There was a buzz in city. The streets smelt of Chinese spice and stir fry vegetables as cookers worked over gas burners in little marquees. Red paper lanterns were strung up and gold steamers waved above the crowds.
Music echoed, drums beating and cymbals crashing. Gasps rose from the people and they parted like a breaking wave as along the road came a golden dragon. He was rising and falling with the beat of the music. Bells that decorated his flashing scales tinkled and his yellow mane blew in the breeze.
He fixed his large eyes onto the crowd then downwards as a child darted before him. The dragon regarded her slowly then he opened his mouth wide. The child placed a red envelope on his tongue and the dragon clamped his teeth shut.
A joyous cry roared through the crowd. The dragon shook his head and started to dance once more, welcoming the Chinese new year in.
Her bones lay on the beach, rusting under sun and sea. Long had she sailed across the waters until that fateful night had brought her to this grave. Wedged keel in sand, hull full of water, tilting to port side, going nowhere.
She had become scrap and a new home for seagulls. Sinking further into the sand, waves rocked her still and she slept, dreaming of days out in the ocean with a crew scampering upon her decks.
Years later, she awoke to a new job; a sight-seers’ object. To be admired and wondered over. Hands touched what only the sea had done and life came back into the old bones once more.
The blizzard arrived like they said it would. The snow and wind came down blindly fast. Things ground to a stop like the rusted cogs of a clock. People battled against nature, trying to get on. Children free of school were sledging and building snowmen. It seemed right to join them as not much else could be done.
Days, weeks and months past by. At first it had been fun and slightly annoying but now the blizzard was frustrating and angering people. Cars and houses were snowed in. Transport was limited. Buildings were closed due to burst pipes or lack of heating or it being too dangerous to open.
Homeless people were frozen solid in the street, buried under snow moulds that became too much effort to dig them out. Rubbish piled up around them, unable to be removed as the roads were too blocked up. People who dared to go out risked tripping over the hills of such things.
Other people froze or staved in their homes. Their bodies left because even if they could be recovered, how could they be buried?
Those luckily enough to move away did so and soon that was the only answer. The snow kept coming, the city turned to stone, trapping the people that remained.
They had spent the night telling scary stories and laughing at their fears. Little did they know as the fire died and the forest settled into complete blackness, something was stirring through the undergrowth.
The blade of an axe, a glint of light and spots of blood hit the floor.
Ava had never been into girly things, I had tried to get her into ballet and dance but she wasn’t interesting. Her first year at school, Ava was tested for autism and the results were positive so I became a devastated mother because my child was dumb.
The teachers said, ‘Ava is an intelligent child, she just thinks differently and her autism should be embraced not placed in an negative light.’
Years later, Ava proved this statement to be correct when she won the County’s Children Chess Championship.
I looked out of the motorhome window, rubbing sleep from my eyes. The sky was becoming light but the streetlamps were still on. I could hear water in the dock lapping the boats. Birds were singing and a car engine was fading into the distance.
I couldn’t remember arriving, I must have slept through. I got up, dressed and went outside. Cold air bruised my face, I smelt the salt off the water and I felt glad to finally have escaped.
There was a demon in the basement. I didn’t think anyone else but me knew. At first I just left him alone when I went to do the laundry down there. I would hear him snipper, hissing, moaning and giggling. Sometimes he would shuffle about, moving from one dark patch to another or else edging into a puddle of light to peer at me.
He was a small demon, about 4 foot and he was bright red like a burn. He had a curly, long tail with a spiked end, flat feet but wedded toes, he sometimes walked on two feet other times four. His hands were like his feet only with longer fingers and sharp like dagger nails. He’s body was bone thin, his neck long and his head too big. Huge black eyes stared out, his nose was snake slit and his mouth wide and full of needle teeth.
We never spoke but we both knew each other was aware of the other. I don’t know what he was doing down there and I didn’t wish to know. He could go about his business and I prayed he left me alone to get on with mine.