Rant #SundayWritingPrompt

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I wasn’t sure what had happened in the kitchen of the abandoned house. It was clear someone had emptied all the cupboards and sent everything tumbling to the floor. Broken plates crunched under my boots, it was unavoidable if I wanted to walk across.

Perhaps, someone was looking for treasure they believed had been hidden here? Maybe it was just mindless destruction of youths?

Whatever had happened I hated it with a passion. Why did people have to destroy everything? I liked things left as they had been, it give a much better picture of the last people here.

(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2018/01/21/sunday-writing-prompt-238-rant/ with thanks).

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Cosy

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She was glad she had worn her new cosy winter boots on the walk. They were wool lined, waterproof and with a good grip so dealing with the snow was much easier. The afternoon outing, with her husband, of a romantic tour around the abbey ruinings and a nice hot chocolate at the cafe before heading home however, hadn’t gone to plan.

Instead, they had been caught up in a snowstorm and had to huddle under a crumbing archway. The cafe was closed – staff sickness- and waiting things out had seemed better then trying to battle through them. Nestling together, they tried to keep warm and out of the worst of it.

The wind howled about them, finding many holes and hallows in the abbey ruinings to echo in. The snow fell like a thick fog; blinding and cruel which was made more wild by the wind. In addition, darkness had began to fall too and the sky that had been an icy blue with tinted grey clouds was now a dull black.

She thought about trying to leave. It wasn’t far to their house and they had both lived in this village their whole lifes, so even in weather like this they could find their way. She looked up at her husband and yelling as loud as she could told him, ‘maybe we should try to go back!’

He stared into the storm, weighing things up before answering, ‘no! We need to wait till it gets better. It’s dangerous. But perhaps, we could move to somewhere better. That area were the stone coffins are.’

Holding hands they walked through the archway and around some low stone walls. The wind and snow whipped around them as if to make them go back, but they struggled on till they reached the enclosed chapel space. Here, through a single doorway, four solid walls and half a roof blocking out most of the storm. There were also two examples of the stone coffins in a corner.

Shaking off the snow as best they could, they settled into the other corner and watched the snow rage through the open section of the roof. They were far enough away not to be as effected though. She snuggled into him, trying to grip some of the romance back but it was hard when you were both frozen and just wanted to go home.

‘Do you think it’ll last much longer?’ she asked.

‘Hard to tell. We’ll try and stay for as long as possible,’ he replied.

After sometime had passed in which they had held each other and shared kisses, the storm dropped a little. The snow was still coming down but the wind wasn’t as wild. Deciding now was the time, they headed out and made their way slowly back home.

 

(Inspired by; https://lindaswritingblog.wordpress.com/2017/12/28/a-good-word with thanks

In The Cemetery Snow

Caspar David Friedrich Monastery Graveyard in the Snow 1817-19

The monks walked slowly through the place they had long ago called home. The once magnificent archway which had dominated them for hundreds of years rose out of the bare trees, a skeleton of it’s former self. The suffocating snow lay heavy on the land and the gravestones making everything seem even more dead. And the eternally grey sky above reminded the monks just how bleak their lives had now become.

(Story inspired by and imagine of photograph of Caspar David Friedrich’s 1819 oil painting Klosterfriedhof im Schnee (Cloister Cemetery in the Snow)

Scrap Yard Boy

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I couldn’t just leave him there. He was wet, cold, hungry and crying. I had no idea who had abandoned him or why but they must have been desperate to dump him in my scrap yard or maybe his parents hadn’t cared?

It was luckily my dog found him and that I had called so late at the yard to pick up something I’d forgotten. Heaven knows how long he’s been there for. He couldn’t have been older the two or three. He dressed for a winter walk and had an old bear with him.

As the snow started to spiral down, I gathered him up and put him in the trunk. He cried softly all the way, clearly tried but too scared to do anything else. Once parked outside the glowing warmth of my home, it took a few minutes to get him out.

My wife was waiting for me, a hot meal on the table and the TV talking away in the background. She was as shocked as me to see the boy. She took him to the bathroom, muttering mothering words. I ate whilst she cleaned him and found t-shirt and shorts to dress him in.

We had always wanted a child  but God had decided it wasn’t our fate to have our own. We had spent years in fostering and adaption though had recently had to stop due to old age effecting us. My wife had loved it and I knew she missed it greatly, so she wouldn’t want to part with the abandoned boy.

She bought him to the table and got him to ate some of the stew she had made and drink some warmed milk. He rubbed his eyes sleepily afterwards and she put him to bed in one of the little bedrooms we still had.

‘How could someone abandoned him like that?’ she asked.

I was putting another log on the fire, having washed and tided away the dishes, ‘I don’t know,’ I replied, ‘ but we’ve heard all the stories before.’ I shrugged.

‘Well, he’ll have to stay now,’ she spoke.

I glanced at the clock and paper calendar on the mantle, ‘we’ll have to go and tell the officials. The offices will be closed for Christmas so we’ll have to do it in the new year.’

My wife nodded though I knew she wanted to suggest we don’t tell anyone about the boy. I couldn’t do that though and his life would be so much harder if he had to live in secret. Turning to the fire, I wondered how this had all come to be but I knew how I now wanted it to end.

(Inspired by; https://allaboutwritingandmore.wordpress.com/2017/12/06/daily-picture-prompt-334/ with thanks).

The Paper Mill (Part 3)

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I went home, got my college stuff and caught the bus. Resting my head against the wet window, my thoughts drifted and before I knew it, the bus was stopping outside the college’s gates. Getting off, I headed straight for the library which was either going to be packed or….empty.

There was no one in the lobby, not even a librarian at the desk. I turned back, checked the open sign in the window then with a shrug walked though. The tables and sofas running down the left side were strangely empty. Tall bookcases set up like dominoes were on the other side. There was a staircase straight to my right which I went up.

Pushing through the double doors, I heard whispers of voices and saw two woman at a table with books scattered around them. Feeling better that I wasn’t alone, I went to the section of books I needed and starting gathering more research for my essay. It did take a little while but soon, I was totally focused on my studies.

By the time I left the library, due to the fact it was closing early, the sky was so dark it seemed to be the middle of the night. I huddled in the bus shelter with three other people- a girl and two guys- who held a mixture of conversions. My bag was heavy with books as I’d taken out so I had some more to get through the weekend with. I kept switching shoulders with it then finally give up and set it down my feet.

It was raining lightly now but the wind had really picked up and I could feel the cold through my winter coat. I looked at the bus time table again and noticed the bus was late. I hope they hadn’t cancelled. If the weather and the darkness had been better I would have walked again. The paper mill came back into my head and I hoped the girl was okay.

The bus emerged from the black road and came to a stop before us. I hurried on and took a seat close to the front. There were a few other people on the bus and they all looked as wet and cold as us students did. During the drive, I thought about getting off at the stop close to the mill, but I decided I was too tried and hungry to do that. Plus, I’d have to walk back too.

Arriving at home, I showered and got changed, so I was warmer, then I heated up a can of soup. Eating before the glow of the TV, I blocked out the loneliness of the house. My grandparents had gone for a month and wouldn’t be back for another week. Perhaps, that was why I was so desperate about the homeless girl? I was too tried to think any more.

Leaving the hall light on, I went up to bed. I read for bit before laying in the dimly lit room. The wind was still howling outside and the rain was hitting the window. I thought it would take me awhile to sleep but it came on my quickly. I didn’t have any dreams and I felt refreshed.

Getting up and ready, I saw it had stopped raining. I made breakfast and decided I had to go back to the abandoned mill. I packed up some more food- things that were going out of date from the fridge, some fruit and more tins. This time I also went into the attic and found an old but still good sleeping bag and a pillow.

Walking over, the sky threatened more rain and I past a few cars driving about. At the rows of houses there was more activity as children played outside and parents unloaded shopping. I got a look off an older man and it took me a few moments to realise he was wondering where I was going with a sleeping bag in one hand and a pillow poking out of a carry bag in the other. He’d did’t say anything though.

The paper mill looked the same though in the morning light I could see more of the decay and nature taking over. I crept in, across the courtyard and inside the main building. There was water dripping somewhere and the creaking of wood. I didn’t need my torch this time and I was able to got the right way too!

The girl was still in the room and as I entered the doorway, I saw her piling damp wood closer to the fire pit. She was wearing the coat, bobble hat and a pair of trousers that I had given her. My heart leaped and I felt better.

‘Hello,’ I called.

She stopped, give me a nod and set the wooden planks down.

‘Do the clothes fit?’ I asked walking in.

She give a shrug and said something that I missed.

‘I thought maybe you’d like this too,’ I said and held out the sleeping bag and pillow.

She came and took them from me and whilst she was looking at them, I took the rucksack off and began emptying it. I set all the food down then zipped up the rucksack and slipped it on again. I smiled at her.

‘Why…do you keep doing this?’ she said slowly.

‘I guess because….’ I frowned and really thought about why.

‘Are you sorry for me? Is that why?’ she demanded.

‘No!’ Well, maybe a little…’

‘I don’t need your pity,’ she snapped.

She crossed her arms over her chest and turned her head away.

I pressed my lips together and replied, ‘I’d have been throwing all this away anyway…’

She didn’t responded. I shifted around on my feet and decided it was time I admitted the truth to her and myself.

‘I’m lonely. I guess that’s why…’ I said.

Our eyes meet then she looked me up and down.

‘I don’t believe you,’ she answered.

Sighing, I spoke, ‘guess that is bit odd but it’s the truth.’

‘I don’t need friends. They only stab you in the back,’ she explained, ‘I’m happy alone.’

Nodding, there was nothing else to say. I began to leave.

‘Don’t come back again,’ she said quietly, ‘I won’t be here.’

I glanced over my shoulder at her. The dirt on her child-like face and her unkempt dark hair stuck in my mind. Going home, I reflected on our conversion and decided I need to make more effort in class to make some friends.

I managed to stay away from the old paper mill for a week but then I had to go back again. I went empty handed this time because I just needed to know if she had left or not.

When I arrived, there was a new metal fence around the mill and signs warning people not to trespass and beware dangerous building. I pressed myself to the gate, looking at the mill and I saw that the doors and lower windows had been boarded up.

‘I hope you found somewhere else to go,’ I whispered.

Turning away, I went to catch the bus to meet my new friends for lunch.

The Paper Mill (Part 2)

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Laying in bed, the bedside lamp on to keep the dark at bay, my thoughts kept going back to that girl. She had either run away from home or just didn’t have a home to go back to. I tried to imagine living like her; no family or college, no money or food, no bed or clean clothes. It would be hard. Tossing about, I finally settled down but my mind still wouldn’t turn off.

Tomorrow, I told myself, I’ll get somethings together and take them to her. Maybe she’ll talk to me then and perhaps I can help. Or maybe, the other side of my mind thought, I should just let it go. It’s none of my business. But by seeing and talking to her I had made it my business.

In the morning after a shower and breakfast, I should have sat down to work on one of my essays. I didn’t have classes today and tomorrow was Saturday, so I should have been thinking about going back to the library. Instead, that homeless girl was still in my mind, so I set about finding things she could have.

My parents had died when I was ten, so my grandparents had took me in. They were currently away on holiday, visiting their other daughter and grandchildren in America. There was still a lot of my parents’ things in the attic but I didn’t have time to look through all that. What if the girl had left the mill because I’d scared her? I needed to get there as soon as possible. Luckily, close to the front door was a bag of clothes my gran was putting out for charity collection.

There were a few of my tops that were too small now, but might fit her. I also selected an old green jumper and two pairs of my grandpa’s trousers. There was my old winter coat in the closet, a bobble hat and matching gloves. Taking everything back upstairs, I put the clothes in a rucksack then brought that down. In the kitchen, I took some tins of beans and soup that had ring pulls. Some cans of fizzy drink, bottles of water, a packet of biscuits that no one of liked and a bag of dried fruit.

With those in the bag, I wondered what else would a homeless girl need. Perhaps; sanitary towels, painkillers, matches, candles  and a few other bits of pieces. the rucksack was heavy but it would be worth it. I got ready to go, saw it was raining and decided on my wellington boots and an umbrella. Was there a spare one to take her? My grandpa liked to collect useful things, so at the back of the closet were a few spare umbrellas. I chose a small pink one then set off.

The day was dull and it must have been raining to awhile because there were large puddles and everything was dripping wet. I walked slowly, weighted down with the rucksack. Some of the streetlamps were still on but they didn’t seem to be doing a good job. I hoped it wouldn’t get any darker. Following the country lanes around and to the bridge I didn’t see anybody or cars.

Going over the river, I picked up my pace and hurried through the rows of houses to the mill. I squeezed the gap in the fence and made my way over. In the gloom and rain, the paper mill looked darker and more dirtier. I could hear the rain falling into holes in the roof and dripping off metal.

In through the door and I had to get my phone’s torch out to see. There was no keeping quiet with my wellingtons and heavy rucksack on the debris covered floor. I thought I went to the room she had been in, but I must have taken a wrong turn because I ended up at a metal staircase. At the top of which was a void of darkness. Shivering, I turned away and weaved my way back again. All the rooms looked the same but at last I found the right one.

‘Hello?’ I called, ‘It’s me Darcy.’

The fire wasn’t lit but there was enough dim light from the tall windows to see that she was still there. She was sat on the floor, huddled in dirty blankets with a sleeping bag wrapped around her. She turned and realised it was me.

‘I thought maybe….I could bring you somethings,’ I spoke, not sure what really to say.

She turned away from me without saying anything.

I walked over and placed the bag down.

‘It’s not much just some food and clothes,’ I added.

There was a large piece of cardboard next to my feet, so I sat down. I opened the bag and took anything out. She kept her head turned away from me as if I wasn’t there. Whatever I had been thinking might happen, it hadn’t been like this. But why would a teenage girl suddenly gush out her life story to a stranger she’d never meet over some old clothes and food? Had I really thought we’re going to become best friends?

I waited a few minutes, listening to the rain falling and feeling the cold stiffen my limbs. She was quiet, ignoring me and because she was keeping away from me, I couldn’t make out her face. I wanted to catch her eye so at least I could try and say something else, but she didn’t move.

‘Fine,’ I sighed, ‘I’ll go.’

I picked up the rucksack and slowly walked away. Every now and then I glanced over my shoulder, but the girl hadn’t moved. At the doorway, I stopped and thought about saying something else to her, reminding her of her manners maybe? Get angry and yelling out my disgust at her? Perhaps hoping her the best?

The words, whatever they were, wouldn’t come out so I turned away and walked back through. Even though my mind was still on her, I couldn’t help but think about what the paper mill would have been like in the past. It would have been loud with machines cutting up the trees and making the paper. The air would have been heavy with wood dust and chemicals. People would have been everywhere too.

I made it out in one go, only to find the rain had got heavier and the wind had picked up. I opened my umbrella and hurried home, my heart and thoughts weighed down.

 

To Be Continued…

The Paper Mill (Part 1)

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The worse thing about autumn was it got dark far too soon and I’d always been scared of the dark. I hadn’t meant for it to be so late when I left the college library but I’d been doing research for my last two essays of the year. I hadn’t notice the time until I’d left and gone to the bus stop. I’d missed the last bus home.

So either, I walked the half an hour into town and got another bus or I walked the forty minutes home. If it had been raining which made it darker, I might have gotten the bus but I decided that I could make walking home. Most of the way would be well lit by street lamps and I had gone this way lots of times in the last year.

Drawing up all my bravery, I set off at a hurried pace. My heavy rucksack almost dragging me back whilst making my shoulders ache, distracted me as I went. My college was on a limbo boarder of just being outside a village and on the edge of countryside. The fastest way home was to half walk through the village then go up some country lanes.

I was about halfway home and just about to walk over a small bridge. Behind me an abandoned 1800’s paper mill ruled over the little houses that had once been home to it’s workers. The village had sprung up around the mill but once they had cleared all the trees, it started to get expensive importing more, sales had dropped too and the mill had closed it’s doors.

I stopped and faced off with the darkness before me. A single street lamp on the bridge was the only barrier between us. Beyond that the quiet countryside seemed to stretch endlessly away. I could hear the faint flow of the low river going under the bridge and something else in the distance behind me.

I listened harder, half turning to the sound which was like a muffled crying. I looked back at a row of houses, most had dim lights in the windows and others were draped in black. The paper mill looked eerie, like a silent empty watchman. I tried to tell myself the noise was just a cat or a baby but this feeling of strangeness grew in my stomach.

What if someone was hurt and only I could help them?

Glancing at the bridge, my mind made a choice that I didn’t get a chance to think about. I turned away and walked back towards the houses. I followed the sound along those small well lit pavements, thinking at any moment I’d find the source. Arriving at the gates of the mill and peering though the towering bars, I spotted the flicker of a fire in a ground floor window.

A voice in my head told me to go and my feet began to move away but the rest of me stayed at the gate. The crying was coming from the mill. Thoughts ran though my head; it’s a trick of the darkness, it’s an echo from something else, it’s a ghost, a homeless person, an animal. Why am I here? Go home!

I couldn’t though…

Looking further along the metal fence, I found a hole large enough to fit through and I stepped into the cobbled courtyard of the mill. Trying to walk in a hurried but quiet way didn’t work, so instead I give up trying to hide my presence and just went over to the steps. Looking up, I could make out how run down the mill was now but there was too much darkness to see further.

I went to the window the fire was coming from. I couldn’t see in though as the wall was too tall. My hands touched the cold damp stone and quickly withdrew as if something had bitten me. Coming away, I crept around for a bit, trying not to let the deep darkness creep me out more. Every shadow was a good hiding place for someone and I was just waiting for something to happen. My throat got dry, my heartbeat was loud and fear was making me sweat despite the cold evening.

Taking out my phone and putting the torch app on, give me some more light and helped to keep the shadows at bay. I found a half open metal door and slipped into the building. There was a maze of rooms and a musty smell. Carefully walking, I spent a good few minutes figuring out where the fire was burning. Trying to convince myself it was just kids messing around and perhaps one had got left behind, helped make me feel better.

Standing in the doorway of the right room, I saw a small fire on the floor and next to it was a small humped over person shape.

‘Hello?’ I called out.

The shape moved, twisting around to look at me whilst gasping. I couldn’t make anything out as my phone light didn’t reach so far and there wasn’t enough light coming from the fire. I heard scrambling and the person getting up and moving.

‘I’m not going to hurt you,’ I spoke in a shaky voice, ‘I think I heard you crying. Do you need help?’

‘No,’ the voice of a girl sounded back.

I sighed, glad the person wasn’t a man nor hurt. I waved in the door, wanting to move closer but then not moving as there might be danger.

‘What do you want?’ the girl demanded.

‘Nothing,’ I replied, ‘what are you doing here?’

‘This is my home!’

‘Your…?’ I trailed and looked at what I could see.

Then I stepped inside the room. It was bare but for the fire and small pile of stuff on the floor. I got closer to the fire, drawn by the heat and I saw a girl in her late teens, just like me. She was wearing layers of ripped clothes, her hair and face were dirty but she was standing defensively, ready to fight.

‘I’m Darcy,’ I spoke to break up the tension.

She shook her head at me.

‘How did you end up here? Where are your parents?’

‘None of your business. Go away,’ she snapped.

I frowned and thought about saying more. I had the urge to help her but what could I do? Turning away, I walked back to the doorway. Then with a glance at her went through and tried to remember the way out.

 

To Be Continued…

Out There #Fridayfictioneers

Rusty had no idea what was there but he planned to find out. Following want once had been a dirt track through the almost barren landscape towards the rising hills, he wished he’d brought his jeep. Inside, the Harley Davidson underneath him grumbled over the rocky road.

As soon as he made it over the hill, Rusty stopped and cut the engine. He looked out and saw a ramshackle of wooden houses below; an abandoned mining village. He had mixed feelings over it but for now it didn’t matter. He now owned the land and there was plenty of time.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2017/09/06/8-september-2017/ with thanks.)

Lost Wings

Angel, Wing, Angel Wings, Heaven

I often went to sulk in the cemetery. It was my go to place if I was feeling upset or angry and wanted to be away from the world. No one really visited this unimportant corner which was mostly hidden in a small wooded area. There were maybe about sixty headstones and the little chapel which had been forever abandoned.

Plucking at the long grass growing in-between the treeline and edge of the cemetery,  I recalled why I was here today. It was because Minnie and I had fallen out again. Perhaps this time for good. She had been secretly dating Dalton Walton, who I had a huge crush on and had wanted to date for an age. Minnie had always known that and still she had….

I ripped the grass up and threw it away. I felt like screaming and crying, stomping around and throwing myself dramatically over a gravestone. I didn’t though. I walked into the cemetery and began reading the names off. It always helped to calm and distracted me.

The only statue was of an angel and it stood in the middle row. The angel was short, made of grey stone and was crying. She watched over the grave of Annabelle Leyton, born 6th October 1887 and died 6th October 1903, on her 16th birthday. Rest Sweetest Angel. Annabelle’s parents and still born brother were in the grave to her left. On the right side; Annabelle’s older sister, Bethany, her husband James and there three children.

I felt a strange connection to Annabelle because we were the same age. Today though as I stood before the angel, I noticed something odd. Her wings were missing! Looking, I saw they were laying on the ground, having snapped off from her back. How had this happened? I nudged one with my toe whilst I wondered what to do.

The wings were too heavy to lift back up and even if I did that, how would I get them to stay again? I walked to the back of the statue and looked. It was an odd sight seeing the large marks were the wings had cracked away from. I couldn’t tell if they had fallen off natural or if someone had cut them off. But why would you do that and just leave them?

Feeling sadder, I sighed and knelt down in the grass. I touched the wings. They were cold, solid stone but the feathers were raised and I could feel each outline against my finger tip. I didn’t know much about angels but I was sure when they wings got cut off bad things happened to them.

Looking up at Annabelle’s angel, I decided that she just didn’t look right anymore. It seemed up to me to fix that. I went home, did some research on my phone and came up with a plan. The next day, a Saturday, and whilst my parents were busy with their own lives, I went out and brought from an arts and crafts shop some white plastic sheeting, wires, metal tags and pliers.

I took all of this to the cemetery and there in the late summer sun, I built angel wings. I made the frame out of the wire, shaping it and joining it with clips. I used the old stone wings as a guide. Then I covered the white plastic over it, shaping the ends to try and look like the feathers. I wasn’t an arty person and it didn’t look very good, but it would have to do.

Using more wire, I fixed the wings in place to the back of the angel. That took awhile, as I didn’t get it straight the first few times. Finally, I felt I had done the best I could. I was tried, hungry and thirsty too. Stepping away, I looked at the angel and her new wings. The contrasted of the grey stone and bright white plastic wings didn’t look good. It was too childish.

I felt disheartened. We had read Frankenstein for English Lit last year and that’s totally want the angel now reminded me off. I wanted to go over and rip the wings off. She would look far better without them but I didn’t. I was too tried. Tears rolled down my cheeks and I wiped them away.

I clenched my fists and told myself to stop. The wings would do for now and maybe in the future I’d find a way to fix the original ones. It was time to go home now. That night I had a strange dream. I was walking in the cemetery and it was snowing. I went to the angel statue but it was missing. Looking around, I couldn’t spot her anywhere and then I heard the fluttering of plastic.

The angel appeared before me. She held out her arms, a large smile on her face and behind her the wings I had made glowed white.

‘Thank you,’ she said in a soft, clear voice.

I nodded, too shocked to speak.

Then she took to the air again, disappearing into the snow and I woke up feeling a lot better.

 

(Inspired by; https://janedougherty.wordpress.com/2017/08/09/flash-fiction-challenge-lost-wings/ with thanks).

Beached Boat

It was surreal seeing the wreaked boat on the beach still. I had thought they’d have removed it by now. A rush of childhood memories came back to me. I remembered that we had made a den there and spent many hours playing. Later on, it had been where my first girlfriend and I had spent alone time. Reaching up, I patted the boat’s side and had a fantasy of fixing her up and taking her out to sea. She was far too gone for that but I still liked the idea and maybe one day I could make it come true.

 

(Inspired by; https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2017/07/24/fffaw-challenge-week-of-july-25-2017/ with thanks. Word count:102)