A Summer Storm #WritePhoto

In fields full of flowers we would spend our summers; playing, talking, reading, kissing. Standing at the edge now, I could see her still, running in a flowing white summer dress, the hem brushing the steams of the flowers as her hands trailed across their petals. She was laughing and looking back at me as I chased her.

A soft rain began to fall, darkening my clothes. I ducked under an oak we had used as shelter many times. If I pretended for a few moments, she was on the other side of the trunk, counting as we played hide and seek.

The rain came down harder, dripping through the leaves above. A rumble of thunder echoed across the fields. I shivered and wondered, why had I come back here? Had I really thought she would be here waiting for me? Lightening lit up the grey sky. The hairs on my arms stood up, it was unsafe to stay here.

I began running back to the village, the rain soaking me and the thunder clapping. I was crying, my chest hurt, I felt crushed with wanting what I could no longer have. She was gone forever and she would never run through those fields again.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/08/09/thursday-photo-prompt-summer-writephoto/ with thanks).

 

 

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Wishes #WritePhoto

There was so much hanging off the small tree it was hard to see the branches and leaves. I looked up in wonder at all the ribbons, plastic straps, paper and other stuff waving in the summer breeze. It reminded me of a Christmas tree.

I wished I’d brought something to hang in the tree. I looked around to see if there was anything close by but there wasn’t anything in the copse. Expect….I was wearing a red ribbon in my hair today.

I took the bow out in one, my hair falling around me then tried to find a spot on the tree anywhere I could reach. There was only the thin trunk which looked so bare compared to the branches. I didn’t think my ribbon was long enough to wrap around, so went for the begin of a branch instead.

Tying the ribbon there, I made a wish. Then shut my eyes and spun around three times. Stopping, I walked off in the direction before me, not looking back at the tree. And that was how the Wishing Tree worked.

 

(Inspired by https://scvincent.com/2018/07/12/thursday-photo-prompt-wishes-writephoto/ with thanks).

Crossing #WritePhoto

Something from my childhood came back into my mind as I walked across the stone foot bridge; ‘don’t trip or the witch will get you!’ I paused, hearing a memory of girls laughing. What was that about?

I shook it off and looked over the side of the bridge. A low, slow river was running under the three stone archways, making nice tinkling and bubbling music. The water was clear, thanks to the bright day and I could see a few weeds and plants caught in the current. There was no rubbish which strangely reminded me I was so far from London.

I breathed in the fragrant countryside air and tried hard to recall that memory. Something about going to school and me hating having my hair tied up in two pigtail plaits. Two girls in bright red dresses throwing stones into the water and shouting at the witch to appear.

It was all too faded to remember correctly. Resting against the cool stone, I let the flow of the water help me drift further into my memories. I had been seven when I had been evacuated from home. There was a war on and it was safe in the countryside then London because of the bombs. I didn’t really understand anything else at the time.

I was extremely lucky as my mother was heavily pregnant and also my brother was only one and half years old, so we got to stay together. The other children, I remember didn’t and they had to say goodbye to their mothers at the train station. Our other stroke of luck was that my father’s sister lived out here and she had agreed to take us in.

It was like going on holiday, mother had said and so it sort of was. Only, I had to go to a new school and make new friends which wasn’t that bad because I was so young. I missed my bedroom and our house though, sadly it got blown up in the Blitz but I didn’t know that until years later.

My cousin! That was the other girl in the red dress and she’d told me that about tripping on the bridge and a witch grabbing you.

I felt sadden I’d forgotten that but it had been so very long ago and Sarah had died a young teenager of scarlet fever. At the time, we had all ready been moved some years, to a large house on the edge of the village and daddy was back from the war and it was all over.

Hadn’t I cried for days when my parents had told me? I had gone to her funeral in red – her favorite color- instead of black like everyone else. I was thirteen or fourteen then. And just like when I was seven and I didn’t full understand the war or why we had to move away, I didn’t understand why Sarah was gone.

We moved back to London after that I think. Dad had secured a job there and we needed to be closer. Auntie came to live with us for awhile but I think the sadness of having no daughter and no husband – killed in France- got to her and she moved away.

Other thoughts tumbled into my mind, unlocked by all of this. It was strange to come back here and remember things I shouldn’t have forgotten. Maybe, it was best that they became forgotten once again though? I felt, that these memories had come back to me and I should do something with them.

‘Grandma!’ a voice called, breaking my thoughts.

I turned and saw my granddaughter, Hattie, running towards me. My daughter and husband following behind.

‘Don’t trip or the witch will get you!’ I said.

That made her stop and glance around, ‘witch? where?’ she questioned.

‘The one that lives under the bridge,’ I explained.

Hattie joined me and tried to look over the wall but she was too small.

‘She likes little girls the best,’ I carried on, not sure if I was making it up or if more was coming back to me, ‘she cooks them in her big pot and eats them with bread!’

Hattie pulled a face and shook her head, ‘I don’t believe you, grandma!’

I swooped down on her, making crackling witch like sounds. Hattie screamed then burst into laughter as I started tickling her and I remembered, a long, long time ago, two girls laughing and tickling each other on this bridge, joking about an old saying.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/07/05/thursday-photo-prompt-crossing-writephoto/ with thanks).

Hotel On The Beach #TwitteringTales

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I pointed out the white and grey abandoned hotel on the coastal cliff to my husband. I had spoken about the place often, having as a child grown up there. This  was the first time we had seen the place and now it belong to us. I couldn’t wait to get re-living my childhood again.

(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2018/05/22/twittering-tales-85-22-may-2018/ with thanks).

Xyst #atozchallenge

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Xyst; a garden walk planted with trees. 

Escaping from the tea party, I made my way to the tree walk away. It was a place right at the back of the gardens that had been left naturally wild, once my great-great grandfather had finished having the trees planted. His original plan had been to make a wooded area for hunting in but the horses had struggled with the undergrowth and trees.

There had been so many plans over the years to clear the area and make it something else; another ordered garden, a vegetable patch for the servants, a summer house. The tree walk though was too far out to be much use for any of that, plus there’d always been the matter of the cost of it. I, though was grateful that the tree walk had been left alone and was still wild.

Leaving the neatly racked path, I stepped onto a single dirt track and disappeared into the shadows of the trees. Breathing deeply, I left the constraints of the tea party behind me. I was never very good at remembering my manners, sipping my tea and only nibbling at a sliver of cake. It was especially bad today as we had male guests and I didn’t do well when there were handsome men around!

It was best to stay away and let my mother and sisters deal with such things. Mother was determined to marry us all off before the eldest- Elizabeth now twenty three- turned twenty five. At which point, mother believed the possibility of marriage was low. I did not share that view. Perhaps it was my romantic fifteen year old nature but I wanted to believe there was going to be more to my life then marriage and children.

I let my fingers brush against the rough tree trunks and over grown grass. There was no need to be lady-like in this garden. Overhead, the birds sing of spring in a deep blue sky and the warm breeze promised summer. The scent of flowers and earth hugged the air, making me happy. Following the path, I reached the little wooden bridge over the shallow river that created a boarder to our land.

I lent over, watching the water flowing below. I liked the gentle rushing and bubbling noises. Also, it reminded me that when we had been children, we would throw sticks off the bridge and see who’s came through the other side first. This had been our secret garden; six girls just being children and escaping the pressure of adulthood.

How I wanted things to go back to those days! Being carefree and happy with only the distance shadows of a future out of our control. I sighed and wondered how much longer I could stay away. I should have pretended to have a headache or feel faint but then I would have had to go indoors. I wish I could just hide in here for the rest of my life but one can not escape one’s destiny.

I gathered the pale blue skirts of my afternoon dress and checked them for mud. Mother would not be happy if I returned unclean. Thankfully, it had been dry for a good few days now. Brushing the soft fabric off, I walked back to whatever was awaiting me.

Hiraeth #atozchallenge

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Hiraeth; a homesickness for a home you can’t return to or that never was. 

I went back the other day. I don’t know why but I was just passing. I had been to a job interview at that new office block. It was nothing special, just a call center that was expanding but easy work I could do.

On the way back, I went a different route, I guess out of old habit. I went down the road we always walked to school on. Passed the ‘big’ houses and row of trees. It’s gone now that school but the houses and tress are still there. After that though everything had changed.

Those long narrow roads we use to play on are now normal roads going around the new housing estate. The blocks of flats that we all use to have live in have been wiped away as if they were never there.

The park is still there though and I pulled up there to have a wander about. It was quiet, but I guess for the middle of a week day that it normally was. Leaving my car, I had a look around and noticed they’ve upgraded the park. There’s a whole new play set, a skateboard area and a football pitch. The old duck pond had been giving a make over too.

I probably looked liked a salesman walking around, just without a briefcase and or clipboard. It was hard to know where my flat had once been. There hand’t really been streets as it had been all one place. The new names streets give me no hint. Nor was the old dead tree stump there or the little corner shops.

The houses look nice though, better then the grey stacks we called home. I realised I missed them. I hadn’t thought about my childhood home in years but standing here now I felt the longing for my old room. We’d play games and stay up late, annoying the neighbors with our music. There had been bad times and good, like everyone else.

I saw a curtain move and a small dog began barking at a window of the house I’d stopped at. I turned and walked back to my car. There was nothing else to see and do here. That feeling of wanting to go back stayed with me but I knew I only could in my memories now.

I got the job by the way.

Spawn #TwitteringTales

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It’s strange to think that my fondest memories as a child was going out each spring and collecting frog spawn. It just seemed so natural and innocent. It probably started my career too! I’m now head frog and toad keeper at the zoo.

(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2018/03/20/twittering-tale-76-20-march-2017/ with thanks).

Snowman #Sundayphotofiction

26 Jade Wong March 4th 2018

When you are a child snow is magical and fun. As a adult, snow loses that and becomes inconvenience. The simple tasks became almost trial like with everyone battling to win. These thoughts came to me as I watched from my living room window. The snowflakes was coming down heavily once again and laying a top of the inches deep snow that had already fallen.

I heard my boyfriend coming downstairs and I walked out into the hallway to meet him.

‘Let’s go build a snowman in the garden,’ I said.

He stared blankly at me. His mind processing what I’d just said and checking it was correct.

I started grabbing my coat and boots.

‘Why?’ he asked.

I shrugged, ‘I just fancy it. Remember when you were a kid and it snowed? It was a thing you always did alongside snowball fights and sledging.’

‘Sure,’ he said, though his voice was still uncertain.

We dressed and headed outside. The snow fell and melted on us. I felt an icy breeze on my face. Leaving deep footprints, we circled the garden and began building a large ball of snow.

Slowly, that magic of childhood came back to me.

 

(Inspired by; https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2018/03/04/sunday-photo-fiction-march-4th-2018/ with thanks).

Between #Writephoto

I don’t remember much about the Between, but mum said I spent a lot of my childhood there. I was an only child and Mum was a single parent on the run from her abuse ex-husband, a father I never knew. We moved around so much, not having much contact with anyone. Years later, I asked her why that was, couldn’t she have gone to the police or someone for help? She said, things back then were just different. It was normal for a husband to hit is wife.

I didn’t go to school and was only let out sometimes, so the Between was my imaginary world. Mum said it started when we stayed in a semi-abandoned farmhouse when I was around six. She let me out to play in a wild meadow and I came back talking about fairies and unicorns.

From then, I would often talk aloud and play with the things from the Between. I drew pictures too, to show mum what the animals and people were like. She kept some of them that I had drawn in a small sketch book. There was a fairy princess and queen, a unicorn, strange dragonflies and butterflies, gremlins, goblins, imps, pixies and other fantasy creatures.

‘You must have told me about them and I just imagined it all!’ I laughed to my mum.

‘No. I never said anything about any make believe things,’ mum explained, ‘not even Father Christmas or God.’

‘Oh…Then I must have read about it somewhere,’ I wondered.

‘Perhaps. I don’t remember,’ she replied, ‘I was sad when you grew out of it though.’

I hummed as I thought back. It was hard to remember clearly, but I started high school in one of the towns we were hiding out in. Something about being forced to go…But it meant that town became our permanent home. I had something of a normal life then and the Between was lost to me.

‘I guess it was a childhood thing,’ I added with a shrug, ‘but why were you sad?’

‘Because it meant you were grown up.’

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/02/15/thursday-photo-prompt-between-writephoto/ with thanks).

Dollhouse #FirstLineFridays

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‘I don’t care what you do with it. I just want it gone,’ Alex said, pointing at the dollhouse.

I withdrew my hand from the dolls’ living room and looked up at my older sister. She had a full black bin bag in one hand and a flat empty one in the other. We were surrounded by so much stuff in my late uncle’s attic it was hard to believe she could just single out one thing to just get rid of.

‘Why?’ I asked, ‘don’t you think your daughters, Sophie and Lucy would like it?’

It was hard to tell in the dim light of a single, dusty bulb, but Alex’s face seemed to pale. Her expression become tighter as if she was holding all her emotions in but I could see she was upset and distressed. She turned away, collecting herself.

‘Fine. I’ll take it for my Millie then. I’ll keep it till she’s a bit older though,’ I added.

I looked back at the dollhouse. It was a fine thing, modelled on famous Victorian ones but made more cheaply. Red brick wall paper covered the outside, only curling a little at the corners, the window frames were white but held clouded glass panes and the chimney was wobbly.

Two doors opened to reveal the inside which was divided into 4 floors then seven different rooms by staircases in the middle. The ground floor had a kitchen and servants’ bedroom. The next floor had a grand living room on the left with a fancy dinning room on the right. The third floor had a master bedroom to the right and a double children’s bedroom on the left. At the top, was an attic children’s playroom.

All the rooms were made of dark wood – walls and floor, some of which was covered by patterned wallpaper and rugs. The pretend Victorian furniture looked original and complete, sitting in the rooms I expected the pieces to be in. There were seven dolls; a butler, a cook, a maid, a gentleman, a lady, a boy and girl. They were all dressed in faded clothes and made of china.

‘You can’t,’ Alex said in a shaky voice, ‘I want it gone. Into the skip now!’

I sighed and fought back arguing, it wasn’t worth it, ‘I’ll get Michael to move it later. It’s too heavy for me.’

Closing the dollhouse’s doors, I moved on to helping my sister sorting through things. The dolls and their house lingered in my mind and when our husbands turned up at the end of the day, I had mine packed the dollhouse into our car with some other of things. I made sure to keep Alex busy so she didn’t see him taking it.

At home, we put the dollhouse and everything else in the spare bedroom to be sorted for later. Sitting before the house, I opened the doors and looked at the little dolls. They could almost be Victorian originals but I knew nothing about that. I carefully arrange them in the rooms they most fitted in; the cook and butler in the kitchen, the lady and gentleman in the living room, the maid making the beds, the children in the playroom attic. Wondering all the time why my sister had just wanted to get rid of it.

The next day, we were back in the attic again and I just had to ask her why.

‘What was with the dollhouse yesterday?’ I asked over a pile of cardboard boxes we were opening.

Alex was quiet then she said, ‘you took it home didn’t you?’

I pressed my lips together and pretended to be busy writing a label ‘glass’ to put on the box before me.

‘It’s fine. It doesn’t matter,’ Alex replied, sadly.

‘Tell me,’ I responded, ‘is it haunted?’

‘No…really, it has nothing to do with the dolls’ house.’

I waited, wanting to break the silence but knowing she needed the chance to open up.

Slowly, Alex began, ‘Before you were born, mum was sick and dad was away with the army. Uncle agreed to look after me and I moved in for a few months. His and wife daughter had long moved out but since he couldn’t bear being in her bedroom, I was put into the spare.’

Her words sparked something familiar; a family story I had heard before about the time our mum was ill in hospital. Alex had been eight then and there had been no one else to look after her.

‘I don’t know why I did it, but one night I couldn’t sleep, so I went into our cousin’s bedroom,’ Alex picked up, ‘I saw the dollhouse and was so drawn to it, I flung open the doors and began playing with the dolls. Uncle found me and he was…so angry…He took me over his knees and lifted my nightdress. He beat me with a slipper. I cried and cried. Then he dragged me out and threw me back into bed.’

‘That’s horrible! I gasped, ‘you told right?’

Alex shook. Her head was down and partly turned away from me. She was quietly sobbing. In the gloom, it as hard to tell if she was crying or not yet. Her hands were wrapped around something; a piece of cloth?

‘The next night, he came into my bedroom, saying how sorry he was. He hugged me and then he started…’ Alex dragged in a deep breath, ‘touching me…it felt wrong, I struggled against him but there was nothing I could do. He said he’d make me feel better. That everything would be okay….’

I bite my lip and tried to reach through the boxes before us, but my sister was just out of touch. She didn’t seem to care though. She was lost to her past thoughts now.

Alex wiped her face and carried on, ‘he told me to keep quiet about it. No one would listen to me anyway, mum was dying. So, I didn’t say anything and he got into bed with me often after that. As praise, he let me play with his daughter’s toys but I found no joy in them. I never told anyone, not even when dad came home and mum got better. Then you arrived and everything changed.’

‘You should have told someone,’ I growled, balling my fists.

Alex rubbed her eyes and stood up. I hurried to my feet too and crossed the distance between us. We hugged tightly.

‘It doesn’t matter now. He’s gone and so have mum and dad,’ Alex uttered.

‘But…’ I trailed, she was right, what could be done now?

‘I can finally move on,’ Alex cut back in, ‘that’s all that matters now.’

 

(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2018/02/16/first-line-friday-february-16th-2018/ with thanks).