No More

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The theme park had stood empty for years. The rides rusting away, nature slowly reclaiming the land back. Animals came and went, making their homes in the now forever dark Haunted House and the infamous Hall Of Mirrors. The wind played through the Big Wheel, making it rock and creak eerily. Water lapped in the lake and against the sides of the Swan Boats  and the Bumper Boats.

People sometimes came still. They vandalised what they could, took things they could sell and did dodgy dealings. Other people were more respectful. They looked, took photos and memories before leaving in peace.

The demons didn’t enjoy when the mortals invaded their space. In the daytime, they were weak and busy working to do anything about it. At night though, the demons came together and did whatever they could to make people stay away from the abandoned theme park.

To the demons this land was now theirs. People had left it, so way should they be allowed back on it? There weren’t many places left the demons could linger safely together. However, the humans kept arriving in greater numbers since the location of the place had gotten out on the internet. And now someone was bound to see one of the demons and freak out as mortals often do.

The demons decided they weren’t going to take from the humans ever again. If they banded together and made a plan to take over then it would solve a lot of their issues. Slowly, all the demons began together. Their hour was near.

The Stenham House

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Everyone has heard of the haunted house at the end of the street and the one at the end of mine was no different. The Stenham House looked ancient and nothing returned there expect for crows. Though the place couldn’t have been older then any of the other houses around. Neglect and abuse had caused it to age a hundred plus years and the fact it had been abandoned for twenty of those years now didn’t help.

Standing before it, I took the place in for the last time. Nature had pretty much taken over and it was hard to see a red brick and white wood frame under all that green. There was no fence and the wild front garden came right up to the pavement. The reminds of a driveway poked through the tall grass. As far as I could tell all the doors and windows were locked and still intact.

I had lived next door to the place all my life and could just about remember the last family who had lived there. Somewhere, I have a photo of me and the three children, all older then myself standing in front of the house. I was about five and wearing a horrible red and white polka dress. The two boys had been in jeans and t-shirts whilst their sister was in a white dress. As an only child, it had felt nice to be accepted into a bigger family.

Then one day they had vanished, left in the middle of the night never to return. No one knew what had happened nor did anyone try to find out. I guess I’d asked about it and my parents had probably told me they had moved away, but I had no memory of it. What I did know was that no for sale sign had ever appeared and the Stenham house had been left to finish rotting away.

I walked around the back, the grass and flowers crunching under my boots. There seemed nothing menacing about the place in the bright summer sunshine. At night though the house became something else…Alive was the only way to describe it. Lights flashed on and off in windows, things were moved about, voices and crying could be heard but never fully made out.

A crow called out loudly, startling me. I looked up, saw flash of black on a window ledge and heard a flapping of wings. Not stopping, I rounded the corner. The back garden stretched like an unexplored jungle. Bees and other insects were buzzing about and a ginger cat was lurking in the shade of a tall bush. I walked into the middle, feeling a touch of dampness against my legs.

The roof had caved in and I could see slices of the rooms on the upper two floors. A thin curtain was fluttering in the breeze and a piece of pattern wallpaper was also moving in the first room. There was the edge of a wardrobe in the second window and the possible grey frame of a bed in the third. On the next floor, I could see children’s wallpaper peeling away and the edge of a wooden bed frame.

I fell into thinking whilst I took this all in. Everyone knew the story of the Stenham house, it was something of a legend in my town. Though really, no one was sure of the whole truth. The house had been built for Doctor James Stenham who had moved from the city with his wife who was also a doctor and their four children in the late 1800’s. They had held clinic in the house and offered illegal services, like abortions.

Across the next ten years, first the children one after the other then his wife died. Stenham tried to save them all though experiments which often involved other dying people, corpses and animals. He went insane, convinced he could bring them all back if he could just discover how to do it. He kept pet crows for company and barely talked to anyone.

Thirty years later, he was found dead at the bottom of the staircase. It had been made to look like he had fallen but he had been murdered. The rumour was Stenham had been killed by a man avenging his lover’s the death after the illegal abortion the doctor had given her.

From then on, only a few people had lived in the house and they had reported the place as being haunted. It had never seemed to be bother me expected for finding it harder to make friends and children telling me strange stories about the house next door. I had never heard the babies crying, the woman wailing or the screams in the dead of night. Nor had I seen the lights flashing in the windows, the sounds of furniture being moved or the footsteps. Perhaps, though I hadn’t been listening hard enough.

Coming back the front, I spotted a crow watching me from the collapsing porch. The black of it’s feathers and eyes looked out of place against all the green. The crow called loudly at me as if warning me to stay away. Keeping to the edge of the grass, I walked back to the pavement. When I reached it, I turned and saw that the crow had been joined by eight others. They were silently watching me.

Hurrying away, I went to say goodbye to the old woman who lived opposite the Stenham house. She had been a good neighbour and my babysitter for many years. I knocked on the door of her nicely kept house and waited for her to answer. I stole a few glances over my shoulder and saw the crows were still there.

 

(Inspired from: https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2017/05/26/first-line-friday-26-05-17 with thanks)

Derelict #writephoto

There was no telling what the small abandoned building had been used for over the years. Still though something drew me towards it every morning as I was running with my four dogs. It was a small sunken old fashioned pile of stones with a red tile and wooden frame roof. It sat at the end of a field which seemed abandoned too.

My dogs; a breeding pair of yellow labs called Peaches and Teddy, a husky mix named Dakota and a lopping great dane who had come with the name Frankenstein – Frankie for short, avoided the place as if there was something nasty inside. If I went too close they’d bark and howl for me to come back to them.

Today, the abandoned building was looking more forbidding. It also looked like some youths had taken to hanging out there. I slowed my pace and came to a stop, catching my breath. I bent over, putting my hands on my knees and dragging in deep warm breathes of summer.

Peaches came over to me, whining a little as she lay down at my feet. This was her first long run in awhile. She had five pups, who were almost twelve weeks old at home. They didn’t really need her any more, but she was a super good mother. I reached down and stroked her soft head.

‘We’ll go back home now,’ I told her.

Behind us, the other three dogs were having a tussle in the long grass. I whistled and they all began racing back to me. I glanced at the abandoned building and with a shrugged decided to check it out.

Walking over, I could see that someone had made a fire. There was a small circle of black ashes on the ground and the grass nearby had been burnt and flattened. There was a little graffiti on the side of the building, but that could have been there for ages. A beer can crunched under me and I stepped back in slight alarm. Nudging the can out of the way I went closer.

An unhappy barking came from Dakota and I turned to look at the husky. He was pacing, low in the grass watching me, his body language showing he was afraid. I looked for the others; Peaches was where I had left her, Teddy now sat at her side and Frankie was sniffing something far to my left.

There was a strange smell in the air as I got closer. The remains of the fire and wood which was understandable, but there was a sour stinging note as if something shouldn’t have been burnt. A feeling inside of me told me to get away, but I pressed on. What was so scary about a small tumbled down building with a funny smell to a fully grown man with protective dogs?

I peered through the doorway and heard a low moan. The wind? A person?

‘Hello?’ I called.

Teddy started barking loudly behind me. I ignored him and stared harder into the gloom. There was a little light coming in from the half open roof but not enough to fully see the inside of. What I could see was a mess of bricks and wood which might have been apart of the roof.

Horror movies began filling my mind out of the blue. I shook them off. There was nothing here and that sound had just been the wind. Stepping away, I went back to my dogs and made sure they were okay.

That’s when I noticed that there was no wind and the abandoned field was silent.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2017/05/25/thursday-photo-prompt-derelict-writephoto with thanks)

Shelter

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It was the only place he could find to get out of the rain. Huddling into a corner, he made himself as warm and comfy as possible. He had already checked out the place and made sure no one else was in residence. The corner he had picked was also the best one. It was a large dry spot and he had clear views of the two doorways into the house.

He looked up and watched the rain falling in. The roof had long ago tumbled in, though the attic and floor above, creating a massive hole in the middle of the house. There were bits of roof tile, bricks, plaster and rubbish scattered around. He hadn’t seen any furniture and guessed the house had been well cleared out over the years.

He rested his head down and listened to the patter of the rain. Oddly he felt like an intruder. This had been someone’s home once. A place of love and safety. It had seemed nice too, a good place to bring up a family. Where had they gone though? What had made them move out?

Trying to dispel those thoughts- what did he care?- He settled for sleep. He began counting sheep jumping over a fence as was habit. He pictured each sheep differently as an individual as his father had taught him. Something about how that helps you fall asleep better.

With the lullaby of the rain, he fell asleep and dreamed of his childhood which he hadn’t thought about in years.

Xylography #atozchallenge

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Xylography; the art of engraving on wood.

He liked to make things out of wood. People said he was talented, but it had never brought him money or fame. He lived a humble life on the edge of the woods in the countryside. He looked after an abandoned farm and was a handyman for the town which brought in extra money. His garden was covered by his wooden sculptures which was mostly hidden from the public. So, it wasn’t until his death that he actually became famous, like it seems with every creative person.

Kenopsia #atozchallenge

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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.

What The Trees Knew

How the car had ended up rusting there was anyone’s guess. If only the trees could talk, they’d tell what happened.

 

(Inspired from: https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2017/03/13/fffaw-challenge-week-of-march-14-2017/ Photo by and copyright to Tim Livingston, with thanks.)

Flames

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The flames grew, becoming brighter and warmer. Shepard shivered and huddled closer to the fire. Outside, the rain was really coming down now and the wind was hitting the countryside with force. The old, abandoned farmhouse rattled and creaked around him. Strangely though, he found comfort in all the noise.

Finally, shedding out of his soaking clothes, Shepard hung his things on the drying rack. Despite everything, most of the furniture had survived and the house appeared close enough to his memories. He hated that though as it made everything come into sharper focus.

Sitting in his underpants, he feed the fire some more wood and watched the flames. Even though he tried hard not to think about it, the memories swelled like an incoming sea. How many times had he sit by this fireplace as a boy? Too many.

Shepard shivered again, but not because he was cold. The flood gates had opened and for a few moments he was transported into the past.

Shadows danced across the wall in the farmhouse’s living room. The flames of the fire, the only light source in the room was unable to fight the shadows off. However, nothing seemed to be bothering the little boy and smaller girl who were playing with a hand carved Noah’s Arc set. They laughed as they lined the animals up two by two and made them all enter the big wooden boat.

Then though from the kitchen came sounds of raised voices. The children stopped, falling silent to listen. The voices grew, though they couldn’t make the muffled words out. A thumping as skin connected with skin rang out and the voices stopped.

The girl began to cry. Her older brother held her close but not to comfort her. It was to quieten her sobs, so they would avoid getting beaten too.

Shepard shook his head and brought himself out of his past. Grumbling, the urge to leave again grew, but he fought it away.

‘It’s only an old house,’ he uttered, ‘nothing here now.’

He felt his drying clothes. They were too wet still to put back on. He tossed more wood onto the fire, not caring that the stack was getting low. If needed there were other things he could burn.

He glanced around and spotted a knitted patchwork blanket draped on the sofa. Getting up, he shuffled across the floor and tugged it off. Wrapping the blanket over his shoulders, he took a deep breath and smelt dust. Pushing the edge of the blanket into his nose, he sniffed the wool, but couldn’t smell anything else.

Shepard saw a flash of his mother. She was sit on the sofa, knitting a blanket which humped over her big belly containing his then unborn sister. Her hair was dark and she was wearing a brown dress and slippers. Her face and arms were covered in old and new bruises. She was humming something as her needles clacked together then she was gone, back into the shadows of the past.

‘Don’t think about,’ Shepard whispered.

He stared hard into the flames, hoping they would burn the memories away.

It was too late though and just like the opening of Pandora’s box everything escaped.

Shepard sucked in a deep breath as imagines, thoughts and feelings tumbled by. Thankfully, he soon arrived at the last memory he had of the farmhouse. He saw himself, a young teenager sat in his mother’s bedroom. She was gone, fled in the night just as she had often threatened under her breath.

He looked out of the window and saw the little cross that marked his sister’s grave in the back garden. She had only been seven. He had dug that small hole himself only a few days ago whilst his sobbing mother had clung to the dirty sheet wrapped body. He had wanted to kill his father then but his mother held him back. Now though, there was nothing stopping him…

Shepard let it all go with a shaky exhale. Just the thought of all that blood again made him feel sick. He reached for his clothes and even though they were damp, he put them on. Gathering his things, he got up and after a few moments of debate tossed the knitted blanket away.

Holding onto the warm of the fire, he walked out of the farmhouse and back into the storm. It was better, he decided, to be out here then inside with all those ghosts.

 

(Inspired by a prompt at; https://scvincent.com/2017/02/09/thursday-photo-prompt-flame-writephoto/)

Still Alive

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

Gift wasn’t sure how long the town had been abandoned as the records only went back fifty years. Crunching glass and fallen plaster under her boots, she entered what had once been a living room.

Looking through the breathing mask’s visor, she spotted the white flowering plant on the window sill. Smiling, she walked over and picked the plant pot up gingerly.

You’re safe now, she thought, clutching the plant, but you’ve got a big job ahead, flower.

Gift stepped outside and back into the war torn grey landscape. Hurrying towards the safety of the underground city, she hoped that one day she would be able to see the green surface world that she only knew from the legends.

 

(Inspired from Friday Fictioneers prompt; https://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/2017/02/01/3-february-2017/ photo by Roger Bultot thanks)

Waiting

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Time had long ago stopped in the castle. The dust lay thick and the silence heavy. Small animal bones scattered the floors and abandoned spider webs clung to the walls. In a stairwell, a forgotten suit of armour and a clock stood waiting to be used again. And in the rooms where people had once lived and worked, sharing a life now lost to the past, there were only echoes of ghosts.

(From a prompt by; https://scvincent.com/2017/01/26/thursday-photo-prompt-waiting-writephoto/ with thanks.)