Sea Mist #FFftPP

Acadia Coast_compress80

Cati looked for a place to sit. A soft, almost invisible drizzle was falling, masked by mist that hung above the sea and cliffs. From up here, the view was like a window onto nature.

Cati rested on a rough rock. She was wearing waterproofs and covered in beads of water. She took off the hiking bag and searched for her thermal of tea and packet of trail mix.

Having heard rustling, Teddy, a Bernese mountain dog, appeared. He was big, fluffy with a tricolour coat and looked like his name. He loved exploring and walking as much as Cati did which made them best friends.

Cati give Teddy some dried chicken and poured him a bowl of water. Then, she drank tea and ate her snack. Wondering if she should make camp early, Cati packed up. The weather didn’t seem to be clearing and cliffs, like mountains, shouldn’t be walked at night.

‘Let’s go,’ Cati said and rubbed Teddy’s head.

They continued hiking; Cati looking for a sheltered spot and Teddy tracking rabbits. Soon, she found a place under tall pine trees and the sea, rain and a campfire became the background to their evening.

 

(Inspired by; https://flashfictionforthepracticalpractitioner.wordpress.com/2020/01/24/flash-fiction-for-the-purposeful-practitioner-2020-week-04/ with thanks).

 

Camp Fire Story (Part 3)

People, Children, Child, Kids, Girls, Women, Woman, Man

Cody stopped and stared at the shimmering shadow which stood out against the surrounding darkness. He thought about running back inside or bolting for the tent, but he was fixed to the spot. He tried to tell himself it was nothing, just an animal maybe? Or moonlight on the water?

He looked up and began searching the pitch black sky for the moon and stars. The crying drew his attention back and he felt the urge to go and actually prove that there wasn’t anything there. Once again, picking the shimmering shape out, Cody stepped slowly down the steps and went up to his tent. Stopping again, he tried to utter an hello, but nothing came out of his month.

Swallowing and licking his lips, he tried again. His voice was less then a whisper. He put his hands together, then decided he couldn’t let this go. What would he tell Luke? He disliked his cousin calling him a baby as it was. Slowly, he shuffled off again, feeling the dry loose soil and small patches of grass under his bare feet.

Wishing he had a torch, he made it close to the edge of the lake. There he stood still, listening to the water lapping on the small outline of sand. He couldn’t see the dark shimmer shape now, nor much else. Shrugging, Cody turned and made to leave.

The girl’s crying came loud in his ears, startling him so that he almost tumbled over.

‘Who are you?’ he shouted.

‘Who are you?’ a girl echoed his words.

‘I’m Cody. What do you want?’

‘Abigail,’ came the whispered voice.

‘I have to go,’ Cody gushed and made to leave.

A small, icy cold hand grabbed his.

‘Don’t. I only want someone to play with me. Do you want to play?’

Cody shook his head, ‘no.’

‘Why not?’ the girl’s voice pressed.

‘It’s late….I should be in bed.’

‘But I’m so lonely…Will you be my friend?’

Cody screwed his face up, not sure what to answer the invisible girl. He thought about trying to move his hand, but it was numb all ready and he couldn’t feel his fingers. He wiggled them and tried to remember what his mum had said about telling people nicely about not wanting them to be friends.

‘You don’t want to be? Okay…’ Abigail said sadly and let his hand go.

‘I don’t…’ Cody scrambled for the right words, ‘I’m sorry, it’s just…’

He stopped and waited, but the ghost seemed to have gone. Shivering, he went into the tent and woke Luke up again.

‘What’s it now?’ Luke mumbled.

‘I just saw her and spoke to her. She wanted to be my friend!’ Cody rushed.

‘Who? What?’

‘The drowned girl!’

‘You were dreaming. It’s a story. It’s not real.’ Luke moaned.

‘No!’ Cody snapped and started shaking his cousin.

‘Okay!’ Luke shouted and scrambled out his sleeping bag, ‘Show me. Where is she?’

Cody pointed outside then, headed out again. The tent flaps rustled against him and he heard Luke making the same sounds. Then the torch beam flickered on and lit a line down to the lake shore.

‘Turn it off. She might not like it,’ Cody said.

Luke shot him a look and walked down to the edge of the lake. He shone the small torch about, the light picked up some small rocks and the gentle waves. Nothing shimmered under the beam and they could hear only the lake and an owl hooting somewhere.

‘You lied,’ Luke shouted, ‘there’s nothing here!’

‘She was here. She touched my hand!’ Cody countered back.

He held up his hand and Luke shone the chair on it, but his hand looked normal.

Luke pushed him hard and Cody hit the ground with a thud. He cried out and felt sharp pebbles grating under his palm. He looked up, but Luke was all ready heading back to the tent, the torch beam bobbing before him.

Cody wiped his face, catching the start of tears that had watered his eyes. He got up and decided there was no way he was getting back into the tent again. He stumbled up the porch steps and opened the back door again. Going into the welcoming glow of the lights, made him feel better and he went quietly up the stairs.

At the top, he went into the bathroom and turned the light on. There before the mirror, he saw his red flushed cheeks which looked damp. He held up his hands and saw the imprint of pebbles and flakes of dirt. He washed his hands then went into his bedroom. Putting the light on, he crossed the small floor and got into the far single bed.

He turned on the lamp and turned off the main lights. He got into the bed, feeling safer and warmer. He settled down and tried to tell himself it had all been in his head. Rolling over, he shut his eyes and tried to get back to sleep.

‘Hello?’

He stirred at the voice and slowly opened his eyes. He wasn’t sure how long it had been or who had spoken.

‘Your friend isn’t  very nice, is he?’

‘What? Who’s there?’ Cody uttered.

‘It’s me, Abigail. Remember?’ the girl’s voice whispered.

‘What are you doing in here?’ Cody gasped.

He sat up and clutched the duvet right up to his chin. He peered out trying to see her. Was that a really dark shimmer near the wardrobe? He couldn’t be sure.

‘I came to see you…Is that okay?’

‘I guess.’

‘I could go and haunt him, if you want? I do a really good moaning sound,’ Abigail spoke.

‘No. It’s okay…What do you want? I don’t think we can be friends…you being a ghost and all…’ Cody trailed off.

‘Maybe, you could set me free though?’

‘How?’ Cody asked.

He released his tight grip on the duvet and let it slide down. He could see her now; an eight year old girl in a torn up dress and long loose hair, though she still seemed to be a black outline. She was at the foot of his bed, looking over the railing at him, though Cody couldn’t see her eyes or any features of her face.

She sighed and seemed to wave her hands around, ‘I don’t know,’ she finally admitted.

Cody lay back down and looked up at the ceiling. He thought deeply, trying to recall what he knew about ghosts.

‘Maybe, you have to do something, like settle something…’ Cody said aloud, ‘or we need someone who can talk to ghosts. I don’t know what to do.’

‘It’s okay…actually, I kind of like it,’ Abigail replied.

‘You like being a ghost?’ Cody asked.

‘It’s not so bad, but it is lonely.’

‘I guess.’

Cody yawed and rubbed his eyes.

‘I should go…’ Abigail stated.

Cody mumbled a reply and shut his eyes.

The morning felt too normally. Cody woke and for a few minutes whilst he was in the bathroom and dressing, he couldn’t remember anything. Only at breakfast, when asked by his mum why he had come in, did he recall Abigail. Deciding not to tell, he lied about coming in to get some water then going upstairs instead of back outside.

Luke shot him a look, but carried on eating cereal. The girls seemed too sleepy to care or maybe they hadn’t heard. Cody didn’t add any more, but let the sounds of breakfast fill the air again. He looked over at the back door and wondered if he’d see the ghost girl again.

Camp Fire Story (Part 2)

People, Children, Child, Kids, Girls, Women, Woman, Man

Just as Cody was settling into his sleeping bag again, he heard the crying. He stopped and tried to look through the side of the tent, but he could see nothing but darkness. He clutched the edge of the sleeping bag and shivered. There seemed to be a sudden chill in the air. Listening harder, Cody decided that it was a girl crying, but it didn’t sound like Connie or Luna.

His thoughts tumbled and Luke’s ghost story came back to him. Was it the girl who drowned in the lake? Cody gasped and scrambled into his sleeping bag. He pulled it up over his head and lay there listening to his rushed breathing. What was that sound? Something scratching the side of the tent…trying to get in…trying to get to him?

‘Luke? Wake up,’ Cody said quietly.

Wiggling out of the sleeping bag, he poked his cousin and said his name again.

‘What?’ Luke muttered.

‘There something outside…’ Cody trailed off.

‘It’s nothing. The wind, a raccoon. Go back to sleep.’

But I think it’s her! The shadow girl,’ Cody hissed.

He heard Luke scrambling around then the torch came on. The light beam shone along the side of the tent, before moving upwards as Luke rolled over. Cody shut his eyes as the light hit him.

‘I don’t see anything. Maybe it was Connie or Luna?’ Luke suggested.

Cody shook his head, ‘I went out before and checked. It’s not them, it doesn’t sound like them either.’

‘Then it’s the wind.’

Cody sighed, ‘I really don’t think it is.’

‘Whatever,’ Luke said and turned off the torch.

Cody blinked fast, trying to get use to the darkness once more. He heard Luke turn over and the torch clattering against something. Luke mumbled something and his sleeping bag shifted nosily. Cody rolled over too and focused on the shadows settling back along the side of the tent.

Finally, silence crept back in, but Cody couldn’t hear anything. The crying had stopped. Shutting his eyes, he tried to get back to sleep, but he just couldn’t. He felt wide awake and his mind was too busy thinking about the ghost story. Really hoping Luke was right, Cody rolled over again. His sleeping bag rustled loudly and Cody pulled it up, wrapping it around him.

He listened to Luke’s steady breathing, but quickly grew bored. Realizing he was thirsty, Cody slipped out his sleeping bag and crawled to the first of the tent. His head felt for the zip and once the metal was against his fingers he stopped. Swallowing and telling himself that nothing was out there, Cody unzipped the tent and scrambled out.

The cold night air, hit him fully and Cody’s skin pricked with goosebumps. Fighting away the shivering, Cody hurried up to the porch and pushed the back door. The creaking wood give easily and he walked into the cabin. Thankfully, his parents had left a lamp on in the living room and in the kitchen beyond the spotlights.

Heading over, he got some water and drink it in the kitchen. Feeling better, he washed the glass and left it on the side. Going back into the living room, he stopped and looked up the stairs. It would be so nice to go up and into the bedroom Luke and he were sharing. He pictured getting into the soft bed and snuggling down. He’d feel safe, but come morning what would he say?

I had a nightmare?  he thought.

He pulled a face, but then Luke was going to get in trouble again and the whole idea of this camping vacation was for Luke and his sister to escape their splitting up parents. Cody shook his head and went back outside. As he went down the steps of the porch, he saw an odd shadow shimmering close to the end of the lake just behind the tents.

To be Continued…

Camp Fire Story (Part 1)

People, Children, Child, Kids, Girls, Women, Woman, Man

Cody stared out across the water of the lake, lost in thought. The setting sun had turned the blue water pale pink and the seemingly invisible crickets were too loud. Distant voices called to each other, their words fading amongst the trees.

Cody looked down at the stones under his feet and felt his cousin, Luke’s words coming back to him, ‘they say Rose drowned hundreds of years ago. Her mother did it and she claimed the Devil told her to do it. Rose haunts the lake now.’

Cody shivered and muttered, ‘it’s just a story.’

He kicked the pebbles and walked back to the cabin’s porch. Two small tents were set close by and he could see the beam of a torch waving against the roof of one of them. As he got closer, he heard whispering voices.

‘Rose appears as a shadow next to the lake and makes strange demands to the people she stops,’ Luke’s voice drifted out of the unzipped tent flaps.

‘What’s she say?’ squeaked Cody’s little sister.

‘No!’ Cody yelled and threw open the flaps.

Luke and Connie stared up at him, shock and puzzlement on both their faces. Luke dropped the torch, the beam flashing around a mess of sleeping bags and pillows. Connie buried her face in her toy rabbit’s ears and sniffed.

‘Why? You scared, baby?’ Luke cooed.

Cody shook his head and grabbed his little sister. He yanked her out of the tent and shoved her into the one next to it. They both tripped over the curled up form of small girl, hiding in a pink sleeping bag.

‘Is the story over?’ Luna, Luke’s younger sister, asked, peeping out at them.

‘Cody didn’t let him finish!’ Connie explained, pointing a finger at her brother.

‘It’s not real,’ Cody uttered to himself.

He sit in the far corner of the tent, seeming to have forgotten about the two girls.

‘It’s a scary story,’ Luna said, ‘I don’t like it.’

‘How does it end?’ Connie wailed.

Luna shook her head and pulled the edge sleeping bag into her face.

The tent flaps moved slowly and they all heard a low moaning sound. Cody raised his head and opened his mouth to declare that it was only the wind, but nothing came out.

‘It’s me, Rose,’ a low, but still child male voice hissed, ‘you must do as I say or you’ll end up like me…woo.’

Luna screamed and Connie joined in. Cody put his hands over his ears and shouted at them to stop.

‘What is going on? Girls? Stop screaming. Luke, did you scare them?’

Cody dropped his hands and crawled out of the tent. The girls screams fading into soft crying. He got out and stopped up to see his mother before Luke, who was staring at his feet. On the porch his father stood, holding open the door and looking slightly worried.

‘We were just telling camp fire stories,’ Luke responded, ‘it’s not my fault they got scared.’

‘No more stories. Bed now.’

Nodding, Luke turned and walked back to his tent. Cody hugged his mum then trailed after his cousin. Behind him, Cody heard his mum comforting the girls and settling them down again. Feeling a little better, Cody got into his sleeping bag and turned away from Luke, who all ready his back to Cody. Rubbing the edge of the pillow between his fingers, he listened to his parents talking then the door shutting.

Crickets and the lapping water of the lake filled the air once more. Cody felt Luke shift slightly and heard him mumble something. Deciding not to ask, Cody shut his eyes and thought about the promised boat trip tomorrow.

Darkness pressed against the tents. The crickets had long been silent and now the gentle waves of the lake against the pebble shore and wooden jetties were all that could be heard. Cody’s eyes fluttered and opened. He could see nothing but blackness. He wiggled in his sleeping bag, wondering what had woken him up.

He eyed the side of the tent and saw what seemed to be a fleeting shadow moving around outside.

‘Connie? Luna?’ he whispered.

No voice replied, but he thought he heard a small crying.

Wondering if his sister or Luke’s sister had gotten up, Cody got out of his warm sleeping bag and unzipped the tent. He called their names again and stepped out. A cool breeze wrapped around his bare arms. Cody shuffled over to the girl’s tent, blinded by the darkness and after feeling around, found their tent still zipped.

Shrugging and deciding it was nothing, he went back into his tent again.

To Be Continued…

Dear Diary #21

Dear Diary, why am I so fascinated by the Suicide Forest in Japan?

I watched another online video today of four young men exploring the place. It was raining and you could hear the rain dripping off the trees. There seemed to be no birds or any other animals in the background, just the men walking and talking to the camera. The forest was mega wild and they said the ground was made of fallen trees, roots and undergrown plants. It looked almost like an evil fantasy forest.

They found three broken umbrellas then a camping spot where two light green single person tents were still intact. Off to the side, were the remains of a small camping fire, badly damped by the heavy rain. An empty rucksack lay beside the first tent, the zips all undone. A white baseball cap was behind the second tent and there was a scattering of Japanese sweet packets.

They looked into the tents and I held my breath believing they were about to discover someone, but there was only litter and water. They even searched the area, though they claimed the video wasn’t about them looking for bodies…but I guess if you came across an abandoned tent in the middle of a forest will known for suicides then you’d want to know what happened to the person.

I sort of want to know too, but I think it’s clear what happened…

I want to go, more desperately then before. I want to know why people are driven there and why they decide they don’t want to live. Plus, there are all these claims about it being haunted and not just by the souls of those poor people, but by evil spirits that lure people in. Okay, maybe I’ve seen too many movies, but there must have been something that started the stories, there always is. Maybe, it would be a good thing for my PhD? And it’d give me a reason to go…Though this would be the third ‘haunted’ place I’ve submitted in my applications. But from a psychologic point of view, it’s just super interesting.

Hopefully, my fascination will die down soon enough, but right now I’m going to start a new application and see what the universities think about it. Maybe, there’s a reason why I’m so attracted to these creepy place? Perhaps, I need to do some mind testing on myself!

campfire

The full moon rose

Toasted marshmallows filled the air

The group sat around the campfire

Telling ghost stories