Keeping Going #WeeklyWritingPrompt

ikea-2714998_1920

Rory rolled over in bed and looked through the half opened curtains. The sky was trying to turn into twilight outside the windows but it was hard to noticed because the grey clouds blocked everything out. He sighed and wondered what was become of summer.

Listening, Rory could hear a few birds twittering in the distance but that faded as the rain started to drip down. He carried on watching as at first it drizzled then poured. The urge not to get up took him. His phone was only a roll to the other side of the bed away and he had his manager on speed dial.

He needed the money so badly though and he could’t offered to get fired from another job. Getting up, he went to turn on the bedroom light but as his fingers touched the switched, he remember the fuse had blown last night. He turned on the lamp instead and got ready.

Rory dressed in old jeans, his work uniform’s dark blue polar top, the matching fleece jacket and black trainers. He went into the bathroom, ran the cold water tap, which squealed in protested at being turned and scrubbed his face. He brushed his teeth then tried to flatten down his dark brown longish hair. He caught his reflection in the mirror and wished he hadn’t. He looked weeks starved with a growing brown beard and dead grey eyes.

He turned away, the tap dripping behind him and the plumbing rattling. He grabbed his bag from the bedroom and went he went down the creaking old stairs, wondering if any of his six housemates were around. The living room, dinning room and kitchen were empty. He reasoned they were still out at work or sleeping or just not being in this dumpy ex-student house.

He scrapped together some kind of meal to eat later;  three crackers, a bag of plain crisps, four digestive biscuits and an energy drink. He peered into the rusty bread bin, knowing nothing was going to be there but still hoping. There was a fresh loaf of bread, open and with two slices missing!

Rory grabbed it out, grateful someone had brought it then made a cheese sandwich and two slices of toast. Before anyone could appear to tell him off, Rory left the house via the back door.

He hurried to the bus stop, wolfing down the toast. When he got there, he tried to find a dry spot which was hard because the teenagers had broken the shelter again and there was glass everywhere. The bus was early and half empty which meant Rory could huddle in the back seat away from everyone else.

He watched the rain washing down the emergency door window and tried not to think about the next numbing twelve hours. This job he had gotten through a friend of a friend’s girlfriend was only part-time; Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights in a warehouse.

Rory’s role was a picker which meant he went around with huge lists of orders and he had to take the items off the shelves to return them to the packers, who put everything in boxes with labels and shipped them off to the waiting vans for delivery the next morning.

He rang the bus’s bell to get off a few stops out of town then walked into the industrial estate. Warehouse, business buildings and car parks of all size grew around him. Large security fences around each one give the impress of a cluster of different islands each with their own secrets. Rory walked to one on the far edge, down a single road and pavement that didn’t want to end.

Entering the employees door, he clocked in then went to the bathrooms. The place was always clean and smelling of lemon. The hot water stayed hot, the hand dryer and fresh paper towels a blessing. Rory dried off and fixed himself up as best he could. He didn’t like to look scruffy even though it couldn’t be helped in his current circumstances and this job sort of give the impression that it was okay to look a little rough.

Rory got to work. He took some order forms from the stack, grabbed a huge cart and headed off down the aisle of shelving units. He liked at first to imagine that he was buying stuff for himself; a new pair of football shoes, a game console controller, a funny picture book. Some items he would wondered what he’d actually do with; a make up bag, a unicorn stuff toy, fake designer perfume. Other items, he dreamed about owning but then he started to be become numb to it.

He’d look at the list, see what item was next and collect it with no thought. When the cart was full, Rory would deliver it and the completed order forms to the packers. He would leave them to sort the items into the correct boxes and send them down the conveyor belts where more packers would place them into vans.

There was little else to his job but there was nothing he could do. Rory felt trapped, like a mouse in a cage who wanted out real bad. He was nothing more then a zombie here even though he had the brains for a better job, perhaps in an office? Nobody wanted a school drop out with a criminal record for stealing and vandalism though. Like his parents hadn’t wanted him when he had been born.

He got on with his working night then caught the first bus home in the early hours of the morning. It had stopped raining and the sky was a watery blue with a touch of yellow. Rory went up the front steps, down the side of the four floored house which once had been a pleasant family home but was now a demolition waiting to happen and to the back door.

He let himself in and rummaged around the kitchen. Someone had been to the food bank because there was a blue plastic crate on the floor filled with carry bags stuffed full. Rory had a look and found some tinned stuff; soup, beans, fish, veg and meat. There was packets of noodles, biscuits, crackers, sweets, rice and fruit. Also, washing up liquid, toilet rolls, soap bars and a surface cleaner.

Rory grabbed a tin of soup, a banana and a packet of sweets. He found a bowl and heated the soup up. Whilst he waited, he looked at the bags and though he knew he shouldn’t, for the food was meant for everyone to share, he took out a packet of noddles, a packet of rice and another tin of soup. He hide them in his bag to take upstairs with him later.

He felt better once he had eaten something warm and had some sweets. Almost, like normal again. He talked with the housemates that were in for awhile, watched some TV with them then Rory went to bed.

He undressed to his boxers, put t-shirt on then quietly took the food he had taken out of his bag. He slide a small plastic box out from underneath his bed and put the things in there. Hopefully, the mice wouldn’t get them.

Rory got into bed, feeling waves of tiredness pulling him into sleep. He felt torn about what to do tomorrow. Could he really stand another shift at the warehouse? He argued in his head about choices and ideas but he was too sleepy to really care.

Finally, Rory told himself that if he wanted to have a roof over his head and food in his belly then he would go to work tomorrow. And even though the little hope he had left was dimming everyday, he still clung to it in the hope that one day his life would change for the better.

(Inspired by; https://secretkeeper.net/2018/06/18/weekly-writing-prompt-146/ with thanks).

Advertisements

Kuidaore #atozchallenge

strawberry-3304967_1920

Kuidaore; to eat yourself into bankruptcy. 

He didn’t know what else to do now and re-living his past allowed him to feel something again. He made bookings at any restaurant he could, though some he knew lied to him about being fully booked for months. They either remembered him from all those years ago when he had given them bad reviews or they had heard about his demise and thought him out of his mind.

Well, he was wasn’t he? The dementia that had taken his wife had decided it wanted him too. He was a better fighter then her but it was hard now he was on his own. Sometimes he thought about contacting his daughter again and making things right but the pain was too much. So instead, he looked up the newest places to eat and phoned them.

‘Byon’s, how can I help?’ asked the cheerful male voice.

‘Can I have a table for one for tomorrow around half past six?’ he said.

‘Yes, you can. What’s your name, please?’

‘Mr Higgson,’ he replied, trying to hold back a chuckle. Giving false names was his new way to get in.

‘That’s booked for you, thank you.’

‘Thanks.’

Hanging up the phone, he jotted it down in his diary and looked up another place to phone for the next night.

‘Hello, The White Rabbit pub,’ said a tried woman’s voice.

‘I’d like to book a table for two, please,’ he said.

That was his other trick, to book extra seats and then say that person or them weren’t coming but he still wanted to eat.

‘For when?’ the woman asked.

‘Friday lunchtime, around half one.’ he answered.

‘Yes, we can fit you in. Name?’

‘Mr Higgson.’

‘I’ll book that in.’

‘Thanks,’ he said and hung up the phone.

He wrote that down under Friday then leaving the diary open on his desk, turned to his old PC. A document was open on the screen and he had been typing up his notes from yesterday’s meal.

The Toad At The Hall Inn is a most pleasant place though it would be even nicer if dogs and children were banned. My meal which I shall describe shortly, was constantly interrupted by loud barking and crying. Also, there is the constant arriving and departing of hikers, cyclists and drivers, making relaxing in this ‘cosy countryside’ place hard. 

Looking at an open notebook, he re-read his scrambled notes then carried on typing. He worked on his review for another twenty minutes then he needed the bathroom. Getting up on cramped knees, he hobbled to the bathroom.

The phone rang whilst he was in there. He didn’t bother hurrying, the answer machine would get it and it was probably only a cold caller anyway. Gone were the days when, the editors, colleagues, friends and chiefs would phone him to suggested this or that place, to give praise about his latest review or remind him of a deadline.

Who was that ringing him?

He came out and picked up the phone. It stop ringing and there was a dial tone. They had hung up. With a shrug, he wondered what he had been doing. His thoughts had wandered, a bad thing to let happen. He looked around, hoping something would remind him, when nothing came in went into the living room and put the TV on.

There was a daytime cooking show on. It jogged his memory, I must phone those other restaurants and get some more money, he thought.

It was really only food, travel and bills he spend money on now. Well, what was left of it….He had gotten through most of his savings now but what else was he going to spend his money on? And what did the money matter, it was the food that counted! The food was the most important thing!

Speaking of, what was he doing right now? He glanced around, unsure then got up.

‘I should phone those other restaurants,’ he said and hobbled back to his desk.

Postcard #42

janets-foss-2451389_1920

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

post-it-1819739_1920

New Year’s Resolution;

Eat all you want.

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

 

The Paper Mill (Part 3)

pexels-photo-416326

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

pexels-photo-373465

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; https://first50.wordpress.com/2017/10/16/the-cookbook/ with thanks).

Toffee Apple Tasting

apples-87875_1920

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

blueberries-690072_1920

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; https://carrotranch.com/2017/08/11/august-10-flash-fiction-challenge-2/ with thanks)

Post It Note #37

post-it-notes-1284667_960_720

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

christmas-scene-1846486_1920.jpg

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.