Somewhere On The Beach

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The beach was empty which was strange for a warm, sunny day. Normally tourists flocked here to see the famous natural rock sculptures. Clearly everyone had better things to do today and I wished I had too.

Trekking down to the beach and towards the rock formation known as the Rhino, I let my troubles consume me. The sand was damp under my feet and my footprints were deep, but I was wearing strong water proof boots, so my feet stayed dry. I heard the sea in the distance, it was far out in front of me and the waves were rolling gently against the sand. The air smelt of spring grasses and salt. Seagulls squawked and circled in the sky, the only other sound to be heard.

I had no reason for being here. The urge to visit the Rhino had come from boredom. If I had a dog that would be my excuse. Maybe I needed to get one? Not a big bounding beast, just a small friendly creature, who wouldn’t give me too much fuss. I had never been animal person though.

The grey and white layered rock rose before me. The top point must have been thirty feet high and there was a thick covering of moss, seaweed and other plants. From the distance, it did look like a rhino eating a chunk of grass, but as you got right up it just looked like a interesting shaped rock; worn over the years by the sea and nature.

I lazily explored the rock pools that gathered in the base of the Rhino. There were a few small crabs, starfish and other things that were surviving in the pools till the sea came back in. Nothing greatly fascinating.

After, I found a dry place to sit on the rocks, looking out at the far away sea and straight of damp sandy beach. Sometimes, there’d be boats or surfers or swimmers to watch, but there was nothing today.

The oddness of that made my thoughts turn away from my troubles and to wondering what was going on. Maybe, the fact it was Monday morning didn’t help. No there was something else going on.

I got up and headed back to the wave breakers and the white fence that marked the start of the beach. Sand clung to my boots and the bottoms of my water proof trousers were wet. It felt like a long walk back. I wished I’d brought my ipod or my phone with me. I had left both hidden in my car though, wanting to be totally alone.

I made it back to the wall and the car park. Something fluttering in the breeze caught my eyes and I went over to it. Flowers, ribbons, cards and a teddy bear collected in a neat little pile. Someone had recently died. I looked at a few of the cards. They were in memory of a young man, but I couldn’t tell anything else from that.

Leaving my car, I went over to the row of shops across the road. It wasn’t holiday time and some of the little shops were closed. A cafe was open and as I walked in I went to a table with a newspaper on it. I sat down and picked it up. On the front page was a report about a young man who had fallen off a boat yesterday and drowned.

That’s why the beach had been empty.

Today’s Child

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I would never have noticed the unaccompanied child getting on the bus if I’d not already been distracted from reading my book.

The girl, no older then eight, was alone and judging by her school uniform and the time, she’d just come from her last lesson of the day. She was talking to the bus driver. I couldn’t hear what was being said, but to me the driver looked like a giant towering over her.

I took my headphones off and leaned in closer.

She was saying something about going to her granny’s, but she didn’t have any money. Someone had stolen it and she didn’t know what else to do. Her little face was trying hard not to crumple into tears.

The bus driver waved her on without further ado.

The girl went to the first empty seat and sat down. She took off a pink plastic backpack and placed it on her lap, her fingers wrapped around the straps. She looked out of the window and I watched her swinging legs.

Why was she traveling alone? How could her parents, her granny let her? Maybe she was older then she looks. I’ve seen twelve year olds who look like eight year olds, but she seemed so small.

Should I do something or not?

Glancing around, I saw no one else was interested in the child. The handful of people were staring at their phones or newspapers or at something else. I wanted to think that at lest someone else was concerned about the little girl. Like me though, they were debating still.

The bus had passed two more stops in this time and I noticed my street would be coming up soon. I still didn’t know what to do.

At the stop before mine, the girl climbed down off the seat and rang the bell. When the bus slowed into the bus stop, I saw an old woman standing on the pavement with a little dog. The girl got off the bus and ran to her.

Feeling thankful for that, I gathered my things and rang the bell for the next stop.

Rubatosis #atozchallenge

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Rubatosis; the unsettling awareness of your own heartbeat.

The silence was deafening. There was nothing for miles, the desert was seemingly empty of life. And yet, I was here, driving my jeep over dunes, around or through rock formations, heading for a place that always seemed just out of reach like a mirage.

The Archway to Heaven, the locals called it. I had come out all this way to see if it was true. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to find anything but it would be nice if there was an angel waiting for me or if a flight of stairs shimmed up towards the sky.

Finally, I made it to the arch! I cut the engine, got out and climbed up the dune. I stood under the arch and listened. I could hear my heartbeat hammering away and once I’d stilled my feet on the shifting sand, my heart was the only thing I could hear. I felt disturbed and the knowledge that I was alone out here weighed down on me heavily.

The last of the daylight left the sky, the dim gold colours giving over to total darkness. I looked and above me, I saw Heaven.

When You Are Alone At Home

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I hated being all by myself at home. It was too quiet and there never seemed to be anything to do. Most people would like that, I guess. They’d see it as a chance to do those odd jobs or hobbies or watch TV which they couldn’t do when parents and kids were around. Yes, I could do all that, but I didn’t feel in the mood for any of it.

Maybe it was the lack of motivation? The pressure that I must do something! I had the space, the time, the chances, so yes, I must do some kind of activity which I couldn’t do other wise.

Nothing was coming to my mind though. I listened to the ticking of the kitchen clock, the dripping of the rain outside and the cat purring around my legs. I put the TV on, but only for background noise and just to hear voices so I wouldn’t be lonely.

I wondered if this was how it was when you got old and housebound. Would I just watch TV all day and doze? Would I reflect on my past and wonder what the rest of my future would be like?

I hope I’d lived a good past.

The cat jumped up and snuggled into my lap. We’re not friends, but with my parents gone for a few days, she was attention seeking. I petted her and listened to her purring more loudly.

I’ve have to get a cat when I was old and stuck inside. It would have to be a nice cat though. One who’d sit in my lap all the time and not be so wild. An indoor cat. Maybe, one of those with a really long coat and bright blue eyes. I hope I’ll be able to brush it though….

I channel flicked, but didn’t find anything worth watching. A nagging voice in my head told me to do something. ANYTHING!

Picking the cat up, I placed her on the floor. Disgruntled, she looked at me then trotted off. I went into the kitchen, though I was hungry and began looking around. Finally, I decided to do some baking.

I wasn’t that good to be honest, but at least it would kill time until the evening. Then there’d be soaps on and quiz shows and murder mystery dramas. I could get snacks and chill out, maybe the cat would come to me again?

I pulled one of my favourite cooking books off the shelf and flipped through it. What could I make? Something simple, easy and tasty. Cake? Cupcakes? Yes, that would do…chocolate cupcakes!

I set to work and found my mind better now it had something to focus on.

Out There

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The sound of beeping woke her from her coma like sleep. Rising her head, she looked up and after a few moments realised she didn’t have a clue where she was. Sitting up fully, she found herself to be on the floor of a long straight corridor. There was a bright blue carpet underneath her and the walls were white and arching in shape.

She stood up, using the wall to support herself as her legs were numb and shaking. Wiping her hands on the blue jumpsuit she was wearing, she looked right and left. The sound of the beeping filled the air and the light was dim. Taking in deep breaths she smelt only smoke.

Where am I? In an old building? What’s happened? She thought.

Patting herself down, she checked to make sure she was fine and also what she had on her. In one side pocket she found a small fabric case containing an incomplete tool kit. In a front pocket was a thin rectangle of glass, which reminded her of a tablet screen. In a long pocket by her right leg, she found a sheathed dagger and a square white device that looked like a mini taser gun. It had a black wrist strap and a red button on the side.

She slipped the device on to her right wrist, even though she wasn’t sure how to use it, but feeling comforted by it’s presence. The dagger she put carefully back. Double checking she had nothing else on her, she looked about again. The beeping and smell of smoke continued, but she couldn’t tell which way it was coming from.

Deciding to go to the right, she set off and followed the corridor to the end. Along the way, she passed closed doors that seemed to have no way to open them. Coming to a stop at the double doors, she looked for a way to open them. There were no buttons anywhere. Then without knowing why, she touched her fingers to a small section of the wall and it came off to reveal a hidden circuit board.

Trying not to think about it, she looked at the flashing red light and the wires snaking around. Gentle, she reached out and and touched a few things. The red light went out, changing to green and the doors before her opened.

How did I know how to do that? she pondered.

She looked at the circuits again, but couldn’t figure it out. Stepping into what was a lift, she searched for a panel of buttons and something tell her where she was. There was nothing though and the oval pale white walls were bare. The doors closed and the lift moved silently up. She felt a flutter of butterflies in her stomach.

When the lift stopped and the doors opened again a few moments later, she peered around them. There was a short corridor ahead of her, ending in a control room.

‘Hello?’ she called out.

Her voice didn’t even echo. Stepping out of the lift, she walked into the room and paused. There were two large chairs in front of four joined together panels which were covered in buttons, lights, switches, screens, dials and English words.

‘A plane cockpit?’ she muttered aloud.

She slotted in between the chairs and looked down at the largest of the screens. Her fingers reached out and she tapped it lightly. The screen came on at the same time the view before her changed. Windows that had been blacked out opened and she gasped loudly.

Wherever she had thought she was got wiped away, as her brain realised what she was seeing. Before her in a vast darkness were pin points of white that could only be distant stars.

‘Space? I’m in space!’ she cried.

She took in a few deep breaths and tried to think.

‘How? Why? Who am I?’

That questioned buzzed around her head like a fly. Sinking into the pilot’s seat, she looked for any clues, but found nothing. Remembering the main screen she looked back at it. There was a blueprint of the spaceship and sections of it were flashing red for damaged. After a few minutes of studying the map, her brain decided that the ship wasn’t that badly damaged. Also, the fire that started in a storage area had been put out by the automatic system.

She looked at the controls again and debating what to do. A few of the buttons were flashing different colors, including one that said engine autopilot which was flashing red. She touched it. tThe light turned green and she felt the rumbling of engines coming to life.

‘What do I do now?’ she uttered.

‘Destination: Raydon,’ a female computer voice cut in, ‘route set.’

‘Oh…Where is that?’ she asked.

The large screen glowed and a 3D model image of a space system appeared before her. There were a few different round planets, stars and some other strange shapes. One of the planets was flashing.

‘I guess there’ll be someone there who might be able to help me figure out what’s happened. And I can’t think of anything else to do right now. Let’s go there,’ she spoke.

‘Course inlaid. Arrival time four hours,’ the computer informed her.

‘Four hours? Isn’t there anyone else on this ship?’ she cried.

‘No. Everyone evacuated,’ the computer responded.

‘Why?’

‘Hull breach. It’s been temporary sealed.’

‘Will it be alright?’ she asked.

The computer fell silent and she watched on a smaller screen as ship blueprints and calculations went by.

‘Seal will fail in six hours,’ the computer announced.

‘We should be okay then….’

She trailed off and looked out of the window again. Stars were going by and she could just see the burning edges of a planet. She shut her eyes and tried hard to recall who she was. For a few moments, she felt it on the edge of her tongue then it was gone.

Someone out there will know who I am, she thought and then she settled back to watch space going by.

Broken

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I felt the break deep within me. Only back then I didn’t really understand it. Now though, older and wiser, I’ve many things to liken it to. Take this egg for example. It’s whole but once suddenly dropped it breaks into pieces and reveals what’s inside. Granted the egg is not alive and can’t display nothing of what has happen to it. Imagine if that egg was a child though.

That was how I felt with Ocean died. We were whole, we were one, we were mirror images of each other. Ocean and Haven, Haven and Ocean, sea and harbour, together forever.

It’s twenty years ago today. We were eight years old and troublemakers, but in the nicest of ways. A storm had hit our seaside village. The wind and rain had been raging all day and I remember seeing and hearing the sea look so wild and scary. I don’t think I cried, but I made my fear plain enough. I recall Ocean saying she wouldn’t leave me as she put a comforting arm around me.

We shared a room that had two single beds in it, but that night we settled into one. I think it might have been mine. It didn’t matter anyway as both beds were either side of the window. Ocean and I had often shared a bed, seeking the comfort and warmth of each other.

I had to go the bathroom. I remember that so clearly. Getting out of the bed, I left Ocean sleeping, thinking I’d be back soon. There was a massive crash and the sound of glass breaking. Everything shook around me and I fall to the floor. Things were rattling and all I could hear was the storm roaring in my ears.

They said it had been a freak accident. The tree had fallen into the house and taken half of it down. They said it would have killed us both, but for the fact that the bathroom was on the other side of the hallway.  I hardly remember it, but for the image of the house torn in two and the fact that the other back seat in the car next to me was empty.

I asked after her often, ‘where is Ocean, ma?’ ‘When is Ocean coming back, da?’ ‘I miss Ocean.’ Of course, I knew the child version of death, but to me Ocean had said we’d always be together and that surely meant she was going to come back. Didn’t it?

My new bedroom only had a one bed and actually thinking about it from then on there was only one of everything. For ages, my parents let me set out another place at the table, buy two teddies or dolls or toys and doubled the presents at Christmas.

The years passed and passed, but I’ve never felt the same since that night. It’s always seems like a piece of me is missing and no matter what I do I can’t find it.

I’m broken.

Walking Away

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She walked away from him and it was as simple as that to leave it all behind. She felt better, like a wild bird that been trapped in a cage but was now free. The control was all her own again and she could live as she wanted, not as he had made her believe she should. She told her friends it was better to be alone then in a relationship where you couldn’t be yourself and you fell into being a lie.

So what if her road was now lonely? Wasn’t it better to be like that then to find that you had no life at all? Her purpose shouldn’t have to be to please others or to be the perfect girlfriend. The purpose should be what she wanted and why should she care if other people judged her? She was living how she wanted to now and was a lot more happier.

Here We Stand (Part 3)

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I had a tent but there was nowhere safe to put it up. Plus, if I had to escape it’d get left behind. I stopped in front of the large window and looked up. The drizzle was falling against a still light evening sky. There was still time for me to go and camp in the woods.

The effort of popping up my two-men tent was too much through. I choice the dry-ish corner next to the blocked up door and began nudging around the rubble with my boots. It was a surprisingly deep pile of wood and plaster. I slipped off my hiking bag and could almost hear my back and shoulders begging me not to but it back on again.

I cleared a wide space on the floor. The work using the rest of my energy to do so. Juggling the glow stick so I could see in growing darkness, from my bag, I took out a sleeping mat, sleeping bag, my water bottle and a zip lock bag of dried fruit. I sat down and rested my head against the cold wall of the church. It was the first time in about six hours that I had sat down.

I sipped some of the nearly clear water that I’d gathered from a trickle of a steam in the woods. Then ate a handful of the dried fruit by putting each piece into my mouth and chewing as many times as I could. Lastly, I sipped some more water and put my stuff away. I settled down, keeping all my clothes on and my hiking bag close to my side.I threw the unzipped sleeping bag over my lower body and shuffled down. I put my hands behind my head and rested against the wall again.

In the background, I could hear the drip drip of the water from the sink. What sounded like an owl screeched and a dog started barking. I put the glow stick under my bag which left me in darkness but meant I couldn’t be so easily seen if someone walked in. Shutting my eyes, I tried to rest. I knew sleep wouldn’t come, my mind was still on alert even though the rest of me was crying out for a solid night’s sleep. I tried to think about other things, especially mapping out the town I was now in.

The dozing came over me in fits. I would fall into a light sleep than jerk awake. Each time, my eyes would snap open and I’d be transfixed with finding the danger that had to be near by. I listened carefully each time, but could hear nothing other the normal night sounds. Sometimes, I would watch the rain falling in through the holes in the roof or coming in through the windows. It seemed to grew heavier each time and everything but my spot became wet.

Waking for the final time, I watched light creeping into the church like a beggar. The rain had stopped for the moment to let dawn in, but drops were still falling. I stretched out, feeling just as exhausted as when I had lay down. My body creaked like an old man’s and for a few minutes I stared up at the ceiling. There was nothing special about it. Not like I had seen in some other churches were the ceiling was nicely boned and sometimes painted.

Even though I was running on little food, water and sleep, my body still demand a normal release. I gathered my things; folding my sleeping bag and sleeping mat up and into my hiking bag. Then I spent a few moments moving some of the rubble back to hide my tracks. the now useless glow stick I hid at the bottom. I picked up my bag and tried to get it on my back, but my arms were too stiff and I couldn’t left it.

I tried again, despite my protesting back and shoulders. Heaving the hiking bag on, I walked like a hunchback to the other side of the altar. The spiral staircase was dark, but I couldn’t waste another light source. I felt my way down, listening to my bag scrapping the walls. Reaching the bottom, I felt out the bathroom and did what I had to do. Strangely the toilet still flushed.

I turned the tap on and washed my hands in what I guessed to be still iron red water. I washed my mouth out then drink a few handfuls. It tasted as it had done yesterday, earthy and rotten, but still sweet. I turned the tap off and wiped my mouth. Walking sideways out I came to a sudden stop as I hear voices above me.

Dear Diary #23

Dear Diary,

Tomorrow is my birthday and for the first time ever I’m spending it alone! Okay well, not so alone because I have the three dogs, two cats, the rabbits, the hens, chicks and the two baby lambs. It didn’t dawn until this morning when I saw the date, realized it was my birthday tomorrow and thought I’ve made no plans!

I guess though the more older you get the more birthday’s lose their excitement. When I was little birthdays and Christmas were always big and the only times of the year when you could really ask for a lot of stuff and get most of it. The parties seemed so much fun, even if they were simple and easily forgettable.

Getting older having my own money meant  could just buy whatever I wanted when I felt like it. No more waiting for my birthday and Christmas to role around! I could have it now with a click of the PC mouse and scan of a card. But I miss those special presents. The ones you hadn’t even thought to ask about but your parents and friends knew you’d love. I do kinda wish to re-live those times again.

I guess I should figure out what to do, see if anyone is around. I can’t be alone for my birthday! I don’t think anybody should be.

 

***

(Side note; with it actually being my birthday tomorrow, I thought I’d have a theme of ‘birthday’ this month. Just thought I’d announce that. Also, planning to get the first short story collection out by the end of this month! Thanks for reading and please like and share. Hayley)

Boots (Part 3)

Silhouette, Bokeh, Man, Out Of Focus, Fig, Bent, Black

Faith stepped down from the small buggie, feeling grateful that the Rector had offered it and his valet for her short trip home. Originally, she had been perfectly happy to walk home, but then the rain had started and the Rector had said he simply could not allow his guest to walk in such bad weather.

As the valet urged the chestnut horse on and the animal broke into a trot, Faith opened her front gate and walked up the path to her cottage. The night wrapped around her like a heavy wet blanket. The rain dripping off her hat and ruining her hair. She unlocked and opened the door, pitch darkness met her.

Stepping inside, Faith search for the candle and matches she knew Mary had left for her. She had dismissed the maid before she had gone for dinner and no doubt Mary had rushed home to her ill mother and five younger siblings, who Mary was now the soul provider of. Faith had taken the maid with the house, only because it had saved her the trouble of finding a new one.

Faith lit the candle and straight away the shadows thinned. She shut the door, making sure it was locked then went up the stairs. In her bedroom, she touched the flickering flame to the other candles and banished most of the darkness. She undressed, put on a night gown, then sat at her small dressing table and brushed out her hair.

The sound of boot steps echoed along the hallway.

Faith paused, brush stuck in her hair. She turned and looked at her bedroom door. The latch was lifting slowly upwards. The breathe caught in her throat and desperately she wanted to cry out, but she couldn’t force the words through her lips. A tiny click, which seemed earth shattering loud, came from the door and it eased open.

‘Who is it? What do you want?’ Faith suddenly shouted.

The door swung fully opened to reveal the empty hallway. Faith thought she saw a flicker of the shadows then she heard the man’s boots going downstairs. Each step sounded like a doom bell ringing out.

Somehow coming back to her senses, Faith placed her hairbrush down, grab a candle and hurried out of the room. She shone the flame about the hallway and the stairs, but there was no one to be seen.

‘I am not afraid of you!’ she cried, ‘this is some school boy trick is it? Well, it is not funny and I shall catch you, mark my words. There is no such thing as ghosts!’

Faith stormed back in her room and slammed the door shut. She locked it and got into bed, her hair only half brushed and still wet. Arranging the bed clothes and the candle, Faith picked up her Bible and began reading from it. The rain rattled against the windows and the sound calmed her nerves.

Soon, sleep came for her and Faith gladly went to it. She rested fitfully and as the grandmother clocked chimed two, she awoke. Turning over, she listened to the chimes fading then the boot steps sounded in the hallway. Frowning and muttering to herself. She got up as quietly as possible, snatched one of the bed sheets up and without a candle went to the bedroom door.

Opening it slowly, she ventured out and down the stairs. At the bottom she waited and listened to the footsteps made their way to the front door. Then holding the sheet out, she jumped around the corner and threw the sheet in the direction of the sound. Her arms followed and she wrapped them around a small wiggling body.

‘I have you!’ she cried.

‘Quick! run!’ a young boy’s voice cried.

Faith heard the sound of laughter and running footsteps from the kitchen. The back door shut with a bang. Left to struggle with the one she had captured, Faith shoved him into the parlour and fumbled with the second candle by the front door. On lighting it, she re-opened the door and saw standing there the Rector’s youngest son, who she had meet that evening.

‘James? What are you doing here?’ she asked.

The boy looked down and Faith followed his gaze. Huge army boots were strapped to his feet and he looked ridicules in them.

‘That explains all the noise, but why?’ Faith asked.

The boy shrugged and Faith noticed how wet his clothes and hair were.

‘How did you get in?’ she pressed.

The boy shook his head.

‘Well, you’ll have to stay here for the rest of the night. It is too wet and dark to be going back to your father now. What will he say about all of this?’ Faith spoke.

‘Oh! Miss please do not tell him! We only meant to scare you a little! Please, Miss!’ the boy cried, he fell to his knees and wrapped his arms around her legs. He started to cry into her nightdress.

‘Now, please young man, get up. Tell me, why did you want to scare me?’

He turned his tear stained face up to her’s and said, ‘it was just a game.’

Faith sighed, ‘let’s get you out of these wet things. You shall catch a cold.’

‘I know how to lit a fire, Miss,’ the boy piped up.

He went over to the fireplace and though it had not been used in awhile, the coal, kindling and paper were stacked to one side. Faith watch the child building then lighting the fire. A soft, warm glow cast it’s way over the room.

‘I suppose, we should stay up and wait for dawn. Then I shall take you home,’ Faith said.

James nodded, ‘but what will you tell father?’

‘I shall think about it,’ Faith said, ‘in the meantime we shall read the Bible together.’

 

As soon as dawn broke, Faith and James went out. The boy had fallen asleep and Faith had had to wake him. It was a slow walk up through the village to the church and by the time they got there the Rector’s house was awake and searching for the missing child all ready.

Whilst he was whisked away by the nanny, Faith had a quiet word with his father. Upon leaving, she prayed the other children were not to troublesome. She walked back home and headed into the parlour, where she found a pair of man’s boots abandoned by the fire place.

 

(Inspired byhttps://wordpress.com/read/feeds/34771988/posts/1062669023)