Postcard #42


Dear Lucy,

Please ignore the picture on the front. It’s an old postcard I had to dig out of my stash! This is a sign of how bad things are becoming down here. The weather has slowed delivers coming in and only wants needed has been arriving. The shop is sold out of almost everything and the village council are handing out supplies.

I have been raiding my chest freezer and finding all the wild berries, fruits etc we picked over the years. Knew they’d be handy some day, but not like this! Don’t bother to send anything, it won’t get through as they have stopped all personal packages and none important mail. I’m sneaking this one out!

All the best, Vernon.


Post It Note #42


New Year’s Resolution;

Eat all you want.

It’ll be harder for anyone to kidnap you ever again.


The Paper Mill (Part 3)


I went home, got my college stuff and caught the bus. Resting my head against the wet window, my thoughts drifted and before I knew it, the bus was stopping outside the college’s gates. Getting off, I headed straight for the library which was either going to be packed or….empty.

There was no one in the lobby, not even a librarian at the desk. I turned back, checked the open sign in the window then with a shrug walked though. The tables and sofas running down the left side were strangely empty. Tall bookcases set up like dominoes were on the other side. There was a staircase straight to my right which I went up.

Pushing through the double doors, I heard whispers of voices and saw two woman at a table with books scattered around them. Feeling better that I wasn’t alone, I went to the section of books I needed and starting gathering more research for my essay. It did take a little while but soon, I was totally focused on my studies.

By the time I left the library, due to the fact it was closing early, the sky was so dark it seemed to be the middle of the night. I huddled in the bus shelter with three other people- a girl and two guys- who held a mixture of conversions. My bag was heavy with books as I’d taken out so I had some more to get through the weekend with. I kept switching shoulders with it then finally give up and set it down my feet.

It was raining lightly now but the wind had really picked up and I could feel the cold through my winter coat. I looked at the bus time table again and noticed the bus was late. I hope they hadn’t cancelled. If the weather and the darkness had been better I would have walked again. The paper mill came back into my head and I hoped the girl was okay.

The bus emerged from the black road and came to a stop before us. I hurried on and took a seat close to the front. There were a few other people on the bus and they all looked as wet and cold as us students did. During the drive, I thought about getting off at the stop close to the mill, but I decided I was too tried and hungry to do that. Plus, I’d have to walk back too.

Arriving at home, I showered and got changed, so I was warmer, then I heated up a can of soup. Eating before the glow of the TV, I blocked out the loneliness of the house. My grandparents had gone for a month and wouldn’t be back for another week. Perhaps, that was why I was so desperate about the homeless girl? I was too tried to think any more.

Leaving the hall light on, I went up to bed. I read for bit before laying in the dimly lit room. The wind was still howling outside and the rain was hitting the window. I thought it would take me awhile to sleep but it came on my quickly. I didn’t have any dreams and I felt refreshed.

Getting up and ready, I saw it had stopped raining. I made breakfast and decided I had to go back to the abandoned mill. I packed up some more food- things that were going out of date from the fridge, some fruit and more tins. This time I also went into the attic and found an old but still good sleeping bag and a pillow.

Walking over, the sky threatened more rain and I past a few cars driving about. At the rows of houses there was more activity as children played outside and parents unloaded shopping. I got a look off an older man and it took me a few moments to realise he was wondering where I was going with a sleeping bag in one hand and a pillow poking out of a carry bag in the other. He’d did’t say anything though.

The paper mill looked the same though in the morning light I could see more of the decay and nature taking over. I crept in, across the courtyard and inside the main building. There was water dripping somewhere and the creaking of wood. I didn’t need my torch this time and I was able to got the right way too!

The girl was still in the room and as I entered the doorway, I saw her piling damp wood closer to the fire pit. She was wearing the coat, bobble hat and a pair of trousers that I had given her. My heart leaped and I felt better.

‘Hello,’ I called.

She stopped, give me a nod and set the wooden planks down.

‘Do the clothes fit?’ I asked walking in.

She give a shrug and said something that I missed.

‘I thought maybe you’d like this too,’ I said and held out the sleeping bag and pillow.

She came and took them from me and whilst she was looking at them, I took the rucksack off and began emptying it. I set all the food down then zipped up the rucksack and slipped it on again. I smiled at her.

‘Why…do you keep doing this?’ she said slowly.

‘I guess because….’ I frowned and really thought about why.

‘Are you sorry for me? Is that why?’ she demanded.

‘No!’ Well, maybe a little…’

‘I don’t need your pity,’ she snapped.

She crossed her arms over her chest and turned her head away.

I pressed my lips together and replied, ‘I’d have been throwing all this away anyway…’

She didn’t responded. I shifted around on my feet and decided it was time I admitted the truth to her and myself.

‘I’m lonely. I guess that’s why…’ I said.

Our eyes meet then she looked me up and down.

‘I don’t believe you,’ she answered.

Sighing, I spoke, ‘guess that is bit odd but it’s the truth.’

‘I don’t need friends. They only stab you in the back,’ she explained, ‘I’m happy alone.’

Nodding, there was nothing else to say. I began to leave.

‘Don’t come back again,’ she said quietly, ‘I won’t be here.’

I glanced over my shoulder at her. The dirt on her child-like face and her unkempt dark hair stuck in my mind. Going home, I reflected on our conversion and decided I need to make more effort in class to make some friends.

I managed to stay away from the old paper mill for a week but then I had to go back again. I went empty handed this time because I just needed to know if she had left or not.

When I arrived, there was a new metal fence around the mill and signs warning people not to trespass and beware dangerous building. I pressed myself to the gate, looking at the mill and I saw that the doors and lower windows had been boarded up.

‘I hope you found somewhere else to go,’ I whispered.

Turning away, I went to catch the bus to meet my new friends for lunch.


The Cook Book


The witch took her favourite cook book out and began turning the heavy yellow pages. She wasn’t sure what to make, something to poison the neighbourhood kids or a light snack for herself?

‘Ah, mashed monster stew!’ she crackled, ‘that’s perfect for this stormy night!’


(Inspired from; with thanks).


Toffee Apple Tasting


There were a few things that sum up autumn perfectly and one of them is toffee apples. As you do the weekly shop and pick up the normal fruit and veg, you spot the boxes in the last section of the large open fridge. Strolling over, you see sticks coming out of red glossy apples and next to them are chocolate covered sprinkle apples.

Your mouth starts to water as you remember how sweet they taste. You select a few, knowing that next week they might not have any in. Then you carry on with your shopping list but you can’t wait to get home now. At the till, you hurry through packing and paying, keeping up a light chat with the small woman scanning your shopping.

You leave, go to the car and place everything inside then you drive slowly home because the rain is heavy and the wind gale force. When you get back, you see your family is still out. Your husband has taken the kids to a birthday party at a soft play centre. You unpack and twice have to draw yourself away from grabbing a toffee apple.

Once everything is sorted, you chose one of the bright red apples and curl up on the sofa with it. Enjoying the sound of the weather outside, you don’t turn the TV or radio on. You unwrap the treat, the plastic coat so loud as you twist it off. You breath deeply, smelling the crisp apple and sweet, sweet treacle toffee.

You turn the stick slowly, marvelling at the perfect, thick toffee and wondering how did they get it so good. Your own attempts at making toffee apples drifts into you mind, but you shake them away now isn’t the time to reflect on your failures. You bring the apple to your lips and began nibbling at the lip of toffee on top.

A blast of sticky sugar hits your tongue, you shut your eyes and moan softly in pleasure. You nibble more, feeling like you can’t get enough now you’ve started. Then you hit the rock hard toffee and cold apple layers. You go more slowly, careful of your teeth. When you finally bit into the apple, the sweet and softness of it goes perfectly with the toffee as if they were made for each other.

You carry on eating, rolling in the happy feelings, until all the toffee is gone and you are almost at the core of the apple. Saddness creep in under the sugar rush. You wish there was more… You lick your lips, feeling sticky as you look at the apple core.

The sound of car pulling up on the driveway shakes you out of the pleasure. You hear car door and voices; your family is home. Spring up from the sofa, you put the apple core, stick and plastic wrap in the bin and wash your face.

The front door opens and you fight to keep down the sugar rush as you greet your family. They must never know.


Play A Little Tune


Bert’s blueberries were not doing so well this year. The too wet summer was the cause. He had been trying everything to make the blueberries happy as they were his biggest sellers and God knew he needed the money. ¬†Finally, he decided to take his violin and play for them though it broke his vow to never play again. As the first notes rang out, tears marked Bert’s cheeks. He played and played till he couldn’t anymore but the magic of the music seemed to work because the blueberries grew and became the best crop he had ever had.

(Inspired by; with thanks)


Post It Note #37


Here’s a little note to cheer you up whilst you eat your lunch. Remember that; no matter what happens I will always love you.


Christmas Day


All around the world today people are gathering together.

They are swapping presents, eating feasts and celebrating.

It’s a time for happiness and to see the magic of tradition.


Christmas Eve


Willow placed the sweet minced fruit pie on the plate then licked the sugar off her fingers. For a moment, she nearly snatched the pie back and put it in her mouth, but then her mother bustled over.

‘And a carrot for Rudolph,’ her mother announced as she placed the bright orange carrot next to the plate.

Willow looked up at her mum and almost asked the question that had popped into her mind.

‘Now, we need a bowl of water and some whisky…’ her mum said suddenly, ‘Will you get the water?’

With a nod, Willow followed her into the kitchen. Her mum got a bowl, filled it with water and handed it to her. Willow carried it carefully back into the living room and placed it on the coffee table next to the carrot.

She stood for a few moments and took the room in. It was heavy decorated with a real pine tree in the corner draped with multi-coloured fairy lights, shinny red and gold balls, red and gold tinsel and atop was a golden star. The mantel had real holly and berries laying across it and stockings hung up above the fire place. From the ceiling, lights and thin plastic shapes hung down.

Willow’s mother came back in with a tumbler glass half full of amber liquid. She placed it next to the plate.

‘All set. Right, it’s time for bed now. Santa will be on his way.’

‘But mum, why do we need to do this?’ Willow finally asked with a wave of her hand at the carrot.

‘Well….I guess…because it’s tradition,’ mum answered.

Willow stared at her waiting for more.

‘I think that Santa and the reindeer get hungry. They are doing a lot of travelling, so they need the energy.’

‘Then why don’t they stop? Or take food with them?’ Willow asked.

‘They can’t stop, they don’t have time. They have to get around the world in a whole night. Maybe though, Mrs. Claus makes them sandwiches,’ mum answered.

‘Do reindeer eat sandwiches?’ Willow wondered out aloud.

‘Also, we are thanking Santa for coming,’ mum added, ‘and it’s a nice thing to do.’

Willow looked at the coffee table, she wasn’t sure she believed in this anymore.

‘Plus, also,’ her mum said quickly, seeing the still puzzled look on her daughter’s face, ‘Santa has been asleep for much of the year and he’s really hungry.’

Willow frowned harder and looked from the food and drink offerings to her mother.

‘It’s bedtime now, sweetie, come on,’ her mum broke in.

Shrugging and deciding to let this conversation drop, Willow let her mum shoo her from the room. Saying goodnight, first to her father who was sat reading a book in his study then her mother, Willow went to her bedroom and lay on her bed pondering about Santa till she fell asleep.

Downstairs, her mother finished off wrapping presents. As she finished putting them in the stockings, her husband appeared in the doorway. He went to the coffee table and picked up the tumbler of whisky.

‘I don’t think we can pull this off next year,’ she said softly, ‘Willow is asking too many questions and not accepting my answers.’

Willow’s father picked up the mince pie and went to his favourite armchair. He sat down and took a bite out of the pie.

‘We’ll have to tell her. She’s grown up so fast,’ Willow’s mother added.

‘Maybe she’ll figure it out. It’s what we did.’

Standing up, Willow’s mother picked up the carrot and began eating it. In her mind, she was trying to figure out the best way to tell her daughter the truth.



There’s Always Someone


There’s always that one person you forget to buy a Christmas present for. No matter how carefully you write lists and confirm with other people, someone slips your mind. Perhaps, it’s your child’s teacher? A neighbour who’s been super kind to you this year? A long lost relative who’s appeared out of the blue?

Whoever it ends up being, it always comes to you at the last moment. You could be sat wrapping up presents and suddenly a name will pop into your head. You’ll check and see that yes, you’ve missed that person. Or you’ll be talking to someone and they will say that so and so has been in touch and suggested they would like… and you will gasp and says you’ve forgotten to get them something! Or even worse, said person will turn up at your front door, weighed down by gifts and with their family shouting, ‘happy holidays.’

There’s always that scramble, isn’t there? That rush around the house and into the cupboards to dig out something to give them. Don’t try to deny it. We all have that one place were things brought in the sales and unwanted gifts live in case that last minute present is needed. You’ll pull something out; a forgotten bathroom wash kit, a feet care set or a child’s blonde haired doll.

You’ll wrap it in a hurry and hand it over, hoping that it wasn’t actually a present they gave you last year. You’ll smile and make it seem like you’ve had that present for weeks and you didn’t forget at all. You’ll accept the gifts given to you but still you will question who you got that particular bathroom spa set or where you brought that bubble bath from.

In the Christmas madness, these thoughts will fade and vanish. You’ll be distracted trying to get the turkey lunch finished, the children crying over a wrong present, granddad snoring during the Queen’s speech. You’ll fall into the enjoyment of Christmas once more, that niggle feeling of forgetting someone gone.