Ben looked at the bent tree branch and saw the bodies hanging there. Sacks covered their heads and long dress hung on skeleton frames. Only the feet and hands stuck out and they were little more than skin covered bone.
The wind twisted the frayed ropes that went around the necks and upwards to wrap around the bent branch. The bodies spun eerily.
The boy prayed that they had no faces.
‘Go away,’ Ben whispered, ‘it’s not real.’
Shutting his eyes, Ben took a deep breath then looked once more. The hanging bodies was still there, twisting on ropes which let out painfully creaks.
Someone called him and Ben turned sharply away. His friends were waiting for him to play. Ben ran off to join them but other things lingered in the woods, waiting to be seen.
It’s September now and six months since I last held you in my arms. I don’t know if you have been receiving anything from me. Your mother is probably withholding all my letters and gifts. I forgive her. She was angry but I hope one day, to get a note from you.
The leaves are falling against the cabin’s windows. The river is running cold and I am more alone then I have ever been before. I miss your sweet smile and small, warm hands.
Dear God, I don’t want to be a nun anymore. I’m sorry but that’s just the way it is. I don’t feel cut out for what you are asking me to do. Mother says that you’ll help me but so far I’m struggling to see that hand. How can I bring new sisters to you when they are not interesting?
The world has changed and I fear we all must change with it. People don’t want a church anymore, they want something more, something we can’t give them. Perhaps, it’s a something even you can’t give it to them…
I had always admired the art designs on top of my lunchtime coffee from the posh cafe next to my office.
Since working from home though, I had missed it. My home coffees looked so plain, so normal and I missed that treat that broke up my day. In the morning, I looked forward to the coffee art; what design would I get today? In the afternoon, energised, I enjoyed thinking about the creativity.
There was only one thing for it. I had to learn how to do the designs myself. Perhaps, that way, I would feel better about working from home.
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.