He loved words. They were his passion, life, work and ultimately his untimely death.
He loved words. They were his passion, life, work and ultimately his untimely death.
Kenopsia; the eerie, forlorn atmosphere of a place that’s usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet.
It was a strange apocalyptic feeling that crept slowly over Georgina as they walked through the abandoned prison.
‘We shouldn’t be here,’ she whispered.
Bayo shot her a look over his shoulder then paused as her saw the cringing expression crossing over Georgina’s face.
Her voice had sounded louder and had echoed more then she had meant it too. Georgina felt like she had broken the second spell that hung over the building by being the first to speak. The first spell had been when they had entered the grounds, ignoring all the warning signs and sneaking under the two wired fences.
‘What is it?’ Bayo hissed.
‘This place is gross,’ Georgina said back.
Bayo give a small shrug of his broad shoulders and carried on walking. He was dressed far better for this place then Georgina was. He was wearing high work boots with his jeans tucked into them, a tight t-shirt and a padded coat. His skin was as dark as the shadows around them and his short black hair was a mass of small weaves.
Georgina watched him duck through a rusted twisted metal door then followed him, careful not to snag her blue designer coat, teal coloured mini skirt and matching tights on the sticking out wires. Her low pumps were covered by so much mud and dirt, it was hard to know what colour they were.
Judging from what was now around them, they had entered the first male block of the prison. The other three teenagers had come to stop in the main space and were shining their torches about. Bayo and Georgina joined them and began looking around too. On this floor, tables and chairs had been dotted round. There had been a TV, a snooker table and a table tennis table, giving the inmates downtime. Above rose four floors of cells, many of which had their doors wide open.
Nature had long taken over what had once been a loud and bustling scene. Patches of green and yellow moss covered the floor. Weeds grew in clumps through cracks and black mould coated the ceiling. Water was dripping heavily from somewhere close by. Rust covered everything metal and the paint was peeled.
Georgina shivered and felt like she was being watched. She touched her loose golden blonde hair nervously and making sure it was tucked safely into the hood of her coat. She double checked the coat was zipped up before putting her hands in the warm pockets. Then she turned away and took in her friends. They all looked deeply fascinated.
The only other girl in the group, Phoebe, had her head thrown back and was looking up at the ceiling as if it was covered in precious gem stones. She didn’t seem at all concerned about what was around them. Her dark brown hair was plaited back and she was wearing hiking boots, old jeans and a thick grey jacket. Her torch light reflected off the grimy walls.
The three boys, including Bayo, seemed interested in exploring the cells. There were a few on this floor, but it was a certain one that they were eager to find. They shone their torches around, trying to figure out the numbers on the doors so they could plan their route.
Georgina moved closer to her boyfriend, Alex. He was the tallest of the boys and had dark spiky hair. His face was rounded and baby like but had a handsomeness to it that Georgina enjoyed staring at. He was wearing black trainers, ripped up dark jeans, a loose t-shirt and a leather jacket. She slipped her hand against his and wormed her fingers in between his so that they were holding hands.
‘I don’t like it,’ she muttered like a tried child being forced into bed.
‘It’s cool,’ Alex answered back.
‘It’s not. It’s creepy and unhygienic. I want to leave!’ Georgina snapped.
‘Go ahead then,’ Tiger sneered.
Georgina looked at him and pulled a face. It was Tiger’s fault they were here in the first place. He was the oldest of the group and Phoebe’s boyfriend. He had short brown hair, sharp eyes and model’s face. He was old boots, tight jeans and a long sleeved top.
Georgina turned away and pressed her face into Alex’s shoulder.
Tiger snorted as if he had expected her not to reply to him.
‘Which one is it?’ Phoebe asked.
‘It’s on the second floor. I remember that much,’ Tiger answered.
He walked over to the unstable looking concrete stairs and began climbing them. Phoebe and Bayo followed, their footsteps ringing out in the quietness.
‘Alex, I really want to leave. There’s something off about this place,’ Georgina whispered.
‘It’s fine,’ Alex responded and drew her into a hug, ‘I really want to see where one of the most famous murderers of all time was locked away.’
‘Why?’ Georgina asked into his jacket, her voice muffled
‘Let’s go,’ Alex spoke, having not heard her.
He took her hand and they walked up the stairs then across to another set and up those. Georgina tried not to look further ahead then the next steps. The open cell doors didn’t seem inviting at all and they reminded her of animal mouths, just waiting for something to walk in before snapping shut.
‘This is it, I think. Number thirty-eight,’ Tiger pointed out.
Alex and Georgina joined Tiger, Phoebe and Bayo at the open cell door.
‘Yeah, they say he drew pictures of his victims with his own blood on these very walls,’ Tiger continued.
He walked into the cell and flashed his torch around. It was empty of furniture, pipes were sticking out were a toilet and sink had once been and the walls were a dark grey and peeling badly.
Phoebe squeezed her way in and touched the wall. She inspected the floor and began looking for something.
‘We’ve seen it now, can we please go?’ Georgina cut in.
She tugged the sleeve of Alex’s jacket.
‘There’s other cells to see on this tour,’ Tiger declared, ‘the hanging cell, the gun shot cell….the showers. Do you fancy a trip to the showers, Georgie?’
‘No!’ Georgina cried as Tiger leered at her.
‘That’s enough,’ Alex growled and moved between them.
Tiger shrugged, letting the whole thing slide.
‘I can’t find the blood pictures,’ Phoebe said disappointingly.
‘It’s okay, babe. There’s more to see,’ Tiger answered.
Georgina looked behind her. There was a wire fence securing the edge and below was the main room. She thought she saw a flicker of movement down there in the shadows. It was nothing though, right?
She tugged Alex’s jacket sleeve again.
‘Okay, we’ll leave,’ he huffed.
‘Whatever,’ Tiger scoffed, ‘we’ll carry on then.’
‘Some other time,’ Alex added to show there was no hard feeling between them.
Tiger shrugged, not caring either way. He took Phoebe’s hand and led her out of the cell. Bayo trailed after them like a guard dog.
‘You okay?’ Alex asked Georgina.
She nodded, her eyes still watching below. There was a figure down there for sure now. He was a massive man with tattoos and he was just wearing shorts. He didn’t appear to be doing anything, just waiting.
Georgina held her breath and watched the man blending back into the shadows. The urge to get out reached it’s peak and she fought back a scream. Biting her lip, she looked up at Alex, he was watching the others head to the next floor.
‘We need to go,’ Georgina forced out.
‘Sure,’ Alex sighed.
Holding hands, they began to head out towards the sunny afternoon whilst behind them their friends walked further into the darkness of the jail.
Jouska; a hypothetical conversation that you compulsively play out in your head.
She was there again in her front garden, sunbathing and relaxing. I’d missed seeing her during winter. Now though, she’d be out there every sunny day and I could watch from the shadow corner of my living room. I know what people would think of me if they knew I was watching her; a spy, a peeping tom, a stalker, a rapist.
I’m not any of them. I’m just a lonely artist who sees the beauty of all female forms. Sometimes I’ll sit here and sketch her, other times I’ll draw her from memory. Most of the time I just like to watch and hold a conversation with her in my head.
‘Hello,’ I would say, ‘nice weather today.’
‘Yes,’ she would reply, maybe lowering her sunglasses.
‘I’m sorry to interrupt you. But I live across the way there and I’ve been admiring you for so long.’
She might sigh and try to break the news she has a boyfriend or a husband to me. Not that I’ve noticed one about the place. Or perhaps, she might look closely at me and try to tell me I’m not her type.
In some of these conversations, she does declare her interested in me, but those are very rare and only when I’m feeling at my most lowest. Most of the time she’ll state a boyfriend.
My reply is always, ‘that’s fine. I’m an artist and I would like to paint you.’
‘Well, I don’t know,’ she’d respond and start to blush.
‘Please? You can have the painting. It’s the only thing I wish for.’
‘I’d need to think about it,’ she would say whilst getting up.
‘No. Don’t think about it. You wouldn’t have to do anything. Just lay there as you have been doing and I shall get to work at once. Here, I have my paper and pencils all ready. Please, this would mean so much to me.’
She’ll lower herself back down, ‘okay….’
‘It’ll be fine,’ I’ll say.
Then I begin to sketch her. Outlining all her loveliness whilst she sunbaths.
After, I will transfer the sketches to canvas and paint her. It’ll be my master piece. The one painting everyone remembers me by.
If only that conversation could become real…
Imbroglio: an extremely confusing and embarrassing situation.
I wanted to hide my shame, but I couldn’t, the best I could do was get up and leave. Even though that didn’t feel right. I had always been one to stand my ground just like my mother had told me. She had been too headstrong and modern for this tiny Irish village in the middle of nowhere. She had never been accepted by the locals and many were happy that she was now dead.
Wrapping my shawl tighter around me, I walked across hilly ground. Not really going anywhere because sometimes you just had to walk away. The wind twisted my loose hair about and though I felt the chill, I was warm enough. My hands dropped to my rounded stomach that was no longer concealable.
Behind me, I could still hear the villagers’ voices and laughter, even though the pub was miles away now. I blamed my mind and the fact that their harsh words would always linger with me. I wanted it not to be true, but it was hard not to believe them when I myself didn’t know.
I came to a sheltered nook and gratefully sat down. The thin grass was dry and so was the soil below. I curled up as best I could, wanting to feel safe. I tried switching my mind to other things, but I couldn’t let it go.
Sighing, I wondered why love had to be so confusing. Even the most simple love could be, but in my case it was far from simple. My hand rubbed my stomach in circles as I fell into more deeper thinking.
Was the man I had fallen in love with and grown to know for two years really lying to me?
The locals said he wasn’t American like he claimed to be, but a born and bred Irish man. He’d gone to America to be an actor, but that hadn’t lasted long. Now, he was working where he could and he was married with a family too.
I just couldn’t picture my dashing boyfriend being like that. For a start, when I’d announced my news he’d been delighted. Surely if I was his mistress he’d have recoiled? And he’s away so much because he’s an actor and he has to travel to filming locations.
Rattling my mind, I tried to think if I had ever noticed anything that might have suggested other wise. Had their been papers about? A call or text on his phone? Reminders on his fridge?
There seemed to be nothing. I had to know though! I got up, struggling to do so then under a darkening sky, I walked back to the village.
I needed to hear the truth, not just for my piece of mind but for the baby’s too.
Hygge; being so cosiness and comfortable that you feel content.
The fire crackled and popped as it hungrily consumed the wood. The yellow and orange flames licked around the inside of the brick fireplace, spreading warmth around the living room.
Carol sank into her favourite chair, finally able to rest after the busy day she’d had. Putting her feet up, she made sure she could reach the cup of tea and the box of chocolates on the side table.
Her little dog, still slightly wet and now tried from his walk, jumped on to her lap and settled down. She stroked his silky coat automatically as she looked into the fire.
There was a strong possibility that this was the last time in a good few months that she’d now lit the fire. Every day felt more like spring and it was getting too warm for cosy nights in like this.
Carol felt a pang. She loved the fire and it would be hard to not relight it till the middle of autumn. Of course, there might be cooler and wet days which would call for extra warmth, but they were always far apart.
‘The fire just makes everything better,’ Carol uttered.
Her little dog made a soft yipping sound.
Carol sank further into her chair, enjoying the feeling of being content.
After a few minutes, her mind picked up that thought thread again and she said aloud, ‘all have to surround myself with other things that bring the same feelings. Though nothing can compare to the warmth and light of a fire.’
Starting to make a list in her head of other cosy things, Carol started to doze off. Her little dog was snoring and the fire was making a nice lullaby now. It was all she need to fall asleep to.
Getting into bed that night, I was tried and felt like I could sleep forever. Eva hadn’t stopped going on about the bunnies all day and Tyler had decided to support her with that. At bedtime, they had both gone into a melt down and it had taken forever for them to sleep.
My husband was in bed all ready, reading a book, but I could see he was dozing off. I turned out my light and settled down.
‘Are you going to get them a rabbit?’ my husband, Dave, asked out of the blue.
‘No,’ I replied, ‘what’s the point? They’ll be bored with it by the end of the week. Then I’ll have to look after it.’
‘Or maybe not…Ava’s old enough now. It might be good for her. I had a dog at her age. I’ve always wanted another one,’ Dave said dreamily.
‘No dog either,’ I said gruffly, ‘now, I’m going to sleep.’
I pulled the duvet over and stopped listening to him.
‘I’ll be a nice Easter surprise. Say you’ll think about it,’ Dave suggested.
‘I’ll think about it,’ I answered.
Snuggling down, I fell asleep quickly.
Over the next week, Ave and Tyler didn’t let the wanting of a bunny go. My hopes that they would do started to fade and it seemed my children became more determined to force my hand everyday. I didn’t give in and pretended I couldn’t hear them.
A few days before Easter Sunday, I picked up chocolate Easter eggs and other treats for us all to share. I also brought Ava and Tyler soft toy rabbits, not to make up for the lack of a real one, but in the hope of distracting them. I hide everything on the top shelf of my wardrobe.
On the eve of Easter Sunday, when the kids had gone to bed after we’d spent the day at the parking doing an Easter egg hunt, I was curled up on the sofa next to Dave. We were watching a murder mystery TV drama and I was enjoying a glass of red wine.
‘Did you think about the rabbits?’ Dave announced during the advert break.
I looked up at him, a frown on my face, ‘No. They’re not having rabbits. I all ready told you that.’
‘Ava isn’t going to let it go, you know.’
‘She will soon enough,’ I declared.
‘There’s enough space outside for a hutch and for them to run outside. There were two left in the pet shop,’ Dave added, ‘I thought we’d agreed…’
‘Wait? Agreed? Dave…Did you…?’
I looked fully at him, words fading as his express changed to become blank. He was faking it badly though.
I whacked his leg, nearly splashing the rest of my wine. I got up, anger filling me.
‘Where are they?’ I asked.
‘In the garage. I made sure they were warm. I got a get deal on the hutch, food and stuff. Pretty cheap, lot less then I thought it was going to be,’ Dave rushed, ‘Beth, they are really cute. I don’t get why you don’t want them.’
I sank back against the sofa, my thoughts whirling.
‘You can take them back on Tuesday. The pet shop should be open then. I’ll keep Ava and Tyler out of the garage,’ I voiced.
‘Come and see them,’ Dave said.
He got up and helped me stand, even though I didn’t really want to. I placed my wine down and followed him grumpily out of the room. Through into the garage we headed and tucked away behind the old jeep my husband had been working on forever was a large double level hutch.
I put my hands on my hips and watched him open a small side door. Two light brown baby bunnies where snuggled together, sleeping. Dave gently picked up and give it to me. I refused, but then he pressed the rabbit to me and I had no choice.
The bunny was warm and fluffy. A damp nose nuzzled into my hand and whiskers tickled me. I felt something melting inside of me.
‘See? They are really nice. The woman in the pet shop said she breed them and her children have been handling them. She said they’d be suitable for Ava and Tyler,’ Dave explained.
I stroked the bunny in my arms. A part of me still against this whole idea. I’d end up looking after them for sure! Maybe, that wouldn’t be a bad thing?
Gigil; The urge to squeeze something that is unbearably cute.
My two children pressed their faces against the front window of the pet shop. I was too tried and weighed down with shopping bags to shoo them on. The Land Rover was just a few more cars up in the parking bays. I walked over and around to lower the bags to the floor next to the boot.
I dug in my handbag for my keys, my eyes straying to keep an eye on the girl and boy still standing at the window. I opened the boot and put everything in, making sure things wouldn’t be squished on the ride home. Closing the boot, I walked back around.
‘Come on, Ava, Tyler,’ I called.
‘But mummy! Look at the bunnies!’ Ava shouted back.
‘No. Come on now,’ I said sterner.
‘Sophie’s getting one for Easter. Can we have one? We never get anything,’ Ava whined.
‘No and you get lots of things. Now come on!’
Ava give shake of her long blonde hair and turned back to the window. Tyler had his hands pressed to the glass and seemed fixated.
I stomped over and scooped him up. He’d only just turned five, but he was small and thin. A fussy eater and an insomniac with little interest in things other then watching the TV. Tyler wiggled to get comfy then settled into my arms. He’d thrown a tantrum in the supermarket and was now tried.
‘Look, Mummy,’ Ava picked up, ‘they are just so fluffy and cute!’
I looked, just to indulge her. There were three glass boxes in the window at child eye level. Inside the middle box were four baby rabbits. They were small and light brown, a few had darker patches, they all had black eyes and twitching pink noses. Their small ears were straight up and they were hopping around, doing rabbit things.
A label above them read; New In! Baby rabbits for sale. £20
Looking more into the shop, I saw the glass box on the right was empty; the sawdust clean for another animal. The box on the left contained another rabbit; he was alone, grey and blueish in colour and bigger then the babies. I looked over at the poster above him. Rehoming, Male adult dwarf rabbit. Two years old, suitable with neutered rabbits, older children only. £10.
‘Can we go in?’ Ava asked.
‘No. We have to go home. Tyler needs a nap now and there’s too many things I need to do,’ I said.
‘But I want to touch one!’
‘No, I said!’
She was only going to get more attached if we went in. I reached for her hand and when she didn’t take mine, I picked up her hand. I tugged her away and reluctantly Ava sulked after me.
To Be Continued…
Fernweh; wonderlust; a longer for far off places.
Having spent all his life in a little Scottish hamlet, Greg had the urge to see the world. He didn’t feel satisfied with touring the UK again, he wanted to see America, Africa, Aisa, the world. He wasn’t seeking anything; enlightenment, inspiration, he just wanted to see what else was out there.
Eldritch; Eerie, weird, spooky.
As night came to settle in the woods, the trees fell dark and the shadows vanished. The half moon and stars above were the only light for miles. The nocturnal animals came out to hunt, their voices more eerier then their daytime opposites.
From somewhere rose a crying. At first it was hard to tell what could be making it. The more the sound grew and ears listened, the crying became that of a human child.
A lost child, wondering around the nighttime woods, all alone.
The crying was enough to make the people in the nearest villages at the edges of the woods pay attention. However, they knew better and it wasn’t a real child that was out there. It was a demon.
The stories were different and wide spread, but it was claimed the demon acted like a lost child to led people away and eat them. A few villagers claimed to have seen him, but the descriptions were so wildly different, it was hard to pin down.
They said he was blood red skinned or bright blue or else he was deep black. He had large horns, small horns or none at all. He had a massive tail or a short stubby one. He spoke in a deep gravel voice or else he didn’t say anything at all. He had sharp red teeth and a mouth that was massive which swallowed a person whole.
Whatever the demon looked though, the villagers were sure to stay away from the spooky woods at night.
Destinesia: when you get to where you were intending to go, but then forget why you were going there in the first place.
Just thought I’d let you know I’ve arrived safely. It’s amazing here! There’s so much more to see and do then I realised. In all the travelling and craziness, I seem to have forgotten why I’m here though! I know there was a real reason, not just to see the place, but it won’t come to me. I’ve tried to think deep, to write things down, to go through my stuff, but I can’t find the answer. You’d know if you were here! Hopefully, it’ll come to me soon! If not can you remind me when I call? I’ve been meaning too, but finding signal is patchy. Thought this would get to you faster!
Speak soon, James.
Welcome to my Blog of short and long stories.
Learning and teaching the art of composition.
Watching the Earth. Not here to conquer. Promise!
Poetry, Fiction & Photography