Pill Box #CCC

Someone had painted the pill box on the beach again. I signed and let my dog, Teddy, sniff one of the corners. At least the “art work” didn’t look that bad this time but still, some respected might have been nice.

Once a solider would have sat inside, his only light coming through the gun slit and he would have had to watch the shore for signs of the enemy. A boring job, maybe but a crucial one to slow the enemy down when they landed.

I tugged Teddy’s lead and told him, ‘we’ll have to go back to get the whitewash again.’

 

(Inspired by; https://crispinakemp.com/2020/03/18/crimsons-creative-challenge-71/ with thanks).

 

 

Plague Mask

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I was hurrying home after a quick run to the shops, not that there was much left on the shelves as everyone was panic buying but I had got as much on my list as I could.

Passing the costume shop on the corner of the high street, the window display caught my eye. Normally, there were bright colourful costumes, sometimes children’s character themed or old pop/rock stars, their Halloween and Christmas displays were great.

However today, there was a huge head to foot black cloaked figure with a 1600’s grey plague doctor’s mask covering the face. It looked scary, threatening and close to an imagine of Death himself.

I frowned and noticed the other three manikins were dressed as a mad scientist, a doctor and a sexy nurse.

Someone was really trying to get into fun of the health pandemic mode.

A World Gone To Pot #TWPC

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I put the key in the lock and pushed open the door. The familiar smell of grandma’s house flooded my nose. Lavender, lily of the valley, mothballs and old cigarette smoke.

‘Gran, it’s me!’ I called.

Closing the door with my foot, I took the bags of shopping down the short hall and into the kitchen. Dumping everything down, I began to unpack things.

‘Gran?’ I called after a few moments then stopped to listen.

She didn’t reply so I went into the living room. The TV was up full blast and she was fixed to the screen watching the news report about the spreading virus.

‘Did you lose your hearing aids again?’ I asked then muted the TV.

Gran looked around at me wildly then shouted, ‘Cara? When did you get here? I lost my hearing aids! Have you seen the news?’

I rolled my eyes and answered, ‘yes, gran.’

Searching for her hearing aids took a few minutes; they were down the side of her chair. Then we put the TV to a lower volume and I went back to unpacking. After, I made us both tea, sandwiches and cakes.

‘I got all your shopping in, gran. There’s no need for you to go out,’ I said.

‘What was that, Cara?’

I signed, my gran was ninety-four and still living in her own house because she was so stubborn we couldn’t get her to move into a home. Beside from her deafness and slowly fading memory, she was healthy and seemed to be coping fine.

‘We talked about this yesterday. You can’t go out and have to stay isolated because of the virus. You can’t catch it. That’s why I’m doing the running around for you,’ I explained slowly.

‘I remember! I’m deaf not dumb, child,’ gran shot back.

I sipped my tea and watched the news. There seemed no escaping the pandemic.

‘World’s gone to pot!’ Gran cried, ‘you youngsters don’t know anything. I lived through the war I did! We had to make sacrifices, live as we could, get on with things. We knew what to do; mending and growing, saving, scrapping, getting by without. We had to support our boys too. I knitted socks and scarfs to keep ’em warm. And what’s all this now?’

She waved her hands at the TV in anger and carried on with her speech.

I half listened, having heard most of this before. She was right of course. Everyone was behaving badly, only looking after themselves and driven by fear instead of fact. Gran had lived through worse times and she and others got through it.

‘Fighting over toilet roll!’ gran shouted, ‘I wiped my bum with last week’s newspaper!’

‘Gran!’ I snapped in shock.

‘It’s true, girl. We used what we could back then.’

‘I know. It’s okay. Let’s change the channel.’

With gran muttering, I put something else on; a repeat episode of an old TV drama series. We watched it for a while then I tidied up and got ready to go.

‘See you tomorrow, gran,’ I said.

‘I don’t need babying,’ gran mumbled.

‘I know, I know,’ I signed ‘and you are right by the way. People need to behave better, like they did back then. It would be easier if we were all not selfish and just able to carry on.’

‘Keep calm and carry on!’ gran yelled, ‘we use to say that!’

‘Yes, yes, you did and that’s what we need to do now. Right, see you later,’ I added and kissed the top of her head, ‘and remember no going out. Though the garden is okay. All right?’

‘Yes. It’s time for Countdown. Where’s the control?’

‘Right there, next to your hand, gran,’ I pointed out.

She nodded and changed the channel.

‘Bye,’ I called and let myself out.

 

Tuesday Writing Prompt Challenge: Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Split Light #WhatPegmanSaw

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Lee was the last lighthouse keeper and that thought weighed heavy on his heart. He had been in the job for thirty-seven years and had come to the end of the era. There wasn’t much need for a beam of light to circle the bay now there was all that technology mapping on the ships.

Lee felt quite sad about that but maybe the lighthouse would get a new lease of life. There was talking about turning it into a museum and allowing the public scenic views from the top. And perhaps, he could return as a volunteer? Wouldn’t that be great to give visitors tours and share his stories.

 

(Inspired by; https://whatpegmansaw.com/2020/03/14/silver-bay-minnesota/ with thanks).

 

 

Fountain #FridayFictioneers

Lottie watched in earnest as her father, the head gardener of the large manor house estate, turned on the fountain.

They had been going around all morning fixing and turning on the many water features awakening them after their winter slumber.

‘It adds music to the garden,’ her father said in his broad Yorkshire accent.

Lottie nodded, fidgeting with her skipping rope.

Around them, the different gardens were coming alive with colourful flowers and green leaves. The sun was high and in the distance lambs were bleating.

Water bubbled forth from the fountain’s spouts, adding tinkling chimes to the music of Spring.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2020/03/11/13-march-2020/ with thanks).

Waiting

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I couldn’t sleep, so I lit a lantern and went to the beach. The sea was calming itself down after the storm, the dwindling swell was lower on the cliffs. The sound was powerful still, reminding me of the dangerous of being here.

I walked along the edge, picking my way but my feet knew all the right places to step. I had been walking this path since birth. In the pool of light, I could see seaweed and shells on the edges of rock pools.

The lighthouse, way out in the bay was flashing it’s beam and when that light came by it helped aid me. I hoped it was aiding other people too.

Stopping, I held my lantern high and looked out as far as I could. Somewhere out on that surging sea were my husband and oldest surviving son.

Their fishing boat had been gone for over two months and I couldn’t bear the worry anymore. What could I do though? It was woman’s curse to bear this waiting, this unknowing and the grieve of loss.

The sea brushed against my bare feet. I returned home and held my other children tightly whilst I wept.

 

Memory #WritePhoto

Who knew what the old standing stones remembered. I ran my hand along their rough cut, damp moss covered surface as I walked around each one. Did they remember where they came from? Who brought them here and what worship they became a part of?

I pressed my hot, tear stained face to the biggest of the stones. It was a much taller and narrower then the others that made up the wide circle. Perhaps it was the oldest too? Only the stones knew that answer. Breathing deep of the earthy scent and I liked the cold against my skin.

I wondered if the stones had seen sacrifice of animals and or humans and if women had travelled up here to give birth? Religious ceremonies must have been held here. I imagined everyone in my church coming here instead to hear the Sunday prayers and give worship. How did people feel about standing in the elements? Well, the church wasn’t much warmer or drier!

Rubbing my face, I turned and put my back to the stone. It was getting late, the sky was a wet dark grey, clouds heavy with snow and the temperature was dropping fast. I should go home but I couldn’t face my parents and older brother just yet. We have been arguing again about why my brother got to do things I couldn’t. He was only three years older, so why was it okay for him to go out at night with his friends and I wasn’t aloud too?

I had come here, having stormed out of my house. I could have gone anywhere; to a friend’s, to the cafe or to the abandoned farm but no, I had tracked out here in just pink ankle boots, thin tights, mini skirt, fancy top and short jacket. Not the clothes for walking or for being out in the almost minus degree evening air.

There was something quiet, calming and mysterious about the standing stones that had always called to me. I wanted to uncover their history because no one knew their true story. There were folklore and myths, some rough science stuff but no real facts about why, how and who.

The stories and secrets they held fascinated me and I felt I could imagine what the stones had witnessed by being this close to them. Would I have liked living in the time when the circle was made? Would the ancient Gods have listened to me and answered my prayers? Maybe, I would have been a virgin sacrifice, my blood spilling out over the stones as the hungry Gods grinned at my pain.

Ah, maybe it was better not to have been born back then. I lent off the stone and small snowflakes started to fall. I held out my hand and caught one, it melt the second it touched my skin. It was time to go home and face my family. Hopefully, they had no plans to sacrifice me.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2020/02/27/thursday-photo-prompt-memory-writephoto/ with thanks).

Cascade #FFftPP

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He liked nature so much he decided living amongst it was his second calling. He became a monk hermit, famed for his curing herb mixtures and blessed water. People travelled from afar to his shelter to exchanged food and tools for his remedies. He never took money and stayed true to God.

 

(Inspired by; https://flashfictionforthepracticalpractitioner.wordpress.com/2020/02/19/flash-fiction-for-the-purposeful-practitioner-2020-week-08/ with thanks).

 

The Tour #CCC

They built the stone walls to keep everyone in and hundreds of years later, the walls were still standing.

Giving my afternoon tour, I explained the hard and deadly life the prisoners faced, ‘if the lack of food and water, the riots, the guards, or the exhausting labour didn’t kill you, disease would!’

‘Wouldn’t they get medicine?’ a boy spoke.

‘Oh, no. Medicine was very different in the eighteen hundreds and nobody cared about criminals,’ I replied, ‘now, let’s go and see the isolation cells.’

Turning, I heard the boy speaking in a low voice, ‘mummy, I don’t want to be a prisoner anymore. Can I be a firefighter instead?’

 

(Inspired by; https://crispinakemp.com/2020/02/12/crimsons-creative-challenge-66/ with thanks).

Roy

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Roy walked the corridors of the asylum which had been his home since his twelfth birthday. He had faint memories of another home with father and mother but doctors, nurses and other patients had replaced them.

Sometimes, he heard the other patients in the distance as they screamed and shouted. In one room the cry for a nurse often echoed. Running footsteps of the staff would send Roy in the opposite direction and sometimes he would see the white tails of a doctor’s jacket as they rushed by.

Roy wondered in and out rooms. Sometimes, he found someone to talk to but most of the time that other person was trapped in crying or beating the walls. Two people he could talk to were Hattie and Alice, they were nice old ladies. He could also play with the children, even though they teased him about his height. ‘Giant,’ they called him even though he told them his name was Roy.

Sometimes strangers would come and they would bring new medical equipment with them. Roy didn’t mind them as long as they were quiet and didn’t insult the more angry patients who then went on a rampage. He would watch shyly from around corners and when he felt brave, try to talk to them but the strangers didn’t seem to hear him.

Though sometimes they would look at their cameras and get excited over shadow shapes or they would play back his voice on their recorders and act like that was the first time they had heard him.

What he didn’t like were those strangers that came to vandal the asylum. Roy would make a lot of noise, show his massive form and scare them away. He didn’t understand why those people were allowed here, they weren’t new inmates because they seemed able to leave. Perhaps, they enjoyed mocking and upsetting the patients and that’s why they came?

Roy had long taken it upon himself to defend his home and those with in it. There were people with physical and/or mental problems, children, elders who couldn’t look after themselves. The angry patients helped too and Roy didn’t get in their way when they decided to start howling and throwing things about.

It wasn’t in his nature to be like that and beside from the one embarrassing deformity which was his towering height, Roy was a normal, quiet man who enjoyed walking the corridors of the asylum and keeping an eye on things.

(Photo of Roy the giant from a google search)

Partly based on a real story and inspired by Ghost Adventures season 4, episode 2,  Rolling Hills Sanitarium. 

 

Further Information;

https://www.rollinghillsasylum.com/

https://weirdnj.com/stories/rolling-hills-asylum/

https://articles.ghostwalks.com/rolling-hills-asylum/