Groke #atozchallenge (Part 2)

animal-1853975_1920

Groke; to stare at somebody while they’re eating in the hope they’ll share. 

Monday morning found Sutcliff back at his office desk working hard. He had a meeting before lunch which over ran, so he arrived at Park Square later then normal. The area was less busy as most people had all ready gone back to work. Sutcliff was grateful for the extra quiet, that meeting had been intense.

Getting out his lunch box, he opened it and picked up half of a beef and horseradish sandwich. He heard a whining at his feet and looked down. The little brown and white dog was back!

‘Get lost,’ Sutcliff grumbled.

The dog cried as Sutcliff took a bite of the sandwich.

‘Where’s your owner?’ Sutcliff asked.

The dog yowled and pressed a paw to Sutcliff’s shoe.

‘If I give you a bit will you leave me in peace?’

Sutcliff took another bite of the sandwich then give the rest to the dog. The dog ducked under the bench and Sutcliff heard chewing sounds from underneath him. He ate the rest of his lunch in peace then went back to work.

The next day it was raining. Sutcliff sat on the bench under his umbrella and had his lunch. Just as he was wondering where the little dog was, he saw the dog entering the park and trotting over to him. The dog stopped at his feet and looked up pleadingly with sad eyes.

Sutcliff signed, ‘it’s just cheese today,’ he said.

The dog cried and shivered, the rain was dripping off it’s soaked fur.

Sutcliff opened the second half of the sandwich and give the chunk of cheese to the dog. The cheese was gone in seconds then the dog went under the bench. Sutcliff looked down and saw the little dog curled up there, behind his legs, sheltered from the rain. Sutcliff finished his lunch and went back to work.

The rest of the week, the same thing happened at lunchtimes. Sutcliff wasn’t sure how the dog knew what time he’d be at Park Square for but the dog was always waiting to share his sandwiches.

‘It’s meant to snow tomorrow,’ Sutcliff told the dog on Friday.

The dog put it’s head to one side then begged for more food.

Sutcliff had now taken to bring extra ham with him. He give the dog another slice.

‘Where do you live?’ Sutcliff asked then laughed at himself.

He had started holding conversations with the dog as if they had become friends. Sutcliff had also started patting the dog and scratching him – for the dog was male- behind the ears.

‘Anyway, back to work time now,’ Sutcliff spoke.

He gathered his things, said goodbye to the little dog and walked off.

It snowed over night and when Sutcliff woke up, it was still snowing. Standing in front of his apartment window, Sutcliff wondered about the dog. Where was he? Was he warm and safe?

‘It’s a only a dog!’ Sutcliff snapped.

He spent the morning doing chores but the thought of the dog didn’t leave him. It was still snowing in the afternoon and the sky was dark grey. Sutcliff put on his boots, scarf coat, hat and gloves then set out into the city centre. He walked as he would to work then took a short cut to Park Square.

The snow was thick on the ground and covering the tree branches. Sutcliff walked over to the bench, leaving deep footprints behind. He felt like a fool. What was he doing out here looking for a stupid dog? It probably wasn’t a stray after all and belonged to a homeless person or someone who just let the dog roam around.

He looked at the snow covered bench then turned around to go back. From far to the side, in an alleyway of two tall office blocks, Sutcliff thought he heard a bark. He turned his head and saw the little dog scampering through the snow towards him.

‘Dog!’ Sutcliff called and quickly walked over.

The dog rushed at his feet, jumped up and pawed at his lower legs, crying loudly. Sutcliff picked him up and hugged him. The dog felt freezing cold and wet. Without thinking, Sutcliff unzipped his coat and placed the dog inside. The dog snuggled against him and Sutcliff hurried out of Park Square and back home.

Letting himself back into the warmth of his apartment, Sutcliff took the little dog from his coat and placed him on the floor before taking his things off.

‘No messing, no biting or scratching or howling,’ Sutcliff told the dog firmly.

The dog sneezed a few times then began to sniff around.

Sutcliff went to the fridge and took out some slices of ham. The dog bounced over, tail wagging, tongue licking. Sutcliff give the ham over and the dog wolfed it down. From the cupboard, Sutcliff took out a bowl, filled it with water and set it down. The dog drink eagerly.

After showing the dog around his home, Sutcliff made a bed for the dog next to the heater out of some old bedding. The dog settled down and went to sleep, looking happier. Sutcliff sat on the sofa and watched the dog sleeping.

‘We’ll see how it goes,’ he muttered.

Pets were allowed in his apartment, so Sutcliff had no problems keeping the little dog who he decided to call Alfie. Sutcliff also talked to his boss and she let him bring Alfie to work each day which meant they could still enjoy lunch in the park together.

Advertisements

Groke #atozchallenge (Part 1)

animal-1853975_1920

Groke; to stare at somebody while they’re eating in the hope they’ll share. 

Every week day lunchtime, Sutcliff left his desk at his city center office and walked the few minutes to Park Square. No matter the season or the weather, he always had his lunch on a little rickety bench under the only tree in the Square. Whilst he ate a sandwich and apple, he watched life going by.

The first Friday of April was a surprisingly warm and sunny day. Sutcliff left his desk and office feeling cheerful. All his morning tasks had been done and there was hardly anything for him to do this afternoon. He walk his normal route over to Park Square; half way down King’s Way street, across the road and a right turn on to Elmhurst Street. Then another right on to Park Square road, around the corner and down to the iron fenced plot of green land.

Towering office buildings and smaller shops lined either side of the streets. People dressed for work and casual wandered by. Their footsteps and voices mingling with the rumbling traffic on the one way roads. Everyone seemed to be in a hurry to get somewhere except for Sutcliff who walk slowly, enjoying the brushed warm air and freedom from his desk.

He reached Park Square and opened the first of three gates on to the tiny park. He stepping onto the compacted sand and yellow gravel path that was shaped like an upside down letter ‘T’. Short, yellow-green grass lay on either side of the path and the small elm tree stood at the back in the middle. Sutcliff walked over and sat down on the bench under the tree.

There was no one else in the tiny park, though a few people walked passed. Sutcliff looked up at the office blocks around him, he could see empty desks through the windows and people moving about. Sutcliff smiled to himself, loving this quiet corner. He slipped off his leather messenger bag and took his lunch box and water bottle.

He opened the box, took out half of a ham salad sandwich and was about to bite into it when a small whine noise made him pause. Frowning, Sutcliff looked down and saw close at his feet a little white and brown patched dog. One of the dog’s ears was up and the other was down, beady black eyes were staring into Sutcliff’s own and white whiskers were twitching as the dog’s wet, black nose sniffed.

Sutcliff closed his mouth, not taking his bite and glanced around. He had seen dogs being walked around here before but there seemed to be no owner in sight. He noticed the dog wasn’t wearing a collar and looked a bit on the thin side. Maybe, it was a stray? Shrugging, Sutcliff ignored the dog and began to eat the sandwich.

The dog started crying. Sutcliff glanced down then about again. There was still no one around. The dog whined louder and moved closer to Sutcliff’s feet, it was clear what the dog wanted.

‘No. Go away,’ Sutcliff said loudly.

The dog backed off little then sit down and kept watch as Sutcliff ate the rest of his lunch. Sometimes, the dog would make little noises and move its head around. Nothing seemed to distracted the dog’s eyes away.

Sutcliff packed his things away, relaxed for a few minutes then got up. He kept his distance from the little dog as he left the park. Closing the gate behind him, Sutcliff looked back and saw the dog sniffing around the bench, looking for scraps.

Sutcliff went back to work and give the dog no more thought.

To Be Continued…

 

Dear Diary #43

book-1945499_1920

Dear Diary,

It’s the first of Spring today but it feels more like the heart of winter! The snow is so heavy that it came to over the top of my wellies and I had to carry my poor doggie home. We didn’t go out after that and I phoned in work, no way I could I get there! So it was a day spent watching TV and reading.

I could hear the wind whistling by and ratting the window. The snow has been coming down in like, clouds. It’s hard to describe because its not really thick and fluffy flakes, it’s like small dusty puffs but because there’s a lot of it and it’s falling fast to stick on already frozen ground, it’s just building and building.

This afternoon, whilst pacing about, I saw out of the window, a car sliding down the street. I pressed myself to the cold window and looked out. There was a driver inside and I think they were just using the ice to glide across. Still though, I wouldn’t want to attempted that!

Across the street, the snow had pretty much buried the line of cars parked there. It would take awhile to dig one of them out…Some of the street lamps were on too, their sensors darkened by little peaks of snow on top of them. It was actually really pretty. And reminded me of Christmas! Which seems so weird.

Anyway, I’m grateful to be curled up in bed now, warm and toasty. Outside, I can see more snow falling and the wind tossing it about. Doggie is snoring at my feet and even though I’ve hardly done anything I’m feeling tried. Hopefully, the weather will be better tomorrow!

 

Path #SundayPhotoFiction

25 Mike Vore February 25th 2018

Pausing at the crossroads, I looked at the new pathway stretching around the trees. With a glance at my yellow Labrador, we set off down it, unsure where it would take us. Following the twisting path, birds sang overhead, it was a sunny but cold day and we met no one else. Then my dog saw a squirrel and bounced off into the under bushes.

Something didn’t feel quite right. I didn’t know where we were and I knew these woods well. I expected to round a corner and find myself back on a familiar route, but that never happened.

Finally, I decided to turn back. I whistled for my dog and she came straight to my side. We back tracked as the sky turned a washed out grey. I looked at my watch and realised I had been walking this path for over an hour.

Picking up pace, I broke into a mildly panicked jog. My lab lolled beside me, sensing something was wrong. The birds had gone quiet, my breathing was loud and the urge to just get out was growing.

I started running, fearing it was too late.

 

(Inspired by; https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2018/02/25/sunday-photo-fiction-february-25th-2018/ with thanks).

Postcard #41

sunrise-1634734_1920

Dear Kay,

Thank you for your lovely letter. Sorry that I don’t have enough time to write. We have been super busy on the farm, it never stops! My prize sheep dog give birth on Christmas morning, shocking us all, but the puppies are so cute. I have already picked out the best one for you, if you want it. Then on New Year’s eve, two of the goats had kids; twins and triplets!

The weather has been bad here with heavy snow, gales and some flooding in the lower fields. There’s snow on the ground at the moment and it looks like there’ll be more soon. It really does make life harder but the scenery is prettier. So, if you fancy some snow you know where to come too!

Hope you have a great new year!

All the best, Pippa.

The Old Sawmill

Old Sawmill

Fairy lights twinkled in the single window of the cabin, like a beacon through the trees. The sounds of a small river racing over a waterfall and turning the old wooden wheel at the bottom echoed in the pause I had made. The snow lay thick on the ground and trees, giving everything a white coat like icing on a cake. The sky above was dark blue, nearly black with the promise of nightfall and more snow to come.

I carried on walking, my boots crunching on the snow and making a trail of clear footprints. My torch provided a small circle of light with which to guide my eyes with but I knew this forest so well that it didn’t matter. I carried a few logs under my other arm, cut from a dying tree I had knocked down a few days ago. Shifting the heavy bag on my back, I climbed the slope upwards, towards the cabin.

It had once been an old sawmill which had kept a now long lost village in some industry, but now it was my home. Reaching the front door, I kicked the snow of my boots and went in. I didn’t bother locking the place unless I was away for a few days; there was no one out here and not much in there to steal.

Opening the door, my old dog woofed and wobbled over to me. I patted him then closed the door and went to the fire. The wood was low, so I put some more logs on and watched the flames grow back to life. The dog joined me, curling onto the rug. The electrical lamps above flickered but held their dim light. I took my bag off and laid it with my axe next to the single cold bed.

Warmed by the fire, I took my boots off and sat in the single chair. The fairy lights looked merry in the window but were a sad reminder of the past. I hadn’t always called this small wooden cabin home… At least I wasn’t outside in the snow, frozen. Getting up again and keeping myself busy, I emptied my bag and made something to eat.

Catching anything in winter was hard, but rabbits and smaller creatures could be tempted with a bit of food. The water in my canteen had turned solid, so I had to place that close to the fire and wait. The dog snored loudly and woke a few times, I shared my meal with him. Then after adding more wood to the fire, we both got into bed.

Once I’d had a wife and children. We’d lived in a bigger cabin then this but then there had come hard times. One day, my wife took the children into town and sold them. She told me we could have more when things were better again.

I had my axe in my hand and felt a rage I had never known before consume me.

There’d been no other choice but to run away. I had lost everything but my freedom and that was something man of the wildness could never give up. I now lived the life of a hermit, selling whatever I could to whoever I could and hoping to live out the rest of my life in quietness with my happy memories of the past.

 

(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2017/12/10/sunday-writing-prompt-232-its-all-in-the-title/ with thanks).

Hurricane

key-west-81664_1920

It was coming. Atlanta could hear the gale force winds rattling the storm shutters and the rain pelting the roof. She held her breath and hugged her dog, Greg, tighter. He didn’t seem to mind but then he was old and deaf.

They was sat in a small yellow tent set up in the far corner of the cellar. Dim amber fairy lights in the shape stars cast some light down, but it wasn’t enough to do anything by. Atlanta’s didn’t really mind though as long as she wasn’t in the dark.

‘I’m safe. Everything is fine,’ Atlanta muttered.

Every since she had heard about the high chance of the hurricane last week, she had be preparing. All the kitchen and basement cupboards were stocked with bottled water, long life food, matches and extra gas canisters for the camping stove. She had double or triple camping equipment items and a whole range of lighting; battery and candle lanterns, torches and spare candles.

Atlanta picked up her headphones which were top of the range noise cancelling and selected some loud classic music from her ipod.

‘There’s nothing else to do now it’s here,’ she said aloud.

She rubbed Greg’s ears then wrapped herself in a thermal sleeping bag and began waiting out the hurricane.

Green

pebbles-1090536_1920

I had never seen a stone like it before on the beach. With the waves and wind whipping around me and Betty, my cocker spaniel whining, I bent and picked it up. The coat of my hood and loose hair strands got in my face, I blinked them away then looked in my hand. The stone was there. Sparkling wet, but perfectly round and a clear lime green colour.

I turned it over and it was the same on the back. Slipping it into my pocket, I straightened and began battling the storm back to my house. When I arrived, cold and dripping wet. I took my coat off and forgot about the strange stone. I had Betty to dry, myself to dry and though it was the height of summer, a fire to make up.

So it wasn’t until I put my coat on days later, to protect me from a miserable drizzly morning, that I rediscovered the stone. Taking it out of my pocket, I looked and felt it’s smooth edges. Betty was bouncing at my feet, eager to go out and wondering what was keeping her master from getting a move on.

I looked more closely at the stone and realised it wasn’t a stone at all. It was a piece of glass which the ocean had worn smooth and softened the edges of. It wasn’t unusually to find glass fragments on the beach, it was the fact the piece was so green that got to me. Wondering were it came from, I placed it safely on the little sill next to the front window. I took Betty out and once again forgot all about the green glass.

Chapel Keys

key-123554_1920.jpg

It had been a long day of spreading God’s message, but the two Mormon men were still happy. As they walked down the street, dressed in their fine suits, back to their rented apartment they were tried but still prepared to greet anybody who crossed their path.

A clunking sound and clattering of metal on metal made them pause. They glanced down and saw they had just walked over a rain grid. The tallest one patted his pockets and came to a realisation.

‘The chapel keys! They’ve fallen out of my pocket!’  he declared.

‘Double check,’ the other suggested.

The first did then shook his head and looked down into the gloom of the drain pipe.

‘We’ll have to get them,’ the second replied.

With a nod to each other, they hurried to their apartment were they gathered torches, ropes and buckets. Heading back, they removed the grid, which was heavy and shone their torches down.

A small stream of  dark, dirty water was running by and the keys on their long thin rope could just be seen underneath.

The Mormons quickly set to work. They tied ropes to the handles of the buckets and lowed one down at a time to try and scoop the keys up.

A heavy set man walking his small white dog passed by them.

‘Lost something have ya?’ he asked.

The Mormons nodded and the first one replied, ‘yes.’

‘Good luck,’ the man answered and walked away with his dog.

Setting back to work, they brought up bucket after bucket of sewage water but none contained the keys. Desperately, they tried to think of another plan, but nothing else other than praying came to their tried minds. So, they carried on.

Twenty minutes later, the man came back with his dog.

‘Still at it, huh? What ya lost anyway? Car keys?’ the man questioned.

‘The keys to the chapel!’ the first Mormon replied.

The second was hauling up his bucket and looking deeply grim.

‘Oh….Not good then?’ the man asked. He seemed to be holding in his laughter.

‘Not really…’

‘What’s that?’ the second Mormon cut in as he looked at the scrum in his bucket.

The first peered over and respond, ‘it’s the keys! You got them!’ and he pulled them out.

The keys and rope were covered with something unspeakable but the Mormons were so happy that didn’t seem to bother them at all.

‘Well, goodnight,’ said the man and calling for his dog, he walked down the street, trying to still his laughter.

The Mormons tidied up as best they could then headed back to their apartment. They thanked God doubly in their prayers that night.

(Based on true events)

Hygge #atozchallenge

pexels-photo-30899.jpg

Hygge; being so cosiness and comfortable that you feel content.

The fire crackled and popped as it hungrily consumed the wood. The yellow and orange flames licked around the inside of the brick fireplace, spreading warmth around the living room.

Carol sank into her favourite chair, finally able to rest after the busy day she’d had. Putting her feet up, she made sure she could reach the cup of tea and the box of chocolates on the side table.

Her little dog, still slightly wet and now tried from his walk, jumped on to her lap and settled down. She stroked his silky coat automatically as she looked into the fire.

There was a strong possibility that this was the last time in a good few months that she’d now lit the fire. Every day felt more like spring and it was getting too warm for cosy nights in like this.

Carol felt a pang. She loved the fire and it would be hard to not relight it till the middle of autumn. Of course, there might be cooler and wet days which would call for extra warmth, but they were always far apart.

‘The fire just makes everything better,’ Carol uttered.

Her little dog made a soft yipping sound.

Carol sank further into her chair, enjoying the feeling of being content.

After a few minutes, her mind picked up that thought thread again and she said aloud, ‘all have to surround myself with other things that bring the same feelings. Though nothing can compare to the warmth and light of a fire.’

Starting to make a list in her head of other cosy things, Carol started to doze off. Her little dog was snoring and the fire was making a nice lullaby now. It was all she need to fall asleep to.