Full Moon

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I lay shivering and bloody on the floor of the forest, catching my breath. Around me, the full moon night was shouting with sounds but I could now only hear half of them. I tried to focus on the moon and saw it coming in to sharper focus as well as the dusting of stars around it. I breathed deeply, smelling the pine and soil, the scent of animals and plants, but my nose was not as keen as it had been before.

I got up shakily on two legs. It always took me a good few minutes to get use to the change. I lent my hands on a tree trunk for support then when I was ready I walked out of the dense part of the forest. I headed for an old rangers’ hut that I had made into my shelter on these nights. It was too dangerous to remain the forest in this form.

I struggled through the darkness, only finding my way because I had walked this so many times before. Also, I had marked the trees with cuts which I could feel with my fingers to direct me.

I let myself into the wooden hut and turned on the light switch. A single bulb pinged on and the room lit up. There was a chair, a desk, a bed, shelves, a little kitchen area and a fire place. I took a poncho from the bed and slipped it on. It would keep this fur-less body warm.

Going to the kitchen, I checked there was enough bottled water and canned food. I always felt hungry in this form, but I had to be careful with what I could get. Trips to the camping grounds and the nearest towns were long and I often spent all night searching for things. I didn’t feel like all that walking tonight.

I went to the shelves and looked at the things I had collected there; a few books I couldn’t read, shinny stones, broken ornaments, a map, a compress and a few other trinkets. Some had been here already but the rest I had brought back with me. I took down a large book, it was falling apart, so I was gentle with it.

Setting it on the desk, I sat down and began turning the pages. There were coloured photos and drawings of animals. With what I guessed was information about them alongside. I went to the section further at the back and looked at a few pictures there. Finally, I turned to the one that I knew was me.

I sighed and touched the main photo of the grey wolf. Then I feel into wondering like I always do. Why was I cursed with this change every full moon? And why did it take this human form? Could I not be a bird or another animal?

Shutting my eyes I tried as I’d done countless times to turn into something else or even back into a wolf. But nothing happened. I had no power over this body. Closing the book, I put it back on the shelf and sat back on the bed.

I’d have to wait this out, just like I normally did on staying in nights. I lay down and dreamt of running with my pack.

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Ghost House

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The house stood alone at the end of the street and I stood before it, just taking it in. It was a small home, a two up two down as those types of houses were known. Once and I’d have not have noticed this if I hadn’t looked it up, the house had been an end terrace place and built for the local cotton mill workers. Now, it was standing alone, surrounded by a wire fence hung with signs that said danger, keep out.

The front garden was overgrown and looked like a meadow. Totally, strange in the middle of this town were even a large patch of grass was sacred. This estate was almost through being done up and most of the houses had been demolished and rebuilt. but this one, stood alone, looking highly unwelcoming and yet begging someone to go in and discovery why it had been left out.

I looked closer and saw the front door was slightly a jar as if someone had just nipped back in. The door number, letter box, bell and knocker had been taken off as if the resident was desperate to be left alone. The four windows – two close by the door and two above them were not board up, though at one time they had been. The glass was broken in one of the downstairs’ windows and half broken in the top one opposite. The rest of the house was in shadows and as it was quickly becoming night, the house looked even more dark.

I unzipped my large fleece coat and withdrew my camera. Carefully, looking around, I saw no one about and heard nothing other then the wind and a dog barking. I turned the camera on and saw a ghostly like reflection of my face before pointing it towards the house. I took some photos, one after the other, not really bothering to be artistic. This wasn’t that kind of photo shoot.

With another quick glance around, I walked off the street and down the side. My shoulder and rucksack brushed against the wire and made a zinging sound. I side stepped a little, but didn’t want to loose my footing in the other grown grass. Halfway past, I stopped and took some more photos then carried on.

The back of the house was in worse state then the front. The garden was too overgrown and was pushing hard against the fence. I looked for a way in and found nothing. Letting my camera rest against my neck, I dug out my small torch and wire cutters. Timing the clips with the dog barking, I chopped my way into the fence.

Squeezing through, I felt myself sinking into wet earth. Moving fast, I came to stand in the back garden on more solid ground. Looking up in the dim light, I could see that the back looked the same as the front; a door and four windows. These windows though were board up and so was the back door.

Pulling a face, I put my things away and took a few photos. I looked at the small screen, but saw nothing of interested yet. Of course, I was torn between hoping to see the ghost and hoping not. I believed in all that un-dead stuff, but this place and it’s story was something I couldn’t get my head around. That’s why I had to see it for myself and experience it too.

Slowly, I walked down the other side and towards the front door. Once there, I give the door a shove and slipped in. I stepped away from the crack of streetlight bleeding in and turned on my torch. The hallway was bare, but covered with rubbish. Teenagers had been using this house to hang out in. There were tins of food, cans of drink, cig ends and was that a needle?

Shuddering, I shook it off and tried not to think about what could have happened recently in this house. I took some photos, finding comfort in the weight of my camera. I shuffled down the hall and into the first room. My torch picked out a broken sofa before a fireplace. There was a collection of ashes and rubbish spilling from the grate. I circled the room, taking only a few photos.

Then I left and crossed into the next. My torch picked out the corpses of books and newspapers. There were beer tins and food wrappers. Two chairs sat facing each other on either side of a low table, which was covered with burn marks and wax. I took photos of it all. More then just teenagers skipping school and hiding from their parents had been hanging out here.

I stepped back into the hallway and froze. Something was moving above me. I looked then shone my torch on the buckling staircase. The noise was shuffling; bare feet on wooden boards trying to go unnoticed. I felt a lump in my throat and a twisting knot in my stomach. Was someone alive in the house beside from me?

Unable to bring myself to call out, I walked upstairs. Gently, I went through the two bedrooms and the bathroom. The rooms had all but been ripped out. I found some fitted shelves still in place in the front bedroom and a broken book in the middle of the room. The second bedroom was in worse state with graffiti on the walls and burn marks on the floor. And the bathroom….everything had been taken out, even the wall tiles.

There was no one up here.

I checked for an attic hatch, thinking that maybe someone could’ve gone up there, but I didn’t spot one. I went back to the second bedroom and found a good spot to sit on the floor. It was in one of the corners, so at least I had my back to something. It was pitch black though and I switched out my torch for the camping lantern I had brought with me.

The crying came as a little soft, hushed sound. It was childlike and almost trying to go undetected. In the silence of the house I heard it too loudly. The hairs stood up on my arms and back of my neck. I rose my camera and began taking photos. The crying grow and changed into a wail. Now it sounded like a old woman in pain and distress.

I stayed still, watching and waiting, sometimes taking photos. A few times I suddenly remembered to breath and dragged in freezing lungfuls of air. I felt a pain in my chest and legs, then the wailing switched to crying and screaming. The noise echoed all around me and I couldn’t pin it down. The floor and wall vibrated, causing the urge to flee to kick in.

I held out and took more photos, not caring how they looked, just desperate to capture the thing making all the noise. Finally, I found my voice and yelled out, ‘I know what they did to you Dorothea! I want to help you, come to me!’

My words faded, mingling with the screams. I licked my lips and spoke again, ‘your family disowned you and left you here to rot. You cursed them! But the curse also trapped you!’

Something flickered at the doorway. A shadow? A shape of light? Frantically, I snapped photos one handed whilst the fingers of my other hand scrapped across the floor. My whole body was shaking, I just wanted to get out and run far away.

‘Dorothea! Show yourself to me!’ I screamed.

There! A figure in the doorway for sure! I clicked the camera button hard so many times I thought my finger might break. For all I know it could have done because my body had now frozen solid to the floor. I felt myself losing conciseness. I wrestled against it and tried to move. I couldn’t though, my limbs felt too heavy and brain was going into overdrive. You won’t run from the danger, so you’ll black out from it!

I screamed, trying to get myself out and awake my body up, but it was too late. I felt my eyes closing and my back slumming. Right before I lost it though, I saw her; Dorothea, the gypsy witch, standing over me.

When I came too the house was silent. My body ached all over. I got up, un-sticking myself from my camera and the wall. Pins and needles ran down my arms and legs, my feet felt so cramped I didn’t think I could ever walk on them again. Somehow, though I found I was able to stand and begin moving like a crippled dog.

I made it out of the house and back on to the street. There in the growing dawn light, I used the last of my camera battery to view the photos. It was the last handful I become interested in. Was that the corner of a dress in the doorway? The outline of fingers? A face appearing out of the gloom?

It was too hard to tell, but perhaps….perhaps there was something there…..

Outside

Red Leaf Tress Near the Road

She wanted to go outside and walk through the falling leaves. She wanted to feel the wind full on her face and smell all of the earthy, autumn scents. Seeing everything from her window or the screen wasn’t the same. She needed to physically be there.

But she couldn’t.

This bed, this room, was her life now. She had no body, she was just a mind trapped within a rotting shell. And how much longer would she have to wait to be free? No one could tell her that.

She looked out of the window and tried hard to smell the nature. But someone had lit incense sticks again that was the only thing she could smell. She was sick of that and the scents of candles and flowers. She understand why they did it now; not to comfort her, but to comfort themselves from the hospital smells and her decaying flesh.

She longed for it all to go away and for her just to be outside walking barefoot through the woods. She shut her eyes and thought about the wind in the trees and the singing of birds. She could touch the tree trunks and walk in streams and mud, just like she use to do.

She sighed.

It felt like she would never go. Perhaps, that was her curse? To just carry on like this forever and each generation of her family having to care for her and go through the same emotions. Maybe, they’d get bored and just sign her care totally over to the hospital. Then either they would store her away in a freezer or some scientist, crazed with frame would find a cure and she could go outside again…

She wanted to know why it had happened to her. She must have done something wrong and being punished. But that didn’t make any sense. She had been good to the world, unlike so many people. She had chosen a quiet, animal and world friendly lifestyle. She had meditated, eaten right, helped everyone when they needed it and had never been selfish or needy herself. Surly that was how humans should be? Why would someone as good as her be punished with this crippling sickness?

She was too tried of trying the figure that out. It was something she tried to keep at bay, but with only her thoughts and imagination still in use, it was hard for her to keep away from that line of thought. Sometimes she would reflect on what the doctors, nurses and her family were saying, but most of the time it was the same things over and over again. It was easy for her to mute their words now, though she desperately craved them.

She looked at the window again and knew if she could cry she would do. When would she be back in mother’s natures arms and free of this hell?

Witchy

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When the witch left her house she only had one thing on her mind. Taking her broom up as high as she could, she flew by the full moon and the dark stormy clouds. Below her, everything looked tiny and unreal as if the trees and village were only models. However, she knew the people asleep in those houses and she hurried to land in the middle of the village square.

There beside the well, she cast the village under a curse for all time. Hating them for their cruelness against her and their unwelcome nature. She wove the spell into the water of the well, so that it would spread farther. Then taking to her broom once more, she dragged the spell through the midnight sky so that everything would be covered.