Brothers #FFfAW

The young boys were still sat on the bench as I jogged around the fountain pond for the third time. I slowed down once more, noticing the lack of an adult with them. In the early morning, there seemed to be only us here.

‘Where’s your mummy?’ I asked them.

They looked up at me shocked. They couldn’t have been older then three and six. The older brother hugged the younger one tightly and shook his head.

‘Your daddy then? Who are you here with?’ I pressed.

The older one shook his head again, the younger boy started crying.

‘Do you know where you live?’ I asked.

Another shake of the head.

I sighed and tossed about what to do. I could jog on and leave them here, get on with my life as if I had never seen them. Or I could do what was right, phone the police and tell them that the boys had been abandoned.

 

(Inspired by; https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2018/06/11/fffaw-challenge-169th/ with thanks).

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Secrets

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Who knew what was locked away in the tower? Everyday life carried on as normal and no one give the crumbling structure a thought. It stood alone in the middle of the forest. Raising up over the top of the green pine trees and looking across at the village.

Maybe the tower had once been a part of a fort or a castle? A building now lost to time and the nature. Perhaps it had always been a watch tower, built to keep the village on the edge of the forest safe and warn them of coming danger?

Whatever it’s original purpose had been the tower was long abandoned now. And it would have slipped from history if not for a single story that involved it. Two brothers traveling across the country discovered the tower and made inquires about it.

‘Why do you wish to know?’ the oldest member of the village asked them.

‘It is so unusual out there by itself,’ the first brother answered.

‘We were think it might have a good story connected to it for the book we are writing,’ the second brother replied.

The old woman looked them up and down in the firelight of her wooden shack. They were young men; handsome and strong, yet tried from their travels.

‘Here, have some broth and I shall tell you the story I know of the tower,’ the old woman answered.

Gratefully, the brothers accepted the warm bowls of broth and settled down to listen to the old woman’s tale.

‘It was a long, long time ago and the king had just had a baby daughter. There was a big celebration as the kingdom now had an heir. The next day his wife died and an old hag, claiming to be a witch came to the king and demand his daughter. She showed him a contract his wife had signed in which the queen had brought a spell to make her pregnant.’

“By rights,” the witch said, “The child is mine!”

‘The king fought hard, but that night the witch kidnapped the baby and fled to the tower. Everyone searched high and low, but they could not find the old hag or the baby. Heartbroken the king died and his kingdom fell into war then ruin.’

‘And the child?’ the first brother interrupted.

‘Was locked in the tower,’ the old woman stated, ‘the witch raised her there and taught her how to spin and make things. Later, the lost Princess learnt about herself from books. She begged the witch to release her and the witch told her that could only happen when the Princess’ true love came to rescue her.’

‘And did he?’ the second brother asked.

‘No. Of course he did not!’ the old woman snapped, ‘they say to this day the Princess’ bones are still resting on the floor of the tower. The door magically locked so no one can get in.’

The brothers fell silent and finished their broth. They thanked the old woman and left. As they headed out of the village the first brother turned to the second, ‘I want that story,’ he declared, ‘but I’m going to change the ending.’

 

Inspired by: https://scvincent.com/2016/11/10/thursday-photo-prompt-secrets-writephoto/ with thanks.

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…

Little Brother

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We always knew when my brother was coming. Everyone knew. My mother would hurry around the house, removing everything that wasn’t nailed down and locking it in her bedroom. She would put the baby gate at the bottom of the stairs and make sure the back door and windows were all locked.

I hide in my bedroom, playing Xbox 360 games and listening to music till it was over. Then she would call me downstairs and we would stand in the living room, waiting. Looking out of the window at the neighboring houses, I noticed their drawn curtains and how quiet the street had become. So usual for a Saturday afternoon, but it was like this every other weekend.

The sound of a mini bus engine broke the stillness and I saw flashes of white from the other side of the hedge. My mother walked out of the room and to the front door, long skirts swishing around her. I stayed put tightening and un-tightening my fists, wondering what was going to happen during this visit.

The door opened and voices came from the hallway. I turned, sighing deeply as footsteps approached then my brother appeared in the doorway. He looked the same as always, a tall, thin mid-twenties man, with too short blond hair and bright blue eyes. He looked too pale, like he was ill, but really he just needed more sunlight. He was wearing black jog pants and a plain blue t-shirt and black jacket.  He smile at me, made a gurgling noise then inspected the living room.

My mother and a male carer from the disability home appeared. They sat on the sofa and fell into the normal conversation about how my brother had been. I watched them for a few moments then decided I should go and put the kettle on. I went into the kitchen, aware that my brother was trailing behind me.

I ignored him and went about making everyone a cup of tea. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my brother opening cupboards and searching through them.

‘No. Peter. Stop,’ I said firmly.

I closed the cupboard he was in and took his hand. He made some moaning sounds as I dragged him back to the living room. Pushing him through the door, I went back into the kitchen again. He shouted something and followed me again. I crossed my arms and watched him opening and closing another cupboard door.

Putting the drinks on a tray, I took them into the living room and placed them on a table. With thanks, my mother and the carer took mugs and carried on talking. I sat down in the armchair next to the window and faked interested outside. I just wanted this to be over already, but there was still two hours to go.

‘He took part in art yesterday and he’ progressing well,’ the carer’s voice drifted over.

‘And has he been eating okay?’ my mother asked.

‘Not really, but he’s been better then other week. He’s been fussing less, but we are still finding it challenging.’

From the kitchen my brother let out a scream and the sound of water rushing out of the tap could be heard. My mother shot me a look, which I pretend not to see. She got up and brought my brother back into the room.

‘Drink your tea, Peter. Adam, made it just for you. It’s nice,’ my mother said.

She sat my brother down in the other chair and give him his tea. Even though it was far too hot to drink, he sipped it anyway. He made some happy giggling sound then in three or so gulps drink the whole thing.

‘Fastest ever tea drinker,’ the carer said.

My brother got up, handed the mug to him and wondered out of the room again.

‘Adam. Go and keep an eye on him,’ my mother demanded.

Groaning, I got up and started trailing my brother throughout the house. He went into the kitchen again and messed around in there before going to the dinning room. He scared the cat and chased her around, till she scratched him and I had to stop him from kicking her. Picking the cat up, I took her to my mother, then followed my brother upstairs.

He went into the bathroom and was using the toilet before I could give him some privacy. I pulled the door too and stood there rubbing my forehead. A headache was building already. I heard the toilet flush and the sink tap running. My brother made his happy noises then squealed.

I rushed in and turned the taps off. He’d burnt his hands again. I give him a towel which he just dropped on the floor. Ignoring me, he walked out and down the hallway. He went into his old bedroom and I followed him. I turned the light on and watched him looking at a few childhood things on the shelves.

My mind pinged with an idea and I opened the wardrobe. I pulled out a box and opened it. Inside was a train set. Sitting on the floor, I begin to take it out and set it up. My brother watched me for a few moments, then joined me. In silence, we made a track and played with the trains. Then my brother broke into loud laughter.

He smashed two of the trains together and laughed even more.

‘No. Don’t do that! Stop!’ I shouted.

A train whizzed past me. The sound echoing in my ear. I turned my head and saw the toy land in the doorway. I started turning back and the second train hit me in the face.

‘Peter! Bad!’ I yelled.

My brother just laughed.

Growling, I snatched up the train set and packed it away. Collecting the two train engines, I shoved them in last and put the box away. Then I walked out and into my own bedroom. I locked the door behind me and sat on my bed. I rubbed my face, which was stinging, but not cut.

Hands banged on my door and my brother began wailing. Trying to ignore him, I grabbed a pillow and wrapped it around my head. He started kicking my door and screaming.

My mother’s voice rang out then I heard her and the carer wrestling my brother away. They took him downstairs where I heard him throw a tantrum. It took them a long time to calm him, then I heard the front door open and the mini bus engine.

Soon my mother was knocking on my door. I just wanted her to go away, but I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I let her in and we sat on my bed. I told her what had happened and she put an arm around me. Offering me a little comfort.

‘You must try harder,’ she said.

I fought down my words. It was pointless arguing. She left and I stayed on my bed thinking about how easily I could have been born my brother and he could have been born me. Both of us are unlucky, but he has come off worse. I know I should be grateful for the life I’ve got, but I’d rather we’d not been born because for us living with autism is just too hard.

Water Man Part 8

They waited for nightfall then set out for the river’s end source. The sea and beach were miles from the woods, but with a God’s power they arrived in mere minutes. Hali and Zale quickly kicked off their shoes and rushed into the sea. Poseidon, with a belly laugh followed after them. Poseidon stamped his trident into the sea and a daze of golden light spun out of it and lit the waters and the beach up as if the sun had suddenly returned.

The twins hit the cold water at the same time and the sea greeted them like old friends. Waves broke at their legs and the sand moved under their feet. They laughed loudly like excited children and began throwing sea water at one another.

Poseidon stood on the edge, the sea lapping at his big toes and saddles, watching them. He felt the pull of the ocean calling him to step in, but the matter at hand stopped him. He looked around the beach and saw it empty. It was too difficult for humans to get down to this spot due to the towering jagged cliff faces. It was also too remote for any houses, but that of farmers and sea rescue crews.

The twins’ laughter and game faded as they paddled back to their grandfather. Both seemed breathless and had faces full of joy, it was a long time since they had last stepped into the sea. Hali stopped before Poseidon, but Zale carried on walking to collect their shoes.

‘I have decided,’ Poseidon boomed, ‘to grate you the last of my power.’

Hali moved his hair out his eyes and stared in puzzlement at the God.

‘I have realised you are able to do far more than me, the pair of you,’ he added as Zale appeared at his side. ‘I think it should become your duty and I shall retire.’

‘But grandfather, you can’t do that!’ Hali broken in, ‘what will become of you?’

‘The same as any other almost forgotten about God, I’ll still be there, but lingering. But I shall be happier though as in you two my power will become stronger. I can see that now. Here,’ Poseidon stated and handed Hali the trident.

With steady fingers, Hali reached out to touch it. He heard Zale dropping their shoes and coming around and their fingers wrapped around the trident at the same time. Almighty power shot up their fingers, hands and arms. Pain burst into their heads and they both felt sick and dizzy. For a few moments something screamed at them to let go, what they had touched was not for them. Then it subsided as it found Poseidon’s blood inside of them and realised that it had been handed over to another generation.

‘Boys? Are you alright?’ Poseidon’s voice echoed alongside the sea in their ears.

Hali and Zale opened their eyes and looked up at their grandfather.

‘I think so,’ Zale said and let go of the trident.

Hali just nodded and kept his fingers still. He could feel the power flowing within him and knew he now had complete command over any body of water.

‘Then I’ll leave you to sort things out,’ Poseidon stated, ‘you know where to find me and good luck.’

‘But wait! What do we do now?’ Hali called out.

‘What you’ve always wanted to do of course. Fix the waters.’

Hali looked down at the small waves lapping around them. He could feel the sea urging him to come further in. It was an odd sense.

‘I must go. Goodbye my children,’ Poseidon said and he walked into the ocean, which readily welcomed him.

Hali turned to Zale and held the trident out. Zale touched it once more, but this time felt a warmth radiating off the God’s instrument. He also felt the power that Hali could feel and he knew deep down that they were now destined to carry out their dreams.

The End.

Water Man Part 7

When they found him, Hali had his feet in the river. Zale approached him carefully, licking his lips as he did so and still not sure how he had pulled off this move. The person with him hung back respectively, but that didn’t make Zale feel any better. He reached out a hand and put it on his twin’s shoulder.

Hali turned to look at him, the cold water running over his feet, then saw who he had come with. Hali scrambled up and give his great great grandfather a small bow. Poseidon nodded his mighty head before continuing to look around. Hali felt his brother pat his shoulder and they walked over to stand before the God.

‘Nice place,’ Poseidon spoke in a deep voice.

‘Yes, it is,’ Zale responded, ‘are you sure you don’t want to go to the cabin?’

‘No. here is good enough. I see that river has been enjoying your company.’

The twins glanced over and nodded as one.

‘It is a fine river,’ Poseidon rumbled and he stroked his beard.

‘That it is, but not as might as some you have known, grandfather,’ Zale put in.

Poseidon nodded thoughtfully and curled his fingers around his trident. His light blue robe flowed around him, covering from neck to flow and seeming to have a life of its own. Leather saddles adored his huge feet with his big toes sticking out almost into the grass. A small orange crab appeared in his beard and scuttled across his hand.

‘What are you doing here, granddad?’ Hali finally asked.

‘Zale talked me into it,’ Poseidon boomed as he neatly tucked the crab back into his beard.

‘I told him, we wanted to talk about things…the sea and rivers and such,’ Zale chipped in, ‘and how sorry you were about your last visit…’

Hali half-raised his fist to punch him then thought better of it and let all the tension go.

‘Of course, you already know my position boys. There’s not much I can do,’ Poseidon picked up, having straightened out his beard.

‘We know that. But even if you can only do a little, it would make us more happy. Come lets’ go up to the cabin, I got some beer,’ Zale added.

‘Okay fine, you twisted my leg. Go on, go on.’

Nodding and patting his brother on the chest, Zale turned and began walking. Hali and Poseidon followed him, trying to make pleasant but awkward small talk. The sunny afternoon was well under way with light giving everything a sparkle and the birds happily singing. They followed a human footpath then a deer path, though it was a much short route then Hali had first taken. When they arrived the cabin looked just out of a fairy tale. Zale led the way in and whilst he hurried to get the beer, Hali gave their grandfather a chair at the table and wedged the door open to let out some of the sea salt air that clung heavily to Poseidon.

‘I don’t want to get your hopes up.’

Hali, having just sat down, looked up at him and waited for him to go on.

‘My magic wasn’t as strong as it once was,’ Poseidon explained, ‘and we always agreed not to get involved in man’s problems. I’m tired of trying to clean up the oceans after them.’

‘I know that grandfather, but there are better ways we can help them,’ Hali said, ‘some of the humans do want to put things right and they are trying. We just need to convince more of them and show them what to do.’

‘I can’t appear before them,’ Poseidon sighed, ‘no one really believes in us these days. Even back then it took a lot and that person had to be special.’

‘I know the old stories…’

‘Here we go!’ Zale called from a hidden cubby as he brought three large pints of beer over to them. He placed them on the table and foam slid down the glasses. He took a chair and settled in, ‘cheers.’

They raised they raised their glasses together before taking big drinks.

Zale banged his beer down on the table first and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. He let a big ahh sound and lent back in the chair. He looked across at Hali and watched him placing his glass more lightly on to the table.

‘We need to find the others too and get them to help,’ Hali came back in.

Poseidon swallowed and placed his glass down, ‘good beer that. I couldn’t tell you where everyone was right now. My children are scattered to the seven seas.’

‘But you know where some of them are and they’ll know the locations of others,’ Zale suggested.

‘Suppose so. What are you going to do about the others though?’

‘Huh?’

‘Well, what’s the point in just saving all the water? What you going to do about the land and the plants and everything else?’

‘I hadn’t thought about it,’ Hali shrugged, ‘the water is my concern. Maybe, the ones in control of those should be doing something about it. It’s not mine- our- domain.’

‘Of course not, but we should all work together to make it better,’ Poseidon explained.

‘Point taken, but first the water. Here’s too it!’ Zale cried out and raised his pint glass.

The others did the same and clinked the glasses together before taking another big drink.

To Be Continued…

Water Man Part 6

When Zale found him, Hali was standing naked under the waterfall he had created. Zale called out to his twin, but as the name left his mouth he knew Hali wouldn’t hear him. Mumbling a string of swear words, Zale took off his boots and almost all of his clothes. He put his big toe in the water and commanded the river to hold him.

Slowly, he walked on the water’s surface and when he got within the waterfall’s spray, he told the water to stay away from him. He reached out a hand and the curtain of water parted. Hali snapped open his eyes and stared out at him.

‘What are you doing?’ Zale asked.

‘Enjoying a shower,’ Hali replied.

‘I’m sorry things didn’t work out with grandad. Maybe, next time I should go with you.’

‘I’m never going back there,’ Hali cut in with a shake of his head, sending water drops flying, ‘He won’t listen to me, he doesn’t care.’

‘That’s not true!’

‘He can’t do anything, just like we can’t,’ Hali stated and stepped forward.

He came out of the waterfall and stood opposite Zale on a large rock. Water dripped off him and returned back to the river. The sound of the waterfall masked their conversation and air bubbles popped around them. Hali stared at Zale, who reflected him perfectly. It seemed to be only their expressions which were different as Hali looked anger and Zale calm.

‘Then we’ll go and talk to the others,’ Zale suggested, ‘someone else will listen. Maybe we could band together and make him see.’

‘What’s the point?’ Hali dropped his shoulders and turned away.

Zale frowned, ‘you can’t suddenly be done with this! You’ve been trying for years.’

Hali got out of the river and not carrying about his clothes, set off into the trees. Zale clenching and unclenching his fists decided to let his brother go. Turning away, he put his clothes back on and went to the cabin. There were chores to be done and Hali clearly need to cool off.

Hali enjoyed the feeling of dry soil under his feet, but not the undergrowth that clawed at his skin. He pushed passed it all and found himself going uphill on an old deer track. He followed the track along, not caring where it led too. He just wanted to get away from his twin, his thoughts and himself. The track joined an actual footpath two miles later and Hali followed it around and down back to the river.

Human voices echoed in his ears and he slowed his steps. Keeping hidden in the dense bushes, he peered down at the river and saw a family below him. The mother was sat on the river bank on a blanket and next to a wicker basket. The father was in the river with the three children- one girl and two boys- they were paddling and building a stick structure. A yellow dog appeared from behind a tree, a large stick in its mouth. Hali watched the dog rush into the river, drop the stick and began to bark loudly. Hali cringed away from the noise, but couldn’t take his eyes off the family. The father threw the stick and the dog chased after it, dashing into the undergrown and trees. The man turned back and began helping his children make a dam.

Hali was drawn to turn away, but he ended up watching the family complete the dam and leave. He gave them a good few minutes, before he moved and walked down to where they had been. His body felt stiff from the hour or so of standing still, but he ignored that and came to a stop next to the dam. The barricade of branches let a trickle of water through in places and really it was doing nothing to hold the river back.

He knelt down and began tugging the dam apart. The branches easily give way to his strong hands and he let the river carry them away. The water seemed grateful to have been released and sung merrily to him. Hali finished off breaking the dam and sat back on the grass. The water surged and tumbled on its way.

    To Be Continued…

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Quick Note.

It’s The Story Files first birthday today! A year ago today I started this blog and published my first story. I’m mega happy that it’s still going strong and I’m still gaining readers/followers. Hopefully I’ll be able to kept it up for another year! I write all of my stories for free and don’t gain any money from doing so nor this blog. All I ask in return is that people like and comment on my pieces and help spreed the word about my blog. You can also do this by following me on twitter and Facebook, linked below. A big thanks to all my followers, let’s keep going!

If you fancy submitting a story to this blog please feel free to do so, the guide lines are here;  https://thestoryfiles.wordpress.com/submission-guidelines/

https://www.facebook.com/thestoryfiles

Water Man Part 4

The stairs were narrow and it seemed at first they’d never get their broad shoulders through the gap. Zale, having grabbed one of the miner’s lamps, led the way with the stairs creaking under his weight and his body brushing the side walls. Hali give him a few steps head start before following him. Surprisingly, the staircase held their combined weight and they made it to the top.

A narrow landing led into a large open room, which held two single beds and the brick chimney stack. There was a door in the corner, which Hali remember had a small bathroom. Zale placed the lamp on a bedside table which was between the beds before sitting down on the left bed. Hali cast his eyes around, spotting an old travel trunk on one side of the chimney and a wardrobe on the other.

‘You’ll feel normal after sleeping it off,’ Zale cut in, ‘I know I will.’

Hali watched his brother take off his worn brown boots and shirt. Zale dump them on the floor, added his jeans on top then got into the bed in his underwear. The folding back of the thin duvet and blankets was loud and scratchy in his ears.

‘I’m going to…wash…’ Hali said and moved towards the bathroom.

‘Fine. Here, take the lamp.’

He changed direction, collected the heavy lamp with its gas flame and went into the bathroom. Shutting the door, he held the lamp up and saw that there was only a toilet and a sink. He frowned and wondered why his mind had presented him with a different image, which had shown a bathtub and separate shower. Hali placed the lamp’s handle on a hook that dangled from the ceiling and ran the sink’s tap. There was only cold water.

Gratefully, he splashed the water on his hands and arms. Then noticing a washcloth and soap balanced on the sink’s edge, he stripped off his clothes and washed. After and feeling a lot better, he dried off with the single small towel. Collecting the clothes and the lamp, Hali walked back into the bedroom.

He saw Zale sprawled out in a doze, the small bed really unable to support his tall, muscular frame. He walked passed, put the lamp and his clothes down, then got into the other bed. The bedding felt rough against his skin, but at least it was clean. He had a flash image of Zale doing all the washing and drying whilst he had been away. His brother had to keep everything clean.

Hali smiled at that thought and settled into the bed. He felt tried, but not read for sleep. He looked at the miner’s lamp and noticed a book beside it on the table. Frowning, he reached out and picked up the book. The Odysseus by Homer. I was reading this, he thought and began turning the pages. He couldn’t remember where he had gotten to, so after a few moments he started at the beginning.

A few minutes later, the sounds of Zale rolling over brought his eyes up and Hali watched his brother settle down again. He bent the page corner down and closed the book. Outside, he could hear the trees creaking in the wind but nothing more. He placed the book back and turned off the lamp.

To Be Continued…