Trip #100WW

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He wouldn’t have liked his strangers going through his things and putting them on display. He was a private, independent and adventurous young man with a quiet talent. Those strangers probably thought they were doing a good thing; does anyone recognise this bag and contents? Handed to police (in random country). It only made me more heartbroken though because it meant he had truly gone. He wouldn’t leave his things like that. I suppose I should be happy to get them back but I’d rather it had been him instead.         

(Inspired from; https://bikurgurl.com/2017/11/08/100-word-wednesday-week-44 with thanks.)

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Remembering

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Seeing the quiet French field it was strange to think it had once been so different. The black and white photos in my little book were prove of that though. Once there was only disturbed mud and bodies, the green landscape lost forever. And of course, it hadn’t been quiet; the air had shook with deafening gunfire, shouting and the moans of the dying.

Sitting in the wheelchair which had now become my life, I clutched my book and the woollen blanket in my lap. I shut my eyes and was back there straight away, walking through the smoke. The trench was slick with running mud and rain was tumbling from a dark grey sky. I stepped over a body, a twisted mangle shape that had once been a living man. He seemed half sunk into the mud, face down. I carried on, so use to the sight it just seemed normal now.

My feet were leading the way as the rest of me was numb. I entered one of the shelters and sunk down into a damp camp bed. I didn’t know if this was my place but it didn’t matter. I think there was someone else in the bed above me, sleeping. Without taking anything off, I lay down and feel asleep.

My wish was never to wake up again but each time I did.

Opening my wet eyes, those imagines stayed with me. Bad shakes racked through my body. Someone was saying something but in that moment I had forgotten there were other people with me. None of them had been there, so they’d never understand what it was truly like.

View

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He’d always liked watching the sea so it seemed only fitting for us to bury him there.

The Last Letter

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Dear Lucy,

The sickness is growing, I can feel it and if you’ve found this letter it means the time has finally come. I’m now too sick to sick to talk to you. I’ve gone to my bedroom and will die in my bed. Don’t bother coming to see me, there’s no point. My life has been so empty from the beginning that it only seems fitting that I should die alone now.

I’m trusting everything to you. Underneath this letter is the envelope containing my will. Only you and I know about how I live and that what people say about me isn’t true. I want you to up hold that imagine of me though; the quiet, yet social writer and artist. Who attend a different party or grand opening or some other important event every evening. Who’s house was always full with friends and he slept with different women each night. The too kind, mysterious, rich young man I wish I’d been in my youth.

Please carry on writing my ideas and books for me. You were always so good with new technology. I made it so in my will that you were able to write under my pseudonym, that way you can carry on perfecting your craft. You’ll make a great writer someday and finally be able to step out of my shadow.

I’m sorry to have to leave you like this. You have been like the wife and daughter, I daydreamed about having. I feel I should give you more but you already have my name and career in your hands, so what else can there be?

Good luck.

Here

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It was here on these benches that we sat together. Talking, laughing, kissing. I can still feel you every time I sit here. Nothing has changed; people still walk by, birds peck the ground, the seasons come and go. It’s autumn now, your favourite time of the year. You use to kick leaves, even though people stared. We’d drink hot chocolate and re-live our childhoods.

I still remember that as if it was yesterday, though years have past now. Sometimes when I come to sit here, I talk to you. I tell you about the grandchildren, about the holidays our kids took me on and about dear friends who are sick. I know people pause even if I don’t see them and I know in their minds they are wondering if I’m okay. Dementia has everyone on the edge.

I don’t have it. I just miss you so much. We use to say our lives were nothing without each other and how can we survive without being together? Those were just sweet things lovers say but I know the truth of those words now. Despite wanting to watch our grandchildren grow up, I don’t want to be without you anymore.

I’m ready to see you again now.

Jump

14 John Robinson 17 September 2017

There were flowers on the bridge again. I noticed them on my way to work. It seemed to be the way around here and everyone knew what they meant so no questions were ever asked.

I’d never seen anyone jump. I heard they did it at night so there was less chance of them being stopped. I didn’t understand it. What could make people decided to do that? Only they could answer, for only they knew what was in their heads.

I went to church and learnt it was the Devil that made people jump. Walking over the bridge the next day, I stopped and looked over the wall. Below the murky waters flowed, looking as inviting sewage. And yet, I felt drawn. It looked so calm down there and so peaceful, not like the madness of this city. You work or you die!

You jump and live…..

 What was that voice? Where had it come from?

Why did I feel the urge to climb the wall?

Be Free! Jump!

I was climbing up. I was dropping my things, taking off my coat. People were gasping, shouting. The wind felt so good on my face. My feet were leaving the wall.

I wanted to be free.

 

(Inspired by; https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2017/09/17/sunday-photo-fiction-september-17th-2017/ with thanks).

Yellow Day

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It was an overcast morning. The sky was blanketed with heavy strange orange-yellow-grey glowing clouds. Watching them from my study window, I could tell it was going to rain soon. I had been so engrossed in my work on my latest historical book for the last two hours that I hadn’t bothered to turn on the overhead lights or even to look up from my computer screen. If I had done maybe I would have noticed the odd clouds sooner or maybe I wouldn’t have noticed them at all.

Standing up from my chair, slowly so that my old body could take the movement and weight. I hobbled over to the window, leaving my walking stick by my desk. My view changed and I saw those yellow-orange-grey clouds above the roofs of houses and tree tops. Everything looked damp as it had rained before but I’d not noticed. A light wind was blowing the tree branches and the fallen leaves about in a lazy manner. Beside from that everything else looked still.

I frowned at the sky and wonder what was with those clouds. I’d never seen such a strange color. It was if they had been tinted by washed out sunlight or some poisonous toxin. They give off a depressing doom feeling, not like in a horror movie but more a tragic play. Little flecks of rain began to fall, like tiny snowflakes, almost invisible.

A chill went over my skin, rising the flesh in knobbly bumps. Feeling the stiffness growing in my legs, I moved and walked around my small study. The two walls either side were lined with bookcases, holding God only knew how many books. My desk was in the middle and the closed door in the wall opposite the window. Reaching the desk, I lent on it, feeling the aches I had come to know so well ebbing into my limbs.

The phone rang. The shrill crying breaking through my thoughts and pain. I answered it with a shaking hand and breathed deeply down the line.

‘Dad? It’s Emerald. Are you okay?’ my daughter’s voice echoed over the phone.

‘Yes,’ I answered, ‘just the arthritis again. I was sat too long,’ I replied.

Emerald tutted loudly as I shuffled over and sank into my chair. She was daughter number four and always the one who’d been most concerned about me out of the six. I could picture her rolling those sparkling green eyes which my late wife, Pearl, had named her after and fretting with her angel blonde hair. In the background, there were voices; the TV and her two children playing.

‘Listen. Please don’t go outside today,’ she pressed.

‘It does look little odd out there…’ I cut in, eyeing the window and the clouds.

‘The news said it was sand the hurricane winds are bring over from the Sahara. That’s why everything looks so orange-yellow and the air tastes strange,’ Emerald explained as if she was talking to a child.

‘Well, I guess they know more about this then I do. I didn’t have any plans to go out anyway,’ I added.

‘Do you need anything, dad? Do you have enough bottled water and food?’

I glanced around the study as if it could tell me.

‘I’ll go to the shops as soon as I’ve dropped the kids at school and get you somethings,’ Emerald spoke.

‘I guess that would be good of you, sweetheart.’

‘Okay. See you soon. I love you dad, bye.’

‘Bye, Emerald.’

We hung up and after a few seconds of staring at the phone, I got up and went to the window again. This time I took my stick and lent on it. Easing some of the pressure. I opened the window little and looked harder outside. What I thought had been rain before was actually bits of sand and Emerald hadn’t been wrong about the smell. It was hot and dry, like a beach only without the salty sea.

I had been to Egypt once with my parents when I was a child and as that memory came back to me, I decided that there were similarities between today and what it had been like there. I didn’t want to think about that anymore though, so I went back to my desk and found some news stories about storm.

After reading them, I put the PC to sleep and went downstairs, using the chair lift, I hated so much to get there. In the living room, I turned on the TV and opened the curtains. The same sky that had been upstairs greeted me. I turned on the two lamps then watched the news reports. I dozed off for a bit, feeling calm and warm in my favorite chair.

When Emerald arrived, she brought the storm in with her. I must have fully fallen asleep because the heavy rain beating down like fists and the whipping wind hadn’t disturbed me. It was Emerald’s voice shouting out to me above all of that and the creeping autumn cold, like Death’s fingers wrapping around my throat that woke me.

‘Dad? Dad? where are you?’

‘In here, pet,’ I answered.

There was a rustle of bags then she stuck her head around the door.

‘I’m fine,’ I waved her off then began to get up.

Emerald had made a second trip to her car and back to into the kitchen by the time I made it up and in there. She was already unpacking things and placing important items within easy reach.

‘It’s getting worse out there and everyone has gone crazy!’ Emerald said.

I nodded and pulled out a chair to sit down.

‘I got you some more soup and noddles. Theses dried fruits were on offer and two small loafs of bread. I’ll put one in the freezer for you.’

‘Your mother hated frozen bread,’ I muttered.

‘She also hated to be without a loaf,’ Emerald shot back then smiled at me, ‘do you want some tea and lunch?’

‘Yes. That would be nice.’

‘I asked Ruby and Sapphire to check in with you later. If they can’t drop in they’ll phone. Okay?’ Emerald asked.

I nodded, my thoughts going straight to daughters number two and five. It had been a week since I’d seen and spoken to Ruby and three days since Sapphire had called me. One of their birthdays was coming up soon, but I couldn’t remember which. Emerald would know. She had taken over her mother’s place in fussing over me and her sisters.

‘That’s all sorted now. Kettle on and cups, soup in and bread.’ Emerald said to herself.

‘Have you heard from Jade? Didn’t she go to the Sahara?’ I spoke out as the idea came to me. I hadn’t seen my oldest daughter in five years now since my wife’s funeral.

‘I think she did…’ Emerald paused then shrugged, ‘and it’s been a month now. I sent her a few emails and tried to call but she says signal is bad in that part of Australia.’

‘Or maybe that was Topaz,’ I thought aloud.

My third daughter, who lived in America with her husband and five children. They had come to visit two months ago.

‘Well, it wouldn’t have been Opal!’ Emerald came in with as she set two mugs of tea and a plate of toast on the table, ‘I went to see her the other day and she’s doing a lot better now. The doctors said she should be able to go home soon. Though to what I don’t know!’

I picked up my mug with a slight nod of my head. Opal’s life had been nothing but hell. The youngest of my girls she had set herself on a different path from the rest of them and became a drug addict and prostitute. I had written a book about her and it had done quiet well.

‘Maybe, she could move back in with you?’

I shook my head, ‘I like my space and my peace and quiet.’

‘But I worry about you. This house is too big for just you and you need someone to look after you more then ever now,’ Emerald pressed.

This was a conversation I was tried of and I had found it was best just to ignore the topic every time it was brought up. I drink my tea and ate my soup. Emerald filled the silence with chatter about her kids, husband, other family members. I sat in my other thoughts, often looking at the storm building up behind the kitchen window.

When my daughter left, I went back to the living room and put the gas fire on. It was too cold to sit without some warmth. I found a big book to read on Greek myths and legends and with the news on to keep me company and the storm trying to get my attention with it’s rage, I lost myself for awhile.

I must have fallen asleep because I woke slowly into a darken room. Blinking away the dim glow of the lamps, I looked about and checked I was still in the living room. The book was in my lap, the news was still on though the time had changed dramatically and outside I couldn’t see the storm because it was early evening and the rain was too splattered on the glass.

My body groaned and creaked with stiffness and pain, as I got up and went over to the fire place. Turning up the heat, I went around felt the radiators which were all on and warm. I went upstairs, struggled to put on another jumper over my first but managed to do it then went back downstairs. I made myself a large mug of tea and debated what to have for dinner.

Life has to go on in some way, storm or no storm.

 

(Inspired from; http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/orange-sky-storm-ophelia-sahara-13767164)

Glade #writephoto

As we tromped through the Japanese ‘suicide’ forest, I tried to remember what number this activity had been at on Robin’s bucket list. Somewhere around the middle maybe?

Scrambling over a large tree root, I pressed my hand into the mossy trunk of a tree and carried on following our Japanese guide. He was wearing a yellow high visible jacket and blue waterproof trousers. Though there was a lot to take in but my eyes were mostly on the ground. Also, I didn’t want to step on any more rotting clothes and human bones.

I looked back at Robin walking at the tail end of our small group with his wife, Tia, who he was talking too. It was hard to believe the doctors had given him only a year to now live. Robin seemed so full of life and excitement, a newly married twenty-six year old with everything to live for.

The loud snapping of branches brought my head up. Our guide was breaking his way through, cutting down things with his small sword. He said something quietly and I wasn’t sure what but then I saw it.

My hand flew to my mouth and I turned away, stumbling into Greg who’d been behind me.

‘Don’t look!’ I gasped out.

‘We’ll go around,’ the guide said in his American accented English.

‘Is it a body?’ Robin’s voice half-shouted.

Though I had my head buried in Greg’s shoulder and the imagine of the two bodies danging from the tree, I was aware of Robin pushing his way to the front to see.

‘Don’t go any further,’ the guide spoke.

‘I won’t,’ Robin answered.

I risked a peek over Greg’s shoulder and saw the others standing still, waiting. Robin was close to my right and he was looking up in wonder.

‘Let’s go,’ I uttered and took Greg’s hand so that we walked away together, ‘I wished we hadn’t come here.’

‘He’s facing death and he wants to see it first hand,’ Greg said and shrugged. Nothing seemed to bother him.

I stopped and took in a few deep breaths. I slide my hand from Greg’s and we waited for everyone to join us. Then we walked in silence until we reached a glade and set up camp for the night. I couldn’t sleep. That brief image haunted me but instead of those unknown faces, I saw Robin and Tia’s.

Tears soaked my cheeks and I broke into sobs. I couldn’t picture a world without Robin but it was one I’d soon be living in.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2017/10/05/thursday-photo-prompt-glade-writephoto/ with thanks).

Fall #SundayPhotoFiction

2012 09 September 24th 2017

The trees have already begun to change but it feels too warm for autumn. I walk in the park, kicking up some of the orange and brown leaves whilst in the background children play happily and dogs bark. I’ve always liked this season best, plus, Halloween is right there and I just love that!

In spring, summer and winter, people stand and stare at the girl all dressed in black, looking like she just got off the set of a horror film. It gets worse though when some realise the job I’ve come to do. No one really likes the touch of my hands, but they all have to face it some day.

In autumn, I can be myself and no one notices. I’m just accepted. Not that I’ve ever cared about that, I’m just me and I always will be, no matter how people see me. It’s just nice not to be stared at or to have whispers trailing you. I can fully embrace autumn which is something I can’t do with anything else.

 

(Inspired by; https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2017/09/24/sunday-photo-fiction-september-24th-2017/

Fading #writephoto

The storm was fading and the sky looked peaceful once more. Casey had her doubts though. This suddenly burst of autumn weather wasn’t to be trusted. She pressed her head against the wall and looked through the collection of rain drops on the window. She could see a hazy outline of the sea and the docks. Working boats rocked on the still violent waves.

Casey’s fingers curled the corners of the book resting against her drawn up knees. It had been a day like this, five years ago, that she had lost her family on. They had taken their boats out to drag in their nets before a storm had hit. Casey had been ill and had to stay home which had saved her life. Though some days, she wished things had been different.

Turning away from the window, she looked up above the fireplace in which a fire was burning brightly and wrapping warmth around her. A painted portrait of her family hung there, dating back eight years or so ago. There was her mother and father, dressed in their Sunday best clothes and not their working clothes which Casey always remembered them in.

Mother was smiling, happy to be doing something exciting. Her curling blonde hair was down and she looked years younger. She was also holding a blanket wrapped baby in her arms which if Casey recalled was her sister Rose who had died at a few months old. Father looked the opposite of mother, he looked stern, proud and a lot older then he actually was because of the hard life he led.

Four children stood in front of them; three boys and a girl, all dressed in their Sunday clothes too. Casey avoided looking at her eight year old self and focused on her brothers. She whispered their names under their breath, ‘Will, Luke and Tom.’ They looked excited and trying to stay still, though it was hard. They had pretty much grown up into young men the last day she had seen them.

Casey turned back to the window as she heard a low rumble of thunder. A new storm was starting up and the sky was becoming dark once more. Rain splattered the window then began falling down in sweeping pattern. The lighting flashed and Casey’s fingers tightened on the book so that the corners and edge left an imprint in her palms.

There was a knock at her door. She let the book fall from her hands then closed it and slide it under a cushion of the window box. The door opened before she had time to invite the person in. Her uncle’s large framed filled the doorway, his stomach almost bursting out of his white shirt and green waist coat. He smiled at her but then began frowning as he walked across the room.

Casey stood, smoothing out any folds or wrinkles in her long blue and white dress. She clasped her hands and tried to look calm but nervous were over welling her. She give her uncle a bob of respected then avoided looking at him. Not because she feared him or was embarrassed, it was because over the last year her attitude towards him had changed.

‘I hope this dreadful weather clears for your wedding tomorrow,’ he spoke in a gruff voice.

‘I hope so to, uncle,’ Casey uttered.

‘The final preparations will be done this afternoon.’

Casey stole a few glances at him, he seemed to want to say more but was holding back.

He would still rather have wed me off to someone else instead of his son, Casey realised.

‘You will join us for dinner,’ her uncle spoke, ‘some of the guests have already started arriving. Your lack of presence will be noticed if you don’t.’

He shot her a disappointed look then with a sweep of his long black jacket, he turned and left the room. The door clicking shut behind him.

Casey folded into the window box. Holding herself and trying not to cry. Outside the wind howled and threw rain at the window whilst sea waves bashed into boats and the shore. She looked out trying to distract herself but her eyes were drawn somewhere else.

‘This is all your fault,’ Casey whispered looking up at her family portrait, ‘if you had not all died then I would not have to marry my cousin.’

Casey pressed her head into her knees and took some deep breaths. Even though her life was about to change dramatically from fisherman’s daughter to middle class man’s wife, she refused to let her true self fade away.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2017/09/07/thursday-photo-prompt-fading-writephoto/ with thanks.)