Brothers #FFfAW

The young boys were still sat on the bench as I jogged around the fountain pond for the third time. I slowed down once more, noticing the lack of an adult with them. In the early morning, there seemed to be only us here.

‘Where’s your mummy?’ I asked them.

They looked up at me shocked. They couldn’t have been older then three and six. The older brother hugged the younger one tightly and shook his head.

‘Your daddy then? Who are you here with?’ I pressed.

The older one shook his head again, the younger boy started crying.

‘Do you know where you live?’ I asked.

Another shake of the head.

I sighed and tossed about what to do. I could jog on and leave them here, get on with my life as if I had never seen them. Or I could do what was right, phone the police and tell them that the boys had been abandoned.

 

(Inspired by; https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2018/06/11/fffaw-challenge-169th/ with thanks).

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The Library #TaleWeaver

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Poetry knew it as a fine-able offence to take off her breathing mask whilst on the surface. But that was only if the Constables caught you and you were still alive afterwards to pay. Plus, Poetry reasoned there were green trees here, so the air must be okay. Taking a last deep breath of filtered air and oxygen, she pulled off the heavy mask and held that breath till she couldn’t anymore.

The next breath she took in was clean enough though it was tinted with the nuclear poisons that made the earth’s surface uninhabitable. Things weren’t so bad this far away from the core but Poetry knew she’d have to put her mask back on soon to avoid getting sick.

Being careful, where she placed her feet, Poetry edged into the building. A strange sight met her eyes; there were trees growing from the floor out of the roof of the room before her. The tree trunks were white and flaky as if they were wrapped in crumbing bandages but Poetry knew that was how those kind of trees looked naturally. Along the walls of the room were bookcases and most of the books were still in place.

Poetry tipped her head back and looked up at the balcony which formed a second floor. There was a staircase on either side leading up there. More bookcases and books filled the space and she breathed deeply in the old papers. On the floor there were broken tables and chairs, rotted by the incoming weather and time.

She was just about to step down when a voice called her name and she felt the brush of a gloved hand on her shoulder.

‘Where’s your mask?’ a muffled and gruff man’s voice asked her.

Poetry turned fully to her older cousin, Legend. It was thanks to him that she had been able to come on this surface run. He and his work colleagues were collecting salvageable items and also anything edible which could be decontaminated when they got back to the Hive then sold on.

‘Here. It’s fine,’ she added quickly, ‘there are alive trees in here and I just wanted to breath probably for a moment.’

‘And leave me to have to explain to your mother why you died?’ Legend cut back in.

He grab Poetry’s mask and shoved it back on her face. She tried to stop him but he was stronger and it was painful. She wrestled his hands away and put the mask back on herself.

‘There’s nothing good here,’ Legend spoke, ‘we’ve all ready been through.’

‘But the books,’ Poetry pointed out, shocked that her cousin couldn’t see the value in them.

He shrugged broad shoulders, ‘hard to decontaminated and only a few buyers.’

‘Hey!’ a man’s voice yelled and they both turned to look back, ‘Over here. I’ve shot a deer!’

Legend took off, jogging over to where two other men where heading into a clump of trees. Poetry watched him go then seized her chance. She rushed in and pulled a few books off the closest shelf. They were heavy, weighted down with damp and mould.

Unhappily, Poetry dropped them to the floor and went to seek any shelves that were sheltered from when light and rain come inside. Her heart was racing and she knew at any moment Legend would come back and drag her away. She only wanted a few books though, something new to read that wasn’t like the other stories she had.

There were bookcases at the back in corner which were in shadows. Poetry pulled a few books out and found they were drier. Not bothering to read the titles, she put her rucksack on the floor and stuffed as many inside as she could.

‘Poetry!’ Legend’s voice called from the distant doorway.

Poetry swung her bag back on, almost toppling under the weight of it. Then grabbing two last books, that were the biggest ones of the shelf and hurried back to him.

‘They are dry! Please!’ She gasped, her voice rasping through the mask.

‘If they don’t get through it’s not my fault,’ Legend huffed.

Poetry grinned, ‘they will,’ she said, ‘Conner the guard really likes me.’

Legend shook his head and turned away.

With a last glance at the library, Poetry followed him back into the long abandoned city.

(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2018/05/24/tale-weaver-172-libraries-24-may-2018/ with thanks).

Turrets #writephoto

It was one of those moments that had seemed a good idea at the time but as we arrived at the crumbling castle doubt set into my mind. Breathless from our climb up the jagged hill, we collected around the tall, rusted iron gates which were bent inwards.

Through the bars, I could see the remains of a drive poking through the nature that had taken over. I couldn’t see much of the castle from this view, the trees were too high but I could just make out some turrets and roof sticking out. The sky above was cold stony grey, threatening more heavy rain and though we were a bit sheltered from the wind, I could still feel the chilly sting on my face.

‘Here,’ Duncan’s voice brought me back.

He was handing me an open bottle of water. I took a few sips whilst watching him dig around in the side pockets of his bag.

‘I know it’s in here somewhere,’ he muttered.

My other friend, Wyatt went over to the gate and tried to rattle it but the gate didn’t move. Instead one of the bars snapped in his hand. He backed away, dropping both halves as he did so. The broken bar hit the ground with a cushioned thud.

‘Oops,’ Wyatt said, ‘it’s really rusted right through.’

‘I wanted a photo of that,’ Duncan snapped.

‘Take it quick. It’s raining again,’ I pointed out a few drops fell.

Duncan shoved a small paper thing in my hand, snatched up his huge professional camera and began setting it up. Wyatt moved out of the way, into the cover of some trees, tracking the iron fence. I looked down at the paper and realised it was the photograph that had brought us here.

It was a square, black and white photo of what seemed to be castle turrets, roofs and chimneys rising up out trees. I looked around, trying to see what I could on the photo around us. Whoever had taken this about fifty years ago had really been standing back. There seemed to be a rocky outcrop that could be the same in the photo a few feet away. And thinking that the trees had been smaller and the area clearer it could be the same place but it was hard to know for sure.

I heard Duncan’s camera clicking away. I had no interest in taking photos of the abandoned places we visited nor did Wyatt, we just liked walking around and looking, sometimes taking stuff. Just small things, that wouldn’t really be missed and we could sell on to carry on funding these trips.

The rain and wind picked up turning into a storm which seemed fitting for our location. I shoved the photo into my leather jacket and ignoring Duncan’s unhappy cries, forced my way through the bent gate and along the drive. I heard them both following me as I broke into a run. The quickly darkening sky made it hard to see and we all stumbled about and swore.

As we reached the cracked stone steps leading up to the broken wooden doors, there was a rumble of thunder. The rain start pelting it down, drenching us through and forcing us to dash inside. I cut myself scrambling over the door which was almost falling off it’s hinges and wedge at an high angle.

Swearing loudly and repeatedly, I clutched my left arm. My feet shuffling and crunching on the stone floor. Pain was shooting along my skin and my other hand was becoming wet with blood.

A bright light flickered on and I stumbled blindly away like a wounded animal. I bumped into something taller then me but not solid, knocking the thing over. There was an awful clattering sound and I fell in the middle of it as a suit of armour tumbled around me.

‘Jay? Are you okay Jay?’ Duncan’s voice high with panic echoed in my ears.

‘Jay, mate?’ Wyatt spoke right next to me.

I opened my eyes. My body felt numbed with pain and weighed down. There was a ringing sound in my ears and a stinging pain my left arm. I groaned and tried to move.

‘Lift that end,’ Wyatt said.

I felt a piece of the armour lift off me and I pulled myself out and then along the wall. Cold stone scrapped across my jacket, I propped myself up, pressing my cut arm to my chest. I realised, I couldn’t feel my fingers and there was so much more pain there now.

Wyatt shone the torch on me and give a low whistle.

I was struggling to breath and so couldn’t get the words out to ask what the deal was.

They both clustered around me, looking down and concerned but not saying anything.

‘Have some water,’ Duncan uttered handing me his bottle again.

I took it with my right. My left arm didn’t feel like it belong to me anymore. Sipping the water, helped make me feel less sick and dizzy. I shut my eyes and calmed down for a few moments. My mind thought about another time I had felt like this; a fall on a school football pitch.

‘I think my arms broken,’ I muttered.

There was a pause of silence. I could hear the storm raging outside and a flash of lightening came though the broken door, capturing the scene like a camera; me on the floor, Wyatt and Duncan before me and the suit of armour scattered across the floor.

‘No. You’re just in shock,’ Duncan rushed, ‘it’s just bruised and cut.’

I shook my head, ‘I broke this arm before, in high school. I know how it feels.’

‘What can we do?’ Duncan replied, he was casting around as if expecting to see something or someone of use.

We were all alone though, in an abandoned castle with no idea what was actually around us. But I knew the chance of a first aid kit was slim.

‘We find something to keep his arm stable,’ Wyatt cut in, ‘ next, we find a good place to hole up in till the storm is over. Then we get the hell out of here.’

Duncan nodded, ‘I’m sorry. This is all my fault,’ his voice cracked.

‘No,’ I said sharply, ‘stuff happens. Help me up.’

Wyatt took my hand and Duncan grip me as I got to my feet.

‘Guess he’s not going to be guarding anything again!’ I joked as I kicked a leg brace away.

It clattered across the floor and the sound vibrated around us.

Excited and nervous, we searched the castle. The small grand hall lead off to a few ground floor rooms and also a stone staircase. There were some mould and collapsed furniture in the rooms. Nothing worth taking but I could see Duncan itching to take some photos.

Upstairs where some bedrooms though the roof had caved in on the left side so all the rooms there were dripping water. The wind was also howling through adding to the unfriendliness of the place.

‘This will do,’ Wyatt said finally.

We settled in a small room that had once been a pretty girl’s bedroom. There was still strips of patterned wallpaper and a rug on the floor. I sank onto the bed and pulled a mouldy blanket over me and a pillow under my arm. I stayed there, hissing in a pain, whilst the other two made a make-shift split from the bottom of a wooden draw and some cotton strips from what once might have been a night dress.

Once my arm was strapped up and Wyatt had cut up some of the thick bed curtain with his penknife and made a sling for me, I felt a little better.  I rested back against the other pillow, my body going stiff with cold and bruises. I listened to the rain drumming against the window, the wind battering things around and the thunder rumbling as if this was a horror movie.

‘We are going to explore more and find something to start a fire,’ Wyatt’s distant voice told me.

I hummed a reply, feeling suddenly sleepy.

They were still gone when I came back and for a few moments, I was disorientated. It was gloomy dark but I felt a torch at my side and went to click it on.

‘It’s cold,’ a voice whispered.

I stilled. The voice had been soft and a female’s. I couldn’t tell where it had come from.

‘So cold,’ the same voice uttered.

There was a soft ruffling sound like a skirt moving.

‘Hello? Wyatt? Duncan?’ I called after a few seconds.

From beside the small fire place were the shadows seemed to be thicker, a dim spot of white light seemed to flicker. I tried to blink it away, but the light grew bigger and brighter.

I turned on the torch, aiming it over but there was nothing there. I looked around the room it was empty. I was torn between staying and going, after a few moments though, I concluded it was best to stay as I had no idea where the other two were and wondering around the castle looking for them seemed a bad idea.

Telling myself it was my imagination, I lay back. Clicking the torch off to save the battery and letting darkness settle again.

‘Hello-oh?’ the soft girl’s voice a came again.

There was slow creak as if someone had just stepped on a loose floorboard.

I swallowed and barely got my greeting past my lips. Then it felt like a ice cube had been dropped on to my right hand was working up my arm. Turning on the torch, I looked and saw all the hair on my arm was up and goosebumps were rising. I don’t know why, but I had the feeling of a hand trying to touch my wrist.

I withdrew quickly, shoving myself against the headboard of the bed. Pain hit my shoulders were I bumped into the wall. A scrapping sound, like someone moving a book or a light object over a table tickled my ears. I shone the torch around again, looking for mice or rats, this place was probably full of animals. My breath caught in my throat, had that end bed curtain just moved?

‘No,’ I muttered then shouted, ‘Wyatt! Duncan!’

My voice carried, echoed slightly then faded. I hoped they had heard me. I pushed myself up and slide of the the bed. I had a creepy feeling that I wasn’t alone and something was watching me from the shadows.

‘I’m not afraid of you!’ I yelled, ‘come out! Show yourself,’

I flashed the light around, hoping to catch them but there still nobody there. I went to the door of the room but something caused me to look back before I stepped into the hallway.

I saw the shape of a person next to the window. I had the impress it was a woman in a long white dress. I shone the torch beam over but of course the light showed me nothing but the window sill and pane glass.

Running footsteps came to me and I walked out of the room and towards them. Wyatt and Duncan were at the top of the stairs as I joined them.

‘I woke up and didn’t know where you guys where,’ I explained, ‘did you find anything?’

‘Not much,’ Wyatt said disappointingly.

‘I got enough,’ Duncan said tapping his camera which hung around his neck.

‘Let’s go then,’ I said hurriedly.

We had to go back to the room to get our bags. I didn’t saw anything about what I’d thought or heard though. Wyatt would laugh at me and call me a chicken whilst Duncan would want to stay and investigate. I though was so ready to leave.

The storm had quietened down as we stepped outside. It was still rainy and windy though but I didn’t care. We started walking away. Duncan taking a few quick photos. I looked back up at the windows without knowing why and saw in one of them a face peering down at us.

I knew then, even though he showed me days later, that Duncan had taken a photo of the ghost I’d seen. I still never admitted it to him or Wyatt, I still didn’t want to believe what had happened was true.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/05/24/thursday-photo-prompt-turrets-writephoto/ with thanks).

Hotel On The Beach #TwitteringTales

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I pointed out the white and grey abandoned hotel on the coastal cliff to my husband. I had spoken about the place often, having as a child grown up there. This  was the first time we had seen the place and now it belong to us. I couldn’t wait to get re-living my childhood again.

(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2018/05/22/twittering-tales-85-22-may-2018/ with thanks).

Globe

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I stood before my old high school, looking up at the massive building whilst a mixture of thoughts and feelings raged inside of me. It had only been three years since I’d last gone up the stone steps, through a set of the wooden double doors and down the corridor to my last day here.

The next day, the school had shut down and workmen had built a tall chain link fence around everything. Signs warning of closer, danger and demolishing in progress hung down. My friends and I were not put off by them though. The six of us had returned for one night to have a last wander though the halls and classrooms before they were gone forever.

‘There’s a way in around the back,’ Edison’s voice whispered.

‘Let’s go then,’ Hunter answered back.

We set off quickly and followed the fence all the way around the back to where the gym and sport fields where. There wasn’t anyone around on this warm spring evening, the workmen building the new housing estate across the way, had gone home and since the roads around here had been blocked off, there was no reason to drive around here.

‘There’s the gap,’ Edison pointed out.

We all stopped and looked. I would have missed the small cut in the links if he hadn’t pointed it out. Edison was small and chubby, really geeky looking with large glasses and longish brown hair. He was our guide, having come last week with his older brother.

Edison pulled apart the links quickly, the sound was loud and echoing, then he duck down and wiggled through. He held one side and the rest of us followed him; Hunter, Dusty, Spencer, Marci – the only girl- and me, Corey. We all had rucksacks and since we were all eighteen or over, we hadn’t really had to explain to anyone what we were going to do.

Keeping in the shadows of the building, Edison took us through a broken in fire door and we entered the main building. The familiar smells of wood vanish, lemon cleaning spray, books and sweat hit me and took me straight back to being fifteen again. It was like I was hurrying to my class again and going off to meet my friends for lunch.

It felt different though; the halls and classrooms were empty. The walls looked duller and most of the posters had been taken down. There was an eerie sense of loss to the place, like at a funeral. Our footsteps echoed too loudly as we peered into classrooms, looking for things.

‘Let’s go to the library,’ Marci whispered, though her voice carried.

‘I heard they’d got rid of all the books,’ Spencer muttered back.

‘I want to go and tag some stuff,’ Hunter said, ‘let’s split up.’

I went with Edison and Marci whilst Dusty choice to go with the other two. We heard them a few moments later smashing a door window and shaking cans of paint spray.

‘Hooligans,’ Marci said under her breath.

I had to agree. The whole point of coming here was to say goodbye to the place. Though I doubt anyone would care what we did. On the approached to the library we found torn pages and books scattered around, someone had been here before us.

Marci toed a few of the books, looking very unhappy in the low light. She had always been the bookworm of the group, though we all liked books, expect for Hunter. Marci went to the door and opened it. Edison and I followed and I saw that Spencer had almost been right.

All the bookcases were empty, but there were a few piles of books on the tables and floors. Marci and Edison began pouring over them, taking the ones they wanted. I went the counter and flipped through a dusty history book. Nothing took my fancy so after a few minutes, I got bored and decided to leave.

Walking down the corridors, I entered a few classrooms and saw that only a few had their desks and chairs piled up against the back wall. I guess they must have sold a lot of stuff off. On the blackboards, the people that had broken in before us had written rude things and draw interesting pictures. There was graffiti on the walls too that added to the sense of abandonment.

Opening the door of my old geography classroom, I walked in and saw a globe on the teacher’s desk. I touched the old paper map and give it a spin, there was nothing wrong with it. I looked and saw on the walls old posters of different countries. There was also a bookcase a quarter filled with atlas and guide books to different places. I collected them all, Marci would like them then with a shrug, I picked up the globe and left.

We all meet back some hours later, our rucksacks and arms full of gathered stuff. There was the scent of smoke in the air and I guessed that some of the others had been up to more then just tagging and looting.

‘What you want that old thing for?’ Hunter asked me.

Everyone turned to look. The globe was too big for my rucksack which had a few books, rolled posters and other stuff inside, so I was holding it instead.

‘It’s kinda cool. What are going to do with all those wires?’ I counted back.

‘Sell them,’ he replied.

There was some swapping of items and talking over things. Then we left. The sky was inky black with a handful of stars and the street was quiet. We walked together for awhile then went our different ways home.

Once there, I put the globe on my desk and spun it again. It felt a strange thing to take from an about to be demolished place but I felt oddly drawn to it. Leaving the stuff in my bag till later, I studied the world, mapping my way across it as I had never done in geography lessons.

Tiredness caught up with me and I saw it was nearly midnight. Giving the globe a final spin I went to bed, my head full of memories from my old high school.

Investment #FlashFictionChallenge

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It was unreal to think the manor house I was standing before was now our’s. Sadly, the place was a memory of it’s former self. Lucky, the walls and roof were all sound but there were broken windows and doors to replace then the rooms to strip and redecorate. There was no running water, working electricity or gas and it was uninhabitable.

We were going to change all that, make it into a fine home then perhaps a hotel and open gardens. It was a life’s investment but once done up the property value would soar into the millions.

(Inspired by; https://carrotranch.com/2018/05/17/may-17-flash-fiction-challenge/ with thanks).

The Town That Was Lost To Time

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The small mining town had been built by hard working men for themselves and their families. Prosperity filled the buildings, laughter filled the streets and everything was just like any other town for many years. Then the coal and money began to run out, forcing people to find work else where and leave their homes.

With time, all the buildings become empty. For years, they sat alone until explorers came to see them. The new people found things pretty much as they had been left, as if the owners had just gone on holiday. Though, it was clear those people were never coming back.

The explorers’ photos and word of mouth spread and more people came to view the abandoned town. Things long untouched gotten taken, people left their different marks and the buildings deteriorated further. That though just made interested parties visit more often but they too added to the destruction.

At last, the ghost town crumbled and nature reclaimed the land. Visitors stopped coming and what little reminded of the buildings was left alone. And where once a happy, working town had stood there become nothing but the passage of time.

Hopewell #TwitteringTales

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All that was left of the old manor house was the front gate post with the name plaque on. The driveway led to nothing and nature was running wild. What happened no one knew for sure, there were too many secrets that the dead now kept.

(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2018/02/20/twittering_tale_72-20_february_2018-hopewell/ with thanks).

No Longer #3LineTales

Bob still couldn’t believe that underground train network was closed down as he started to turn off the lights. It had only been open a few years but its’ popularity hadn’t been able to save it when the business and economy had gone bust. Still he’d somehow held on to his cushy night watchman’s job, even if all he was guarding now were empty stations and tracks.

(Inspired from; https://only100words.xyz/2018/02/08/three-line-tales-week-106/ with thanks).

Foreboding #ThreeLineTales

three line tales week 104: an abandoned house in the Arctic circle

The abandoned farm house stood on the hill under the starry sky. At first glance it seemed like a welcoming place for a weary traveler but on the second look it really wasn’t. The house creaked and groaned with the trapped souls of the dead.

(Inspired by; https://only100words.xyz/2018/01/25/three-line-tales-week-104/ with thanks).