didn’t know what was truly there.

The dark made you think something was something else, objects had hidden depths, people looked different and sounds were also changed. I knew there were no real monsters out there, just humans who became like them. Perhaps, there were ghosts but I believed they weren’t like the fiction stories said.

I read and read, sometimes dozing off then reading back a paragraph until it grew light outside.

Free at last, I wrapped up warm and went outside, despite the storm. Everything lashed around me; the wind, the rain, the sea, it was like a surge of nature at war with just me.

I went to the wall and looked down. The sea was high, over the rock breakers and every wave was splashing over the wall top. It wouldn’t be long till sea water was pooling across the road.

Salt stung my eyes and water coated me. The wind buffeted me and I couldn’t stay long. I walked along stopping when a wave came over, not that getting wet by it would make me any drier!

My head cleared, my fears left and I felt easier. Not much was open in town partly due to it being Sunday, not tourist season and the storm. I passed a few cafes, an arcade and bingo hall, shops who’s shutters rattled like teeth. I went to the harbour and watched the boats riding the sea like a roller coaster.