Hidden #WritePhoto

It seemed too peaceful in the woods for anything dreadful to lay underneath but that  was what my instincts kept warning me of. For nights, I had been dreaming about this little girl in a pink ballerina dress dancing through these trees and calling my name. I had tried to ask her who she was and why she was here but she didn’t answer me.

I followed the river downwards, watching the chopping water tumbling over large rocks and small waterfalls. The sound of the water smoothing the edge off my worries. Birds were twittering away in trees which had almost lost all of their colourful autumn leaves. The chill of winter was settling in between the slate grey sky and muddy ground. My breath was misting in the late morning.

Huddling in my red Parker coat, I tried to recall the place the little girl seemed to be leading me too. I had never walked in these woods before and it was only because of her I was here. In my dreams, she had made letters of out sticks. I had looked it up on the internet and been directed to here. It had taken an hour and half driving, I had set my Saturday aside for this but even if nothing came of it, I had explored a new place and enjoyed a pleasant walk.

The river bent away and the path I was on spilt in two; carry on or go further up into the woods. Digging my hands into my pockets, I shut my eyes and finally opened spirit sense. I let the natural sounds move away and listened underneath them at anything that could be supernatural. It was always harder to do this outside as there was so much going on but the little girl was strong and she came to me in my mind.

She was dancing in her pink dress with frilly underskirt, ballet slippers ribboned up her legs, her dark hair up in a tight bun and her skin was milk white. A giggle and twirls along the second path and into the trees she vanished.

Opening my eyes, that’s the way I headed. The path wove around the trees, going up at a gentle pace for some time. The sounds of the river faded, more paths joint my one leading to other unknowns but I stuck with the one before me which soon became less trod on as it ran further and further above the woods.

‘Is this right?’ I whispered, pausing at a fallen oak tree covered in moss.

The feeling I was getting somewhere grew and I sent my sense out. The little girl appeared, not dancing now just pointing me on. I followed her fading form around a corner and came to bridge crossing a small stream. Leaves and twigs had blocked the flow of water but there was something else too….A flash of pink.

The breathe caught in my throat and I crept over. I didn’t look fully, didn’t need to, I knew she was there.

‘It’s okay, Sweetheart, you’ve been found now,’ I spoke.

I took my phone from my pocket and dialled the police.

The little girl smiled at me then faded into a mist which the winter wind carried through the trees.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/11/22/thursday-photo-prompt-hidden-writephoto/ with thanks).

 

 

The Paper Mill (Part 2)

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Laying in bed, the bedside lamp on to keep the dark at bay, my thoughts kept going back to that girl. She had either run away from home or just didn’t have a home to go back to. I tried to imagine living like her; no family or college, no money or food, no bed or clean clothes. It would be hard. Tossing about, I finally settled down but my mind still wouldn’t turn off.

Tomorrow, I told myself, I’ll get somethings together and take them to her. Maybe she’ll talk to me then and perhaps I can help. Or maybe, the other side of my mind thought, I should just let it go. It’s none of my business. But by seeing and talking to her I had made it my business.

In the morning after a shower and breakfast, I should have sat down to work on one of my essays. I didn’t have classes today and tomorrow was Saturday, so I should have been thinking about going back to the library. Instead, that homeless girl was still in my mind, so I set about finding things she could have.

My parents had died when I was ten, so my grandparents had took me in. They were currently away on holiday, visiting their other daughter and grandchildren in America. There was still a lot of my parents’ things in the attic but I didn’t have time to look through all that. What if the girl had left the mill because I’d scared her? I needed to get there as soon as possible. Luckily, close to the front door was a bag of clothes my gran was putting out for charity collection.

There were a few of my tops that were too small now, but might fit her. I also selected an old green jumper and two pairs of my grandpa’s trousers. There was my old winter coat in the closet, a bobble hat and matching gloves. Taking everything back upstairs, I put the clothes in a rucksack then brought that down. In the kitchen, I took some tins of beans and soup that had ring pulls. Some cans of fizzy drink, bottles of water, a packet of biscuits that no one of liked and a bag of dried fruit.

With those in the bag, I wondered what else would a homeless girl need. Perhaps; sanitary towels, painkillers, matches, candles  and a few other bits of pieces. the rucksack was heavy but it would be worth it. I got ready to go, saw it was raining and decided on my wellington boots and an umbrella. Was there a spare one to take her? My grandpa liked to collect useful things, so at the back of the closet were a few spare umbrellas. I chose a small pink one then set off.

The day was dull and it must have been raining to awhile because there were large puddles and everything was dripping wet. I walked slowly, weighted down with the rucksack. Some of the streetlamps were still on but they didn’t seem to be doing a good job. I hoped it wouldn’t get any darker. Following the country lanes around and to the bridge I didn’t see anybody or cars.

Going over the river, I picked up my pace and hurried through the rows of houses to the mill. I squeezed the gap in the fence and made my way over. In the gloom and rain, the paper mill looked darker and more dirtier. I could hear the rain falling into holes in the roof and dripping off metal.

In through the door and I had to get my phone’s torch out to see. There was no keeping quiet with my wellingtons and heavy rucksack on the debris covered floor. I thought I went to the room she had been in, but I must have taken a wrong turn because I ended up at a metal staircase. At the top of which was a void of darkness. Shivering, I turned away and weaved my way back again. All the rooms looked the same but at last I found the right one.

‘Hello?’ I called, ‘It’s me Darcy.’

The fire wasn’t lit but there was enough dim light from the tall windows to see that she was still there. She was sat on the floor, huddled in dirty blankets with a sleeping bag wrapped around her. She turned and realised it was me.

‘I thought maybe….I could bring you somethings,’ I spoke, not sure what really to say.

She turned away from me without saying anything.

I walked over and placed the bag down.

‘It’s not much just some food and clothes,’ I added.

There was a large piece of cardboard next to my feet, so I sat down. I opened the bag and took anything out. She kept her head turned away from me as if I wasn’t there. Whatever I had been thinking might happen, it hadn’t been like this. But why would a teenage girl suddenly gush out her life story to a stranger she’d never meet over some old clothes and food? Had I really thought we’re going to become best friends?

I waited a few minutes, listening to the rain falling and feeling the cold stiffen my limbs. She was quiet, ignoring me and because she was keeping away from me, I couldn’t make out her face. I wanted to catch her eye so at least I could try and say something else, but she didn’t move.

‘Fine,’ I sighed, ‘I’ll go.’

I picked up the rucksack and slowly walked away. Every now and then I glanced over my shoulder, but the girl hadn’t moved. At the doorway, I stopped and thought about saying something else to her, reminding her of her manners maybe? Get angry and yelling out my disgust at her? Perhaps hoping her the best?

The words, whatever they were, wouldn’t come out so I turned away and walked back through. Even though my mind was still on her, I couldn’t help but think about what the paper mill would have been like in the past. It would have been loud with machines cutting up the trees and making the paper. The air would have been heavy with wood dust and chemicals. People would have been everywhere too.

I made it out in one go, only to find the rain had got heavier and the wind had picked up. I opened my umbrella and hurried home, my heart and thoughts weighed down.

 

To Be Continued…

The Paper Mill (Part 1)

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The worse thing about autumn was it got dark far too soon and I’d always been scared of the dark. I hadn’t meant for it to be so late when I left the college library but I’d been doing research for my last two essays of the year. I hadn’t notice the time until I’d left and gone to the bus stop. I’d missed the last bus home.

So either, I walked the half an hour into town and got another bus or I walked the forty minutes home. If it had been raining which made it darker, I might have gotten the bus but I decided that I could make walking home. Most of the way would be well lit by street lamps and I had gone this way lots of times in the last year.

Drawing up all my bravery, I set off at a hurried pace. My heavy rucksack almost dragging me back whilst making my shoulders ache, distracted me as I went. My college was on a limbo boarder of just being outside a village and on the edge of countryside. The fastest way home was to half walk through the village then go up some country lanes.

I was about halfway home and just about to walk over a small bridge. Behind me an abandoned 1800’s paper mill ruled over the little houses that had once been home to it’s workers. The village had sprung up around the mill but once they had cleared all the trees, it started to get expensive importing more, sales had dropped too and the mill had closed it’s doors.

I stopped and faced off with the darkness before me. A single street lamp on the bridge was the only barrier between us. Beyond that the quiet countryside seemed to stretch endlessly away. I could hear the faint flow of the low river going under the bridge and something else in the distance behind me.

I listened harder, half turning to the sound which was like a muffled crying. I looked back at a row of houses, most had dim lights in the windows and others were draped in black. The paper mill looked eerie, like a silent empty watchman. I tried to tell myself the noise was just a cat or a baby but this feeling of strangeness grew in my stomach.

What if someone was hurt and only I could help them?

Glancing at the bridge, my mind made a choice that I didn’t get a chance to think about. I turned away and walked back towards the houses. I followed the sound along those small well lit pavements, thinking at any moment I’d find the source. Arriving at the gates of the mill and peering though the towering bars, I spotted the flicker of a fire in a ground floor window.

A voice in my head told me to go and my feet began to move away but the rest of me stayed at the gate. The crying was coming from the mill. Thoughts ran though my head; it’s a trick of the darkness, it’s an echo from something else, it’s a ghost, a homeless person, an animal. Why am I here? Go home!

I couldn’t though…

Looking further along the metal fence, I found a hole large enough to fit through and I stepped into the cobbled courtyard of the mill. Trying to walk in a hurried but quiet way didn’t work, so instead I give up trying to hide my presence and just went over to the steps. Looking up, I could make out how run down the mill was now but there was too much darkness to see further.

I went to the window the fire was coming from. I couldn’t see in though as the wall was too tall. My hands touched the cold damp stone and quickly withdrew as if something had bitten me. Coming away, I crept around for a bit, trying not to let the deep darkness creep me out more. Every shadow was a good hiding place for someone and I was just waiting for something to happen. My throat got dry, my heartbeat was loud and fear was making me sweat despite the cold evening.

Taking out my phone and putting the torch app on, give me some more light and helped to keep the shadows at bay. I found a half open metal door and slipped into the building. There was a maze of rooms and a musty smell. Carefully walking, I spent a good few minutes figuring out where the fire was burning. Trying to convince myself it was just kids messing around and perhaps one had got left behind, helped make me feel better.

Standing in the doorway of the right room, I saw a small fire on the floor and next to it was a small humped over person shape.

‘Hello?’ I called out.

The shape moved, twisting around to look at me whilst gasping. I couldn’t make anything out as my phone light didn’t reach so far and there wasn’t enough light coming from the fire. I heard scrambling and the person getting up and moving.

‘I’m not going to hurt you,’ I spoke in a shaky voice, ‘I think I heard you crying. Do you need help?’

‘No,’ the voice of a girl sounded back.

I sighed, glad the person wasn’t a man nor hurt. I waved in the door, wanting to move closer but then not moving as there might be danger.

‘What do you want?’ the girl demanded.

‘Nothing,’ I replied, ‘what are you doing here?’

‘This is my home!’

‘Your…?’ I trailed and looked at what I could see.

Then I stepped inside the room. It was bare but for the fire and small pile of stuff on the floor. I got closer to the fire, drawn by the heat and I saw a girl in her late teens, just like me. She was wearing layers of ripped clothes, her hair and face were dirty but she was standing defensively, ready to fight.

‘I’m Darcy,’ I spoke to break up the tension.

She shook her head at me.

‘How did you end up here? Where are your parents?’

‘None of your business. Go away,’ she snapped.

I frowned and thought about saying more. I had the urge to help her but what could I do? Turning away, I walked back to the doorway. Then with a glance at her went through and tried to remember the way out.

 

To Be Continued…

Here We Stand (Part 6)

Religious Statue in Greyscale Photo

I walked back through the graveyard, avoiding the nearly hidden headstones. Once the grass would have been cut short and and the names would have been readable. I had never seen an old graveyard like that. People didn’t have time to care anymore and the way of dealing with bodies now had to be fast. The mass burning and burying in cemeteries and parks was easier and better to stop the spread of disease.

My boots hit what had been the pathway to the church. I could smell the motorbikes’oil and petrol  as well as something else. The biker gang had been smoking something powerful and disgusting. I wrinkled my nose at the possible homemade drug and looked into the church doorway. I couldn’t see anything.

Stepping in, I wondered where she had hidden. The church looked the same as when I had fled from it. Rumble was still on the floor, light was peeking through the window and silence had returned. I started walking to the altar and halfway there give up trying to be quiet. There was just too much shifting rumble.

Climbing on to the altar, I stopped and looked left and right. I could hear the dripping water from the sink and settling stones. If she was still here and alive, she would have heard me by now. There was no way she would come out of hiding unless I called out as she probably thought I was one of the biker gang.

What was I even doing here anyway? Why was I making this matter? I hitched up my rucksack and turned to look down the church. I still felt torn for some reason, but finally I convinced myself to start leaving. Maybe the girl was armed and unfriendly? What if this was some kinda trap?

‘Hello?’

The voice was soft and wispy, yet it me like a bullet. I spun, my hand reaching down my leg to the hunting knife in my boot. I never made it, because one look at her made me freeze again.

She was pretty, yet her skin was very pale and sick looking. She had bright blue eyes that looked tried and puzzled. Her lips were making a little frown. The blue dress hung loosely off her, that was why it was more floaty then it seemed. It reached down to the floor and pooled around her feet.

I could see the bones in her neck and shoulders starkly. She was wearing a necklace; a small gold cross. Her really light yellow, almost white hair was swept back, away from her face and trailing down her back. Then there were the tops of large breasts, framed by blue lace which did nothing to hide them.

‘I’m not going to hurt you,’ I forced out as I slowly straightened, ‘unless you’re going to hurt me…’

She shook her head and showed me her empty hands. Then dropped them to her side again. I looked her up and down, my eyes lingering on her moving cleavage. She could have concealed something in the dress, even if it was a baby kitchen knife or a needle.

‘Were they after you?’I asked and nodded to the doorway as if the biker gang was still there.

‘In a way,’ she uttered, ‘They like to bully, but they are all talk really.’

‘What are you doing here?’ Now I had opened my mouth I couldn’t stop.

‘Praying.’

She looked up at the large glass stained window and the hollows. I looked too, but couldn’t see anything there. The window was dark as the sun hadn’t moved around yet. I could make the pictures though; an angel, a man on a cross, people crying.

I looked at her, the next question pressing against my tongue and yet I was worried to ask it. I couldn’t see anything strange about her though, so maybe she was just a normal girl. Still though…

‘Are you an angel or a ghost?’ I asked.

She looked at me sharply, ‘are you?’

I shook my head.

‘Me neither.’

We both stared up again.

‘Why are you here?’ she asked suddenly, ‘I saw you before running from the staircase when the roof give a little.’

‘Oh…I thought there was a cave in…’ I trailed into a shrug.

She looked at me, trying to see the truth in my words and waiting for me to go on.

‘It seemed a safe place to spend the night,’ I added.

She hummed, her eyes going back to the window and though I thought she had further questions to ask me, she kept them to herself.

‘I should go,’ I spoke out.

I made to move, but my eyes met her’s and I stopped.

‘Why did you come back in?’ she asked, her voice still a quiet.

‘I…thought I’d forgotten something, but I hadn’t,’ I answered.

She turned her head and nodded.

I waited a few moments then walked down the altar. I did half want her to call me back, but then I knew the urge to rip the dress off her would be too hard to resisted. I shook my head and tried to clear the images of her away, but they were locked in my memory now. She had stirred me awake.

I reached the door, stepped out and went into the graveyard. Not heading in an actual direction, I walked back through and towards the line of trees.

‘Wait!’

I spun so fast the weight of my hiking bag almost threw me to the ground.

She was standing at the edge of the headstones, her shoulders moving with the fast breaths she was taking. Her dress and hair settled around her, but seemed to move with a life force of their own. Her hands were balled into fist and there was this indecisive look on her face.

I walked back over. Feeling like I didn’t have much of a choice, but at the same time knowing I could easily carry on walking away. Coming to a stop, my eyes dropped to her breasts. They were heaving against the dress and looking like they were eager to escape. I licked my lips and pulled my attention away and back to her face.

‘What?’ I asked gruffly, sounding meaner then I had intended.

‘I want to go with you,’ she cried out.

 

To Be Continued…

Here We Stand (Part 5)

Religious Statue in Greyscale Photo

She stood framed by the arch of the church doorway, looking at me. She was wearing a light blue, long floaty dress. The likes of which I had never seen as girls really didn’t wear dresses anymore. I guess because it made them stand out too much and was not suitable for running. Skirts were okay though, the short the better, but most stuck to shorts and pants. Her hair was long and loose, very light blonde, made even more so by the sunlight.

My exhausted mind tried to trick me into thinking she was a ghost or an angel. Either wouldn’t have surprised me. Too many people were now claiming to have seen so many different things that it was becoming normal. Even if it wasn’t real…

I should go. I need to just stop staring and leave. But I couldn’t. My feet were stuck to the ground and my body felt frozen in place. I couldn’t even feel the ache in my back, shoulders and arms. I swallowed and tried to look away, maybe that would break the spell? Perhaps, she was actually a witch and was holding me in place?

She turned her head, looking towards a clump of trees then darted back inside. Her blue dress trailed after her.

I heard the sound then, the roaring of motorbikes. With a quick glance around, I dived behind one of the largest headstones. My hiking bag scrapped nosily against the stone and for a few seconds I thought about grabbing my hunting knife. The motorbikes arrived before I could though.

I risked peering around the gravestone, keeping my head next to the top of the grass. I couldn’t see much. A number of people on four bikes were pulling up close to the church. I could hear voices shouting and laughing, but I couldn’t make out their words. Was the girl in the blue dress okay? What were these guys doing? Where they searching for her or just passing through?

So many more questions flowed in my mind and I couldn’t stop them. I tried to listen, but they were entering the church. I kept still in case they glanced across the graveyard. I lent back, pressing my head to the cold stone. A part of me wanted to flee, but I desperately wanted to make sure that girl was okay. If she was supernatural, she could take care of herself right? But what if she wasn’t?

I eased my rucksack off and unzipped a side pocket. Slowly, I drew out my sheathed hunting knife. I tugged her into the top of boot, hoping I didn’t actually need to use her. I wiped my hands on my jeans, already feeling a slight shake in my fingers. I shut my eyes and counted backwards.

My thoughts whirled with a plan, but luckily it didn’t come to anything. The sound of laughter drew me and I risked twisting my head around to look. They were coming out of the church; four huge men and two girls, who looked just as mean. One of the men threw a flicker of light into the grass and they all began climbing on their motorbike.

The sound of engines broke through the serenity of the graveyard and woods. I felt my breathe leave in one big swoosh as I watched them spin and leave. Relaxing back, I listened to the sound fading off. I felt sweat on my forehead and under my arms. I wiped it away, adding more to the edge of my t-shirt.

I counted two minutes before I moved. Checking and double checking the area I got up slowly. Collecting my hiking bag, I almost turned and left, but the thought of that girl stopped me.

Be To Continued…