Negatives #TwitteringTales

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Avril found the carrier bag of photo negatives in the attic and decided to get them developed. When the photos came back, she saw the faces of relatives and their friends. All those people were gone now, yet here they were now before her, captured forever in print.

(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2019/05/28/twittering-tales-138-28-may-2019/ with thanks).

Lorn (Part 2) #AtoZChallenge

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Lorn; lost, ruined or undone. 

The stairs looked forbidding, so Caleb and Beth climbed up slowly and gingerly. Beth had left the books on the doorstep, ready to collect when they left. Some of the stairs railings looked like they had been gnawed by rodents, making the banister unstable.

They found the rooms in better shape up here. The bathroom, four beds and the en-suit hadn’t been touched by the flood but the vandals and squatters had been here. The bath, toilet and sink had been smashed up; cream porcelain chucks covered a chequered lino floor and water stains dotted the wall like a painting.

The first bedroom – possibly Grandpa’s room was mess of clothes, bedding and bits of furniture. The wooden bed was broken, the remains against the wall. Two double mattress were on the floor, blankets draping over. Someone had patched the broken windows with newspaper and old fabric.

‘Let’s spend time looking for things,’ Beth said.

Not giving voice to his disappointment, Caleb nodded and warned her, ‘look out for glass and needles. Who knows what was going on here.’

‘I’ll be careful,’ Beth answered.

The searched the room and found some coins, empty beer cans, food wrappers and a few photographs. The clothes weren’t worth going through. It seemed the house had really been robbed out.

‘Recognise anyone?’ Beth asked, sharing the photos with Caleb.

He shook his head, ‘no. Maybe they were Grandpa’s but I don’t know.’

‘Do you want them or not?’

‘No,’ Caleb answered and turned away.

He went into the next room which was a smaller bedroom. There were three single beds squished in, clothes heaped on the floor, rubbish in the corners and the smashed window letting all the elements in. On a bedside table, was a pile of used cigarettes, ash scattered about.

Caleb went in, just to check but there was nothing of Grandpa here. He meet Beth in the doorway and they moved on to the next two bedrooms. At some time, they had been children’s rooms going off the old wallpaper which was mostly torn away. Like the first two rooms, people had been sleeping in here but Grandpa had been using them as storage and there were a few boxes to look through, though they weren’t the first to do so.

‘More books,’ Beth said about the first box.

‘Any be saved?’ Caleb called.

‘Possible. Let’s take them. What’s in that one?’

‘A tea set…Some of it anyway. Few bits of smashed. Next one…’ Caleb trailed as he looked through another box, ‘videos.’

‘Same in this one too,’ Beth laughed, ‘and some music tapes….Your Grandpa liked sixties rock and country. Irish ballads?’

‘No idea,’ Caleb spoke, ‘there’s some photo albums here. They look okay and a school year book….Let’s take this box.’

‘Finally one,’ Beth pointed out, she moved over and opened it, ‘things wrapped in news paper…..oh, it’s horse!’

Beth held up a porcelain horse and Caleb crossed the room to look. Removing the rest of the yellowed newspaper, Beth passed him the brown and white horse. Then she picked up another wrapped form and peeled back the newspaper.

‘This one’s a shire horse. Look at the leather stuff, he’s ready to pull a cart!’

‘Do you want them?’ Caleb asked, running a finger over the cold, smooth face of the horse.

‘Sure,’ Beth said.

‘Let’s check theses drawers and wardrobe.’

There was only a few items of clothes, shoes and children’s toys. Caleb pulled a teddy dog out and turned it over in his hands. He didn’t recognise it, so put it back.

In the next room, they found more books and children’s toys. They saved the books and got ready to leave.

‘I forgot about about the attic,’ Caleb said soon after they had brought all the boxes they were taken down to the front door.

‘Where is it?’ Beth asked, looking back up the darkening staircase.

Caleb went back up and stood on the landing. He looked along the ceiling for a few moments the pointed out the almost hairline rim of the attic door, ‘there!’ he said.

‘Can you get up?’ Beth asked.

‘I’ll need a ladder….Maybe a neighbours got one,’ Caleb wondered, he came back downstairs, ‘you load the car and I’ll go and ask around.’

‘Okay…but don’t take too long, it’s getting late.’

They kissed, Caleb give her the car keys then headed out. Beth began moving the boxes and loading them into the back of the car. Soon after she had finished, Caleb appeared with a ladder and a middle aged man in tow. He had a grey, balding head, a rough covering of beard and worry lines on his face. His hands and body showed the lifestyle of a construction worker. He was wearing dirty jeans and an old blue t-shirt.

‘This is, Reggie,’ Caleb said.

‘Hi,’ Beth greeted the man.

‘We’ll go up. Why don’t you wait out here?’

‘No, it’s okay. I might be able to help.’

They went back inside. Reggie helped with the ladder then Caleb lifted the attic door and shone the torch from his phone inside.

‘Oh wow, it’s packed up here!’ Caleb called down, ‘looks untouched too. I guess no one was able to get up here. Okay, I’m going in.’

‘Be careful!’ Beth called.

‘I shall be. Here, let me pass stuff down.’

Together, the three of them emptied the attic. There were cardboard and plastic boxes filled with books, photos, film, bric-a-bric antiques, papers, two landscape oil paintings, old toys, including a collection of metal cars, a small stuff rocking horse that had seen better days, a sixties recorder player and some other things.

‘There were treasures in this house after all,’ Beth cried.

‘Some of this stuff could be worth a bit,’ Reggie stated as he inspected one of the paintings which showed a river going though a forest with a herd of deer coming for a drink.

‘Beth! Look at this!’ Caleb yelled.

‘What is it?’

‘My grandparents wedding stuff! Their clothes and photos. Wow! This is amazing. Here, I’m going to pass it all down.’

Excitedly, Caleb passed Beth and Reggie a huge white box and another that was black. Then a battered cardboard box, over flowing with dusty fake flowers, photo albums and other things.

Beth took the lid off the white box and couldn’t believe her eyes. Folded inside was a lacy white wedding dress from the fifties with a huge veil laying on top.

‘I can’t believe this survived,’ Beth uttered.

‘The old man probably wanted to forgot all about it,’ Reggie cut in, ‘from what I remember, she died young.’

Reggie handed her a loose photo which showed a  veiled bride sitting in the back of a Rolls Royce.

‘What happened?’ Beth asked.

‘Some disease. She was only like in her thirties.’

‘That’s sad.’

Reggie nodded then Caleb yelled there were some more boxes and they got back to work.

The attic was soon empty and Caleb climbed back down, ‘thanks for your help, Reggie.’

‘No probs. Be nice to see this place fixed up and lived in again. Those yobs made a right mess,’ Reggie said.

‘Yeah. The builders are coming tomorrow and hopefully, things will be better,’ Caleb explained.

‘I can’t believe all of this was still up there!’ Beth gasped, she had been looking through some of the boxes, ‘how are we going to fit it all in the car?’

‘I’ll give you a hand,’ Reggie said.

They loaded the car up, just about fitting everything in. They said goodbye to Reggie and watched him taking his ladder back across the road to his house.

Caleb then turned and looked at his Grandpa’s house.

‘You okay?’ Beth asked.

Caleb nodded, ‘just feeling bit tried.’

‘Same. Let’s get back to the apartment, unload all of this and get take out for dinner.’

‘Then tomorrow, we’ll be back to see the start of things.’

‘I’m sure it’s what your Grandpa wanted,’ Beth said and put her hand on Caleb’s shoulder, ‘he wouldn’t have left everything to you otherwise. I’m sure he was proud of you, despite everything. But none of that was your fault.’

‘I know,’ Caleb said quietly, ‘it was my drug addict teenage mum.’

Beth squeezed his shoulder but didn’t say anything else.

Caleb started the car and they drove away into the evening light.

Rex #WeeklyWritingChallenge

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Ty listened hard to the sound, looking up at the locked door and wondering what was going on in there. The new house was creaking and not just because of the wind, there was something in the attic.

Mum and Dad said it was nothing, just the noises old houses make but Ty was old enough to know what was normal and what was not. The sounds in the attic were defiantly in the not area. It was difficult to make out what the scrapping, scratching and low moaning could be, maybe an animal?

Ty turned and went down the large staircase, he was just high enough at eight years old that his hand could hold onto the too smooth banister. The hall light was on at the bottom but the corridor was still dark. Light was spilling out of the living room door like a welcome sign and focusing on that helped Ty make it all the way there.

His parents were on the sofa watching the TV which for now was balanced on a coffee table. Around the room, were stacked cardboard boxes and mis-match furniture – some from the old house and some from the new. There was a empty fire place in the back wall and the left wall was all windows that were now blocked out by heavy curtains.

‘Mum, Dad,’ Ty called out, ‘I think there’s an animal trapped in the attic!’

His parents turned to him, looking at first disgruntled then confused.

‘What do you mean, Ty?’ his Mum asked.

‘Come and listen to the noises.’

‘That’s just the house,’ Dad explained.

Ty shook his head and held out his hand. He led his Mum upstairs, his Dad following behind. They past their bedroom, the bathroom, TY’s bedroom, turned the bend and came to the front of the steps leading up to the attic. There they stood and listened.

There was nothing at first, just the faint drift of noise from the TV and a car outside. Then came a low moaning like a cat or dog in pain. A tapping of claws? Nails? on a wooden floor, a scratching like a dog wanting to go out and the sliding movement of wood against wood.

‘See,’ TY whispered.

He watched his parents looking at each other.

‘It does sound like something, doesn’t it,’ Dad said.

He walked up the stairs slowly, each step creaking under his weight. He felt around the door frame, disturbing a line of dust which floated down to TY and his mum.

‘What’s he doing?’ TY whispered.

‘Checking for a way to get in,’ m=Mum whispered back.

‘Ah ha!’ Dad said and turned to show them the small key in his hand.

He unlocked the door and turned the handle. A mouth of darkness yawed before them.

Ty crept up the stairs, feeling nerves and excited at the same time. What was going to be there? Something hidden from the past?

The light pinged on and an awful smell filled the air. Ty stopped and put his hand over his mouth, he was going to be sick. He swallowed a few times, saw his Dad was also effected by the stink and carried on climbing to join him.

The attic was a mess; furniture broken, contains of boxes ripped up, things scattered everywhere and some animal had been to the bathroom all over the place it seemed.

‘What an earth?’ Dad muttered.

Then they both saw it coming out from behind the remains of a chair a large dark shadow which was slowly creeping towards them.

TY grab his Dad’s hand, feeling numb with fear as whatever it was came closer.

The shadow came into the edge of the light and they saw it was only a dog. A big, fluffy brown dog which was trailing a lead behind it.

‘What is it?’ Mum called as she came upstairs to join them.

‘A dog!’ Dad cried, ‘the last family must have left him behind!’

‘What a stink and mess!’

The dog hung his head guilty and give a swing of his tail.

‘Poor thing! He’s staved. Who would do such a thing?’ Mum added.

‘Bad people,’ Dad answered then tried to call the dog over, ‘come here boy, we won’t hurt you, come on.’

The dog didn’t move and let out a little moan.

‘Come here dog,’ TY called, ‘you hungry?’

The dog whined and came forward, shaking slightly. Once the dog was close enough, Dad held out his hand which the dog sniffed then Dad took hold of the lead and they all went down into the kitchen.

There it was clear the dog was very hungry and thirsty. He was also friendly enough and grateful to have been saved.

Dad untangled the lead and found the dog was wearing a collar with a tag.

‘His name is Rex,’ Dad announced.

‘Rex,’ Ty repeat and hugged the dog, ‘we’ll take care of you now!’

 

(Inspired by; https://secretkeeper.net/2018/10/08/weekly-writing-challenge-162/ with thanks).

Dollhouse #FirstLineFridays

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‘I don’t care what you do with it. I just want it gone,’ Alex said, pointing at the dollhouse.

I withdrew my hand from the dolls’ living room and looked up at my older sister. She had a full black bin bag in one hand and a flat empty one in the other. We were surrounded by so much stuff in my late uncle’s attic it was hard to believe she could just single out one thing to just get rid of.

‘Why?’ I asked, ‘don’t you think your daughters, Sophie and Lucy would like it?’

It was hard to tell in the dim light of a single, dusty bulb, but Alex’s face seemed to pale. Her expression become tighter as if she was holding all her emotions in but I could see she was upset and distressed. She turned away, collecting herself.

‘Fine. I’ll take it for my Millie then. I’ll keep it till she’s a bit older though,’ I added.

I looked back at the dollhouse. It was a fine thing, modelled on famous Victorian ones but made more cheaply. Red brick wall paper covered the outside, only curling a little at the corners, the window frames were white but held clouded glass panes and the chimney was wobbly.

Two doors opened to reveal the inside which was divided into 4 floors then seven different rooms by staircases in the middle. The ground floor had a kitchen and servants’ bedroom. The next floor had a grand living room on the left with a fancy dinning room on the right. The third floor had a master bedroom to the right and a double children’s bedroom on the left. At the top, was an attic children’s playroom.

All the rooms were made of dark wood – walls and floor, some of which was covered by patterned wallpaper and rugs. The pretend Victorian furniture looked original and complete, sitting in the rooms I expected the pieces to be in. There were seven dolls; a butler, a cook, a maid, a gentleman, a lady, a boy and girl. They were all dressed in faded clothes and made of china.

‘You can’t,’ Alex said in a shaky voice, ‘I want it gone. Into the skip now!’

I sighed and fought back arguing, it wasn’t worth it, ‘I’ll get Michael to move it later. It’s too heavy for me.’

Closing the dollhouse’s doors, I moved on to helping my sister sorting through things. The dolls and their house lingered in my mind and when our husbands turned up at the end of the day, I had mine packed the dollhouse into our car with some other of things. I made sure to keep Alex busy so she didn’t see him taking it.

At home, we put the dollhouse and everything else in the spare bedroom to be sorted for later. Sitting before the house, I opened the doors and looked at the little dolls. They could almost be Victorian originals but I knew nothing about that. I carefully arrange them in the rooms they most fitted in; the cook and butler in the kitchen, the lady and gentleman in the living room, the maid making the beds, the children in the playroom attic. Wondering all the time why my sister had just wanted to get rid of it.

The next day, we were back in the attic again and I just had to ask her why.

‘What was with the dollhouse yesterday?’ I asked over a pile of cardboard boxes we were opening.

Alex was quiet then she said, ‘you took it home didn’t you?’

I pressed my lips together and pretended to be busy writing a label ‘glass’ to put on the box before me.

‘It’s fine. It doesn’t matter,’ Alex replied, sadly.

‘Tell me,’ I responded, ‘is it haunted?’

‘No…really, it has nothing to do with the dolls’ house.’

I waited, wanting to break the silence but knowing she needed the chance to open up.

Slowly, Alex began, ‘Before you were born, mum was sick and dad was away with the army. Uncle agreed to look after me and I moved in for a few months. His and wife daughter had long moved out but since he couldn’t bear being in her bedroom, I was put into the spare.’

Her words sparked something familiar; a family story I had heard before about the time our mum was ill in hospital. Alex had been eight then and there had been no one else to look after her.

‘I don’t know why I did it, but one night I couldn’t sleep, so I went into our cousin’s bedroom,’ Alex picked up, ‘I saw the dollhouse and was so drawn to it, I flung open the doors and began playing with the dolls. Uncle found me and he was…so angry…He took me over his knees and lifted my nightdress. He beat me with a slipper. I cried and cried. Then he dragged me out and threw me back into bed.’

‘That’s horrible! I gasped, ‘you told right?’

Alex shook. Her head was down and partly turned away from me. She was quietly sobbing. In the gloom, it as hard to tell if she was crying or not yet. Her hands were wrapped around something; a piece of cloth?

‘The next night, he came into my bedroom, saying how sorry he was. He hugged me and then he started…’ Alex dragged in a deep breath, ‘touching me…it felt wrong, I struggled against him but there was nothing I could do. He said he’d make me feel better. That everything would be okay….’

I bite my lip and tried to reach through the boxes before us, but my sister was just out of touch. She didn’t seem to care though. She was lost to her past thoughts now.

Alex wiped her face and carried on, ‘he told me to keep quiet about it. No one would listen to me anyway, mum was dying. So, I didn’t say anything and he got into bed with me often after that. As praise, he let me play with his daughter’s toys but I found no joy in them. I never told anyone, not even when dad came home and mum got better. Then you arrived and everything changed.’

‘You should have told someone,’ I growled, balling my fists.

Alex rubbed her eyes and stood up. I hurried to my feet too and crossed the distance between us. We hugged tightly.

‘It doesn’t matter now. He’s gone and so have mum and dad,’ Alex uttered.

‘But…’ I trailed, she was right, what could be done now?

‘I can finally move on,’ Alex cut back in, ‘that’s all that matters now.’

 

(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2018/02/16/first-line-friday-february-16th-2018/ with thanks).

Creepy Doll Face

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I looked up and there she was staring down at me again. My breath caught and I chocked on a bit of water I hadn’t swallowed. A coughing fit hit my chest and I had to turn away whilst it felt like I was coughing up a lung. I couldn’t breath and panic shot through me.

I sat down, luckily landing on Harriet’s bean bag or else I would have been on the floor. I rubbed my chest and calmed myself. Most of the coughing subsided and I was able to think again. I took a few depth breaths and tried not to think about anything other then my breathing.

Reaching up to the small desk, I took down the bottle of water I’d brought upstairs with me. Unscrewing the cap, I took a sip, testing my throat. It seemed okay. I took a few more and shut my eyes. Music was still rocking through my headphones. I slipped them off, wanting a few moments without Meat Loaf singing his love to me.

The coughing stopped and I took a mouthful of water. Feeling better, I put the cap back on and tried not to look up again. I scanned my ten year old daughter’s bedroom. Taking in the bright pink princess wallpaper, Harriet’s collection of unicorn teddies, all her books, the doll’s house and all her fake looking dollies.

The vacuum and cleaning bucket stood in the middle of the room like intruders. I should get back to cleaning. Harriet hated anyone cleaning her room, luckily she was a very organised and her bedroom was always tidy. Still though, there were things a child couldn’t clean.

I went to stand up and my eyes began drifting up to the top shelf again. I stopped myself, not wanting to look at her again. Those piecing blue-grey eyes were a death trap and all that blonde curly hair wasn’t as innocent as it looked. I focused on the floor and the vacuum, planning what I was going to do next.

I couldn’t escape her though and I lifted my eyes upwards. She was sat on the corner of the highest shelf above Harriet’s bed, where all the precious things Harriet was too young yet to play with sat. There were things like pot ponies, glass teddy bears, a paper weight with a real flower inside and the doll.

My breath caught again and I was taken in by her as if she held power over me. Her china face was snow white and perfectly heart shaped. Her red painted lips were a tight bow as she faked a smile. Her glass eyes had little black eyelashes brushed on which give a frame to her glaring gaze. Her face was framed by all that blonde hair which there appeared to be far too much of. She was wearing a pale blue dress, trimmed with white lace at all the edges. Her limbs had been arranged so that her arms and hands rested on the shelf and her feet hung down. She had on tiny white lacy socks and blue leather shoes.

‘It’s just a doll,’ I said aloud, breaking the spell.

I took a deep breath and looked away. I got up and went over to the vacuum. I plugged it in and turned it on. I cleaned the carpet and I tried to let the noise of the vacuum drown out my thoughts, but it didn’t work.

The doll had only been here two weeks. A late birthday present from Harriet’s grandmother. The woman was almost a hundred and in a care home down south, near the coast. The doll was probably around the same age as her. Harriet had only meet her twice,  as a baby, so Harriet wouldn’t remember. Mrs. Perkins did though! And every birthday and Christmas Harriet would get something in the post from her. Normally, they were suitable gifts, but that china doll totally wasn’t.

Even though, Harriet had cried and moaned, I had put the doll on the shelf and told her could have it when she was older. It hadn’t worked though. I had been hearing Harriet talking to the doll as if it was her best friend. Also, I kept finding the doll about the place. Yesterday, it had been in the bathroom, on Saturday it had been on the sofa and this morning, I swear the doll was in the kitchen, but then I hadn’t been able to find it.

Now, the doll was staring me down.

Ignoring it, I finished my cleaning. Then as I was leaving the room, I reached up and pulled the doll off the shelf. She slide easily enough down. Stuffing her in my cleaning bucket, I took that and the vacuum downstairs again. I put anything away then debated what to do with the doll.

Finally, I got a plastic bag from the cupboard and wrapped her in that. Her creepy face didn’t seem to happy about that. I didn’t care! Then I went up into the attic and left the doll on an old wooden chair that had belong to my great-granddad.

The rest of the day was normal and I had this strange peace of mind. However, when Harriet came home the world collapsed.

‘Where is she? Where is Esme?’ Harriet wailed.

‘Who?’ I asked.

I was in the kitchen, sorting out dinner and my husband was in the living room. I’d picked Harriet up from school two hours or so ago and she’d only now just noticed her doll was missing.

‘Grandma’s doll,’ Harriet clarified.

‘I’ve not seen her. Did you leave her laying around some place again? I’ve told you not to play with her, remember? She’s a special doll,’ I replied.

Harriet puffed out her cheeks, trying to hold back tears as she thought.

‘Why don’t you ask you dad to help you look?’ I suggested.

With a huff, Harriet stormed off.

For the next few minutes, I heard my husband and daughter searching the whole house. I busied myself with making the meal. When I called them both to eat, Harriet declared the doll was still missing.

‘I’m sure she’ll turn up,’ I said.

Journals (Part 4)

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(Please be aware this story contains adult sexual content.) 

That night, after Chinese takeaway and the kids had gone to bed, I went through the journals.

I got Dan to bring the three boxes into the living room and I sat on the floor surrounded by books. For awhile, Dan helped but then he put the TV on and got distracted by a movie. With the journals all neatly dates, it was easy for me to find the ones I wanted. Setting the others back into their boxes, I looked at the seven books before me. There were all fake leather A3 size, two were black, two were blue, one was green, the sixth red and the seventh was a strange grey color. It didn’t seem to fit in with the rest.

I picked it up and double checked the date. 1979, the year my mum went missing. I put it back and picked up the one dated 1973, the year I was born instead. I flipped to my birthday and read my gran’s account of that day. It was brief. She wrote about my mum and her going into hospital at about lunch time and me bring born a few hours later. Everything was fine, but then there was a line about the nurses and doctors asking about who the father was. If my mum was married and if she was actually going to keep me.

They forced the adoption papers into Mary’s hands. I told her it was her choice, but hadn’t I said I would take the baby on myself? This family has had to many lost children. Mary decided to keep the baby, but she wants to raise it by herself. I know it’s going to a street scandal, but this isn’t the 1950’s now! We shall do our best.

 I turned the page and read some more. It was another brief entry; my naming, leaving the hospital in the late evening and getting me home. Then something about the fact I was a good baby and slept well.

I went to the end of the journal and read the last page. I was five months old now. My gran had put that my mum still wouldn’t tell her who my father was. She could see the weight of the responsibility weighing down her sixteen year old daughter. She planned to adopt me and send my mum back to school.

I closed the book and reached of another one.

‘Anything interesting?’ Dan asked sleepily from the sofa.

‘No. That was the year I was born, so I wasn’t really expecting anything,’ I replied.

I picked up the next one and opened it.

‘We should go to bed. I’ve work in the morning,’ Dan spoke.

‘I’ll be up in a bit,’ I replied.

He paused then said, ‘come to bed with me now. You’ll lose track of time and be up all night…just like when you were reading Harry Potter.’

I smiled at that without really meaning too.

He got up and came to me. Slipping his hands on to my shoulders and massaging. I hummed a little and let everything go. All the tension and worry I’d been carrying with me and just hiding came to the surface. Tiredness quickly followed and I decided for a change that my husband was right.

I had the journals now and whatever secrets were inside of them could wait until morning. Dan helped me up and we went upstairs.

In the week that followed, I read the journals closely in any spare time I had. They told me very little and so much at the same time. I began to realise though that my mum had never told anyone the name of my father. My gran thought it could be a number of men, including; one of my mum’s high school teachers and an eighteen year old neighbor. I though, my gran wrote, looked too much like my mum.

When I came to read the grey 1979 journal it was very patchy and it seemed pages might have been torn out, though I couldn’t be sure. The date my mum officially was declared missing was Tuesday in late April. She had failed to come home from a friend’s house Monday night. Gran wrote mum never turned up to work her part time job in a shoe shop on Monday or Tuesday. She had asked friends and no one had seen her.

The police said she’d run away from home and or was just staying with a friend. She’d turn up. Gran felt differently though. It didn’t make any sense why Mary would leave me behind, she loved me. Even though Gran had pretty much taken over at this point. Gran wrote that six year old me often asked where mamma was. Gran said she was away and would come home soon. But she never did.

Soon after I finished the grey diary, I moved on and read through the 1980’s journals. Gran and the police were still looking for mum. There wasn’t a lot to go on though. And I stopped asking were she was. Gran was mum now and I had to worry about school and growing up.

‘Diaries turned up anything today?’ Dan asked a week or so later as we lay in bed together.

I snuggled against him, putting my head on his bare chest and listening to his breathing. He stroked my hair and held me close.

‘No,’ I replied, ‘gran was right when she told me she never knew what happened. Mary just vanished one day and the police could never find her. I always thought it was because of me. But gran told me and wrote how much Mary loved me. So that couldn’t have been her reason. I don’t know…Maybe I missed something.’

‘Or maybe that’s it,’ Dan said softly.

I rubbed his chest, feeling the small hairs against my skin. I looked up at him and he was watching me. He kissed the top of my head then I moved and our lips brushed.

‘Do you think I should give up?’ I questioned.

‘I wouldn’t,’ he answered quickly, ‘and your gran never did. The answers are out there somewhere. Tomorrow I’ll read through the diaries too. Maybe we’ll find out together.’

‘Thanks,’ I whispered and kissed him deeply.

To Be Continued…

Journals (Part 3)

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(Please be aware this story contains adult sexual content.) 

I was first up in the morning and it was raining. Letting the curtain fall back into place, I went to have a shower whilst my husband slept on. The warm water helped clear my head and I tried hard to to think about the task before us today. I put some black leggings under a pair of old jeans, a long sleeved t-shirt and an old fleece jumper on.

Grabbing some boot socks from the draw, I caught myself in the mirror. Today, I looked more mummy frumpy, then sexy wife. Sitting on the bed, I put the socks on then patted Dan awake.

‘Morning,’ I said, brightly. ‘I’m going to get Freddie up and start breakfast. Will you get Darla and Ty up?’

‘Yes,’ he mumbled, ‘come here.’

‘Why?’ I asked, going over anyway.

He tossed back the duvet and reached out for me. I lent over into the hug and he grabbed me and swung me back onto the bed. Laughing and playfully trying to wave him away, he mashed his lips to mine.

‘We don’t have time for this,’ I muttered.

‘We do,’ he whispered back and dropped his head to my neck.

I felt soft kisses against my skin. I stroked his hair and looked up at the ceiling.

A toilet flushed in the background and the door opened and closed. A child was awake.

I brought Dan’s head up and kissed him gentle on the lips. He let me go and both got up. I fixed my clothes and he went into the bathroom. I headed out, going to collect Freddie. As I passed Ty’s room I saw the door was half open. I knocked and waited.

He’s reply was muffled, but I took it to mean enter. I poked my head around and he was in boxers and a t-shirt standing before his desk, loading his game console up.

‘Do you want a bacon sandwich?’ I asked.

‘Sure.’

‘As soon as we’ve eaten we’re going, okay? So you might not have time to play that,’ I added.

He shrugged, ‘It’s fine.’

The TV screen loaded and he began clicking buttons. I walked away and got Freddie up and sorted. He was still sleepy, which made the job easier. I carried him downstairs on my hip and put him in the high chair with a soft picture book to keep him amused. I started preparing and cooking breakfast.

Soon everything was made and everyone had joined me in the kitchen. A rare sight for a Sunday morning!

‘My plan’s to leave as soon as we’ve tidied up and put more empty boxes in the car. Okay?’ I announced, ‘then we’ll sort out the job list when we get there okay? And no messing around or moaning today you two,’ I added wiggling a finger at Darla and Ty, ‘we need to be speedy and get the last bits done.’

‘If I find something cool, I can keep it right?’ Darla asked.

‘There’s nothing cool left. It’s just old junk,’ Ty cut in.

Darla huffed and went to say something. I jumped in, ‘we’ll see. Right, time to get ready to go. Ty can you do the dishwasher please? and Darla will you help your dad with the boxes. I need to pack a bag for Freddie.’

‘Why do I have to?’ Ty grumbled.

‘Because it would be a big help and you missed your turn the other day. No more arguments now.’

I picked up Freddie and took him out of the kitchen, leaving them to it. Upstairs, I got everything sorted and was back down in record time. Then we were all in the car and heading to grandma’s. The roads were quiet and we arrived quickly.

‘So, Dad and I are finishing the attic and we’ll keep Freddie with us,’ I said just before everyone got out of the car, ‘can you to clean the kitchen out? That’s really the last room that needs to be sorted. Now, there’s boxes marked up already, so just decided where to put the stuff. Okay?’

To groans and mumbles of yes mum, Ty and Darla got out of the car. We joined them; Dan carrying Freddie and his bag. I unlocked and opened the door. The smell of lavender, dust and old things whiffed up my nose. I tried not to think about and headed up the two flights of stairs. I turned the light on and took in the attic once again.

Dan joined me a few minutes later and sat Freddie on the floor with his bag.

‘We should’ve brought the playpen,’ Dan uttered.

‘I guess….He’ll be okay,’ I spoke.

I went over and got a few toys and books out of the bag. I placed them around him and Freddie sat on the dusty attic floor, rolling a wooden train around. He seemed happy enough for now.

Feeling the weight of the task on my shoulders, I walked to where we had stopped yesterday. My shoes tapped against the side of a box and opened it. Inside were more of the leather books. I pulled the first out and flipped through the pages. They were dated neatly at the top and the year said it was 1972. I stopped at a random page and read that my grandma had gone to a beach for the day. She had taken my mum and it had rained.

‘More diaries?’ Dan asked over my shoulder.

‘Yes,’ I replied, ‘It’s amazing how many she wrote! What’s in the next box?’

Dan moved and opened it. We both looked inside and saw another stack of leather bound books. This time though paper notebooks lined onside. Dan pulled one of these out and flipped through it, ‘looks like another diary.’

I nodded and put the one in my the hands back.

‘Are you sure you want to keep all of these?’ Dan asked.

‘I don’t know,’ I replied, ‘there could be something interesting in them….Answers, you know?’

‘Answers?’ he questioned.

I sighed deeply. My mind had now become fixated on my mother.

‘I thought you’d given up on all of that?’ he said gently.

‘So did I….’

‘I’ll put them in the keep pile then.’

I nodded and let him move the boxes to the right side of the attic door. Checking, Freddie was still okay, I moved on to the next boxes. Inside were old clothes, toys and one of the things I had been looking for; the china tea set.

The day passed quickly and surprisingly without the kids causing us any problems. As soon as I’d found the stuff I wanted in the attic, I switched places with Ty and left him and Dan to clean the rest of the things out. Darla and I went all out in the kitchen and emptied it.

‘So that’s it then,’ Dan said as we regrouped in the hallway.

It looked like the middle of the night already outside, even though it was barely five PM. Rain was falling lightly and the house felt freezing and damp.

Freddie started crying.

‘Let’s pack the car and get home….Who fancies Chinese takeaway?’ Dan added.

‘Yes, please!’ Darla jumped in.

‘Yes!’ Ty shouted.

‘We had pizza last night!’ I cut in, ‘there’s enough food at home.’

‘I thought you’d be too tried to cook,’ Dan spoke out, ‘but it’s fine if you want to.’

‘I’ll think about it,’ I muttered and hurried out to the car.

We drove home and all I could think about was my mother. There had to be something in gran’s journals that told me more about her. Of course, I knew all the stories, but wasn’t it time I knew the truth?

To Be Continued…

Journals (Part 2)

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(Please be aware this story contains adult sexual content.) 

I sighed deeply and tried to focus my eyes on the ceiling as I felt myself drifting off. Dan had wrapped us both in quilt and I was warm, comfy and satisfied. Rolling over, I snuggled against him for the second time and kissed his nose.

‘We have to go,’ I whispered.

‘Five more minutes,’ he replied, sleepy.

‘We can’t. The kids are waiting for pizza and we need to put those boxes in the car.’

Dan mumbled something I didn’t hear and tried to hold me in a hug. I wiggled away, pulled off the quilt and got up. I felt his arms snaking out to draw me back again, but I was out of reach.

I dressed quickly, feeling the chilly air against my skin. I put on my shoes and thought about leaning over to kiss him again. A part of me desperately wanted to get back into the bed. I wanted to feel his arms protecting me and the soft brush of his lips on my hair. I wanted to forget everything again and let it be just me and him forever.

But we couldn’t hide from our responsibilities and the world.

‘Come on,’ I said loudly and tugged the quilt off him.

He sprawled out then sit up quickly as the cold blew over his skin, ‘damn that boiler.’

‘Check it. I’m going to the loo.’

I hurried from the room and into the bathroom next door. Clicking on the light, I sat on the loo and my eyes wondered. There was a large spider in the bathtub. Tutting, I finished, washed my hands then used the empty soap dish to save the spider. Setting it free on the window ledge, I left the bathroom and went back into the attic. It felt colder then before and darker too.

I gathered the books I had dropped earlier into a new plastic box with some other ones and closed the lid. Pushing it towards the doorway and the pile of other boxes we were taking with us, I heard Dan coming up the stairs.

‘It’s gone off again. I’ll have to fix it tomorrow,’ he said.

I nodded, ‘Just these boxes and the ones by the front door.’

‘Right.’

Dan bend down and picked the first one up. He walked to the door and began going downstairs. I went for the box next to it, but my phone rang, the sound breaking through the quietness that had settled into the house. I answered it quickly, seeing it was Darla, ‘hi, sweetie.’

‘Where are you?’ she demanded.

‘Still at gran’s-‘

‘Still?’

‘I know. I’m sorry. But we are leaving now. What pizza do you all want?’ I asked.

‘Four cheese and pepperoni. You are going to Costco, right?’

‘Yes. Of course,’ I answered, suddenly realising that I hadn’t given picking a pizza place a thought.

‘Good. Don’t get the chicken one. I don’t like it.’

‘I know. I’ll text you when we are on our way home so you can warm the plates and set the table. Is Mrs. J still okay?’ I questioned.

‘She wants to speak to you.’

I  began pacing the attic in small circles. There was the muffled sound of the phone switching hands then Mrs. Jamesson’s old cracked voice, ‘Maya? Do you know what time it is?’

‘I’m so sorry, Maggie. I wanted to get the attic emptied and we’ve just not been able to. And I’ve just promised the kids pizza now. We won’t be longer then a hour.’

‘And hour?’ she hissed the down the phone, ‘That wasn’t what I agreed too!’

‘I know and I’m sorry…but I’ll make it up to you.’

She mumbled something down the phone and I heard Freddie crying in the background.

‘He’s hungry!’ Darla shouted.

‘We’ll try to be home faster. See you soon,’ I hung up and putting my phone away, grabbed a box.

Soon, the black Land Rover was packed with boxes and we were driving to Costco. I warmed my hands on the air coming through the vent and listened to the news on the radio. My thoughts were heavy with the weight of the tasks still ahead of me.

‘We’ll have to take the kids tomorrow,’ I spoke out.

Dan stopped at a red light and glanced over at me.

‘I know it’ll be harder to sort stuff out, but I can’t ask Mrs Jamesson, I’m in her bad books now,’ I added.

‘We can get Dee and Ty to finish off the attic-‘

‘No. we need to do that. There’s fragile stuff up there and they wouldn’t know what to keep, throw or donate. Plus, I’ve not found the china set or the plates or the jewelry yet.’

The lights changed and Dan drove off again. We turned into the large car park and found a spot straight away.

‘Do we need anything else?’ Dan asked.

‘No. Just food for the starving wolves,’ I laughed.

Dan smirked at the joke and we hurried into the brightly light warehouse. The queue for food was long and I wished we’d gotten here sooner. We ordered then had to wait longer. I sent a text to Darla informing her of the delay then as soon as we got the pizzas another text that we were on the way home.

Dan took the short cut back whilst I balanced the hot pizza boxes on my knees. As soon as the car pulled into the driveway, the front door was thrown open and Darla rushed out carrying Freddie.

‘Look, it’s mummy and daddy!’ she said loudly.

‘Hello, darlings,’ I said.

Dan came around and took the pizzas from me so I could take and hug Freddie. The four year old weighted a ton in my tried arms. I put him on my hip and closed the car door. We walked to the house together, where Mrs Jamesson was stood in the doorway barring it like an angry pub bouncer.

‘We are so sorry, Maggie,’ Dan broke out, ‘would you like to join us for pizza?’

‘No, I would not,’ she snapped, ‘you owe me, Maya,’ she added turning to me.

Then she stepped from the doorway, barging past us and out onto the street. I sighed deeply then called after her, ‘Thanks!’

‘You kids have fun?’ Dan asked.

‘I guess,’ Darla mumbled.

I walked inside and headed into the kitchen. I placed Freddie down in his high chair before taking and drying the warm plates from the sink. Dan put the pizza on the table, left and shouted Ty from the hallway. I turned and set the plates down.

Darla had opened both boxes and she quickly took a plate and began grabbing slices.

‘Sorry about the wait. It was really busy,’ I said.

‘I know I got your text.’

‘Did you get pepperoni?’ Ty called from the doorway.

‘Yes and four cheese,’ I answered.

‘Good!’

He grabbed a plate and some pizza then made to leave.

‘Come back, young man! Sit down!’

‘But mum!’ he groaned.

‘Come on, Ty. We’ve not seen you all day,’ Dan put in.

‘But I got a game running!’

‘It can wait. Sit,’ I said firmly.

With more groaning my thirteen year old, sat down and began eating with us.

‘Tell me about your day,’ I called out as I cut up some pizza for Freddie.

Darla and Ty relayed their day around mouthfuls of pizza. Once they were done, Dan and I talked about ours and then I broke the bad news to them.

‘I’m afraid tomorrow you’ll all have to come with us.’

Darla and Ty groaned loudly and both said why at the same time.

‘Because there’s no way I’m asking Mrs J again and there’s no one else,’ I explained.

‘I could do it!’ Darla spoke out.

‘We’ve been over this,’ Dan answered calmly.

‘I know…but please. It’ll only be a few hours, won’t it?’

‘Please let her do it!’ Ty jumped in suddenly, ‘I’ll be good and I’ll help look after Freddie.’

I looked at Dan then the kids, weighing everything up, but there was still no way I was going to leave my fifteen year old daughter in charge of her younger brothers.

‘Darla. I know you’ll make a good babysitter and I believe in you, but you’re still a little to young to watch the boys all day. It’d also be unfair on you. If there was another way we’d do it. But there’s not and to be honest your dad and I could use a hand in trying to finish sorting things out, ‘ I explained.

Silence fell for a moment then Darla nodded her head and Ty growled something, but perhaps it wasn’t even words. We finished tea then got the boxes from the car and put them in the dining room, which we were using for storage. The rest of the evening was spent relaxing and putting the kids to bed.

Just before Dan and I went up at a little past ten, I went into the dining room and looked for that last box of books. Something had been bugging me about it, but I wasn’t sure what. For some reason, those leather bound volumes had stuck in my head and I knew they were not just normal books.

I found them and pulled them out from the box. Opening the first I looked at the handwriting across the page.

‘What is it?’ Dan said from the doorway.

‘I thought I recognised these…They’re my grandma’s journals.’

‘Oh…anything interesting in them?’

‘I don’t know.’

I flipped through the pages, but all I could see was flash of words in different colored inks. I closed the book and left it with the others. I was too tried to read it now.

‘Well, you know where they are now,’ Dan responded, waving a hand at the box.

‘Yes,’ I replied.

Going to him, I kissed him and wrapped my arms around him. He returned the kiss and hugged me.

‘You were amazing today,’ he muttered in my ear.

I giggled.

‘Shame the kids will be there tomorrow…is there no chance…?’

‘I’m afraid not…Unless, we’re going to trust Darla?’ I suggested.

‘We can’t,’ Dan breathed.

‘That’s that then,’ I spoke.

I held his hands and turned off the lights.

To Be Continued…

Journals (Part 1)

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(Please be aware this story contains adult sexual content.) 

I wasn’t even thinking when I came across Grandma’s journals. I had just opened another dusty cardboard box of old books and was moving it to the side when the bottom give out. Leather bound volumes scattered across the attic floor and I swore loudly.

‘Maya? Are you okay?’ my husband called over.

‘Fine,’ I answered then sighed as I knelt to stack the books together.

‘Let’s get out of here. We’ve done enough.’

‘I really want to finish this, Dan,’ I replied.

I looked up at him as he felt silent. My knight in shining armour was pressing his lips together in a frown and looking stern at the back of the attic. There still seemed so much to sort out. He ran his hands through his thick black hair, tugging out strands, which he always did when he was stressed.

I left the books and went to him. I wrapped my arms around his growing pot belly stomach and pressed my head into his back. He was tall and I only came up to his chest, even though I wasn’t that short. He patted my hands then turned to pull me into a tight hug. I breathed deep his familiar smell of aftershave and sweat which was mingled with the wood and dust of the attic.

‘I get it,’ he muttered into my ear, ‘but there’s enough time. We’ve been at this all day and I want to go home and see the kids.’

‘Okay,’ I breathed.

I looked up at him and he rose my chin with one finger. Our lips meet and for a few moments I lost myself in his embrace. It was amazing that after all the years, he still had this power over me with one simple soft kiss. I felt him touching my short blonde hair and my cheek. His hand dropped further, coming to squeeze my  left breast. I gasped into his mouth and he took the opening to dip his tongue passed my lips.

For a few moments more we were lost in the touch and taste of each other. The attic and the present seemed a distance separate thing. Right now there was just the two of us; roaming hands and fingers, rolling wet tongues and eager kisses. Our bodies pressed so tightly together and tingling with the anticipation of more excitement to come.

The ringing of a phone slowed then stopped the kisses. I realised it was mine and dug it out of my pocket whilst Dan was still holding on to me. His hands were squashing my bum and I could feel his hardness pressing against my thigh.

‘It’s Darla,’ I spoke and answered the call, ‘hi, sweetie.’

‘Hi, mum. When are you coming home?’ our oldest child asked.

‘Now actually. We were just getting ready to leave.’

‘Cool. Can we have pizza for dinner? I did all my homework and Freddie hasn’t cried once today,’ Darla said.

Dan kissed my cheek then dropped his head to my shoulder, where he started planting soft kissing up and down my neck.

I tried not to giggle or moan and just to concentrate on being a mother, ‘and Ty?’

‘He’s been okay….Mrs J had a bit of a argument with him. He wanted to go and play at a friends’ house and he came back late. But it’s sorted now….So, pizza?’

‘Okay. We’ll pick it up on the way home. Tell Mrs J, we’ll be back soon.’

‘Thanks, see you!’ Darla rushed and I heard her shouting, ‘we’re getting pizza!’ before she hung up.

I ended the call too and glanced at my messages, but I hadn’t missed anything. I felt Dan lick my neck, then trail his way up. He kissed my cheek, then our lips meet in a soft embrace. I broke off the kiss and stepped out of the hug, before he could distracted me again. I slipped my phone away then put my hands on his lower arms.

‘The kids want pizza. I said we’d go and pick it up.’

‘Sounds good to me….First though…’ Dan murmured.

He draw me back in and tried to kiss me again.

‘It was you that wanted to go home to the kids!’ I playfully called out.

‘I know…but then I saw you with dust and spiderwebs in your hair and you looked so sexy and I just have this urge-‘

‘Urge?’

‘This urge,’ he growled softly as he grabbed my bum and squeezed it roughly whilst pulling me hard against him.

His manhood hit me right in the crotch of my jeans and I let out a squeal of delight and passion. I laughed and pressed my face to his, we kissed. In a low voice into his ear I said, ‘I guess the kids can wait a few more minutes.’

I licked my lips and dropped my hand between his legs.

‘We can’t have you going home like this, can we?’ I whispered.

‘No,’ he purred back.

I wrapped my other arm around his shoulders and stood on my tip toes. We kissed deeply whilst I kept my other hand rubbing his jeans. He broke the kiss and moaned into my ear.

‘Bedroom?’ I breathed.

‘Huh-huh.’

I slipped out of his hold, took his hand and led him from the attic. We went into what had been the guest bedroom and now the only room in the house to have a bed in it. The thin curtains were already drawn over the window, not that any light was actually coming in as it was pitch black outside. I turned on the lamp and we stood next to the bed, wrapped in each other’s arms and kissing.

Dan eased me down onto the bed and whilst my head sank into the old feather pillow, his warm hands pulled up my t-shirt. His nimble fingers slipped quickly across my cotton bra then down inside it. I gasped and moaned against his mouth whilst my body wiggled at his touch. He dropped his head to my chest, his fingers peeling down the bra cups. I felt his lips, his tongue and I fell into an ecstasy.

He took off my jeans and I kicked off my pumps. He kissed down my stomach and I put my hands on his head and guided him further down. I turned my head and moaned loudly into to the pillow. I felt his fingers hooking the edges of my underwear and gently removing them. He spread my legs, running his hands up and down them slowly. I moved my head back into time to see him undoing his jeans and tugging them down.

I smiled and reached for him as he came to lay on top of me. We kissed tenderly and I felt him sliding inside me. Gasping and breathing deeply, I wrapped my arms around his shoulders and lower back. He pressed his head against mine and in my ear muttered something.

I hummed questionably.

‘You’re so wet,’ he said louder.

‘Your doing,’ I mumbled.

‘Oh yeah?’

He shoved hard against me, I cried out in surprise then felt small vibrations of pleasure tinging through me. He picked up the rhythm and we rocked together till both us reach climax.

To Be Continued…

 

Attic

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There’s something in the attic and it wants to get out.

At night, it groans and wails, throws things around and makes sleep impossible.

The problem is though, only I can hear it.