Somewhere On The Beach

pexels-photo-106178.jpeg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s why the beach had been empty.

Dear Diary #23

brooke-gajdica-159971.jpg

Dear Diary,

Well, today’s the day! I’m going to get my first car! I’m so excited, I can’t wait. I feel like I could burst or fly or just something! It’s so hard to capture this feeling. There are so many thoughts going through my head and some of them are so fleeting that I don’t really know them.

All I can think about it just how much better life is going to be. I can just get in the car and drive, instead of having to wait for a bus and having to put up with other people and having to be late because the bus driver had to have a break. I won’t have to wait in the rain either, or feet for a seat.

I can blast music so loud and I can eat without being stared at. It’s going to be far fat better. Okay, so there are going to be something that will be downers. But I can deal with that like everyone else!

No one is taking this dream about to be reality away from me!

It’s time now. I’m going to go and bring my new car home!

Somnambulist (Part 1) #atozchallenge

light-forest-trees-morning.jpg

Somnambulist; a person who sleepwalks.  

Hammering the last of the tent pegs into the soft ground, Chase felt glad to finally have put up the four man tent. Sitting back on on his heels, he made sure the tent wire was tight and the peg firmly in. The thin rope give off a high pitch twang as he flicked it. Nodding, he got up, mallet slowly swinging in an arm that had gone numb with the strain of working.

‘Tent’s up!’ he called cheerfully.

He walked back around and saw his girlfriend building a fire a good few meters away. She had made a rock circle and was now building up a pyramid of branches. An range of camping things were around her as if she been searching through them.

‘You okay, Faith?’ Chase asked.

‘I can’t find the matches. You did pack them right?’ she said over her shoulder.

‘Yes. They were on your list.’

Faith pulled a face and turned to carry on building the fire, ‘You better find them.’

Chase put the mallet back in the tent bag and came to her side. He began searching through the bags. Everything had been in order, but Faith had messed things up. He found the pots and pans, the BBQ stuff, beach towels, tins of cola and clothes.

‘They’re not there are they?’ Faith said, sounding smug.

‘They might be in the car,’ Chase answered.

Leaving things more of a mess, he walked back to the  small red car, which they had parked just out of view in the shade of the trees. The clearing they where in was a jagged circle shape, boarded by tall trees. It was a sheltered spot but very accessible by the little road that ran straight through it from the main one. The clearing was a well known camping area, but most people came in summer or the warm nights of autumn.

Chase had decided that April would be warm and dry enough for this little get away. As he opened the car door though, he had his third doubting moment.

If there are no matches, we’ll have go home. Sure we can do without them, but cold meals? And if it gets colder later? Faith won’t like that. Maybe we could stay the night? I don’t want to take the tent down now I just got it up, thought Chase.

He began rummaging in the car. Hoping that the matches had fallen out or he’d put them somewhere safe before they left. Finding nothing, he double checked everywhere. Maybe, they had slipped down the seats? Maybe, they had gotten to the back of the glove box? Under the foot mats?

Nothing. Sighing, he stood up. Closing everything and locking the car, he went back to Faith.

‘I can’t find them,’ he announced.

Faith sighed deeply and tossed the last of the wood down. She got to her feet, cleaning her hands on the knees of her jeans.

‘You better get rubbing two sticks together then,’ she stated.

Chase shrugged and replied, ‘I’ll give it a shot.’

‘I’ll sort and put things away,’ Faith added.

Chase sat down and began looking for two sticks that would be suitable. Faith collected the bags and began moving stuff into the tent. Around them, a gentle breeze shook the newly leafing trees, birds sing the last songs of the day and the sky was turning dusky. Hardly anything else could be heard, even if a car drove past, the road was a good few miles away so the sound was faint.

After a good few minutes of rubbing sticks and trying to make sparks with stones, Chase give up. He sprawled out over the just dry grass, exhausted. He shut his eyes and tried to think of what to do.

It’s not the end of the world. We have camping lights and cold food we can eat. Can’t cook meat though…or heat up marshmallows. 

‘Have you given up?’ Faith’s voice cut into his thoughts, ‘I’m going to the stream to get water. It’s all ready going dark. So decided what we are eating.’

Chase opened his eyes and raised himself on his elbows. Faith was framed nicely by the dusky pink sky. She looked dirty and tried though.

‘Fine…This isn’t the romantic weekend I had planned,’ Chase responded.

‘That would have been a hotel,’ Faith uttered.

Chase heard her, but he let it go. It was an on going argument, he had given up on.

‘Want a hand?’ he said instead.

‘No,’ Faith declared.

She grabbed the things she needed and stalked off. Chase flopped back on the grass and watched the sky turn into twilight. After a few minutes, he got up and dusted himself down. He walked over to the tent and saw that Faith had all ready pumped up the double air bed. She had put the sleeping bags and pillows on too, making the bed look inviting. 

At the foot of bed, Faith had put the other bags and suitcases. Chase started looking through them then remember that all the food was in the car. Grabbing a tin of cola, he opened it and walked over to the tree line. 

The wind picked up, shaking the trees and the bird song died. Chase paused, feeling a chill across his bare arms. He frowned and glanced around, but he couldn’t spot anything. 

Night has arrived, he thought. 

He went to the car and got out things to make sandwiches and the picnic snacks. He went back to the tent and picked up the camping lanterns. He turned them on and set them by both sides of the tent door. He got making sandwiches. By the time he had put things together for a simple cold meal, Faith arrived back with a bucket of water and another bucket filled with water bottles. 

‘Dinner’s ready,’ Chase declared. 

‘Thanks,’ Faith said, she placed the buckets down next to the abandoned stack of wood and joined him. 

Chase handed her a plastic plate filled with tasty things then started to eat his sandwich. 

‘Chase, have you been here this whole time?’ Faith asked slowly.

‘Yep,’ he replied around a chunk of sandwich, ‘why?’

‘Whilst I was getting the water, I felt like someone was watching me and then after, when I went to….I heard whispering.’ 

Chase paused and looked at her. Faith’s face was full of puzzlement and she hadn’t touched her food. 

‘I called out and there was nothing. I looked around, but I didn’t find anything,’ Faith added. 

‘It wasn’t me and nothing happened here,’ Chase pointed out. 

Faith nodded and began eating. 

To Be Continued…

Gigil (Part 2) #atozchallenge

rabbit-palm-hand-snatch-53966

Getting into bed that night, I was tried and felt like I could sleep forever. Eva hadn’t stopped going on about the bunnies all day and Tyler had decided to support her with that. At bedtime, they had both gone into a melt down and it had taken forever for them to sleep.

My husband was in bed all ready, reading a book, but I could see he was dozing off. I turned out my light and settled down.

‘Are you going to get them a rabbit?’ my husband, Dave, asked out of the blue.

‘No,’ I replied, ‘what’s the point? They’ll be bored with it by the end of the week. Then I’ll have to look after it.’

‘Or maybe not…Ava’s old enough now. It might be good for her. I had a dog at her age. I’ve always wanted another one,’ Dave said dreamily.

‘No dog either,’ I said gruffly, ‘now, I’m going to sleep.’

I pulled the duvet over and stopped listening to him.

‘I’ll be a nice Easter surprise. Say you’ll think about it,’ Dave suggested.

‘I’ll think about it,’ I answered.

Snuggling down, I fell asleep quickly.

 

Over the next week, Ave and Tyler didn’t let the wanting of a bunny go. My hopes that they would do started to fade and it seemed my children became more determined to force my hand everyday. I didn’t give in and pretended I couldn’t hear them.

A few days before Easter Sunday, I picked up chocolate Easter eggs and other treats for us all to share. I also brought Ava and Tyler soft toy rabbits, not to make up for the lack of a real one, but in the hope of distracting them. I hide everything on the top shelf of my wardrobe.

On the eve of Easter Sunday, when the kids had gone to bed after we’d spent the day at the parking doing an Easter egg hunt, I was curled up on the sofa next to Dave. We were watching a murder mystery TV drama and I was enjoying a glass of red wine.

‘Did you think about the rabbits?’ Dave announced during the advert break.

I looked up at him, a frown on my face, ‘No. They’re not having rabbits. I all ready told you that.’

‘Ava isn’t going to let it go, you know.’

‘She will soon enough,’ I declared.

‘There’s enough space outside for a hutch and for them to run outside. There were two left in the pet shop,’ Dave added, ‘I thought we’d agreed…’

‘Wait? Agreed? Dave…Did you…?’

I looked fully at him, words fading as his express changed to become blank. He was faking it badly though.

I whacked his leg, nearly splashing the rest of my wine. I got up, anger filling me.

‘Where are they?’ I asked.

‘In the garage. I made sure they were warm. I got a get deal on the hutch, food and stuff. Pretty cheap, lot less then I thought it was going to be,’ Dave rushed, ‘Beth, they are really cute. I don’t get why you don’t want them.’

I sank back against the sofa, my thoughts whirling.

‘You can take them back on Tuesday. The pet shop should be open then. I’ll keep Ava and Tyler out of the garage,’ I voiced.

‘Come and see them,’ Dave said.

He got up and helped me stand, even though I didn’t really want to. I placed my wine down and followed him grumpily out of the room. Through into the garage we headed and tucked away behind the old jeep my husband had been working on forever was a large double level hutch.

I put my hands on my hips and watched him open a small side door. Two light brown baby bunnies where snuggled together, sleeping. Dave gently picked up and give it to me. I refused, but then he pressed the rabbit to me and I had no choice.

The bunny was warm and fluffy. A damp nose nuzzled into my hand and whiskers tickled me. I felt something melting inside of me.

‘See? They are really nice. The woman in the pet shop said she breed them and her children have been handling them. She said they’d be suitable for Ava and Tyler,’ Dave explained.

I stroked the bunny in my arms. A part of me still against this whole idea. I’d end up looking after them for sure!  Maybe, that wouldn’t be a bad thing?

Dear Diary #22 : Absquatulate (Part 1) #atozchallenge

pexels-photo-219249

Absquatulate; to leave without saying goodbye. 

Dear Diary,

I need to leave. It’s not a question any more it’s the only way. If I don’t leave, I’m going to do something final…

I don’t think anyone want’s that, but what else can I do?

My parents just haven’t gotten over my baby brother’s death. My mother is still spending most of her time in bed. My father waiting on her and sulking off to work when he must. They are shadows of themselves.

And me? I’m more then a shadow. I’m invisible.

I’ve tried everything I can think of and more, but none of the attention seeking or cries for help methods worked. It’s like I’m dead to them too.

That’s why I’ve to get out. I’m going to leave first thing tomorrow. Everything I want is all ready packed and I’ve a plan. I’m going to take mum’s car and drive to my new apartment on the other side of the city. I’ll be still close enough to work that way. Then I can clear my head and figure out if I’m going to move further away or out of the country.

I’m not even going to bother to say goodbye to my parents. I bet they won’t even notice I’m gone.

What The Trees Knew

How the car had ended up rusting there was anyone’s guess. If only the trees could talk, they’d tell what happened.

 

(Inspired from: https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2017/03/13/fffaw-challenge-week-of-march-14-2017/ Photo by and copyright to Tim Livingston, with thanks.)

You Can Never Know

black-and-white, cars, city

I sit in my car on the other side of the street and I monitor your house. It’s a busy night were cars driving past, pulling up and leaving. For a few minutes, I think I’ve got the wrong address. Did you move? Or maybe you’ve never lived here? But then the door opens and you step out.

I see you turn to say something into the house then you shut the door and began walking. I know it’s you, even in the orange light from the streetlamps. You look so much like her and yet not. My mind begins thinking about how things could have been as it does so often. I always wanted a daughter and you could have so easily been mine.

I let your mum go though and you with her. It was better that way, better for us all, but who really says that would have been so?

I want to get out of the car and chase after you. I want to grab your hand in mine and say, ‘I’m your father! The man who brought you up wasn’t really him. Your mother had an affair before her wedding night but she still choice him. Her and I knew the truth though and now I want you to know that too.’

And what will you reply? That I’m joking? A liar? I’ve got the wrong person?

Perhaps.

In my head though, you look at me and see the similarities between us. You cry out, ‘father!’ We hug and our lives become more filled because we have each other.

I can’t do it though. As much as I want to, I know it’d ruin your life and the memory of you mum. So, I stay sat in the car.

Tree Man (Part 2)

blur-1850243_1920

Poppy pressed her face and hands to the icy cold window and looked outside. There was no sign of anyone. Maybe, the stick man shaped like a Christmas tree had disappeared? Poppy wondered about that for a few moments, but then she saw him.

Tree-man was making his way down the pathway and even though he was tiny, the bright green colour Poppy had given him glowed against the white frost.

Poppy opened her mouth to shout to him to come back but then she thought better of it. Hurrying into her wardrobe, she put on some fleece pants, socks and a jumper. Going to her door, she crept out again. The house was quiet and as she passed her parents’ bedroom door, she thought she heard the turning pages of a book.

Downstairs she crept and in the hallway put on her coat and wellington boots. She reached for the keys next and unlocked the door with a bit of difficulty. Pulling the front door open as quietly as she could, Poppy slipped outside.

A cold wind wrapped around her and her breath misted before her. The frost sparkled on the ground looking like someone had spread sugar on the road.

‘Tree-man?’ Poppy whispered.

‘Yes?’ a distant voice called back.

‘Come back here,’ Poppy said.

‘Why? You are there and I am here now. Let’s go see the lights together,’ Tree-man spoke out.

‘But…’

‘You’ll be safe with me!’ Tree-man shouted.

Poppy looked behind her at the hallway. The light was on as her mum had left it lit for her dad’s return. She could feel the warmth also coming from the house and she felt torn.

Tree-man reached the gate, he stopped and waved at her.

‘Just a few minutes. That’d be okay,’ Poppy said under her breath.

Slipping the key into her pocket, she stepped out and closed the door softly. Poppy hurried down the path and bent down to look at Tree-man.

‘Can you pick me up?’ he asked.

Nodding, Poppy held out her hand and he jumped into her palm.

‘Where do we go?’ she asked.

‘Down the street,’ Tree-man directed.

‘Okay.’

Poppy opened the gate and went though. Even though it seemed the frost would crunch under her boots it didn’t nor was it slippy. Carrying Tree-man loosely, Poppy walked down the street and admired the neighbours Christmas lights.

‘Isn’t this magical?’ Tree-man spoke after a few moments.

‘Yes,’ Poppy replied.

‘Look at that deer and that wreath and that sign,’ Tree-man pointed out.

Poppy did, but she wasn’t as fascinated as he was. She was starting to feel cold and also worried. What if someone saw her and they told her mum?

‘We should go back,’ Poppy spoke up.

‘Just a little more, please! I do so love Christmas and it’s so pretty!’ Tree-man cried.

‘But I could get into trouble…’

‘Look at that!’ Tree-man cut in.

Poppy did and she saw the house at the end of the street brightly light up in blue and red flashing lights.

‘Closer! closer!’ Tree-man called.

Frowning, Poppy walked on then came to a stop before the house. The bushes that lined the front walls were divided into red or blue lights as were other plants in the garden. Two real looking but fake baby white trees were on either side of the door, decorated with shinny red baubles and white fairy lights. The walls of the house was covered with flashing stars and other Christmas themed lights.

‘Wow,’ Tree-man breathed.

‘I’ve seen it before,’ Poppy commented and then without thinking, she added, ‘there’s a house on the next street that has a family of polar bears in the garden.’

‘Oh, I’d like to see that!’ Tree-man said.

‘No. We must go back now,’ Poppy replied and she turned around.

Tree-man put his hands on the lowest triangle on his body, ‘no!’ he shouted.

‘Then you’ll have to get there yourself,’ Poppy snapped.

‘Fine!’ Tree-man shot back and he jumped from her hand.

Poppy watched him land on the pavement then walk off. Her mind fully made up, Poppy walked back to her house. Reaching the front door, she turned and looked up the street, but she couldn’t see the Tree-man.

Car headlight lit up the road and Poppy gasped. That could be her dad arriving back!

Fumbling in her coat pocket, she took out the keys and unlocked the door. Rushing in, she closed it and kicked off her boots. As she struggled out of her coat, she heard the car pull up. Tossing her coat on the hanger, she hurried upstairs and took off her clothes.

‘Hello?’ her mum’s voice called.

Poppy stopped trying to take the pants off and got quickly into bed. She pulled the duvet up and shut her eyes. She heard her bedroom door open slightly and then the front door also opened.

Keeping her eyes squeezed shut, she heard her mum go downstairs and talk quietly to her dad. Then they both went into the kitchen or the living room.

Poppy let go of the breath she had been holding and opened her eyes. She thought about Tree-man and where he might have gone. Should she have really left him out there alone? But what choice had she had?

Settling back, Poppy listened to her parents coming upstairs and going to bed. She waited a good few minutes, counting in her head then she got out of bed again. Going to the window, she opened the curtains and looked out.

Tree-man wasn’t there and it had started to snow.

Journals (Part 2)

book-912721_1920

(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…

Hunger

candy, chocolate, delicious

Brian was so hungry, he could eat anything. Clutching the steering wheel, he drove down the dark motorway whilst licking his lips. At the moment, he was stuck out here with just the shadows of the trees and the glow of a farm house light in the distance. Soon though, he knew there’d be a rest stop and he could get something to eat.

He tapped the steering wheel and tried to listen to the soft music coming from the radio to distracted himself. His mind popped with images of beef burgers, fries, huge slabs of cooked meats and piles of crisp vegetables. Brian’s stomach groaned and he felt that if he didn’t eat soon he’d go mad.

His headlights flashed over a sign and he breathed a sigh of relief. There was a service stop a few miles away.

‘Soon, soon, soon,’ he told himself.

He sped up, taking the car over the speed limit, but out here in the middle of nowhere, close to midnight no one would see. He clutched the wheel tighter, so his knuckles turned white and even though his eyes were fixed on the road, he was no longer seeing clearly. He had to eat. He could feel the urge consuming him and riding over everything else.

The turn off came up and he yanked the car over violently. The wheels squealed then settled as he slowed down. Brian went through the parking lot and pulled up close by the door. He got out, locked the car and hurried inside. Warm lights and the pleasant smell of food filled the air.

He went to the first food place and got a burger, fries and a coke. Sitting down, he tried to contain the drool that was filling his mouth, but as he unwrapped the burger and bite into it, he felt wetness on his face. Brian moaned with pleasure into the bread and meat. He swallowed then finished the thing in two bites.

Not even bothering to wipe his mouth or fingers, he wolfed down the fries. They were gone in a few moments and he was left with the taste of salt and potato on his tongue. He picked up his drink, took off the lid and gulped that down like a man starved of water in a desert.

Brian sat back and wiped his hands and face. He felt better and the urge was slowly fading. He shut his eyes and for a few moments just sat there, patting his stomach. Then the hungry rose again, demanding more meat.

He got up, abandoning his tray and walked quickly to another fast food place. There he ordered a chicken burger, more fries, sides and a large coke. Sitting down again, he began eating. The urge was so great, it was the only thing he could think of. The burger tasted good, even better then the first and the fries were crispy, just how he liked them. He finished eating and drowned his mouth in the fizzy drink.

He burped loudly and threw his head back. The hungry began to fade again. He rested, but it only lasted for a few minutes. Getting up, he stumbled into the small shop and picked up random packets of sweets and snacks. He went to the till and dumped it all on. He swayed drunkenly and waved off the shop assistant’s questions. He paid with his card, grabbed as much as he could carry and went back to his table.

There he stuffed himself full of sweets, chocolate and savory snacks. It all felt so good and couldn’t get enough of it. He had to have more!

He looked up, deciding were to go next and saw that people were staring at him. All the employees of the service building and a handful of other late night travelers were watching him closely. He noticed some of them whispering to each other then turning away as they saw him watching them.

For a few moments, Brian came back to himself, what’s happening here? What am I doing? Then the hungry crashed in again. He hurried up and into the shop once more. This time not even caring what he eat, he tore items off the shelves and began opening things.

‘Wait! You can’t do that! Stop! You need to pay!’

Voices were shouting all around him, but he ignored them and carried on. His mouth was full of so much and he wanted to cramp everything in at once.

‘He’s gone mad! Someone phone the police!’

Hands grabbed him and Brian swung to hit them away. A fist crunched into his nose and he tasted blood. He spit out the mouthful of mixed food he had and reached for the hand that had hit him. Wrapping his hands around that strong arm, he brought the skin to his mouth and bit down.

Screams filled his ears, blocking everything else out, but all Brian could sense was the taste of flesh and blood in his mouth. It felt so good and finally he was satisfied.