Car #fridayfictioneers

To keep the kids quiet during the six hour drive down to Cornwall, I put together activity bags for them. Of all the things to pick from first, they selected car bingo. So there was a lot of shouting as we all spotted things on the list.

That was until my husband yelled out, ‘dead rabbit!’

Silence fell. I shot him a look and turned to the kids. They were upset.

‘Who want’s a sweet?’ I asked loudly and grabbed a packet.

That quickly helped everyone to forget about dead things.

 

(Inspired from: https://rochellewisoff.com/2017/07/19/21-july-2017/ with thanks)

Messenger #writephoto

corvid in flight - Sue Vincent

Picking up the football which Micheal had kicked across the road, I looked up and saw a huge black bird in an nearby tree. I wasn’t sure what the bird was so I thought about the arrow diagram poster at school. Black and yellow and smallish; blackbird. All black with a grey beak; rook. Sooty black and cries loudly; crow.

‘It’s a raven that is,’ Michael said over my shoulder.

I jumped because I didn’t know he was there. I turned and pulled a face at him.

‘How do you know?’ I pouted.

‘Because I’ve seen them at the Tower of London,’ he replied.

I stuck my tongue out at him. He didn’t seem to notice and carried on talking.

‘They say if all the ravens leave the tower then England falls.’

‘What does this mean?’ I asked.

‘Don’t know,’ Michael shrugged.

We both watched the raven then with a large caw sound, it flapped its large wings and took off.

‘My granny says ravens are the messengers of witches,’ Michael added.

‘Messengers of witches?’ I repeated to myself.

He looked at me as if he knew I didn’t believe what his granny said.

‘It’s true,’ he snapped, ‘a witch tells a raven to bring her ingredients for potions and to communicate with other witches.’

‘I thought they had cats,’ I answered slowly.

‘They do, but ravens are better. They are ancient and know old magic,’ Micheal added.

I wanted to ask him if he really believed in all of this. We were too old for fairy tales but still young enough to think that supernatural people were real.

‘Maybe he’s come to take you away,’ Michael spoke in a ghoulish voice.

I shivered. hating how he stretchered the words and made his voice drip with creepiness.

‘Ravens can’t kidnap people!’ I snapped.

‘No, but they can find people who have the potential to become witches and led the head witch to them.’ Michael explained.

I pushed the ball into his chest, shoving him backwards. He was bigger and older then me but he wasn’t expecting it so stumbled back.

‘That’s so not true! A bird is just a bird And there are no witches!’ I shouted and stormed off.

I ran home which was only a few streets away. I didn’t know why I suddenly felt upset about what he had said until I saw the raven again. He was sitting on the left gate post of my house fence.

‘Hi,’ I said shyly.

He was a huge bird up close and his beak looked sharp. He put his head to one side, cawed more softly then before and jumped into my front garden. I opened the gate and watched him hopping up the path to the front door.

And that was the day my life changed…

(Inspired from; https://scvincent.com/2017/07/13/thursday-photo-prompt-messenger-writephoto/ with thanks.)

Gigil (Part 2) #atozchallenge

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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?

Gigil (Part 1) #atozchallenge

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Gigil; The urge to squeeze something that is unbearably cute. 

My two children pressed their faces against the front window of the pet shop. I was too tried and weighed down with shopping bags to shoo them on. The Land Rover was just a few more cars up in the parking bays. I walked over and around to lower the bags to the floor next to the boot.

I dug in my handbag for my keys, my eyes straying to keep an eye on the girl and boy still standing at the window. I opened the boot and put everything in, making sure things wouldn’t be squished on the ride home. Closing the boot, I walked back around.

‘Come on, Ava, Tyler,’ I called.

‘But mummy! Look at the bunnies!’ Ava shouted back.

‘No. Come on now,’ I said sterner.

‘Sophie’s getting one for Easter. Can we have one? We never get anything,’ Ava whined.

‘No and you get lots of things. Now come on!’

Ava give shake of her long blonde hair and turned back to the window.  Tyler had his hands pressed to the glass and seemed fixated.

I stomped over and scooped him up. He’d only just turned five, but he was small and thin. A fussy eater and an insomniac with little interest in things other then watching the TV. Tyler wiggled to get comfy then settled into my arms. He’d thrown a tantrum in the supermarket and was now tried.

‘Look, Mummy,’ Ava picked up, ‘they are just so fluffy and cute!’

I looked, just to indulge her. There were three glass boxes in the window at child eye level. Inside the middle box were four baby rabbits. They were small and light brown, a few had darker patches, they all had black eyes and twitching pink noses. Their small ears were straight up and they were hopping around, doing rabbit things.

A label above them read; New In! Baby rabbits for sale. £20

Looking more into the shop, I saw the glass box on the right was empty; the sawdust clean for another animal. The box on the left contained another rabbit; he was alone, grey and blueish in colour and bigger then the babies. I looked over at the poster above him. Rehoming, Male adult dwarf rabbit. Two years old, suitable with neutered rabbits, older children only. £10.

‘Can we go in?’ Ava asked.

‘No. We have to go home. Tyler needs a nap now and there’s too many things I need to do,’ I said.

‘But I want to touch one!’

‘No, I said!’

She was only going to get more attached if we went in. I reached for her hand and when she didn’t take mine, I picked up her hand. I tugged her away and reluctantly Ava sulked after me.

To Be Continued…

The Gold Family

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I woke up suddenly from a collection of bad thoughts that had leaked into my mind. The pale peach ceiling which I had always hated, met my eyes and my nose was so close to it. Realising this, I had drifted upwards again, I rolled over and floated back down.

Hovering above the bed, I tried to make my floating form conform to the curled up position I had always liked to be in. I couldn’t feel the blankets or pillows under me, yet with a lot of contraction, I could move them around with my energy.

Settling as best I could, I looked across at my husband, he was resting soundlessly. I wondered what he was thinking about. Listening, I couldn’t hear the children, so I guess they were resting too. The blinds were down on the windows so I couldn’t see what it was like outside. There was a clock on the bedside table, but I disliked looking at it. Time was meaningless.

However, we couldn’t do much in the daytime. An energy reversal seemed to have happened. Once we had gotten energy from sleep, food and the sun, now we could only get energy from darkness and live animals. Though there wasn’t a lot we could do with the energy. Yes, we could move things and make noises, but I couldn’t clean or leave the house!

I don’t know how we’d all ended up like this to be honest. Maybe, it was a curse or punishment? I didn’t like to spend a lot of time thinking about it. Instead, I tried to carry on as normal, even though that was impossible, but still we had to keep going somehow.

My husband stirred then sat up. He drifted to the bathroom and I listened to him swearing as he remembered he couldn’t do anything.

I got up and tried to straighten the bed though it was in vain. In the background, the children’s voices could be heard and the sound of the clockwork lullaby played. The floor creaked with their footsteps and laughter drifted down the hall. They went downstairs and tested their energy on whatever they could.

Some nights we were stronger and other nights we were weaker. The oldest child had been keeping a record of this, but it she’d long forgotten it now. I heard them turning on and off the TV and radio. There was also the flicking of the hallway light switch and the ping of the microwave. All sounds that had once filled our house and been so normal to us all.

My husband came back in and defeated, lay on the bed again.

‘What will happen when a new family move in?’ I asked.

‘I don’t know,’ he sighed, ‘maybe they won’t.’

‘Someone’s bound to!’ I cried.

He mumbled something and curled up tighter into a ball.

Grumpily, I left him to it and want down to join the children. They were in the living room, messing with the TV. I drifted on to the sofa and watched then turning the channels. They were exhausted soon enough and settled around me to watch cartoons.

I couldn’t stop thinking about what would happen when someone brought the house. Surely someone knew what had happened to us. What if they didn’t though? I tried not to think about that. It didn’t make sense, someone – a family member, friend or neighbour had sorted things out now. Too much time had passed for it not too.

The children went outside to play. Though it was very little play, just the moving of a ball back and forth and the rocking of the swing set. I watched them from the kitchen window, just like I use to. Then I went up to see my husband. He was still as I had left him.

‘Why don’t you go outside and play with the kids?’ I suggested.

He uttered something, then got up and drifted through the floor as if it wasn’t there.

I potted around the bedroom, touching things I had once loved; jewellery, books, dresses, DVDs. Things I missed so much and never really taken for granted. I sighed and looked out of the window. I couldn’t see anything. Just the blackness that seemed to have engulfed us.

I knew it was going to happen one day. It happens to us all, I just didn’t expect it to be like this.

Empty Swing

There was one swing in the playground that no one ever sat on. Sometimes flowers, teddy bears and cards decorated the swing then were gone. Despite all the stories, one stood out the most; a little girl fell off the swing to her death. But no one knew the truth for sure.

Horizon #writephoto

horizon

The horizon didn’t look like anything Peaches had imagined it to be. She had thought it was going to bright and colourful, like in the old photos and film reals she had seen, instead though it was a dull blue-grey.

‘Not the promises I was led to believe,’ she muttered.

She lent her too thin body forward and rested her chin on her knees. Her arms were tightly wrapped behind her knees, keeping the long wool skirt in place and stopping the strong breeze from getting in.

Around her all the children and some of the adults from the Church Of The Redeemed Evangelists were splashing in the salty water or playing in the sand or exploring the rocks and caves. Cries of delight but also screams of pain could be heard amongst the babble of voices.

Peaches ignored them all, feeling tried and empty of the hope she had been holding in for so long.

‘What’s wrong with you?’ a sharp female voice asked.

With only moving her eyes, Peaches looked up and realised she wasn’t the one being addressed. Before her was a small woman, wearing the clothes of a Senior Sister; a long black dress which completely covered her body and a black head dress with a grey trim. Next to her was a small girl with blonde hair in a blue wool dress who was crying and rubbing her face.

‘My eyes hurt!’ the girl cried.

‘I knew this trip to the surface world would bring nothing but troubles,’ the Senior Sister spoke loudly, ‘and what have you learnt out here? Nothing. It would have been better to remain in the Temple. Come along, child. We shall wash your face.’

Peaches watched the Senior Sister taking the girl’s hand and leading her away to the little camp set up in a sheltered spot. There were two other Sisters sat there and from their clothes Peaches could tell they were Mothers, the highest of the female order.

‘I don’t want that to be my fate,’ Peaches whispered.

She looked at the horizon again, it still seemed bleak. However, there could only be freedom on the other side.

Peaches cast a long look around then slowly got up. She made as if she was just walking along the rough sand. Finally, though she was out of sight and trying to figure out how she could reach her horizon.

 

 

(Inspired by a prompt from; https://scvincent.com/2017/03/09/thursday-photo-prompt-horizon-writephoto. With thanks).

Flames

flame

The flames grew, becoming brighter and warmer. Shepard shivered and huddled closer to the fire. Outside, the rain was really coming down now and the wind was hitting the countryside with force. The old, abandoned farmhouse rattled and creaked around him. Strangely though, he found comfort in all the noise.

Finally, shedding out of his soaking clothes, Shepard hung his things on the drying rack. Despite everything, most of the furniture had survived and the house appeared close enough to his memories. He hated that though as it made everything come into sharper focus.

Sitting in his underpants, he feed the fire some more wood and watched the flames. Even though he tried hard not to think about it, the memories swelled like an incoming sea. How many times had he sit by this fireplace as a boy? Too many.

Shepard shivered again, but not because he was cold. The flood gates had opened and for a few moments he was transported into the past.

Shadows danced across the wall in the farmhouse’s living room. The flames of the fire, the only light source in the room was unable to fight the shadows off. However, nothing seemed to be bothering the little boy and smaller girl who were playing with a hand carved Noah’s Arc set. They laughed as they lined the animals up two by two and made them all enter the big wooden boat.

Then though from the kitchen came sounds of raised voices. The children stopped, falling silent to listen. The voices grew, though they couldn’t make the muffled words out. A thumping as skin connected with skin rang out and the voices stopped.

The girl began to cry. Her older brother held her close but not to comfort her. It was to quieten her sobs, so they would avoid getting beaten too.

Shepard shook his head and brought himself out of his past. Grumbling, the urge to leave again grew, but he fought it away.

‘It’s only an old house,’ he uttered, ‘nothing here now.’

He felt his drying clothes. They were too wet still to put back on. He tossed more wood onto the fire, not caring that the stack was getting low. If needed there were other things he could burn.

He glanced around and spotted a knitted patchwork blanket draped on the sofa. Getting up, he shuffled across the floor and tugged it off. Wrapping the blanket over his shoulders, he took a deep breath and smelt dust. Pushing the edge of the blanket into his nose, he sniffed the wool, but couldn’t smell anything else.

Shepard saw a flash of his mother. She was sit on the sofa, knitting a blanket which humped over her big belly containing his then unborn sister. Her hair was dark and she was wearing a brown dress and slippers. Her face and arms were covered in old and new bruises. She was humming something as her needles clacked together then she was gone, back into the shadows of the past.

‘Don’t think about,’ Shepard whispered.

He stared hard into the flames, hoping they would burn the memories away.

It was too late though and just like the opening of Pandora’s box everything escaped.

Shepard sucked in a deep breath as imagines, thoughts and feelings tumbled by. Thankfully, he soon arrived at the last memory he had of the farmhouse. He saw himself, a young teenager sat in his mother’s bedroom. She was gone, fled in the night just as she had often threatened under her breath.

He looked out of the window and saw the little cross that marked his sister’s grave in the back garden. She had only been seven. He had dug that small hole himself only a few days ago whilst his sobbing mother had clung to the dirty sheet wrapped body. He had wanted to kill his father then but his mother held him back. Now though, there was nothing stopping him…

Shepard let it all go with a shaky exhale. Just the thought of all that blood again made him feel sick. He reached for his clothes and even though they were damp, he put them on. Gathering his things, he got up and after a few moments of debate tossed the knitted blanket away.

Holding onto the warm of the fire, he walked out of the farmhouse and back into the storm. It was better, he decided, to be out here then inside with all those ghosts.

 

(Inspired by a prompt at; https://scvincent.com/2017/02/09/thursday-photo-prompt-flame-writephoto/)

Tree Man (Part 2)

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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.

Tree-man (Part 1)

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Poppy was just about to wipe away the drawing on her new mini whiteboard when her mum walked into the living room.

‘Time for bed,’ mum said.

Poppy looked up with a frown. She wasn’t feeling tried, even though the fire had made the living room really warm.

‘You’ll get wrinkles if you frown like that. Come on now,’ mum added.

Putting down the whiteboard and pens, Poppy got up and headed out of the room.

‘What was that you were drawing?’ her mum asked as they went upstairs.

‘It was a Christmas tree, but it turned out wrong. So I made it into a tree-man,’ Poppy explained.

‘Oh okay. Go brush you teeth then get your nightie on. I need to check on Oscar.’

Poppy nodded and went into the bathroom whilst mum crept into the baby’s room.

As she brushed her teeth, Poppy thought about the tree-man. He hadn’t turned out how she had wanted either. Maybe tomorrow she’d have another go at drawing a Christmas tree.

Teeth clean, she got changed and into bed. The last of the fire’s warmth left her and Poppy felt cold. Wrapping herself up, she had made a nest when her mum appeared at the door.

‘Would you like a story?’

‘No,’ Poppy said, ‘I’m tried.’

Nodding her mum went to close the door then added, ‘I’ll send your dad up to say goodnight when he gets back.’

‘Okay,’ Poppy muttered.

She settled down and shut her eyes. Poppy lay still for a good few minutes, letting thoughts come and go. Then she threw back the duvet and got out of bed. Slowly, she opened the door and looked out. The light from her parents’ room was on and the door was almost closed.

Poppy sneaked out and went downstairs as quietly as she could. Going into the living room, she found it dark and lit only by the last glow of the fire. Poppy made her away around and found the whiteboard and pens. Picking them up, she took them back to bed with her.

Wrapped up again and with the night light on, Poppy looked at the whiteboard. The tree-man was gone. Frowning, she turned it over, but found the other side empty too. Raising the board above her head, she looked down at the bed. There was a strange green, spiky looking stick figure on the fleece blanket.

Poppy dropped the board on to the floor.

The stick figure let out a small cry and turned around.

A scream escaped Poppy’s mouth and her bedroom door flew open.

‘What is it? What’s wrong?’ her mum said loudly.

‘There was a…thing…’ Poppy cried.

She scrambled from the bed and looked through all the blankets. There was no sign of the green spiky stick man.

‘It was just a dream,’ mum said.

Poppy went to argue with her, but thought better about it. She let her mum help her remake the bed, then Poppy got in and lay down again.

‘Goodnight,’ her mum said and left.

‘Night,’ Poppy called after her.

As soon as her mum had gone, Poppy lent out of bed and picked up the whiteboard. It was still empty on both sides.

‘Where are you?’ she whispered.

‘Here!’ a small voice cried.

Poppy grabbed the night light and shone it on the floor. Crawling out from underneath the bed was the tree-man she had drawn. His body was three thin green triangles on top of one another. His legs were long and his feet flat. His arms and hands were the same, but he had long fingers. His head was made of a smaller triangle with large black eyes in the middle and there was a fuzzy green outline all around him.

‘What are you?’ Poppy breathed.

‘Tree-man,’ he replied and he give her a wave.

‘How did you come off the whiteboard?’ Poppy asked.

‘No idea,’ Tree-man replied.

He wandered across the room and stopped at the large teddy bear which guarded the foot of Poppy’s bed. He reached out and poked the bear’s foot pad with a long spiky finger.

‘He’s not alive,’ Poppy said as she slipped out of the bed.

‘He is,’ Tree-man spoke, ‘you just can’t see it.’

With a nod to the bear, he moved on and began climbing the curtains.

‘What are you doing?’ Poppy asked.

‘I want to see the Christmas lights,’ he answered.

Reaching the window sill, he went behind the curtains.

Puzzled, Poppy pulled back the curtains to make a gap of her head. She looked out and saw the house across from her light up by white lights. There was a small deer in the garden and the two small bushes by the door were sparkling with flashing fairy lights.

‘It’s so pretty,’ Tree-man said.

‘Yes,’ Poppy replied.

‘We should go out and see more.’

‘No,’ we can’t! It’s night time and I’m not allow too,’ Poppy explained.

Tree-man looked at her reflection in the window, his expression unreadable because she hadn’t given him a detailed face.

‘I’m going back to bed. It’s cold,’ Poppy announced.

She closed the curtains and went back to bed. Settling down, she ignored the sounds coming from by her window. Then though, she felt a blast of freezing air. Tossing the bedding back, she got up once again and went to the window.

One of the top windows was open and Tree-man was nowhere to be seen…

 

To Be Continued…