Spy In the Garden

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I had to know what he was doing, it was like a addiction. I thought about him all the time since he’d left me. How was he doing? Was he eating okay? Did he have a new girlfriend yet?

I always tried to squish that thought down. Of course, he hadn’t moved on yet. He promised to always love me. How could there be anyone else?

From the bushes outside his parents’ house, I watched him sitting a table eating whilst his mother talk to him just out of view. I couldn’t hear what they were saying.

The bruises on his face were fading. He looked happier, he was smiling and nodding.

When was the last time he had smiled at me like that?

I balled my hands into fists, dried blood still in the lines and soil buried under my nails Anger filled me, burning in my chest like an immortal fire. I wanted him back. I needed him back! How could I live without him, my one true love?

I got out of the garden and went to the front door. I rang the bell.

Putting my hands behind my back, I fixed a smile on my lips and waited.

He answered the door.

His face turned white, his eyes growing large and his mouth trying to form words.

‘I’ve missed you, honey,’ I spoke in a breathy voice.

He shook his head and stumbled backwards.

‘Are you going to invite me in?’

‘You’re dead,’ he gasped out, ‘I killed you!’

Insomnia Sunrise

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Sleep was a stranger to me, she was an elusive muse, a reflection out of reach. I did all I could to dance with her; exercise, diet, no screens or reading, no coffee or tea, mediation and just laying there waiting. Nothing worked.

I decided not to waste this time with trying and waiting. I turned to quiet actives; reading, writing, jigsaw puzzles and box set watching. Sometimes I would doze off and other times I would be awake to hear the breakfast time news.

The idea of seeing the sunrise came to me one morning when, watching from the curtain covered window, I saw how the first sunlight changed the colour of the room. I thought, how many people actually see the sunrise?

The next night, I looked when the sunrise was timed for and an hour or so before then, I went out to a local beauty spot which was a large lake.

There I saw a glorious sunrise. so many colours touched the calm water as the sky melted from black to blue. My breath was stuck in my throat and my eyes couldn’t behold the raw wonder before me. I felt the first brush of warmth on my skin like a lover’s arms wrapped around me in a gentle embrace.

I took photo after photo trying to capture what I saw but the imagines couldn’t compare to the real thing. I didn’t want it to end but of course it did. All the blurs of colours settled and became what everyone saw during each day. The lake’s magic vanished and the water became a normal blue again like the sky above all the colours had gone.

I stayed for a long time then left but that first warmth came with me and every time I closed my eyes I saw all those colours dancing again.

That night I slept.

Cave

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As Jay’s hand scrapped against the hard stone wall of the cave, he wondered if he had made a mistake coming in here. It had been fun at first showing off to the girls and proving he was braver then the other teenage boys but he hadn’t expected the cave to be so long.

The light of his phone lit only a patch of the floor and base of the other wall. Minerals shone under the glow and dripping water echoed making Jay feel disoriented at where the sound was coming from.

I should get out of here, Jay thought.

Something though made him carry on. Deeper and deeper, passing through narrow and wide sections, the dripping water calling to him like a Siren.

Jay’s feet splashed into water. His phone light danced along the surface of a dark pool. Ripples lapped against distant walls and small waterfalls made their way down the sides and into the pool.

I should stop, Jay thought but he couldn’t.

Water rose over his shoes, soaking his socks and ankles. Strangely the water was pleasantly warm even though Jay knew it should be icy cold. He tried to stop and turn but he couldn’t. It was like his feet were stuck on the track of a ride.

Right before the panic hit him, Jay heard the loveliest singing he had every heard. Soft female voices song words he couldn’t make out or were in another language. Calmness came over him and Jay felt himself drifting, lulled by the singing.

His legs splashed through the water then he was up to his stomach and he could no longer touch the floor. Jay began swimming, knowing only that he had to find the singing women and nothing else mattered anymore.

 

Summer Rain

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The rain dripped off the cafe’s canvas shelter. I looked up and just listened to the soft, steady beating noise. It was nice and calming and eased my anxiety more then the hot chocolate in front of me.

There was only handful of people on the street and they were hurrying about their business, masks on their faces and shopping bags crinkling beside their legs. Of the cafe tables, two or three had people sitting at them, the rest, spaced out were empty. Inside the cafe no one was allowed to sit, it was outside or take away only.

Two staff were behind the counter, masked and gloved and working as best they could. No food was on offer today, so the chocolate chunky muffin or slice of banana cake with thick frosting, I would have got to accompany my drink wasn’t there.

‘You okay?’

The gentle voice of my boyfriend broke in to my thought.

I nodded, ‘just adjusting. The rain’s helping. How’s you tea?’

‘Fine,’ he said and took another few sips.

Watching a man and his dog walk by, silence crept between us again.

Normally, we’d have lots to chat about and catch up on but this wasn’t a normal date. It was the first time we had been outside in public in twelve weeks and we decided to move in together before, perhaps that had been too soon but things had been fine.

‘We can leave whenever you want to,’ he spoke again.

‘I know. I’m okay.’

I picked up my hot chocolate and took a deep drink. It was nice and rich, the chocolate heavy but creamy. The warmth spread in my chest and I felt better.

Empty Chair

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Old Max had for many years sat in the chair outside his front door and watched the world go by. He waved to people he knew and yelled at the kids who played too loudly.

He had a dog called Bill, who loved to bark and charge at passersby.  Old Max would laugh and just say he was playing as Bill bit someone’s leg or tore someone’s coat. When Bill became too old to chase, He would sleep at Max’s feet and growl in his dreams.

Bill passed away and the loss made old Max angry and grumpy then before. Max ran after the children in the neighbourhood and took away their balls and other toys. Parents would go over to take to him but Max was close the door in the faces.

For a few months, Max was seen to yell at no one and people said he was crazy. There was little anybody could do though but tell each other to stay away from the old man who seemed to be working his way through something.

It wasn’t until winter fell that Max stayed inside and the children rejoiced in their outside playtime. From his windows, he watched them and grumbled at their fun. What so delighted them about the cold snow and icy pathways? Max thought he could dimly recall from his own youth but it had been so long ago and his memories were full of holes.

Old Max went to bed on night soon after Christmas day and didn’t get up again.

For years, his chair sat empty on his doorstep weathering away until final the house was able to be sold and be brought back to life again.

Taking The Boat

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Light touched the rippling surface of the lake. Small boats, bobbed on the water their ropes creaking. Birds called up the sunrise and other animals stirred awake in the stillness of dawn.

She was running. Running from her home and following the path downwards. Her dress floated out behind her, caught in the air rush from her movements. A bed sheet, turned bundle bumped at her side and weighted her down with supplies.

Her feet were bare, easier and silent to aid her running. The dew grass wet her feet and the last of the warmth from her bed left her.

She reached the boats, placed the bundled into the closest one, then gathering all the skirts up into both her hands, she quickly stepped into the boat and had to catch herself before she almost fell into the lake.

Crawling to the front, she untied the boat, sat down and began rowing. The light of the dawn lay across the water as if it was guiding her. She wasn’t a strong rower, but the rush from her escape and the knowledge she would soon be with her lover spurred her on.

 

From the castle window, her matron sat at the window. The old woman couldn’t see her young charge running then rowing the boat away, but she could see the yellow light touching the lake and the tree tops which sang just as her heart did that she had done the right thing in aiding the girl’s escape.

Summer Storm

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I hummed to myself as I planted the new flowers I had just brought from the garden centre. I loved digging in the soil and watching the plants grow. My gloves were dark with soil, my old jeans sprinkled with loose earth and the sun was warm on my back.

There were two trays left to plant when I felt a chill along my arms. I looked up and saw the sun being covered by dark clouds. The weather forecast had said there was a low chance of rain.

Rising my trowel, I went to dig some more holes and heard a rumbling. My head turned up to the sky and my eyes searched the heavens. The clouds were heavy with more of a downpour then a gentle summer shower. Plus, something else seemed be brewing up there.

I got back to digging and hurried to plant the rest of the flowers. A few drops of rain landed around me. Plopping down and staining the soil. The last few plants went in and as I covered them with compost, the thunder rumbled once more.

Gathering my things, I went to the open back door and got inside just in time. The clouds erupted and rain lashed down like a massive waterfall. Thunder roared and lightening flashed across. I saw the end tail of a jagged fork of white light and my breath hitched. The storm was right above me!

Shutting the door, I took off my gardening boots, gloves and jeans. I left them in the little back porch area and went into the kitchen where I put on clean jeans and a jumper. It was dark like it was evening time and I turned on the light then watched from the window next to the kitchen sink as the storm continued.

Sing #FirstLineFriday

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Do you hear the people sing? from Les Miserables strangely came to my mind as we watched from the balcony as below the people gathered. It seemed the whole country was flocking to the capital, their voices a mass of shouting words which made it hard to pick out what they were saying.

Drums and other instruments echoed along said the peoples’ voices, blocking out my chance to hear what was being said. There was a marching beat going on with the drums, though a few sounded out of the beat and perhaps a trumpet? or something else forcing it’s notes through.

Handmade banners and signs waved in the wind, the writing upon them moving as if the letters were alive. I picked out the words ‘rights’ and ‘for’ and ‘stand’ and ‘truth’. The normal things that protesters wrote about.

‘What are they doing, daddy?’ my five year old daughter, Betty asked.

‘They are unhappy about something and want people to know about it,’ I said.

I picked her up and held her tightly in my arms, so she could get a better view of events below.

The police were starting to gather now. Their uniforms and see-through shields marking them out from everyone else. For the moment they seemed not to be doing much other then preparing. If fighting broke out, I’d take my daughter inside and put a movie on really loudly.

‘But why, daddy?’ Betty asked.

‘Same reason when you get unhappy and want mummy and I to know about it, ‘ I replied simply.

‘Or Freddie?’

I glanced across at my wife and our three month old son. My wife had a worried look on her face and was clutching the baby, who was wrapped in a blanket, to her shoulder. She hadn’t said anything since we had come out to look at what was going on. I knew scenes like this reminded her of the unrest in her home country.

‘Let’s go inside,’ I said gently.

‘But I want to see!’ Betty cried.

‘Maybe, another day,’ I answered and hustled my family safely inside.

 

(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2020/06/05/first-line-friday-june-5th-2020/ with thanks).

Drinks At Sunset

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The birds were singing the last songs of the day but it was still hot and hazy outside. I lent back in the garden lounger and looked at the wax crayon blue sky. It had been a beautifully day, one of this days ‘miracle’ like days that seem only to be in films.

Shutting my eyes, I relaxed into the heat, wishing and not for the first time that day, that I had a swimming pool to be dipping my feet into. We had had one in the last holiday villa we had stayed at. Oh, how it had been glorious to sit on the edge of the pool, legs in the cool water and sipping some sweet drink whilst the sun set behind the palm trees.

England didn’t really allow that setting. We didn’t have constant sun and heat that other European countries did. Still, on the rare days like this….

The clicking of ice against a glass made my eyes flicker open. My husband was stepping out of the house, two glasses of some pink fizz in his hands. He came over and hand me a glass, I smelt the hint of fruits and took a sip.

‘Something light and sweet for this hot evening,’ my husband explained.

‘What is it?’ I asked twisting the glass in my hand to inspected the drink.

Bubbles coated the sides of the glass and others raced to the surface fizzing and popping. Mint leaves floated along side the chunky ice cubes and the colour was a light pink hinting at the taste summer berries.

‘My own invention,’ my husband replied.

I took another few sips, nodded and spoke, ‘ I love it.’

Freedom

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There was nothing out here but nature. I got up on the wooden fence of the pier and let the wind blow though my hair. Sea salt tingled my lips and waves lapped in my ears. It was a calm, cool night. The sky was dotted with stars and the moon was full.

My torch lay abandoned on a near by bench. Normally the pier was lit up to tempted people here to go on the rides, play the fun fair themed games and spend money. The lights hadn’t come on this year, there was no point because people had been told to stay at home.

I could no longer bare it and had escaped into the night. I was tried of the arguments with two teenagers, tried of trying to do maths with my other children and tried of trying to keep my toddler entertained for long enough for me to do some housework. I didn’t regret having seven children, I just had never imagined we’d been all trapped at home for weeks on end.

I shut my eyes, breathed in deeply and listened not just my ears but my heart. The sea whispered, singing the song it had done since the beginning of time. The waves rasped across the sand and shells on the beach behind me. A seagull called close by disturbed by my presence.

For a few seconds I thought about letting go. I could fall down with the whistling wind and part the wave below. The sea would consume me gladly and wrap me in a watery embrace for all eternity.

I felt the forward lurch in my body and placed my hands on the top rail to catch myself. I looked into the dark water below and decided not today. I got down, grabbed my torch and walked back the way I had come.

I had responsibilities and so much love still to give but the sea would always be waiting for me.