Postcard #47

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Hi Grandma,

Hope you are okay. The weather here is really sunny. Cornwall is a nice place! Mum and Dad took us to a castle and we learnt about King Arthur. We went to the beach and I built a big sandcastle but then Laura knocked it down! Tomorrow we are going horse riding!

Wish you were here, love, Chloe.

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Cliff Diving #WeeklyWritingPrompt

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I felt numb as I plunged into the coldness of the sea. The strong waves washed over me, I held my breath and pushed back upwards. For a few seconds, it felt as if something was pulling me back down then I broke through the salt water.

Gasping in deep breaths, aware suddenly of all the sound and touch again. I could hear my four friends on the cliff edge calling down to me, clapping and shouting. I had been the first to take the dive, not because I was the bravest but because I had drawn the shortest dune grass.

The waves echoed in my ears as well as the splashing against me. I could feel of the cold blow of the water against my warm skin, running down my hair and face. My navy blue swimming trunks flushed tight against my upper legs and waist. From above, came the heat off the sun, in a cloudless, crystal blue sky and the distant screeching of seagulls.

Letting the motion of the sea drift me away from the cliff, I bobbed about. Having had my minute of fame, though perhaps it had taken less time to fall, I waited for my friends to join me, it was one of the rules we had agreed on as we had walked up the cliff. We’d then swim back to the shore and meet up with the two girls who had stayed on the beach.

Something brushed my leg and I looked down into the settling water. It was properly just some seaweed but it could be a jellyfish. We had seen some washed up on the beach before as we had explored; clear and purple dotted moon jellyfish, a large flopping lion mane who’s sting would hurt for weeks and a possible barrel jellyfish, alien looking with it’s large domed milky white body and twisted tentacles trailing out of it.

The last thing I wanted on this holiday was to get stung or injured by something. I couldn’t see anything below the waves, just my legs kicking about. There came no tingle of pain, so it was just seaweed after all. A small part of me didn’t feel convinced by that thought, but surely, I argued with myself, I’d be able to see a jellyfish.

Looking up at the cliff, I watched the next person jump. They were wearing black shorts and had tucked their legs and arms in like a more practiced diver. I guessed it was Eric. I hadn’t stayed to watch the others draw, wanting my jump to be over before sense got the better of me.

It was an exciting but silly thing to do. The others though, had reassured me it was fine. They had jumped from that cliff often enough and there were no rocks as long as you jumped out a short distance away. If you jumped straight down, which was a stupid thing to do, you’d likely smash into the cliff side or the rocks that formed a wall at the base.

Eric hit the waves hard, sending up great splashes which washed over and caused me to struggle to remain a float. He reappeared some distance away to my right and we had to swim towards each other.

‘What a rush!’ he yelled, shaking his dripping dyed lime green hair back.

I paused, feeling something touch the bottom of my left foot then climb to my ankle. I trod water and looked down but there was too much disturbance to see.

‘Something’s got my foot!’ I shouted.

‘You what?’ Eric hollered back, ‘look, here comes Hoggy and Brad, the chicken!’

I glanced up in time to see the giant form of Hugh Hogson hurtling towards the crashing waves. I heard the slap of his over weight body hit the surf then I felt a harder tug on my leg. Twisting and kicking, I tried to release myself but the force of the waves bashed into me and I floundered for a few seconds.

My head couldn’t stay above water and all I could hear were the waves. The something tightened on my ankle, crawling up my leg and dragging me down.

‘Help!’ I screamed.

Sea water rushed into my mouth, the salt stung my eyes and I went under. The waves rocked around me, tossing me like a ball between children. I tried to look at what had got my leg, but everything was so churned up. I thrust my arms out and began sweeping them upwards like a bird trying to get off the ground.

Can’t breath! Have to get up!

Kicking and pushing, I fought against whatever was holding me and the current. My head popped up, I sucked in air, once, twice then was under again. I was aware of nothing but the tight pain across my ankle and sea in my ears, nose and mouth.

Stop panicking, hold your breath and look.

I stopped moving, breath held and chest tightening. Looking down, I saw a thin rope wrapped around my leg. I couldn’t see where it lead to; a rock, the sea floor? It ran away, back towards the cliff.

Reaching down, I gripped the rope in both hands and tugged. I couldn’t tell if it came loose or not. The sea seemed determined to stop my efforts though and it was as if it wanted me, was holding me captive. That was a strange thought. I needed to breath again.

Struggling upwards, feeling tried, I broke the surf again. I bobbed and looked around. Eric had been close enough before but now I saw no one just the white topped waves hurrying towards me.

‘Help! Help! I shouted.

I splashed in the waves and felt the rope tighten around my foot again. I knew this time I was going under so stopped speaking and downed lots of air. A sharper tug and the waves were back crashing over my head as I spiraled downwards. Blindly, I reached down to my foot, trying to curl my body to make the distant shorter. I felt the rope and panic soared though me.

Something grabbed my arm. A hand? Fingers? I felt myself being pulled up but at the same time the rope was tugging me back down. I was aware of someone else beside me and we both broke the surface together.

‘There’s a rope around my foot!’ I shouted, not even bothering to see who had saved me.

A large wave drove into me and I was washed away and down again. I’d only taken one breath and it was knocked out of me. I spun, kicking and trying to escape. I thought I felt someone or someones touching me and the rope was a constant pain and tugging.

Strong arms, yanked me up and I was able to breath again. I couldn’t see, there was too much salt water in my eyes.

‘Stay still!’ Hog’s voice shouted.

I thought about laughing, maybe I even did little bit. Didn’t Hog know that was impossible? The sea had decided to take me prisoner and it wasn’t going to let me go. I felt myself floating, the waves carrying me away. If I just let them it would all be okay. Maybe, the sea would be happy with just me and wouldn’t take them?

Water spluttered out of my mouth and my eyes eased open. My vision was blurred and I felt pain all over but it was worse in my left ankle. I wanted to roll to my side then try to sit up but two men in red t-shirts were holding me down.

‘Just breath and take it easy. You’re safe now,’ one of the men said.

Safe at the bottom of the sea with merpeople?

No, I was on the beach, I could feel the sharp shelly sand underneath me. Slowly, my vision and the sound of my ragged breathing cleared away. I saw my friends looking down at me; the boys dripping wet and the girls in their bikinis.

‘The ambulance is here,’ someone said.

I tried to say I was okay and didn’t need it but I just coughed up more water instead. The two coast guards and man from the ambulance got me on a stretcher and carried me up to the road and the awaiting yellow van.

Eric came with me, bring our bags from the beach. I was grateful but too tried to tell him. I dozed on and off during the ride and thought the sea was still trying to claim me. I spent the rest of the afternoon in hospital and was well enough to go back to the hotel in the evening.

My nightmares that night were filled with drowning and the rope. Sometimes I was surrounded by angry looking fish, other times it was merpeople, the rest I can’t remember.

Even since, I have stayed away from large bodies of water. Not even wanting to dip my toes in. The lingering idea that the sea was trying to keep me prisoner sticks with me, even though I know it’s not true, I can’t shake the feeling that there was more then just the rope holding me beneath the waves that day.

 

(Inspired from; https://secretkeeper.net/2018/06/25/weekly-writing-prompt-147/ with thanks).

Dear Diary #46

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Dear Diary,

It’s been really sunny and warm these last four days and today it looks depressing. The sky is all grey and rainy, it still feels warm but more of a lurk bath water feel then the fresh hot water yesterday felt like. It’s hard to tell if it’s raining or not right now because the window is water marked and it’s more like fine drizzle when it does fall.

I did think about going out and doing some stuff, though I don’t have anything actual to do. So, I tided the house and missed the kids. I hope the weather in Skegness is better then it is here. School holidays really throw me off! I should have gone with them, taking up my parents offer and had a week enjoying myself.

But I wanted the space and time away from them all. I wanted to go on a few dates, hang out with some old friends, do ‘me’ time and just think back to being younger and not having any worries. Somehow though, I’ve done it all in four days and though it’s been nice, it’s not made me think any differently about my life. Expect, for the fact I never thought I was going to be a twenty-five year old, widowed mum with twins boys.

There’s still time isn’t there? It’s still not to late to drive to Skegness, it’s only an hour and a half away. And then I can have a few days away, perhaps the sea air will do me some good. It’ll be a nice surprise for the twins.

I’m going to get packing!

Spoondrift #atozchallenge (Part 2)

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Spoondrift; a showery sprinkling of sea-water or fine spray swept from the tops of the waves. 

The ice cream went down well and afterwards, Raven let Cody and Kadie go back to playing in the sea. This time though, she watched them closely. The beach was getting busier as more people came out to enjoy the sunshine. The tide was also on it’s way out and some of the waves looked fairly big.

Raven’s thoughts turned inwards and she began to think of her ex-husband. She had been doing well not dwelling on him. The seaside had seemed to wash all those thoughts and issues away but her out burst before had brought it all back. She hugged her knees and just for a moment pictured how things had been four years ago. She had been happy, busy and enjoying family life.

Then her world had come crashing down. She still didn’t have the full picture of what happened, just like a jigsaw puzzle missing pieces. She could hardly remember what Dave had said, just that he was leaving her over and over again. She begged him not to go, told him they could fix whatever it was but all along he was sharing his bed with another woman.

And she had only found out two years later after the divorce when the kids had told her about daddy’s girlfriend. Then the story had come out; how they had met on a business trip and tried not to fall in love but then had given in. How Dave had tried just to say it was a fling, how they had broken up but Dave hadn’t been able to let her go. How Dave decided he needed to be with her and not even his responsibilities family could stop him.

Raven dropped her head and shut her eyes. She took a few deep breaths and just listened to the sea. The sound of the waves rushing back and forth along the shore. The children laughing, dogs barking, music playing.

I want to move here, Raven thought, I need to start over.

She opened her eyes, she felt more determined that she had in awhile. Grabbing her handbag and making sure, she had all her personal items, she took off her sandals. Raven got up and walked on the cool sand. Avoiding a sand castle, she reached the edge of the water and let a small wave tickle her toes.

Kadie pointed her out to Cody and Raven watched as her daughter and son splashed their way over to them.

‘I don’t want to leave!’ Kadie moaned.

‘Just a few more minutes!’ Cody put in, ‘we just saw a fish!’

‘It’s okay,’ Raven said with a small laugh, ‘we can stay as long as you like. I just wanted to see what it was like.’

‘It’s cold but you get use to it,’ Kadie pointed out with glee and held out her hand.

Raven took Kadie’s hand and let her daughter led into the sea. The waves lapped stronger around her and the spray flew up, dappling her shorts and t-shirt. Raven took Cody’s other hand and they jumped a few of the waves, laughing loudly.

Raven forgot her heartbreak and nightmare again, letting the sea take it away on the waves. It was just her and her children and that was all that mattered right now.

Spoondrift #atozchallenge (Part 1)

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Spoondrift; a showery sprinkling of sea-water or fine spray swept from the tops of the waves. 

Raven peered over her sunglasses and book at her two children playing in the sea. They were laughing and throwing buckets of water at each other. She smiled and looked up at the clear blue sky from which bright and warm sunlight was pouring from. Breathing the sea air deeply, Raven felt grateful that she was here. This was just the get away moment she needed.

Last week, she had laughed when she’s heard the weather forecast. How can we have a mini heat wave in the the middle of April? It was snowing two weeks ago! she had wondered. The weather presenter had insisted though and deciding to throw caution to the wind, she had booked a short break in Blackpool.

Leaving the kids, who were old enough to look after themselves for a bit, to carry on playing, Raven got back to her book. She was re-reading some classic novels and Frankenstein was her current mission. It was hard to disappear into the words though.

The beach was busy, other people having decided to chance the weather too. There were other children playing noisily, dogs barking and further up donkeys giving rides. Behind her came the noise from the Blackpool Pleasure Beach theme park; the echos of the roller coasters, the screams and the shouts. Music was playing from one of the restaurants or arcade places on the promenade. Further along the beach, noise was also drifted from the south pier; tinkling of music from the tea room and the rowdiness of fairground games.

‘Mum! Mum!’ a child shouted.

Raven looked up and saw her nine year old daughter, Kadie, running towards her across the sand. Raven put her book down, frowning and trying to see what was wrong.

‘He got water in my eyes!’ Kadie cried.

Raven snatched up a towel and as Kadie fell at her feet, she scrubbed her daughter’s face with the towel.

‘You’ll be all right,’ Raven said as Kadie started sobbing.

Raven looked up as her thirteen year old son, Cody, joined them. He was holding two buckets and looking flushed with the heat.

‘I didn’t mean it!’ Cody said as water dripped off him.

Raven handed him another towel, ‘I’m sure you didn’t.’

The buckets hit the sand and Cody dried off then sit down next to them on the picnic blankets Raven had laid down.

‘You okay now, Kadie?’ Raven asked.

The girl nodded and Kadie wrapped the towel around her. Kadie was sniffing and looked tearful still.

Raven pulled the cool bag over and took out two bottles of juice. She give one to each child. Whilst they drink, Raven found the bottle of water she had started and took a few sips of that.

‘Can we go crabbing later?’ Cody asked.

‘No. You know I don’t like it,’ Raven said.

‘Dad would let us,’ Cody muttered under his breath.

‘Yes, well,’ Raven snapped, ‘he’s too busy! Off with that whats her name, living the life of Riley, not caring about anything!’

Cody pulled a face and drink more juice. Kadie buried her face in her towel.

Raven sighed, ‘I’m sorry, I shouldn’t take it out on you.’

She pulled them both into a hug. Cody struggled against her and pushed his way out but Kadie snuggled closer. Raven breathed in the sea salt and sand in her hair.

‘Who wants ice cream?’ Raven said suddenly.

‘Yeah!’ shouted Kadie and Cody.

Laughing, Raven dug around for her purse.

To Be Continued…

No Man’s Path #FridayFictioneers

It had been a silly idea to come this way in the car. There wasn’t even a road! But dad had insisted he knew a short cut around the mountain. Rounding the bend though there was a small sign off to the side. There was a red circle with a line through it and underneath was a figure with a large black hand. It could only have meant stop. I tried to tell him this and so did mum, but he just carried on.

Hours later, we had to be rescued off the mountain top. Dad claimed it had been a successful adventure though!

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/03/21/23-march-2018/ with thanks).

Winter Escape #FridayFictioneers

It wasn’t what the holiday brochure advertised but I wasn’t one to be picky. Everything worked, it was clean, the view was nice and the hotel staff friendly. It didn’t seem a bad place for a single traveller to stay in during a sunny holiday. Though the building looked really ramshackled and about to fall down. It creaked something awful which the sounds of the river and boats couldn’t counter. The feelings of danger never left and I just couldn’t relax. Sad to say, but I went home early and back to my country gripped in the blast of winter.

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/02/07/9-february-2018/ with thanks).

Dear Diary #41

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Dear Diary,

It’s the first day of a new year and everything has gone wrong all ready! This morning there was another leak in the caravan and the rain was coming down so hard there wasn’t much we could do. We just put another pan down and spent another day bailing water out of the caravan.

I’ve been huddled up in the bed, coughing my head off and sneezing for hours. I can’t get warm and I’m just so fed up. Phone signal is terrible and I don’t think they’ve heard of the internet on this stretch of coastline. I’m too tried and frustrated to read or focus on anything else. I’ve been napping then watching the rain and the wind.

Noah went out for a walk somewhere in the afternoon. He’s sick of my moaning about leaving and returning home. He thinks it’s great out here, escaping from everyone else and the madness of New Year celebrations. Really he’s the mad one! This barren campsite in the middle of nowhere isn’t anyone’s idea of ‘escaping’, no matter how much money we saved!

When he came back, soaked through and in need of new clothes and warmth, he tried to take a shower. There was no hot water! He was muttering about for ages and then give up saying this part of something had broken and he couldn’t fix it. He did though changed his clothes and make a pot of tea.

We sat in silence drinking. The rain falling so loud it was like being inside a drum. I swear I heard rumbles of thunder too. Having run out of energy to argue, he sat at the table reading and I carried on my longings out of the window. All I could think about was being home, dry and warm, tucked up in bed and knowing I wasn’t in this horrid caravan anymore!

Then Noah declared he was going to cook us some food. From the bed, I give him simple instructions and all was going well until I noticed the smoke trickling out of the oven! A lick of flame quickly followed and I just knew that all was lost.

To his credit, Noah jumped into action and some of the food was saved but the oven wasn’t. It was a good job the whole caravan didn’t set a lit! I felt a bit warmer afterwards but the smoke got too much and we had to open all the windows and go to stand in the awning.

I had coughing fit after coughing fit. Nothing seemed to stop it. Finally, half collapsed on a folding chair, I was able to get back together again. I wanted to give Noah, a piece of my mind, but I didn’t have the energy for that.

Moving back in, the caravan still smelt smokey but the air was cleaner. Noah tidied up and I got ready for bed as best I could. Then we both started settling down. The rain is still pouring and dripping through the cracks. Noah has started coughing badly too and though he blames it on the smoke, he’s coming down with the flu too.

Perhaps, in the morning I could try again to change his mind and we can go home I day early. Oh, to be in my nice bed again and not have to worry about anything! That really isn’t too much to ask for is it?

Window

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The window stood open and all I had to do was jump, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. The dazzling street was far below me, hazy in the summer heat and packed with tourists. A mingle of voices and traffic rose upwards, blending into the other city background noises.

I was balanced on the bottom rail, the cold metal biting into my bare feet and my toes curled around the edge. My hands pressed into the top rail, my fingers tightly wrapped around. It was if my body was refusing to move from this spot and rebelling against the wanting of my brain.

My lungs started to burn with the breath I had been holding. I tried not to think about it but instinct kicked in and I opened my mouth breathed. This city smelt both familiar and foreign; sweat, pollution, car fumes, spices, warm food and dust. It was hard to separate all those different scents.

I stayed tense and looked out over the city. I had been here a few times now, but it had been awhile since I’d last been. The narrow, twisty cobblestone streets and tiny back alleyways looked like a rats’ maze. The multi-colored two or three store houses were so close together that neighbors could lean out of their windows and have a chat.

Looking beyond, it was easy to mistake the line of pale blue sky for the sea. The coast was about forty minutes away and I had walked across the deep sand beach a few times. I remember thinking I was in paradise. There was a scattering of sitting people drinking out of coconuts or pineapple halves whilst couples hand in hand walked through the lapping waves.

There was too much pain in my body to remain on the railings. I got down, my limbs stiff and went inside to the small sofa. I sank down, my attention draw to the dark screen of the TV. It was stuffy in here, too much heat had gotten in. I put the ceiling fan on and it spun lazily. Watching the fan, I let my thoughts tumble.

It had been my plan to come here and die. I wasn’t sure why but for some reason this city and this room had stuck in my head. I had wanted to be far from home so I wouldn’t have the chance to back out again but I didn’t have the will to do it. Trying to think about the whys added to my tiredness.

I got up and went to lay on the bed. I put the fan on in here too though it was already cool because I had kept the windows and curtains closed this morning. Face down, I stretched out on the sheets, frustrated with myself.

Holiday

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Finally, she had broken through all her fears and now she had arrived at her holiday destination. Taking in deep breaths of clean air and feeling the hot sun on her face, she stepped into the hotel. After checking in and abandoning her things in the room, she hurried to the pool, ready to relax.