The Dystopia Feeling

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She had only read in books and seen in movies what a dystopia setting could be like but now she felt as if she was really living that experience.

Everywhere was closed, streets were empty and everyone was staying inside as the lock down directed them to do.

She looked out of her window at once busy roads and shops and couldn’t help but think how quiet it was as if anything had stopped.

Always A Book By My Side

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I promised myself this year I wouldn’t buy anymore books. The bookcases and shelves were bowing under the weight of so many books, they wouldn’t take anymore. I had moved on to filling storage boxes and then to piling books on the floor by my bed, sofa and desk.

Most people held maps of how to get to places in their memories, I had a map of where each book was in my house instead. If there was one title I wanted to read, I was able to go to the room and shelf or box or bookcase it was in and after browsing through, locate it.

Most of the time, I took my next book from a current reading pile and moved through them that way. When I went out, the book came too and so I was never without one. There was something comforting about the weight of a book in your bag and also if you needed to wait you could read for a bit.

I had calculated I had enough new books and ones I wanted to re-read that I didn’t need to buy anymore books for a few years. So, I thought to try and read what I had and save the money I would have spent on something else. So began my new year resolution.

Within a month I had broken it. There were two books I wanted that I had missed the release of. I brought them and told myself to get back on track. Another two months later and I went to an art and craft fair. I meet an self-published writer who hadn’t sold a book all day. I felt bad and so brought his book and also another which had been on my list for awhile.

I told the writer of my book buying ban and thought it a hard task to do. I agreed and said this was the second time I had broken it now but I was determined to keep trying. I told myself if temptation came again I was to turn away.

It didn’t work! A few weeks later, I found another book I couldn’t live without and had to buy it. A new addition to my library and other world to escape into when I got around to it.

Why couldn’t I stick to my ban? Why did I have no self control? Why was I so addicted?

I pressed a book to my face and breathed in deeply, loving the ink stained pages and weight in my hands. I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t stop, I needed more books.

Books

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Some books were normal and others where not. Those books took you to places you could never come back from.

Dear Diary

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Dear Diary,

It’s always strange waking up on the first of a new year. You think things will have changed but nothing has. I can imagine the number of people who woke up this morning and got on with their New Year resolutions.

Diets, give up smoking, stop drinking, save money, start a family, get a new job, whatever people choice to do. I didn’t pick anything. There was nothing I can think of that I want to achieve this year. I guess that makes me boring but no one has actually asked me so I haven’t had to make anything up.

I guess I would have said that I wanted to go on a diet and that one with the shakes I had seen on the TV the other day was what I was going to do.

Or maybe, I might have said that I wanted to take up a real difficult hobby like leather or metal working.

How long can you wait to decided what your resolution is going to be? How did it all come about anyway and why is there pressure to have one?

I don’t know. I guess I should just pick in case I’m asked. Someone at work is bound to want to know.

So, my 2020 resolution will be to give up buying books for the year.

That’s harsh and different but useful to me. I have a library of books to read and not buying any new ones will save some money that could be nice to use to go on holiday with.

It’ll do.

Winter Sea

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People loved the sea and they loved coming to see it but most of them didn’t stay so only a few knew what it was like to live on the coastline during winter. And it wasn’t all just ‘look at how the sea is raging and how flooded the harbour is!’

It was a dangerous time of year and I having spent my whole life in a Cornwall fishing town knew it well. We had been flooded, power failures, cliffs had fallen to the sea, people had drowned in riptides or huge waves, boats had been dashed like rotten wood on rocks and the harbour warning bells were always ringing.

From my attic bedroom as I lay in my bed trying to sleep, I didn’t need to look out of the wind to see that a storm was beginning. I could hear the wind like the blades of a helicopter whipping everything it could pull up into a tornado. What sounded like a tree branch bumped along the roof then was gone.

The rain hammered on the slates like men breaking stones in the quarry a few miles away. The windows rattled, dripping and water stained. There was a knocking as hailstones joined in, the ice chips bouncing away as they hit.

The sea was making the most noise as if in competition with everything else. All that separated my house from the sea was a road and a wall. I could clearly hear the waves bashing the flood defences and trying to climb the wall.

Wondering if we would be flooded, I rolled over and tried to sleep again. It wasn’t the storm keeping me awake, I was use to the weather. It wasn’t the night light casting multi-coloured stars on to the ceiling and wall, that was meant to help. No, it was my phobia of the dark.

Nyctophobia, it was called. I was on a never ending cycle of things to try and help me or cure me. It came and went, some months were easier, sometimes of the week were better then other but winter was the hardest to get through. It was dark for most of the day and my mind was never at rest from the fear of what might be waiting in that darkness.

Giving up sleeping, I turned the light and read my book. It was strange but I loved horror stories and true horror things. I liked reading about the supernatural, ghosts were one of my favourite subjects – fact or fiction. Tonight, though I was reading about true witches starting from the earliest historical records to now-ish.

Of course, I realise how ironic this is because loving horror and being afraid of the dark don’t go together! Some people said that reading and watching horror themed things was the cause of my problems but there was more to it then that. It wasn’t that I believed the things in the horror books and films could be waiting in the darkness to grab me, it was more that in the dark you didn’t know what was truly there.

The dark made you think something was something else, objects had hidden depths, people looked different and sounds were also changed. I knew there were no real monsters out there, just humans who became like them. Perhaps, there were ghosts but I believed they weren’t like the fiction stories said.

I read and read, sometimes dozing off then reading back a paragraph until it grew light outside.

Free at last, I wrapped up warm and went outside, despite the storm. Everything lashed around me; the wind, the rain, the sea, it was like a surge of nature at war with just me.

I went to the wall and looked down. The sea was high, over the rock breakers and every wave was splashing over the wall top. It wouldn’t be long till sea water was pooling across the road.

Salt stung my eyes and water coated me. The wind buffeted me and I couldn’t stay long. I walked along stopping when a wave came over, not that getting wet by it would make me any drier!

My head cleared, my fears left and I felt easier. Not much was open in town partly due to it being Sunday, not tourist season and the storm. I passed a few cafes, an arcade and bingo hall, shops who’s shutters rattled like teeth. I went to the harbour and watched the boats riding the sea like a roller coaster.

 

 

Non-Fiction Announcement; Merry Christmas!

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Hi everyone, December is finally here and soon another year will be over!

Merry Christmas to you all and thank you for supporting my writing this year.

My goal for 2020 is to reach 1,000 followers.

I currently have over 700, so I know it’s achievable. Please help me by sharing my blog so I can reach as many new followers as possible. This achievement would make me so happy. Thank you for your help in advice.

On a side note; please don’t worry if some days are missing short stories. December of course is a busy month for everyone!

Also, I still have an eye infection from last month and I’m currently starting with a cold. I have a weak immune system and I’m on a immune suppressant medication. So some days, I’m just too ill to write, so please bear with me during those days.

I do have a few other goals for 2020 but only one of them is blog related; I want to launch a new blog about my long term health condition. I have put this off for years because it’s one of those ’embarrassing’ conditions and I’ve never been sure about how I feel about sharing things but I really want to do it as I think it’ll help myself and other people. I’ll be posting links when I launch it in the new year.

One of my other goals is not to buy any books and put that money and some more into saving for my wedding. – I buy books like other women buy clothes, shoes, handbags etc! I have a huge reading pile that will see me through 2020 if not 2021! So no more books for now. Going to be so hard but I need to save for my wedding and that’s super important.

I won’t bore you with the other goals and this post is too long all ready!

I hope you have a great December and continue to enjoy my stories.

Thanks again, Hayley .R. Hardman.

Book Shopping

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I went to the book shop to buy Christmas presents for family and friends. Instead, I left with books all for myself!

Unknown (Part 3)

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Macy had another sleepless night but got a few hours of rest in the morning. She had something to eat and watched the weather forecast. Just as Mrs Kettle had said there was a storm coming. Outside, it was drizzling and the wind was gusty. Not a great day to go out but Macy had shopping to do.

An idea that had come to her last night was her mission of the day. She had also finished off the last of her library books so as well as returning those and getting some new ones, she was going to look through the town’s archive.

Firstly though, she had to go to the job centre of her benefit appointment. Setting out, she hurried through the drizzle and arrived a little late. Everything went fine, well fine if you were unfit to work and mentally unstable.

Leaving, it them took forty minutes to get the library as it was on the other side of town. The rain had picked up and it dripped off her umbrella which give her little protection. She arrived damp and cold but a few minutes by the heater warmed her.

Returning her books, Macy walked around and selected some more to read. Then she went to the archive room and looked for newspapers and other reports from the 1950’s that had deaths of babies and her street name together.

Macy was amazed by how long this took her and shocked when she came across only one newspaper report about the abandoned baby. It was little more then two paragraphs and read that a twelve year old girl had found a premature baby girl in a bin. The baby had died, the unknown mother was being seeked for medical attention.

That was it; no follow up, no other newspapers reporting on it, nothing else relating to the baby.

Macy sat back in the chair and sighed. The table before her was scatted with copies of 1950’s papers and she could feel the heat of the old computer off to the side which had aided her search.

The library was quiet and Macy could hear the shuffling of feet and books, pages turning and voices whispering. Rain was coming down outside and it was growing dark.

‘Excuse me? I’m sorry, we are closing now,’ a voice came from behind her.

Macy twisted in the chair and saw the woman who had checked her books out before in the doorway.

‘Oh. Okay. Sorry, what time is it?’ Macy asked as she got up.

‘Almost four O’clock,’ the woman answered, ‘and don’t worry about this. I’ll put it away. Did you find what you were looking for?’

‘Sort of,’ Macy replied, ‘thanks.’

Collecting her things, Macy left and walked down the road to the high street. There, she did some food shopping then headed home.

The house was cold. Macy shivered and went straight for the gas fire. Holding the worn button down, she listed to the click clicks until the thing came on and blue, orange flames let up the white protection grid.

She unpacked the shopping, made a cup of tea and heated a tin of soup. Macy watched TV, getting warm and dry.

A meowing drew her attention and Macy looked at the net curtain covered window. She went over and lift the netting up. Balancing on the the thin sill was a cat.

‘Precious?’ Macy questioned as she recognised the tortoise shell cat.

Macy went to the door and called the cat in. Precious walked inside like she owned the place and settled in front of the fire like she was home.

‘Did you get locked out?’ Macy asked the cat, ‘you can stay with me. I don’t mind. I’ve not got any cat food though…Maybe, there’s a tin of fish in the cupboard…’

Macy went into the kitchen with a purpose she hadn’t felt in awhile. She took out a bowl and a dish, filled the first with water then from the back of the cupboard a small tin of fish.

Precious was wrapping around her legs and meowing before Macy knew it.

Laughing, Macy watched the cat eating.

‘I can see why Mrs Kettle likes cats. Maybe, she’s right about me not being alone after all….Oh, I left my library books in here. I got this one about ghost stories,’ Macy said as she picked up the book to show Precious.

‘Not my normal reading but with the story Mrs Kettle told me, I thought I might have a change. I don’t think I got any with a cat in….’ Macy trailed as she looked though the seven other books.

‘I like fantasy and romance best. This one is a series I’m reading about men who are really dragons and they meet their soul mates and have to try an explain things to them.’

Macy glanced at the cat, ‘this is so weird. I don’t normally talk so much.’

Precious didn’t look at Macy but started washing herself.

‘I’m going to have a bath then go to bed to read. I’m guessing you won’t join me in the tub,’ Macy added.

Macy ran her bath, feeling unusually tried. Leaving the door open, like always, Macy got into the warm water and started washing.

A padding of paws made her peer at the doorway and she saw Precious walk in and jump up onto the closed lid of the toilet.

Macy covered her chest with her arms and looked at the cat. Bright amber eyes gazed into her own as the cat’s ears and tail twitched.

‘It’s rude to stare!’ Macy snapped then burst into laughter.

She dropped her arms and started washing her hair. After she relaxed in the cooling water and started hoping she could sleep tonight.

Getting out and wrapped in a towel, she went into her bedroom and Precious followed her.

‘I don’t mind cats. Never had one though nor any other pet. I don’t think the goldfish at the children’s home counts does it?’ Macy said.

Putting on a night dress, Macy got into bed and put the ghost stories book in her lap.

Precious, after checking the room out, jumped on the bed and decided to start off sleeping on the pillow next to Macy.

‘I guess, we can relate to each other….my mother abandoned me too,’ Macy breathed, ‘it wasn’t really her fault. She was sick and couldn’t take care of me. My dad came for me but it took years for them to trace him. Mum had lied on the paperwork; claimed he was dead. She didn’t want to have anything to do with him and wanted to keep me from him.’

Macy breathed deeply, feeling tears wetting her cheeks. She reached out and stroked the cat. Precious stretched and snuggled against her.

‘He had a family, of course, wife and two kids but they welcomed me in. I was an angry fifteen year old but they helped me through. It was hard living with them….much like it must be hard to live with other cats. My step-sisters always got my nervous, they bullied me and stole my things.’

Macy sniffed and looked at the ceiling. She wiped her nose and face, dragged a hand through her blue hair then put her face into Precious side.

The cat didn’t seem to mind and as if knowing Macy needed comforting, Precious began licking Macy and pawing at her hair.

‘That’s how I came to be here,’ Macy picked up after a few minutes, ‘my step-mum’s sister was ill and needed looking after. I had always liked auntie Sue and wanted to help. I trained as a support nurse, became her full time carer. Moved in here and slept on the sofa.’

Macy yawed and pulled the duvet up over both her and the cat.

Continuing, Macy listened to the sounds of her own voice as she talked on, ‘Sue died three years ago, left me everything. I had some money, dad helped a lot and I did find a job in an old peoples’ home. I had to sort out the house straight away though as the pain was too much. It still is some days now.’

‘That’s how I lost my job, ended up on benefits; I’m not sound of mind any more. I’m unstable, unfit to be around people. I don’t think ‘normally’ anymore. No control of my emotions or thoughts or feeling. I want to kill myself and other people around me. It would feel easier if I wasn’t here…Just like my mum wanted me to be when she give me up.’

Macy put her head back on the pillow. Waves of tiredness were washing over her. Macy let them take her but before she fell sleep, she turned to the cat and said, ‘thanks for listening, Precious.’

To Be Continued…

Dear Diary

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Dear Diary,

It’s the first day of Autumn and I’m so happy! Some of the weather all ready has had a cooler and wet feel to it but I know summer will try to cling on for a few more weeks. That doesn’t bother me too much as I’m currently enjoying the darker and longer evening.

Today, I’ve been getting my autumn/winter reading list sorted, I’ve got some 1800’s Gothic classic novels to read; Dracula, Frankenstein, Jekyll and Hyde, Wuthering Heights and a few other shorter ghostie stories. I’m going to feel like I’m studying for English Lit exams again! But it’s going to be so good to just read these books for pleasure again.

I’ve started to receive my ordered Halloween items! My parents haven’t been that happy about that but as I explained to them when you are housebound with multiply mental and physical health problems the internet is your best friend! Also, Halloween gives me a big focus. This year, I’m planning on large treat bags for the kids filled with all kinds of things and I’m making gingerbread skeletons and Halloween biscuit shapes. So it should be good!

I just can’t wait for October to arrive now!

Too Many Books

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I went into my old bedroom which had become a storage room after I had moved into my brothers’ bigger room last year. It was hard to imagine how I had filled this room, floor to ceiling with things and that about seventy percent of the items were books.

I had always wanted my own library and without realising it over the years that had seemed to have happened! Looking around, I knew to a stranger that my book organisation would seem random but there was an actual order.

I knew where most of the titles could be found but it was times like now when I wanted a certain book and wasn’t sure where it was that problems started. First off, I had to decided if I actually owned this book and if it was in here. Had I lent the book to someone? Had I given it to a charity shop? Or was it one I had lent from somewhere?

Being sure, I had the book, I began my search. The two top shelves of my room had books that were my favourites and wanted to read. The ones on my bookcase were either series I had only half read and other books I wanted to read in the future. Under my bunk bed, were books I had read and discarded.

I knew the title of the book and had looked it up online to remind me of the author and cover. I had recognised it and knew it was in my old bedroom somewhere. The problem was, amongst the stacks of other books it could be anywhere!