One With Peace #WritePhoto

George didn’t know why it had taken him this long to find what he was looking for. He guessed it was because he had been looking too hard and thus not noticed it before. Sitting down on the bench he looked passed the two beech trees that created a nice frame and watched the sun began to set.

Everything felt so peaceful in this lonely corner of the park. The birds were singing evening song at their loudest and best, the hum of people and cars was hardly a distant sound and George felt the happiest he had done in months.

He took a few deep breaths, relaxed and saw the blue sky and white clouds being washed by colours of pink, yellow, orange and a dash of purple. George couldn’t remember the last time he had seen the sunset but that and everything else seemed not to matter right now. He was in this moment and that was all that was important.

The old peoples’ home where he lived was far from his mind and so was the bed he had just spend weeks being ill in. All the smells he had grown to know were go and replaced with fresh air, the blooming of flowers, cut grass and earth.

He knew if he just shut his eyes, he could pretend to be young again; a boy out playing after school, a teenager enjoying a break from exams, a young man wooing a lady with a evening stroll. It was all there in his head, that past life of his, that seemed so far away and almost like it belonged to someone else.

George didn’t shut his eyes though, he kept them fixed to the sky, wanting no other thoughts or feelings right now expect for peace. He had been in pain – emotionally and physically – for so long and he just wanted to be free of all that. He needed to move on now and live the final chapter of his life.

The warmth that had been surrounding him dipped away, leaving George feeling cooler. Above the sun was fast setting, the colours becoming darker and the sky turning grey. The tree tops turned black and a near by lamp flickered on.

It was time to go back, even though he didn’t feel like it. If he could stay, he’d sat through watching the night but he was too old now to cope with the creeping chill of the air. The idea of a hot cup of tea and a cosy bed was calling to his achy body.

Unsteadily, George got up and walked slowly away, leaving the sunset behind him.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/06/14/thursday-photo-prompt-beginnings-writephoto/ with thanks).

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Investment #FlashFictionChallenge

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It was unreal to think the manor house I was standing before was now our’s. Sadly, the place was a memory of it’s former self. Lucky, the walls and roof were all sound but there were broken windows and doors to replace then the rooms to strip and redecorate. There was no running water, working electricity or gas and it was uninhabitable.

We were going to change all that, make it into a fine home then perhaps a hotel and open gardens. It was a life’s investment but once done up the property value would soar into the millions.

(Inspired by; https://carrotranch.com/2018/05/17/may-17-flash-fiction-challenge/ with thanks).

Vobba #atozchallenge

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Vobba; trying to work from home whilst taking care of a sick child. 

I was too busy to take the day off, so I fixed it to work from home whilst looking after Kia. She had been ill all weekend, some bug going around the school, it would seem. I got her settled on the sofa; apple juice, snuggle blanket, teddy bear and the TV on the children’s channel. Then I went into the dinning room and set myself up. I had lots of reports to look over and some to write.

‘Mummy! Mummy!’ Kia called.

I looked up from my loading laptop, wondering what could have happened in less then five minutes.

‘What is it?’ I answered back.

‘I dropped Bobo!’

I heard her struggling to reach the bear. Getting up, I walked into the living room and saw my five year old reaching over the back of the sofa. Tutting, I went around, picked up the bear and handed it to her. Kia hugged her teddy and settled down again.

Leaving her again, I sat back down to work. I opened the first report and read through a few pages, making notes along the sides and bottom. I turned a page and heard Kia calling me again.

‘Mummy! More apple juice!’

I rolled my eyes and got up again.

‘You drank that fast,’ I said, coming into the living room.

Kia waved her cup in the air. I took it from her and went to refill it. I heard her coughing and sneezing.

‘That was a big sneeze!’ I told her coming back in.

Kia nodded and took her cup from me. I tugged the blanket around her and left again.

A few minutes later, I heard shuffling footsteps and felt warm little arms trying to hug me. I pulled Kia on to my lap and kissed her hot head. I worked little that for awhile, reading and making notes whilst she dozed against me. Then my legs went numb and I started to get pins and needles.

Gently, I carried Kia back to the sofa and left her napping there. No sooner had I sat down again though, her little voice called out to me. I pressed my lips together and ignored her. I had too much work to do!

‘Mummy!’ Kia called.

‘Working, working,’ I mutter under my breath.

‘Mummy!’

Sighing, I got up and went to her, ‘what is it? I have to work,’ I said.

‘I’m hungry!’ Kia moaned.

She hadn’t wanted anything before, perhaps it was a sign she was getting better? I agreed some toast and made it for her. Back to work again, I started writing my report then from behind my laptop I saw something move. I paused, thinking it was only a trick of the light, but there was now a small long necked green dinosaur seemingly peering around my laptop at me.

Convincing myself it had been there all along, I got back to typing. The next time I looked up though, the dinosaur had moved closer and behind it was a pale red T-Rex.

‘Kia!’ I snapped.

I heard giggling from under the table and bent down. She was hiding under there, a few other colourful dinosaurs scattered around her knees.

‘You are meant to be ill,’ I said.

‘I am!’ Kia cried back, ‘I want you.’

‘What for?’

‘Hugs!’

She reached out her arms then crawled out from the table. We hugged.

‘Now, take your dinos back into the living room and play with them there, okay? Mummy has a big report to write.’

Nodding, Kia collected the plastic models and went out of the room. I heard her clattering around and after a few minutes there was just the background noise of the TV. I tapped away on my laptop, getting some more work done finally. Though, I shouldn’t have started thinking this was how it was going to continue.

‘Mummy! Mummy!’ Kia called.

‘What?’ I replied back as I carried on typing madly.

‘Come watch this!’

‘I’m busy Kia!’

‘But I want you!’ she wailed.

‘I’ll be in a few minutes,’ I replied.

‘No!’ Kia cried and she stumbled into the dinning room.

I turned to her and she burst into tears.

‘What’s wrong?’

She waved her arms around and I had no choice but to get up and comfort her. Carrying Kia back to the sofa, I waited till she had cried herself to sleep then crept off again. No sooner had I sat back down again, Kia started crying again.

I looked at my report and just knew this wasn’t going to work. Closing my laptop, I went into the living room and spent the rest of the day looking after Kia.

Hiraeth #atozchallenge

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Hiraeth; a homesickness for a home you can’t return to or that never was. 

I went back the other day. I don’t know why but I was just passing. I had been to a job interview at that new office block. It was nothing special, just a call center that was expanding but easy work I could do.

On the way back, I went a different route, I guess out of old habit. I went down the road we always walked to school on. Passed the ‘big’ houses and row of trees. It’s gone now that school but the houses and tress are still there. After that though everything had changed.

Those long narrow roads we use to play on are now normal roads going around the new housing estate. The blocks of flats that we all use to have live in have been wiped away as if they were never there.

The park is still there though and I pulled up there to have a wander about. It was quiet, but I guess for the middle of a week day that it normally was. Leaving my car, I had a look around and noticed they’ve upgraded the park. There’s a whole new play set, a skateboard area and a football pitch. The old duck pond had been giving a make over too.

I probably looked liked a salesman walking around, just without a briefcase and or clipboard. It was hard to know where my flat had once been. There hand’t really been streets as it had been all one place. The new names streets give me no hint. Nor was the old dead tree stump there or the little corner shops.

The houses look nice though, better then the grey stacks we called home. I realised I missed them. I hadn’t thought about my childhood home in years but standing here now I felt the longing for my old room. We’d play games and stay up late, annoying the neighbors with our music. There had been bad times and good, like everyone else.

I saw a curtain move and a small dog began barking at a window of the house I’d stopped at. I turned and walked back to my car. There was nothing else to see and do here. That feeling of wanting to go back stayed with me but I knew I only could in my memories now.

I got the job by the way.

Groke #atozchallenge (Part 2)

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Groke; to stare at somebody while they’re eating in the hope they’ll share. 

Monday morning found Sutcliff back at his office desk working hard. He had a meeting before lunch which over ran, so he arrived at Park Square later then normal. The area was less busy as most people had all ready gone back to work. Sutcliff was grateful for the extra quiet, that meeting had been intense.

Getting out his lunch box, he opened it and picked up half of a beef and horseradish sandwich. He heard a whining at his feet and looked down. The little brown and white dog was back!

‘Get lost,’ Sutcliff grumbled.

The dog cried as Sutcliff took a bite of the sandwich.

‘Where’s your owner?’ Sutcliff asked.

The dog yowled and pressed a paw to Sutcliff’s shoe.

‘If I give you a bit will you leave me in peace?’

Sutcliff took another bite of the sandwich then give the rest to the dog. The dog ducked under the bench and Sutcliff heard chewing sounds from underneath him. He ate the rest of his lunch in peace then went back to work.

The next day it was raining. Sutcliff sat on the bench under his umbrella and had his lunch. Just as he was wondering where the little dog was, he saw the dog entering the park and trotting over to him. The dog stopped at his feet and looked up pleadingly with sad eyes.

Sutcliff signed, ‘it’s just cheese today,’ he said.

The dog cried and shivered, the rain was dripping off it’s soaked fur.

Sutcliff opened the second half of the sandwich and give the chunk of cheese to the dog. The cheese was gone in seconds then the dog went under the bench. Sutcliff looked down and saw the little dog curled up there, behind his legs, sheltered from the rain. Sutcliff finished his lunch and went back to work.

The rest of the week, the same thing happened at lunchtimes. Sutcliff wasn’t sure how the dog knew what time he’d be at Park Square for but the dog was always waiting to share his sandwiches.

‘It’s meant to snow tomorrow,’ Sutcliff told the dog on Friday.

The dog put it’s head to one side then begged for more food.

Sutcliff had now taken to bring extra ham with him. He give the dog another slice.

‘Where do you live?’ Sutcliff asked then laughed at himself.

He had started holding conversations with the dog as if they had become friends. Sutcliff had also started patting the dog and scratching him – for the dog was male- behind the ears.

‘Anyway, back to work time now,’ Sutcliff spoke.

He gathered his things, said goodbye to the little dog and walked off.

It snowed over night and when Sutcliff woke up, it was still snowing. Standing in front of his apartment window, Sutcliff wondered about the dog. Where was he? Was he warm and safe?

‘It’s a only a dog!’ Sutcliff snapped.

He spent the morning doing chores but the thought of the dog didn’t leave him. It was still snowing in the afternoon and the sky was dark grey. Sutcliff put on his boots, scarf coat, hat and gloves then set out into the city centre. He walked as he would to work then took a short cut to Park Square.

The snow was thick on the ground and covering the tree branches. Sutcliff walked over to the bench, leaving deep footprints behind. He felt like a fool. What was he doing out here looking for a stupid dog? It probably wasn’t a stray after all and belonged to a homeless person or someone who just let the dog roam around.

He looked at the snow covered bench then turned around to go back. From far to the side, in an alleyway of two tall office blocks, Sutcliff thought he heard a bark. He turned his head and saw the little dog scampering through the snow towards him.

‘Dog!’ Sutcliff called and quickly walked over.

The dog rushed at his feet, jumped up and pawed at his lower legs, crying loudly. Sutcliff picked him up and hugged him. The dog felt freezing cold and wet. Without thinking, Sutcliff unzipped his coat and placed the dog inside. The dog snuggled against him and Sutcliff hurried out of Park Square and back home.

Letting himself back into the warmth of his apartment, Sutcliff took the little dog from his coat and placed him on the floor before taking his things off.

‘No messing, no biting or scratching or howling,’ Sutcliff told the dog firmly.

The dog sneezed a few times then began to sniff around.

Sutcliff went to the fridge and took out some slices of ham. The dog bounced over, tail wagging, tongue licking. Sutcliff give the ham over and the dog wolfed it down. From the cupboard, Sutcliff took out a bowl, filled it with water and set it down. The dog drink eagerly.

After showing the dog around his home, Sutcliff made a bed for the dog next to the heater out of some old bedding. The dog settled down and went to sleep, looking happier. Sutcliff sat on the sofa and watched the dog sleeping.

‘We’ll see how it goes,’ he muttered.

Pets were allowed in his apartment, so Sutcliff had no problems keeping the little dog who he decided to call Alfie. Sutcliff also talked to his boss and she let him bring Alfie to work each day which meant they could still enjoy lunch in the park together.

The Village #TwitteringTales

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Gunther looked out his window, shaking his head. This was the worse snow fall the mountain village had ever seen. People could barely get out of their homes but worse no one could save them. Gunther eyed his axe in the corner and knew he had to do something.

(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2018/01/23/twittering-tales-68-23-january-2018/ with thanks).

The Grotto (Part 3)

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We walked back down the queue which was full of chatting children and parents. Willow hugged the present as if she was never going to let it go. I really hoped there was a unicorn inside of there. Glad that was over, I realised I needed the bathroom and a drink.

‘Hey, how’d meeting the Big Man go?’ the male elf said loudly.

I stopped and grabbed my niece’s arm as he suddenly stood before us all green and bells tinkling. There was a huge grin on his face and he was just too happy. He reminded me of the Grinch after he’d stolen everything.

‘It’s fine thanks,’ I muttered.

‘I got a present,’ Willow said proudly and showed him the box.

‘Wow, that’s just great! You must have been good this year then!’ the elf said in fake shock.

‘I’ve been good! Can I have a present?’ a little boy’s voice shouted from the queue.

The elf turned and replied, ‘of course you can!’

We slipped past him and hurried away into the crowd. I’d had enough of this. Heading into the toilets, there was another queue to join but at least it wasn’t as long. I sighed and lent against the wall. Feeling tried and fed up of all these people. I shut my eyes but still the sounds came. A baby was crying loudly behind a closed door, a child was singing Jingle Bells, a young couple were having an argument and there was a constant chatter of other voices.

I felt Willow tug on my coat and I looked down at her.

‘That elf was a bit weird, wasn’t he?’ Willow asked.

‘He was just really happy, that’s all. It’s how they are, I guess…and I really needed the loo,’ I added.

‘Auntie Angel, tell me the truth, is Santa real?’

I rolled my eyes at her use of my name. God, I hated it with a passion. Like how people hate the taste of fish or the sight of a spider or the same Christmas song on repeat. And how I was meant to answer her question? I didn’t want to be the one to spoil Christmas but I hated to lie.

‘What did Santa say?’ I asked instead.

‘If I believed in him then he was real,’ Willow replied slowly.

‘Do you believe in fairies and unicorns and magic?’

‘Yes, I do! but Santa is just different…somehow.’

‘He’s more magical then the rest?’ I suggested as we become the head of the queue.

Willow shrugged and studied the colorful wrapping on the present.

After we’d been to the toilets, we went to a coffee shop, got drinks and small cakes then we walked to the bus stop. I avoided going anywhere near the Santa’s Grotto which meant we went the back way out of the shopping outlet and had to go around. Willow was quiet for the rest of the time, lost in her thoughts.

The bus was busy and I had to stand. A kind, older lady moved her shopping so Willow could have the seat next to her. I placed the bags at Willow’s feet and hung on tight. The bus driver must have been running late as he zoomed off and raced the traffic. The bus smelt like sweaty bodies, dirty water and oil. People were trying to keep to themselves with headphones, newspapers and phones whilst a few chattered about this person or that present or how they were tried of Christmas already!

‘Have you been to see Santa today? the older lady asked.

Willow nodded.

‘And that’s a present from him? You must have have been good girl then,’ she added.

Willow smiled a little and with a quick glance at me, said to the lady, ‘yes.’

‘Your sister’s so nice to take you shopping isn’t she? Did you buy a present for your mum?’

I pulled a face but held the words back in. I was too use to people guessing the relationship between us now. At least no one had called me Willow’s mum today! That’s always the worse, especially when you then work out the age difference.

‘My Auntie,’ Willow corrected, ‘she took me shopping for my family. We are best friends and she’s far more fun then my parents or baby brother.’

‘I bet she is!’ the lady said and smiled more brightly at me. ‘Are you going to save your present till Christmas day?’

‘Maybe…Do you believe in Santa?’ Willow asked.

‘Willow!’ I snapped.

‘It’s fine,’ the lady waved away, ‘yes I do believe still. It’s hard with all this technology and growing up so fast now. But Santa’s out there still, a symbol of hope and happiness for anyone who keeps believing.’

‘I like that,’ Willow said then under her breath, ‘but I’m still not any closer to the truth!’

The rest of the bus journey was normal and we got off before the lady did. We said good bye and merry Christmas then found ourselves stepping into a sleet storm. As the doors closed the bus pulled away, we hurried up the street we both lived on. My older brother’s house was first and the house I currently shared with my grandparents was close to the end of the street. Willow ran up the pathway and rang the doorbell. I had a key somewhere…

The door opened and we both rushed in.

‘It’s almost snowing!’ Willow cried to her dad.

‘It’s really meant to start tonight,’ her dad added, ‘what’s that? a present for me?’

‘No! It’s from Santa!’

‘Another one?’

Willow giggled and ran off to find her mum without taking anything but her boots off.

I looked at my brother, we were so alike we could still be mistake for twins at a distance. Same brown hair and brown eyes, same slightly over weight bodies, though he looked better then I did at the moment. There was four years between us but we’d been through everything together.

‘Hi Alex,’ I said, ‘it was hard to say no to her! but at least all the present buying is done now.’

‘Thanks, Angel. She’s really attached to you,’ he replied.

‘I should go…’

He pulled me into a hug then we said our goodbyes.

To Be Continued…

Dear Diary #39

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Dear Diary,

Halloween is over for another year and I’m missing it all ready! I spent an age this morning, cleaning and tidying everything up. I felt so disheartened and tried but happy that last night had been a great party. Plus, I didn’t find anyone sleeping in the bath or on the sofa!

The people that had stayed over helped to make breakfast and tidy up which was super sweet. Then they all left and the house felt so empty again, even with Luke got up and Midnight appeared. Spent time curled on the sofa in front of the TV as we were both tried.

I thought about putting all the filled Halloween storage boxes back in the attic but didn’t have the energy to do that. I think we’ll be eating Halloween themed food and snacks until Christmas. I made too much, though everyone said it was all good. Anyway, I’ve had to thrown some of it away as there’s nowhere to store it!

It didn’t help that this afternoon, I raced around the shops to snatch up the good discounted stuff. So, there were more decorations to store and more snacks to secretly eat. Got some good stuff, including that raven in a glass jar and that group of bats in the light up cage. There’s still no way I was paying full price for those!

I don’t want to leave October and Halloween! Why can’t it always be?

Christmas is just everywhere now. I bet tomorrow Halloween will be gone as if never had been and all the sparky and craze of the holly jolly season will be here. I don’t get me wrong, I like Christmas, but it just feels so big and over the top, that it’s becoming almost pointless now. I bet there are people who wish it was Christmas all the time!

At least, there’s still a whole month of autumn to go and I can get something out of that!

 

The Monster of Depression

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The Depression monster was lurking in the corner again. She tried to shrug it off but she could still hear it’s whispering voice. She paused frowning over the questions Depression was raising then pressed on. Yet the doubts still swirled in her head and she was forced to stop. The Depression monster laughed and rushed forward, crushing her hopes. Tears wet her face and she turned away. Abandoning the half painted canvas, she went to the sofa and lay there. Depression consumed her, filling her with a hopelessness and darkness that weighted too much to escape from.

Dear Diary #37

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Dear Diary,

Autumn is finally back! Though the last few weeks of August have felt boarder line. There’s been lots of rain, less sun and a dip in the temperature. So, the change in season isn’t much of a shock. I should’ve known it was getting close to September because of all the back to school and autumn themed stuff in the shops.

I brought some notebooks, pens, colouring felt tips and two colouring books. They were in the sale and were really cheap. It’s a good time of year to top up on stationary! They’ll be selling the rest of it off soon. Though how many notebooks and pens does an old woman actually needs?

The roads are going to be so bad again this week which makes me grateful I don’t drive anymore. Though, it’ll give me something to watch out of the windows in the morning! The buses will also be packed, good job I can only travel after nine on my bus pass but I’ll have to be careful getting back in-between two and four. Must remember to all my shopping before lunchtime now.

I’ll be able to lit my fire again too. I wonder if Mr. Haydock from next door will help me collect the wood and coal like he did last year? Between you and me, I’m sure his affections have grown but he’s been too busy with his gardening and veggies these last few months. Perhaps, if I put a bit more effort into things?

Maybe, I’m too old for all of that, but it would be nice! To have a companion again, someone to share meals, TV shows and a bed with….I’m getting too ahead of myself! I have Misty, but I swear she has her own life and only meows when she wants something. It’d be nice to a have real conventions with someone. Not that the chats I have with the girls at the day centre are not real but they tend to be full of gossip!

It’s getting darker outside now and it’s only about eight-ish. A sure sign that things are about to change. I need to get up and turn the lights on, plus it’s almost time for some TV shows and a cup of tea. In a few weeks, I’ll be able to feel the cold in these old bones but I won’t mind. I do so love autumn!