Flying No More

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I was so lucky that my step-cousin part-owned a hot air balloon and was a member of a club. As we drifted upwards, I lend out of the basket and looked down at the field we were leaving. About four other balloons bobbed around us and there was twelve still on the ground waiting to take off.

The thought that always comes to mind at this moment popped into my head; this looks like a giant’s birthday party. I giggled then looked around at the other brightly coloured hot air balloons. They filled the blue sky and white clouds with a patch work of multi-colours, making them noticeable for miles. My step-cousin’s hot air balloon was purple, pink and yellow with lighter shades in between to blend the colours.

I had never been in the area we were travelling over today and my step-cousin had said there was something interesting he wanted me to see. Rising higher, the sound of the hot air balloon’s flame and the wind in my ears, I saw the world as I imagined birds do. The green, yellow and brown fields, patches of trees, the town with it’s mix of buildings and toy like cars and people.

‘We should be high enough now, Hanna!’ my step-cousin shouted.

I turned to look at him. He was an average looking thirty-odd year old, with a mane of light brown hair, a thin face and body. He wore glasses, a plain t-shirt and old jeans and boots. He wasn’t married, didn’t have any kids, bu he and his girlfriend were pretty steady. She had a fear of heights though which was why I was here and not her.

‘Where is this thing you wanted me to see, Alex?’ I called back.

He cut the large flame and most of the noise faded away.

‘Few miles west,’ he replied, ‘luckily it’s on the flight path today. Do you want to have a go?’

‘Sure!’

I had practised a few times now at flying the balloon. Alex made it look so easy and you’d think that would be the case, but sometimes it was hard to fight against the wind or to get the right balance when landing. I was happy enough to learn and carry on improving. Though I did get distracted by the wonderful landscape below.

You lose track of time when you were flying, so I wasn’t sure how long it had been when Alex told me we’d soon be passing over what he wanted me to see. He told me which side would be best and so I went over to look.

At first there was just pale green fields but then I saw something and even though it was far away, I could see it was a large part of a plane. I lend over to get a closer view, my hands gripping the worn leather edge of the wicker basket. It was clear the plane had crashed long ago and just been left there.

‘It’s a plane, Alex!’ I yelled then asked quieter, ‘what happened?’

‘No idea, Hanna,’ Alex called back.

I looked down again, keeping my eyes fixed on the plane as we flew over. It was a strange sight. Here we were in the sky where the plane should have been and yet it was forever grounded. My mind began racing, what had happened to that husk of metal? How can people just leave it there?

We drifted by and a strange silence sat on me. I tried to get my mind to turn away from the abandoned plane but I couldn’t. I had to know the truth of what happened.

 

China

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It was only a matter of time until someone knocked the china set off the display stand. The moment Audrey finished putting it out and I looked at it, a premonition came to me. I saw all the china flying to the floor and breaking before anyone could save a single piece. I told Audrey. She laughed and told me to go back to work, which there was always plenty of the antique shop. However, I really wish my premonition had shown it was me that broke the china, that would have been more useful to know!

(Inspired from: https://bikurgurl.com/2017/07/19/16492/ with thanks)

Glitter #fridayfictoneers

 

Placing the large, sliver glittery jar on the window sill, Ola stood back to admire it. She had loved how in the shop the jar had glowed in the sunlight as if fireflies where inside it. Now as the sun hit it again, light danced across her walls like a disco ball.

Slightly moving the gold candlestick that had been her great-grandma’s, till it was in a better position to catch the light bouncing off the jar, Ola’s couldn’t help but think what the candlestick represented. Originally, one of a pair, it had survived the Second World War and the long journey out of Germany to Sweden. It was hope and freedom in one as well as a piece of her family’s history.

Finally happy, Ola moved away and went off to unpack the rest of her shopping. Afterwards, she got a late lunch and settled in the living room to watch TV. A loud tapping on a window caused her to pause. Glass of water and plate of food still in hand, she looked around. The tapping came again.

Maybe, it was someone at the door? Placing things down, she walked over and opened the cottage’s small door. There was no one there. Confused, she closed the door and went to the back one but there was no one their either. Wondering what was going on, she went from window to window and peered out.

The lane and rolling countryside looked like it always did at the height of summer; trees in full green leave, flowers in their bright colours, the fields in patchworks of greens and yellows against the bright blue sky. The other cottages were covered in climbing flowers and plants underneath their whitewash walls and thatched roofs added to that picture perfect look.

There didn’t seem to be anyone around. Ola went back to her lunch but as soon as she’d sat down the tapping started up again. Frowning, she arose and went quickly to both doors. Peering out of the windows, she saw there was no one there. Perhaps, it was children playing about? Going back, she began her lunch, ignoring the tapping when it started up again.

Finally though, she’d had enough. Getting up and heading in the direction of the tapping which seemed to be coming from the landing window where she had placed the glittering jar, Ola stood for a few moments. Then she saw it. A huge black and white magpie was flying at the window and tapping on the glass.

Ola laughed. The bird was attracted to the jar! The sunlight sparkling off the surface must have caught it’s attention. She watched for a few more moments as the magpie kept trying to get at the jar, then not sure what else to do, Ola rolled the blind down. The jar and window sill fell dark. Ola felt a wave of unhappiness but as she listened the magpie’s tapping slowed then stopped.

Ola pulled the blind halfway up. Thinking that if there wasn’t so much light on the jar then the magpie might stay away. It was a shame not to let the jar glow as it should. Stepping back, she stood by the window for a few minutes. Admiring the movement of the light on the jar, candlestick and walls. The magpie didn’t come back.

(Inspired from: https://rochellewisoff.com/2017/07/12/14-july-2017/ with thanks)

Chapel Keys

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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)

The Lost Page

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She went to turn the page over, breath held in, eager to know how the novel ended. Her heart beat so loudly she could hear it echoing in her ears. Her eyes dropped to the page and there was nothing.

Frowning, she looked harder at the blank page then turned back to the previous one. Re-reading the last few lines, she flipped over again but still nothing. Bending the spine slightly, she saw that someone had ripped the last page of the book out.

 

 

Sunny

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There was something satisfying about dozing in the hot sun by the side of the swimming pool. All my troubles seemed to melt and not want to resurface. I was carried away by the cool water gently lapping, the palm trees waving and the pleasant sounds of children playing. It was going to be hard to leave this all behind and return back home to work. Maybe, I could just hide out here forever and become part of the hotel furniture.

 

(Inspired from: https://thewriteedgewritingworkshop.wordpress.com/2017/07/06/writing-prompts-for-monday-july-10-2017/ with thanks)

The Secret

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My mother had been buried under the gardeners’ compost heap just like my step-great-uncle had always told me. I could see bits of creamy bone and scraps of dark red dress coated with damp soil and roots. Her death wasn’t a secret any longer but now I was about to join her.

(Inspired from; http://sachablack.co.uk/2017/07/05/writespiration-123-52-weeks-in-52-words-week-27/ with thanks)

 

Postcard #35

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Dear Nora,

Today, I walked along the beach and I dreamed about you. I thought about that summer we spent together and why now we can’t have any more. You know I would give anything to change that, but we both know that I’m not the problem.

I shall await you forever, Charles.

Freak School

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The first time I found out my girls’ boarding school was haunted, I was crying in the library. The bullies had singled me out from day one as the ugly geek girl which wasn’t true. I was hiding in the corner of the reference section which no one but the teachers visited when something caught my eyes.

At first I thought it was because my vision was blurred by tears but then the fuzzy white mist before me began taking shape. I dried my face and stopped sniffing as the ghostly form of a young teenage girl appeared. She was shorter then me, with pig tailed hair and long dress.

‘What’s wrong?’ she asked, her voice whispery and as light as a feather.

Anybody else might have freaked out, but I was use to ghosts. I just hadn’t expected to see one at school!

‘The other girls are being mean to me,’ I muttered.

‘Girls were mean to me once too,’ the ghost responded.

‘What’s your name?’ I asked.

‘Annabelle. What’s your’s?’

‘Becky. How did you die?’

The ghost floated and turned about as if to take the library in. I wondered if she knew she was dead. Sometimes, ghosts didn’t know that.

‘It was an accident, I think, I fell down the grand staircase,’ Annabelle answered as thoughtfully as a ghost could.

‘Oh, how terrible!’ I replied.

‘It was a long, long time ago. It doesn’t matter. It’s been ages since I last found someone who could see me. Are you a witch or a medium?’

I shrugged, ‘I’m not sure.’

Annabelle sank down and came into a sitting position just above the floor. The library was silent. School was well over for the day and everyone had gone to eat or play.

‘Tell me about these girls. I’ll scare them good for you if you like,’ Annabelle added.

‘You’d do that?’ I asked, wiping my face with a hankie.

‘Sure. We’re going to be best friends, right?’

The ghost smiled and her face lit up.

I had a bad feeling in my belly, something wasn’t right here…..but Annabelle was just a little ghost. What harm could she really do?

‘Okay,’ I said slowly then I told her about the five girls who had been bullying me.

The next day, Darcy was missing from class. She had been the girl who had called me names and put chewing gum in my hair. The teacher said she was unwell, she had fallen out of bed hit her head badly.  A few days later, we were told she had been taken to hospital in a comma, she might never recover.

I tried to tell myself that my new ghost friend couldn’t have had anything to do with that that. Lots of people fall out of bed in the middle of the night, don’t they? The bad feeling I had before came back and I tried to find Annabelle to ask her, but I couldn’t make contact.

On the second day, Mabel tripped and broke both her legs. She had stolen my things, including my shoes and hide them. Mabel claimed someone pushed her but there’d been no one there. She was taken to hospital but her legs didn’t mend and she had to spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair. She never came back to school either.

That night, I crept from my bed and went to the library. Sitting in the reference section, I called Annabelle to me using a candle and a charm my great-grandmother had given me. I watched a white mist began to take a girl like shape.

‘Hello, Becky,’ Annabelle said cheerfully.

‘Two girls have been hurt now, did you have anything to do with that?’ I asked.

Annabelle’s face seemed to frown then she nodded, ‘They were mean to you, so I was mean to them.’

‘No!’ I cried, ‘that’s not what I meant for you to do!’

‘Do you want me to stop?’ Annabelle asked.

I held back a breath and tears. The other girls were still picking on me, but things had started getting worse. They were upset their friends were gone and taking it out on me. A part of me wanted them all gone but what Annabelle was doing was wrong.

‘Say it. Tell me to stop and I will,’ Annabelle pressed.

‘You have to find a different way. Just scare them a little. That’s all. Promise?’

‘Yes,’ Annabelle answered and vanished.

Leaning back against a bookcase, I listened to the silence for a few moments then made my way back to bed.

The next evening, Sallie was found almost drowned in the bath. Sallie had held me down whilst the other girls had hit and kicked me. She was a big girl, so it was hard to imagine anything like that happening to her. They took her hospital and she went home afterwards, but was so traumatised she didn’t come back to school that year.

Pacing my room, I tried to reach out to any ghosts but there didn’t seem to be any around. I went bed, tried and sad. This was all my fault and I couldn’t figure out how to stop it. Perhaps it would be best just to end things with Annabelle. If we weren’t friends any more she’d have no reason to hurt the other two girls.

The next day was dull and rainy. The lessons were boring and I couldn’t think clearly. Everyone seemed emotional too and confused. What was going on around here that could cause three girls to have freak accidents in a row? The guilt hung over me like a storm and I couldn’t wait till the evening to speak to Annabelle.

I rushed to the library after my last class and even though it was busy, I wiggled my way into the reference section and called the ghost to me. It took awhile. I guess because ghosts are weaker during the day but also because she knew I was mad with her. When the mist appeared, I asked her why even before her form had time to settle.

‘It was a accident. I didn’t mean to hold her down for so long,’ Annabelle replied sadly.

‘She almost died!’ I hissed back.

‘I was only trying to help you. Didn’t you want that? Aren’t we best friends?’ Annabelle asked.

I shook my head, ‘not any more we aren’t. I never want to see you again and you stay away from the other two girls got it?’

Annabelle’s ghostly face flashed with anger and in a puff she was gone.

I felt better but the next night I was awoken by screams. Scrambling from my bed, I saw that the last two girls, Nadia and Paula had fallen down the grand staircase. They were badly hurt and both claimed a ghost girl had attacked them in the night and chased them till they had bumped together at the top of the stairs and fallen down.

No one believed them of course, expect for me and after that I never saw Annabelle again.

The Basement (Part 5)

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(Please be aware this story contains adult sexual content.) 

The tunnel was mostly dirt held up with wooden boards and crumbing ancient bricks. I felt a chill along my back as if a spider was walking across my spine. Trying not to let my worry show, I looked at Raven. Her expression was excited and curious, her body language told me she was ready to go exploring the tunnel. My wife really loved things like this and she showed no fear when everyone else would have done.

‘Where do you think it goes, Crow?’ she asked.

‘I don’t know….Maybe we should find out later though. I’m thirsty and we have so much unpacking to do,’ I replied.

Raven turned to me, her face flashing to disappointment. She took a standing ground stance; pulling her shoulders up, holding head high and keeping straight. Turning to me, her expression became serious and calm, she was going to begin arguing with me.

‘I’m just saying,’ I said softly.

Raven was not a person you argue with. She would win with words or with fists. Having a black belt in Taekwondo made her pretty scary in a fight. Luckily, I knew how to avoid most of our arguments, having known her for twelve years helped.

‘We’re down here so we might as well,’ Raven spoke, ‘you’re not scared are you? It’s nothing just an old passage way. It’ll led to that ice house or something. We should make sure it’s secure. We wouldn’t want to get robbed or anything.’

I let the silence do the talking for me.

‘I’ll go by myself. It’s no big deal,’ Raven added.

‘It doesn’t look safe though,’ I muttered.

Raven shrugged and answered, ‘It doesn’t look that bad…I’m sure it’ll be fine. I need to know where it goes. Either you come or you don’t. I don’t care either way.’

With that, she walked in. I had no choice but to follow her because if anything happened, I’d never live it down and Raven would make sure of that.

The soil was hard packed under and around me. Someone had taken great time to make it so and it had been used lots of times over the years. Like the cellars though, the air was dry and old. This tunnel had been sealed for so long. Creeping after my wife, I tried not to let my fears get to me.

Torch light flickered over the reminds of brick walls and wooden planks that had been used to hold the soil back. Roots of dead plants and other rubbish made lines in the almost black earth. I hoped Raven was right and this was just a tunnel used to get to the ice house.

We walked for a good few minutes, just listening to each other’s footsteps, breathing and movement. There was nothing else to be heard. Thinking, I tried to come up with something to say. I could tell Raven was still tense and she was just wanting for me to light the argument bomb. I wasn’t going anywhere near it though.

‘Some adventure, huh?’ I finally said, ‘I hope this leads to more then just the ice house.
Some place cool would be good. Like the Batcave or El Dorado. What do you think, Pumpkin?’

Raven paused, her shoulders dropping as she turned to me. I fixed a smile on my face, even if it was fake.

‘I hope so too,’ she said, ‘I bet this isn’t on the blueprints.’

I forced a laugh and shook my head.

Raven smiled and turned back again. We walked for another good ten minutes or so then came to another stop.

‘I think there’s something up ahead,’ Raven pointed out.

I peered over her shoulder and saw a small door set into the end of the tunnel. I became half torn about it; wanting it to be locked and wanting it to be unlocked at the same time. I held my breath as Raven went up to it and tried the handle.

The door seemed to move a little. Raven put a shoulder to it and shoved the door rudely open. An unpleasant smell hit my nose. Before there had only been the scent of old dry earth, now this stank like rotted meat.

‘Raven….’ I uttered then had to cover my mouth and nose with my t-shirt.

She didn’t answer or look my way, she was shinning her torch through. I shuffled closer, wanting to draw her away without seeing what was there. I couldn’t help it but as I saw through the door there seemed to be nothing but an endless straight dark hole of space.

I reached a hand out for her shoulder. Raven jumped, turned to face me and lost her footing as she did so. I grabbed out for her, but my wife slipped through my fingers and fell into the darkness.

‘Raven!’ I screamed.

The sounds of a coughing fit rose from a little way below me. I shone my torch down, saw a cloud of dirt rising then spotted her. She didn’t fallen far and after a quick look around I saw there was actually some steps set before me that were half covered by soil. I raced down them, almost tripping.

‘Are you okay?’ I pressed as I reached her side.

Raven looked up at me. Her lip was bleeding and she was cover in soil. She nodded and I helped her up.

‘You didn’t fall far. There are steps, see? Where are we now?’ I gushed.

Raven began trying to clean herself up, so I cast around and tried to see in the claustrophobic blackness where we were. My  first thoughts were that we had found the ice house and were at the bottom. It was cold enough and that smell was still strong. Then my light fell on something and stayed there.

‘Raven, look,’ I whispered.

I felt her move at my side, shone her own torch over mine and gasp loudly.

Before us was large grey stone sarcophagus. It was half sunk into the soil and looked intact. A further exploration showed there were more of them and also some wooden coffins. There were too many to count as they appeared to carry on where our torch light couldn’t reach.

‘We must be under the cemetery!’ Raven cried out.

I frowned and said, ‘but why would they bury everyone together like this?’

‘No idea….Some of these must be named though.’

My wife determinedly moved off towards the first sarcophagus.

‘Wait! Be careful!’ I shouted after her.

‘I shall,’ she tossed over her shoulder.

I side stepped from one foot to the other, undecided then hurried after her.

‘No name,’ she uttered as her fingers trailed over the stone.

‘Maybe we should go….’

Raven pouted then frowned. She was torn too!

‘Listen, pumpkin. This could be dangerous. We have no idea what’s really down here or where it goes. Perhaps, we should leave,’ I pressed.

I took Raven’s hand and squeezed it. She was shaking. I hugged her gently and some of the soil transferred on to me. She breathed into my neck and wrapped her arms around me.

‘Okay,’ she voiced.

We turned towards the steps but a wooden creaking sound made us stop. I looked down, thinking we had stepped on a plank or a coffin, but there was only soil below. The creaking grew and there was no mistake the sound of a coffin lid being removed.

‘Don’t look back,’ I said for us both and I tugged Raven away.

An unmistakable human groan rose up from behind us. I felt panic rocket through me. I tugged Raven harder and broke into a run. All my senses were telling me to get out and far away.

Raven’s hand tightened on mine, I glanced to make sure she was okay and I lost my footing. I tried to keep my balance, but the ground was shaking like a small earthquake and I tumbled forward. I fell and heard my left out stretched arm go through something, then Raven dropped to the floor beside me.

‘Crow? Crow!’ she shouted, shaking my shoulders.

‘I’m okay,’ I mumbled, tasting a spot of blood in my mouth.

I eased upwards. My torch had rolled far away but the beam was shinning across what my arm had hit though. I gagged and scrambled away from the sight of the open coffin. I backed into Raven who held me down.

‘It’s okay,’ she said calmly.

But it wasn’t.

The ground was still shaking, the sounds of moaning and creaking wood were getting louder. A patch of soil close to us suddenly sprayed up as if it was a water burst. I give a little scream and Raven yelled something out.

In the gloom we both saw it; a skeleton hand raising up out of the ground….

To Be Continued…