The Mail Eater

adorable, animal, black-and-white

He watches and awaits by the front door, listening as footsteps go up and down the street. He growls as he hears the mailman approach and a shuffling of papers. The letter flap is fluttering and it’s raining inside the house. He jumps, catching white and brown papers which he rips and throws about. He snatches the last few out of a hand he can’t see and tears the letters up.

Afterwards, he sits, tail wagging and tongue lolling, his task of defending his home and family complete.

Walkies

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It’s too cold to walk any further, Hollie decided. She stopped and looked around, taking in the wonderful view of the peaks and countryside covered in snow. At her side, her dog, Boxer yawed then turned to sniff the air.

‘Let’s go home now,’ Hollie uttered and tugged his lead a little.

Boxer wagged his tail, looked up at her and seeming to agree.

Turning back, Hollie crunched though the snow as the sky darkened behind them.

Monday Depression

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Harley didn’t feel like getting up this morning but she had done so anyway. Dragging herself out of her cosy warm bed, she headed straight for the bathroom, her stomach growling like an angry bear. Sitting down on the loo, she wondered how many times she had got up in the night to come into here driven by an IBS flare up as punishment of eating too much ice cream. She counted to four before the ringing of the house phone interrupted.

I’m not going to get it. It’s only going to be a cold caller, she thought.

Trying to ignore it, Harley yawed and wondered if she could go back to bed even though it was three minutes past eleven am.

A little dog’s yowling broke though her thoughts and with a growl, she sorted herself out and went to answer the phone.

‘Hello?’

‘Is that the bus station? I’ve left my library books on the seventeen bus,’ an elderly man’s voice spoke out.

Harley rolled her eyes before answering, ‘I’m sorry but it’s not. You have the wrong number.’

‘There were five books,’ the man continued, ‘The Queen’s Slave, Goldfish Keeping For All, Weave Looming And You, -‘

‘I’m sorry but-‘ Harley tried to cut in but the man carried on speaking over her.

London Werewolves and Whenever The Rain Falls Think Of Me,’ the man concluded.

‘What?’

‘They were in a bag for life. You know, the yellow ones with orange elephants on?’

‘This isn’t the bus station!’ Harley shouted, ‘you have the wrong number!’

‘Oh. I’m sorry….Do you know the right number?’ the man asked.

‘No. I don’t,’ Harley snapped and hung up.

Placing the phone down, she wondered what was going on with the crossed over numbers. A cold wet nose and a small licking tongue touched her bare toes and Harley jumped with a cry. She looked down and saw the tiny Yorkshire terrier give a startled yip and jumped back too.

‘Sorry, Yogi,’ Harley spoke and scooped the dog up, ‘just some people…’

Carrying the Yorkie upstairs, Harley set him down on her single bed then went to her wardrobe. Just as she had selected her clothes for the day; old blue jeans, black long sleeved top with a painted wolf angel on it, her Five Finger Death Punch hoodie and boot slippers, the phone rang again. Tutting, she left it to ring until Yogi pulled his head up and let out a mournful yowl.

Racing downstairs, Harley snatched the phone up again.

‘Hello?’

‘Is that the bus station? I’ve lost my library books,’ the same man’s voice from before came though the phone.

‘You have the wrong number again,’ Harley said.

‘Oh…’

‘I’m sorry but I really can’t help you. Try ringing a different number,’ she added then hung up.

Heading up to her room, she finished off getting dressed then picked up Yogi again. The tiny dog had been making a nest in her bedding. Going downstairs, Harley set him down on his own bed and went into the kitchen. There was a large puddle of water on the floor with a white scum on top of it.

‘Yogi! Did you do this?’ Harley called, ‘bad dog!’

Grabbing a tea towel, she began to mop the floor. Then though she noticed the far spread of the puddle because it filled the square space between the fridge-freezer, dishwasher, sink of the narrow kitchen. Also it was very close to Yogi’s bowls.

Puzzling and no longer thinking the dog had done this, Harley inspected the fridge-freezer, sink and dishwasher. Everything seemed okay. She went upstairs and got an old towel from the cupboard. Setting it on the floor, she saw drips coming out of the corner of the dishwasher.

‘Great,’ she mumbled then added, ‘I’m sorry Yogi. It wasn’t you!’

Getting up, she went to find the dog but the phone rang. Throwing her hands up, Harley went to answer it.

‘Hello?’

‘Hello dear. My husband his left some books on the bus. I was wondering if you could help us?’ an elderly woman’s voice asked.

Harley sighed deeply and brushed her hair back, ‘I’m sorry,’ she said trying to stay calm, ‘but this isn’t the bus station. You have the wrong number. This is a private house.’

‘Ah, I’m terribly sorry about that. Goodbye,’ the old woman said.

The phone clicked and Harley hung it up again. Going into the living room, she give some reassurance to Yogi then went into the kitchen and made some toast with jam on. Sitting down, she watched some TV, channel flicking between a house D.I.Y show and a famous courtroom drama. Though she had to get up a couple of times to use the bathroom.

Taking her breakfast things into the kitchen, Harley noticed that the dishwasher was leaking badly. The towel she had set down had a large half circle ring across it. Opening the door and breaking off the washing cycle, she looked inside and move a few plates and pans around. Dirty water fell out of the corner like a small waterfall.

Closing the door again, she waited as the dishwasher started again. However, water still dripped from the corner.

‘Dad will have to fix that,’ Harley spoke.

Leaving it and going to her computer, she pressed the on button and also turned the monitor on. Whilst she waited, she looked at a calendar on her desk. Under today, she had written; write chapter 23. working at shop- 5-11pm. 

Harley’s face fell, she had forgotten she was working. She doubled checked on the calendar in her phone and confirmed it. Sighing, she noticed the computer was done loading and clicked open the draft of her novel. She had barely started reading the last few pages when the phone rang.

‘I’m not answer it!’ she called.

Yogi began howling in the living room.

‘I mean it,’ she growled.

Letting the phone ring off and Yogi’s long yowling faded away, Harley got back to her novel. She reached the last page with writing on it and tapped down to the blank one underneath. Looking at the page, she tried hard to think.

The phone rang.

‘Seriously!’ she cried.

Harley got up and answered the phone.

‘Hello?’

‘Is that the bus station? My parents have lost some books,’a young man’s voice asked.

‘No. It’s not and I don’t know why they keep ringing my phone number,’ Harley moaned.

‘I’m sorry. There must be a problem with the line. It’s fine. I’ll go down to the bus station and sorted it. Thanks, bye.’

Harley set the phone down and rubbed her eyes.

‘That’s it! I’m going back to bed!’ Harley declared.

Ticking Down

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Her eyes were constantly watching the numbers on the clock change. Time was passing so slowly and she felt so bored. Today was the perfect day to sit and write. She was home alone until her parents arrived back and she wasn’t at her actual job till tomorrow afternoon. She had also done all her Christmas shopping and more beside.

Listening to the pounding tones of some classic rock music, she tried to focus on the blank page before her. Well, it wasn’t really blank because it was her blog and there were tool bars down one side and also the internet tool bar at the top of the screen. She pulled a face and flicked through the other tabs she had open. Google, Facebook, Pinterest, Amazon before going back to WordPress where the empty page sat still waiting for her words.

Her fingers hovered over the keyboard and she tried to think of anything to write. Nothing came into her head, it was like all the characters and settings had packed up and left. Pulling a face, she looked out of the window next to her. She had left a gap in the heavy curtains to let the natural light in, not that there was lot of it.

The early December day was cloudy and dull. The sky threatened rain or worse snow. Most of the frost had now vanished, but some of the cars still had a dusting on their metal bodies. It looked cold and she wasn’t in the mood to put on a load of layers and go for a walk.

Her eyes looked back at the computer monitor clock. It had only gone up by a few minutes. Sighing, she give up and decided to walk away. Nothing else could be done. Stopping the music, she took off her headphones and got up. Walking into the living room, she saw the family’s old dog curled in his bed. Leaving him to sleep, because he was becoming more and more grumpy about being woken up for no real reason, she turned on the TV.

Really, she should grab one the writing books that lined the bookcase next to her computer or  go upstairs to her room and pick a new book to start reading. Instead, she flicked through the TV channels and settled down to watch some daytime TV, which was a dull as the day outside.

Bright Leaves

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The leaves at her feet had been painted, Ashley noticed as she sat down on the tree stump. She picked one up and turned it around in between her fingers. One side showed the skeleton outline of the leaf veins and on the other someone had painted large purple dots onto the orange surface.

Ashley dropped the leaf and looked down. More and more of the leaves had been painted and she could even make out little imagines. She could make out a hedgehog shape on one and a dog on another. Smiling, she wondered who had decided to come out to the small patch of trees and do suit a thing.

Autumn Arrives

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As Hanna walked through the woods, she noticed that autumn was settling in and the last of summer was fading away. The air was still warm, but the breezy felt cool and the sky looked more grey-blue then the bright Azure it had been. Nature was on the change for sure, what with the tree leaves all ready looking paler and a few having turned color.

The dirt path she walked on was empty still, but she guessed by the end of next week, leaves would start to blanket the ground. She stopped, spotting something moving ahead. A grey squirrel, digging in the soil of a tree trunk. The animal stopped, tail twitching as if listening to something. In a flash, the squirrel was up the tree as a large black shape hurtled over.

Hanna didn’t even bother to yell at her black Labrador, Max, but she couldn’t help the smile that came to her face. He was jumping up the base of the tree, barking and clearly enjoying himself. The squirrel appeared for a few seconds along a branch before vanishing. Max give up and after turning his head about looking for Hanna, began to sniff around the tree roots.

Quietness drifted back into the woods allowing distant bird song, the breezy and her footsteps all she could hear. Hanna took in a deep breath and where once she could smell fragrant flowers, there was now only damp earth and the woody scent of bark. Walking on, she admired the ever changing scenery and felt grateful she could truly appreciate it.

Dear Diary #23

Dear Diary,

Tomorrow is my birthday and for the first time ever I’m spending it alone! Okay well, not so alone because I have the three dogs, two cats, the rabbits, the hens, chicks and the two baby lambs. It didn’t dawn until this morning when I saw the date, realized it was my birthday tomorrow and thought I’ve made no plans!

I guess though the more older you get the more birthday’s lose their excitement. When I was little birthdays and Christmas were always big and the only times of the year when you could really ask for a lot of stuff and get most of it. The parties seemed so much fun, even if they were simple and easily forgettable.

Getting older having my own money meant  could just buy whatever I wanted when I felt like it. No more waiting for my birthday and Christmas to role around! I could have it now with a click of the PC mouse and scan of a card. But I miss those special presents. The ones you hadn’t even thought to ask about but your parents and friends knew you’d love. I do kinda wish to re-live those times again.

I guess I should figure out what to do, see if anyone is around. I can’t be alone for my birthday! I don’t think anybody should be.

 

***

(Side note; with it actually being my birthday tomorrow, I thought I’d have a theme of ‘birthday’ this month. Just thought I’d announce that. Also, planning to get the first short story collection out by the end of this month! Thanks for reading and please like and share. Hayley)

Enough’s Enough

Epilepsy, Seizure, Stroke, Headache

Penny sank on to her two seat sofa and felt like she had just landed on a cloud. She shut her eyes, but snapped them open again as her small brown staffie dog jumped up next to her. Pip wagged her tail, give a little moan then curled about Penny’s legs. Sighing, Penny stroked Pip, feeling the short soft fur under her hot sweaty hand. Penny felt the urge to grab the dog and bury her face against Pip’s neck then cry loudly.

Penny held it together and instead carried on petting Pip as her thoughts fell into a downward spin. Rubbing her forehead and trying to ease the migraine that was steadily building, she thought about taking some pain killers. However, the dog felt so good against her legs, that she did not want to move.

She shut her eyes and listened to the sound of traffic outside her flat. A car horn blared then engines rumbled by. Voices drifted in the hallway and a door shut somewhere. Penny let the background noise fade, she willed herself to doze and her head to empty of all the dangerous thoughts that now existed.

Pip sighed into her jeans and Penny felt a gentle wave of warmth coming off the dog. Feeling grateful that she wasn’t alone, Penny let go the suicidal thoughts and told herself it had just been a bad day at work. Further more a bad week.

‘Maybe I need a new job,’ she said a loud.

Pip twitched and looked up at her.

‘But the hours and pay are great and I do like it…I just wish certain people weren’t there…It must be easy being a dog,’ Penny added as her thoughts drifted.

Pip wagged her tail at that and licked Penny’s wrist.

‘You don’t have to worry about money or jobs. You just have to think about food and sleeping and walks.’

Pip barked.

‘No, no.Hush,’ Penny cut in and petted her head, ‘It’s okay. You’ve all ready been out, remember?’

Pip grumbled then settled back on Penny’s legs.

Penny rubbed the dog up and down her spine, feeling the bones under her fingers. Leaving her hand in the middle of Pip’s back, Penny sniffed a few times, feeling tears welling. Her migraine pounded loudly, blocking all further thoughts.

Penny got up and went into her bedroom. Pip followed, yawing. Penny dug out some pain kilers, took them with some water from a bottle she had in her bag then climbed into bed. Ignoring the little voice, that had somehow gotten through the pain her head, pleading for her to take the whole box, she curled up and tried to sleep.

Pip joined her and Penny pulled the dog closer. The tears she had been holding back sprung forth and she give into the crying. Sobbing loudly, she struggled to catch her breath. Slowly down, she breathed deeply then moved and flipped the pillow over so she wasn’t laying on a wet patch.

‘It’s okay,’ she muttered, ‘I’ll get things sorted. Tomorrow. I’ll speak to someone and things will be better. And if I have to move jobs then that’s what I’ll do.’

Pip moaned and snuggled closer to Penny’s chest. Unable to avoid the flicker of a smile on her face, Penny wrapped the duvet around them both tighter and Listened to Pip’s loud breathing. Shutting her eyes, Penny let herself drift off.

Tomorrow things would change, no matter what. 

Rumbled

Graveyard, Headstone, Cemetery, Grass, Creepy, Gothic

The game was up and so was his number. Johnny sprinted through the church gate and headed to the large graveyard. He’s swinging arm scrapped against the rough, cold stone wall and he pulled back. Nearly toppling over the raised corner of a moss covered flag stone, he rounded the corner.

Breathing hard, he wondered, Can I stash my leather jacket and pretend I’m an early morning jogger? These black PJ bottoms would just pass as jog pants from a distance…his thoughts trailed as he spotted the small wooden back door of the church.

He hurried over and tried the worn ring handle. The door didn’t move. He shouldered it, thinking it was only stuck, but it turned out to be locked. Grunting, he looked around, mapping a clear run though the graveyard.

Sirens wailed in the distance, echoing through the streets and making it impossible to tell where they were or how close they were. A dog began barking and voices shouted out.

Panic filled, Johnny ran, dodging around the dilapidate headstones. Long, wet grass whipped against his legs and his eyes filled with the sight of a depressed weeping willow tree in the far corner.

If I could climb it… Johnny thought.

His foot caught on something, his toes soaking up all the pain from the hard stone before he tumbled. He hit the ground hard and spread eagle, breathing in grass and dirt. Johnny scrambled up, not wasting time on seeing what he had fallen over nor the throbbing of his foot. He weaved onto what once might have been a path and rushed on.

He reached the tree and began climbing. Fortunately, there were enough branches and leaves to hide him. Stopping on the last thick branch, he spit the foam that gathered in his mouth out. Calming his breathing, he listened and watched, but couldn’t see any movement or hearing anything else other than the police sirens.

Believing he was safe for the time being, his thoughts flashed back to less than half an hour ago. The realization of how luckily he had been sunk in. His insomnia had actually worked in his favour for once. Johnny had been in the kitchen, back door open, holding a mug of almost finished coffee and watching the microwave clock ticking the minutes to five am.

The crashing sound of his front door and the yelling of police had been surreal. Then mug had dropped, smashing to the floor and splatting coffee droplets like blood. Flight had shot through him and Johnny had raced out of the door, over the low brick wall at the back of the garden and into the alleyway.

Running on, he’d stayed in the back streets, not sure where he was going and unable to get his mind to think. He had seen the church bell tower rising above the terrace house roofs like a lighthouse at sea. Guided, he had followed it and found the front gate by chance.

Rubbing his face, Johnny started to mull things over and wondered how he had been rumbled. His small time drug gang hadn’t been working that hard lately, though he knew that the police could have been watching for months.

What about that new guy? He thought, pigs, are great at working themselves in now…  

A dog barking distracted him. Johnny looked out of the tree and saw a German Shepard sniffing the nearest headstone. A cop rounded the corner, black lead dangling from his hand. He spoke to the dog then to someone behind him, but Johnny couldn’t hear what was said. He held his breath and though he wasn’t religious, he prayed they wouldn’t find him.

The dog moved into the graveyard, nose stuck to the ground and the long grass zinging around. There was a sharp bark and a brown flicker of movement to the left. The dog shot off and as Johnny watched, he saw a rabbit bouncing away. He held his breath and bit his tongue as he saw the cops running and yelling after the dog. It didn’t seem like they had seen the rabbit.

The German Shepard darted out of a side gate and out of view. The cops followed with their voices just loud enough for Johnny to hear a few snatched words of ‘dog, scent, got him, West Church Lane.’ The police disappeared and Johnny breathed a sigh of relief. He got more comfy and decided that for as long as he could he would stay in the tree.

 

Johnny guessed it was around mid-morning, going off the bright blue, but cloud hazy sky. He could smell cooking meat from somewhere and it was making him hungry. He stretched feeling the stiffness in his back and limbs. He glanced down and saw the ground looking quite far away. Now, that he had time to think though he knew where to go.

Double checking there was no one around, he slowly climbed down the willow. His grip felt numb and his body ached with the movement. He almost lost his footing. Reaching the floor, he rubbed his hands on his pants and looked around for another way to leave the graveyard. Spotting a large black gate, he walked over and through, not noticing the white ball of light that seemed to be following him.

He walked casually down the streets, trying to look normal. There was no way he could go home. And even if they hadn’t taken his girlfriend in for questioning, someone would be staking out the place. Maybe, they were watching the streets too? He almost picked up his pace, but decided it’d look odd. Anyway, his friend’s wasn’t that far from here and he could hide in the cellar’s priest hole again.

When he arrived it didn’t take things long to get sorted. Heading down into the cellar, on the wobbly wooden steps, Johnny wondered how long the all clear would take this time. He helped his friend remove somethings that were up against a small boarded up hole in the wall. Then they ripped it open. Dust motes rose in the torch light and the faint smell of damp tickled their noses.

‘Home Sweet Home,’ Johnny muttered and chuckled.

He took the torch and crawled into the tight space. His friend put the board back then Johnny heard him moving some of the stuff back into place.

Pressing his head against the icy cold wall, Johnny shut his eyes. He dozed, just like he’d done in the tree. Black patterns swirled before his eyelids then a white figure started to form. It was tiny at first, but grew and grew until it took the shape of a young woman in a white floaty dress. Johnny didn’t recognise her.

She reached out her arms as if to hug him, but a loud knocking vanished her away. Johnny opened his eyes and listened, but the sounds were very muffled. He rubbed his head and tried to remember where that girl was from. Nothing came to him. He put his head back again and let himself doze off.

 

She haunted him for days. Every time he shut his eyes, she came to him in that white float dress, arms out reached, a begging look on her face. Countless times he had asked her what she wanted, but she didn’t reply. He didn’t believe in ghosts, but what else could she be?

‘I think it might be a ghost…’ he announced to his friend one afternoon.

The heat had almost died off and they were sat in the living room together drinking beer. In the background the TV was showing a football match whilst the sound of children playing outside could be heard.

His friend eyed him.

‘I don’t know…but what else can it be?’ Johnny added.

‘You know, my old gran use to tell me this thing…’ his friend trailed off.

Johnny nodded and took a drink off his beer.

‘If you don’t leave a graveyard the way you came in spirits can attached themselves to you when you leave.’

Johnny scratched his cheek and thought.

His friend shook his head. ‘She way lost it in the end though…thought birds were spying on her.’

‘What she say about getting rid of it?’

‘You had to go back in the way you went out and then go out the way you came in the first time. Sounds crazy don’t it?’

‘Yeah, crazy! Totally!’

Johnny laughed and finished his beer, but his mind was already planning.

A few days later he left and headed home. Almost a month had past and there was no way the cops were still watching his place. They had better things to do, he was sure. Walking home, he headed straight for the church. The woman in white had even been coming to him during the day now out, he had seen her out of the corner of his eye.

Spotting the graveyard gates, he hurried in. The place looked just the same though it was now under a darkening evening sky. He went to the willow tree and stared up at where he had sat for most of a morning. Then he looked around at the silent graves and wondered if his friend’s gran had been right. Slowly, he walked on and up towards the church. The dry grass crunched under him and the birds sing in the background.

He walked passed the church, along the path and to the gates he had entered by. As he got closer he wondered what was going to happen, but when he walked through them he felt nothing. Letting go of the breath he hadn’t realised he was holding, Johnny went home.

His girlfriend was gone. A note on the table told him so. He shrugged it off and took a shower. Then went to bed and for the first time in years, he fell fast asleep.

Mud

Mud, Earth, Red, Nature, Rain, Winter

Watching Teddy, the chocolate Labrador, lying down in the large puddle, Amy recalled something her granddad had always said during their muddy walks together.

‘Mud, mud, glorious mud. There’s nothing like mud for cooling the blood of a vampire!’ Amy said loudly.

Teddy stopped covering himself in brown water and looked at her. He cocked his head, decided she wasn’t speaking to him and began lapping the water up.

‘Do you really have to drink that?’ Amy cried.

Teddy ignored her, but gave a wag of his tail to indicate he’d heard her. He splashed about in the puddle then got out and headed to the next one.

Amy shook her head and trailed after him. As he entered the next puddle, she didn’t stop but carried on walking along the pathway. Tall trees, just getting their new leaves back, seemed to crowd both sides and blocked the surrounding views of the woodland. Birds darted from branch to branch, singing to each other whilst grey squirrels scampered about.

The sound of rain caused Amy to stop and open her umbrella. Teddy bashed into her right leg then trotted proudly on. Tutting, Amy wipe at the small splattering of mud on her jeans then followed him again. Teddy spotted something and gave chase, nosily charging through the undergrowth.

Amy left him to it and let her mind drift back to her granddad. He had brought her up after her parents split and got with different people. She would have gone into care without him. Amy slowed her pace and walked along the edges of a wide puddle. She glanced back, wondering where Teddy was but at same time grateful he wasn’t rushing past her.

Moving on, she spotted the small farm attached to what had once been the estate manger’s house, back when the woods had been privately owned. Holding her umbrella against the now pouring rain, she decided to turn around and go home.

‘Teddy!’ she called.

Listening she heard a distant bark. Rolling her eyes, Amy retraced her footsteps and went back to where the dog had disappeared from. Teddy came bounding though the bushes and mud, tongue rolling out and looking like he was having a whale of a time.

‘It’s home time,’ Amy said.

Teddy ignored her and dived into the nearest puddle. He scooped the water up with his tongue then flung himself down. Some of the dirt washed off him, but as he stood up, Amy could see he was still covered in dripping mud.

‘Bath time for you,’ she added.