The bright yellow duckies had always attracted me. I loved playing with the one I had as a toddler in and out of the bath. Often, I went to bed with it too and my parents were baffled by my attachment to the plastic bath duck.
When we went to anywhere that had a ‘hook a duck’ or something similar game stall, I had to play like an addict at a gambling machine. I didn’t want the stuff animals or other toys for a prize though, I wanted to keep all the duckies!
‘She’ll grow out of it,’ my dad often said but he was wrong. Now, I’m twenty-eight and my collection of plastic duckies has just got me a place in the Guinness World’s Records.
For the first time in two months the market was awake once more.
People set up their stalls under a orange-yellow sky, greeting each other. Plastic and paper rustled in the breeze whilst the heavenly scent of fresh bread, cakes and pies called to be tasted.
Harriet and her mother set up their small farm’s produce stall. There were eggs laid by their chickens. Homemade jams, marmalade and chutneys using fruit and veg from their field. Golden honey from Harriet’s beehives and goat’s cheese from mother’s goats.
The nervousness in the air was broken by the first customers arriving. Harriet let go of the breath she was holding. It felt like things were returning back to normal.
The Lady hadn’t left her home when she had passed on. It wasn’t that she was trapped there, she could come and go as much as she wanted. The Lady had loved the house so much that she couldn’t help but walk the corridors and through rooms still.
The Lady was glad people still came and stayed in her house. She loved hearing them praise the decor and paintings, the gardens and the water fountains. Also, it was so nice to hear the laughter of children once more as they dashed from room to room.
She knew her presence was felt because people talk about smelling her perfume. It was one she had made herself using roses from the garden and water from the spring. The Lady felt pleased by this, she liked them to know she was still here watching over her house.
I loved the pick your own farm which was close by. As I child, my parents had taken me and now, I took my own children. We visited often during summer and autumn, to pick fruits, veg and herbs. It was great to take over flowing baskets home and cook with things we had picked.
This year we were missing out. The farm was closed because of the lock down but they still delivered a weekly box of goodness to us but it wasn’t the same for me. I brought some seeds and plants online and told the children we were growing our own.
There was nothing better then plucking, deep red strawberries, plump raspberries and green heavily smelling herbs straight off the plants and out of the Earth herself.
I kept dreaming of a house I could never go back to. Each time, the house was the setting for a different story; a fire in which my friends died, a place of safety from a invisible monster or a brothel where I had to work to survive.
It was my great-grandfather’s home. The place I had lived in for ten years after my mother give me up. She was only fifteen, I forgive her. Nothing bad happened to me there so why was it in my dreams?
Perhaps, it was because the house had long been knocked down and was now haunting me? Can that happen? Can you have a ghost house?
He was there everyday on the streets with his old dog. He would hold out a hat or a cup and press his head to the floor. He was ashamed. He didn’t want to beg, he didn’t want to be homeless but somehow he had ended up trying to survive like this.
I finally stopped, one April afternoon and decided as if an angel had called upon me to do this good deed. I touched his shoulder softly and met the deep sad eyes of his dog’s.
I was too old fashioned but I didn’t care. I liked typing my food and restaurant reviews on an 1950’s typewriter. Kept in good order, cleaned and ink ribbon changed as needed, the ‘old tech’ had lasted longer then any computer device I’d had throughout the years.
It was satisfying to press down hard on each key and hear the clonking noise. There was the mechanical rhythm of continual typing and the ding bell at the end. I loved sliding the feeder roll back and hearing that click into place again.
It was properly just some bored artist seeking attention but the painted rocks on the beach were attracting a lot of the public to the area.
For weeks now, people had been swarming around the towering sculptures, marveling at all the colors then spending their money in Molly’s cafe which was handy for her, as Molly’s business hadn’t been doing that great.
When anybody asked her about the rainbow rocks, Molly would smile brightly and say, ‘I know nothing about them but aren’t they great?’ Secretly, she thought them a terrible mark on the nice beach, but if it brought the customers in she couldn’t complain that much.