Wisp #writephoto

Some days, it was nice just to sit back and watched the clouds go by. Laying on the beach, I looked up and watched the thin clouds drifting across the ice blue sky. When I was a child my parents had played a game with me were we had taken it in turns to call out the shapes we saw within the clouds.

I smiled and began to play, trying to come up with all kinds of animals and objects that the wispy clouds could be. I got things like; horses, birds, people and a three legged crocodile. Then though all the clouds seemed to move away leaving just the bright sun above.

I sighed and shut my eyes, glad that the shade of the sun umbrella was keeping the glare off me. My mind wondered off and I thought about how much easier life had been as a child.

(Inspired from; https://scvincent.com/2017/08/17/thursday-photo-prompt-wisp-writephoto with thanks).

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Beached Boat

It was surreal seeing the wreaked boat on the beach still. I had thought they’d have removed it by now. A rush of childhood memories came back to me. I remembered that we had made a den there and spent many hours playing. Later on, it had been where my first girlfriend and I had spent alone time. Reaching up, I patted the boat’s side and had a fantasy of fixing her up and taking her out to sea. She was far too gone for that but I still liked the idea and maybe one day I could make it come true.

 

(Inspired by; https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2017/07/24/fffaw-challenge-week-of-july-25-2017/ with thanks. Word count:102)

Apple

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I knew a girl called Apple once. We went to first school together and I use to admire her from a far. It was more then a crush, I was in love, but I was only seven and didn’t understand all of that. I’d watch her in the playground has she skipped rope or kicked a football.

I’d sneak looks at her in class too, though we sat at opposite ends of the room. She was on the red circle table with the rest of the clever kids. I was on the green square table with the dumb kids. In-between us, I think were yellow triangles, blue rectangles and purple hexagons. Apple liked art, maths and science. The opposite of me as I liked; writing, reading and lunchtime.

Apple was pretty and her clothes were always clean and new. She had fair skin, bright blue eyes and blonde hair which was in two pigtail plaits. She never had any cuts of bruises on her legs and arms. Her socks were shocking white and her black buck shoes shinny. Everyone loved her and wanted to be her friend.

I was the ugly duckling of the class. I was short and fat with choppy black hair and dark brown eyes. All my clothes and shoes were old second hand ones. I seemed to have a new bruise or cut every week thanks to my fighting with my older brothers or the many animals we had. I was always mistaken for a boy too and for many years I believed it was so, even though I was a girl.

I don’t think Apple and I ever talked or played together. We lived in two different worlds and even at that age, I could see that. I was jealous of her, especially when she got invited to parties or when she was giving out invites for her parties. I never got invited to anything, at least I don’t remember if I did.

I spent a lot of school being alone. I had a few friends, but they were too much like me and nothing like Apple, who I wished I could be. I couldn’t find the courage to talk to her though. The fear of being further rejected hung too heavy over me. I hoped maybe we’d be grouped together to do project work or else when the tables were remixed in the new school year, we’d be sat together.

It seemed fate kept us apart and then we moved on to big school, we went to different ones and I never saw Apple again. I hoped and daydreamed I’d see her again. Maybe, she’d transfer to my school or I to her’s? Perhaps, we’d meet again in college or uni? but no, Apple vanished from my world.

She lingers still in my mind though. On nights I can’t sleep when I’m alone in bed because my wife is working away, I think of Apple. I think of what could have been if only we had meet again or when we both had been older. Would Apple have loved me as much as I had loved her?

The Reaper Cometh

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Going out in a hail of bullets and under the wheels of the ten ton lorry was the only way to go. Well, I didn’t have any other choices really because there was no way I was going to jail. The murders they had pinned to me would have meant total life imprisonment and that wasn’t an option.

Committing suicide had also not been an option up until that point, to be honest. I don’t know, maybe, I was thinking I’d dodge the bullets or they’d hit non-important places and that I’d just avoid the lorry’s wheels like they do in the movies. But nope, my number was up.

Once the heavy crushing pain had faded and blackness had come I knew it was the end. When I next opened my eyes, I was standing at the side of the motorway, looking across at the scene. There were flashing red and blue lights everywhere and the sirens were so loud that they blocked the rushing traffic. Though of course, most of the cars were stopping now and people were taking in what had happened.

Police swarmed the scene; searching my fancy BMW, whilst others blocked the view of my body wedged under the lorry. The driver of which was hushed off to one side into a police car like a sleeping baby. The police officers’ whispered voices came to me; is he really dead? The serial killer? The one the papers nicknamed The Red Shadow? He killed ten people we know of, but there maybe hundreds more. Yes, he’s dead. You can see that, can’t you?

I turned away, wondering what to do. Surely a pit to Hell would open up underneath me? I’d be sucked down and spend all eternity being tortured by demons. But I didn’t believe in that.

To the left of me, I saw a black shape peeling itself away from the trees. Ah, the grim reaper coming to claim my soul!

‘Wait….What are you?’ I spoke, the words tumbling from my mouth before I could stop them.

‘I am your reaper, deary,’ replied a sweet old granny’s voice.

Stunned, I just stared. There before me was a small old woman- eighty or ninety odd-she had a hunched back and skin was as wrinkly and folded as one of those weird dogs. She was dressed in a long flowery pink dress, pink handmade cardie and was holding a large blue handbag. Her hair was dyed a strange blue color and she had large glasses perched on the end of her nose.

‘When you are ready, if you’d like to follow me, sweetie,’ she spoke out, ‘you just take as long as you need, okay? No rush.’

I glanced back at the scene behind me. Cars were parked up now and an ambulance had just pulled off the hard shoulder and was trying to get in close so they could collect my body without the public seeing. Police were all ready trying to stop people from coming over.

‘Oh, I think I got some peppermints here. Somewhere,’ the granny said and began searching in her handbag.

‘No, it’s fine,’ I said, ‘who are you really?’

She looked up at me, hand still in her bag, ‘I’m your reaper, deary, come to take you to the other side.’

‘But…I was expecting demons! Devils! A black cloaked skeleton! Black, fire wings!’ I cried.

The old woman chuckled, ‘everyone believes that, but no. We take a different form every time. Everyone is different you know and often they need to be handled differently too.’

‘Do you know who I am?’ I spit.

‘Were. Sweetheart. Who were you?’ she asked then, ‘oh, here are the mints. Care for one? Go on take a handful.’

‘No,’ I stated as I waved my hands and stepped back, when she held out a pink and white stripped paper bag towards me.

‘Not a fan of mints, huh?’ she added with a wink, ‘I got something else in here for you then…’

‘I don’t want anything! Just, let’s go!’ I yelled.

‘Now, now, don’t get upset. I’ll fix it. There now,’ she said and held up a tube of my favorite childhood sweets; lemon sherbet.

She pressed it into my hand, a large smile on her face.

I looked at it in shock then opening the lid, I tossed the white power into my mouth. It tasted just as I remembered; sour and sweet, fizzy and lemony.

‘All better? I knew that would help, petal,’ she said.

I nodded, feeling for the first time in years the sensation of tears in the corner of my eyes.

‘Are you ready to go?’ granny asked.

‘Yes,’ I mumbled out.

She held out a hand which was more like the gnarled, dry root of a dead oak tree.

I took it, feeling no heat or coldness against my own hand.

With her other hand, she patted the top of mine, ‘there, there, deary. It’s all okay now.’

‘So…no demons? No Hell?’

‘Stories!’ she laughed, ‘to scare people. There is no Hell or Heaven. Just the sky.’

I looked up and saw above me the darkening sky.

We started raising towards it. Leaving everything behind. The air rushed around me and as we met the sky, I savored the last taste of sherbet on my tongue.

 

Postcard #30

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Dear Nettie,

I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Your husband was always kind to me and I have lovely memories of us all playing on the beach. It’s been such a long time since we last saw everyone but our move to France was the best decision. We couldn’t be more happy here. The small B&B is working well and though money is short, we make do. If ever you fancy coming out here to escape everything here’s my number. Just let us know.

All the best, Betty

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.

September

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Standing before the window, it looked more like a summer’s day then an autumn one. I rubbed the satin curtain against my fingers, enjoying the feel of it whilst my mind became fully awake. Even though the window was open, I could hear birds singing and the gentle lapping of the lake. I could see the wooden rowing from here too and it stirred memories inside me of all those summers spent on bodies of water with my father, brothers, uncles, grandfather and friends.

I strange deja vu came over me and I saw a tall man with three boys gathering around the boat and preparing her to sail. One of the boys turned back and waved at me. Only it wasn’t me, because I had become my mother and I was actually that little boy. I waved then realized there was no one out there, it had just been a memory.

Dropping the curtain, I walked to my study and stood at the door. My life was piled into that room. My old computer, the first and only typewriter I’d owned, all of my books, though those that I had written had a special bookcase to themselves. My wooden toy sailing boat in a glass case was on the window sill.

My fingers curled around the door frame.

‘Not today,’ I muttered and turned away from my work.

I went to the front door and out into the morning. The sun was bright and warm, making the trees dapple shadows on the ground. I went to the edge of the lake and looked at the boat gently rocking there. Memories swelled within me and I thought about my parents like I hadn’t do for years.

I got into the boat and rowed into the middle of the lake. There I become a child again, living summers that felt like they could go on forever.

At The Bottom of The Garden

The shed had sat at the bottom of the garden for so long that Nature had claimed it for herself. Small trees, ivy and wild roses surrounded the buckling wooden frame, hiding it perfectly. The treasures inside were now lost to rust and animals, who made their home there. Yet, every autumn as the leaves turned to gold and slipped away, glimpses of the old shed could be seen.

New children had recently moved into the house and when they spotted the shed, they investigated. Sadly, they found only useless gardening tools and animal nests inside. Then the oldest child had a bright idea.

They cleaned the place out, fixed it up and made the old shed their secret den for the summers to come.

 

 

Photograph provided by Phylor with thanks.

Story inspired by: https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2016/09/05/fffaw-challenge-week-of-september-6-2016/

Abbey Ruins

Buildwas Abbey, England, Great Britain, Columns, Ruins

There was something about returning to the abbey ruins that made him go cold. It had been his childhood playground for so many years, it had become like a second home. Now, stepping off the bus and entering the abbey grounds after twenty years it still smelt the same. He breathed in summer grass, warm soil and a hint of sweetness which came from the visitor building and shop.

He walked slowly down the stone path, noticing the groups of young families. Everyone seemed so happy and completely oblivious to the past that was rising up around him. Going around the back of the Abbey, he found it quieter and further out some ruined walls that marked separate houses and buildings which the monks had used for guests and storage.

He stopped in front of a corner wall that was about three foot off the ground. He looked around with a lump in his throat, but there were no signs or flowers marking the spot. Strangely, he thought there would still have been. He looked over the top and across to a low tree, there was a bench just in front of it.

He walked over, not remembering a bench ever being there before. He looked at the bronze sign and his heart sink. She had not been forgotten. He sat down on the bench and thought about that summer. He had been ten, one of the oldest in the group, but there had been nothing he could have done.

It had been the normal game of  climbing and jumping, but she had gotten scared and not wanted too. He could not recall her face, it had faded, but he remembered her cries and mumbled nos. Someone had pushed her. One of his friends, but no one could ever say who.

She had fallen, hit her head somehow and landed on the ground never to get up again.

Dear Diary #23

Dear Diary,

Tomorrow is my birthday and for the first time ever I’m spending it alone! Okay well, not so alone because I have the three dogs, two cats, the rabbits, the hens, chicks and the two baby lambs. It didn’t dawn until this morning when I saw the date, realized it was my birthday tomorrow and thought I’ve made no plans!

I guess though the more older you get the more birthday’s lose their excitement. When I was little birthdays and Christmas were always big and the only times of the year when you could really ask for a lot of stuff and get most of it. The parties seemed so much fun, even if they were simple and easily forgettable.

Getting older having my own money meant  could just buy whatever I wanted when I felt like it. No more waiting for my birthday and Christmas to role around! I could have it now with a click of the PC mouse and scan of a card. But I miss those special presents. The ones you hadn’t even thought to ask about but your parents and friends knew you’d love. I do kinda wish to re-live those times again.

I guess I should figure out what to do, see if anyone is around. I can’t be alone for my birthday! I don’t think anybody should be.

 

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(Side note; with it actually being my birthday tomorrow, I thought I’d have a theme of ‘birthday’ this month. Just thought I’d announce that. Also, planning to get the first short story collection out by the end of this month! Thanks for reading and please like and share. Hayley)