Skylight #FridayFictioneers

It was hard to know what the last owners of the house had been thinking, everything seemed topsy turvy. However, I was happy we had finally found a place to call home and with two months to go before our first baby arrived.

I looked up at the skylight in the kitchen extension and wondered why someone had decided a glass roof was needed when the windows let enough light in. Like most of the other strange fixtures, there wasn’t much we could do about it.

Still though, it was home now.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2019/09/18/20-september-2019/ with thanks).

Cat

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Darla held her breathe, watching the new cat sniffing around her living room. Darla had never had a pet before, being highly allergic to animals but now she took strong antihistamines. For the past few years, she had done lots of research into getting the right cat and had even spent time being around lots of different breeds.

Darla had finally chosen to get a Sphynx, well known for being a hairless cat. Some people say they are ugly but watching the sliver-grey coated and pale green eyed cat, Darla was all ready in love.

She called the cat over with a ch-ch sound and the cat came. Rubbing it’s head against her hand. Darla picked up the cat gingerly and placed it into her lap. The cat looked at her, mewed and rubbed her hand again, wanting more strokes.

‘I thought of a good name for you,’ Darla spoke as she run a hand down the back of the cat, ‘Cleopatra. Cleo for short. Because you are a Sphynx cat and in Egypt they have statues of Sphinxes. They also worshipped cats like Gods. Cleopatra was a female pharaoh and she’s real famous. What do you think?’

Cleo mewed and Darla took that for a yes.

 

 

 

Christmas Cards

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Sitting back in her armchair, with hands that never stopped shaking, Mary opened the envelopes of the three letters the postman had just put through the door.

The first was an electric bill she would have to go to the post office to pay off. The second was a junk letter about signing up for a credit card and the third was a charity circular  which as well as wanting her to send money for homeless people, contained a Christmas card and gift sticker labels.

Mary looked at the Christmas card, it was a drawing of a brass band playing in the snow next to a town centre war memorial. She smiled and opened the card. It was blank inside.

Putting the other letters aside, Mary got up and placed the card with the handful of others on the window sill, next to the little Christmas tree who’s fibre optic lights changed colour and give little magic to the cold room.

Going back to her chair, Mary pulled a blanket she had knitted over her knees and dozed in front the TV. She was not interested in watching much now, it was mostly the background noise and the sound of voices that made her keep the TV on all the time.

The doorbell rang around lunchtime, breaking into a dream Mary had been having about being a little girl lost in a snowy countryside. Mary stirred, heard the door unlock and open.

A voice called out, ‘Mary? it’s only me, nurse Sandra. Sorry I’m late. It’s terrible weather out and Mr Lambrook fell this morning! Such a fuss! Are you okay?’

‘Hello, I’m fine thanks,’ Mary answered.

Sandra appeared in the doorway, rain dripping off the hem of her health visitor’s blue and white dress. Her dyed bright red hair was tied back into a bun and her face was blotchy red with cold and rushing about.

‘How about I make us a cup of tea and some soup?’ Sandra asked.

‘That would be lovely.’

Watching the lunchtime news they ate and drink, making light comments on the daily events. Then Sandra ran some health checks on ninety-three year old Mary, asked some basic questions and made a few notes.

Waiting for Mary to come back from the bathroom, Sandra noticed the new Christmas card and realised she had received the same one yesterday. Getting up, she left her notebook on the chair and went to the windowsill. Picking up the card, she opened it and saw it was blank.

Placing it back, Sandra looked in the other cards and found that all ten were blank. A few had come from charity letters, one from a high street shop valuing a loyal customer, another a craft magazine sample and two others from packs of cards that donated money to charity when brought.

Sandra felt a wave a sadness. Had no one sent Mary a real Christmas card this year and when was the last time anyone had?

Hearing the toilet flush, Sandra returned to the other armchair and took up her notebook once again. She wanted to write her finding down and suggested Mary was lonely. Sandra knew not much would come of that though, other then another push to get Mary to move into a care home. Mary had repeatedly refused, she wanted to die in the house she had been born in, like her mother before her.

‘Did you manage okay?’ Sandra asked as Mary shuffled into the room.

‘Yes,’ Mary answered though she seem out of breath.

‘Right. I’ve just a few more things and then I have to go.’

They finished up, said their goodbyes and Sandra went out to her little blue car. Sitting there, Sandra looked at the closing door of Mary’s house and wished she could do something to help the old woman.

Well…maybe there was….

The next day, the postman dropped more letters through Mary’s door. Mary hobbled from the kitchen were she had been cleaning up milk she had spilt. Collecting the letters, she went back into the kitchen where it was warmer and opened the envelopes.

There was a Christmas card and inside was writing.

Mary read the words, tears coming to her eyes. Sandra had sent her a card.

Abandoning the other letters, Mary took the card and moving the blank charity one, placed Sandra’s next to the flashing tree.

All day, Mary’s eyes kept going to the Christmas card and she found herself constantly smiling.

Shutting Out Christmas #TaleWeaver

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On the first of December, Frank closed his front and back doors for the rest of the month. If anybody knocked he wouldn’t answer, not that anybody was likely to call upon him. However, he did pick up the phone if his granddaughter rang to make sure he was still alive but it was only for her that he would answer.

For the last few years, that’s how Frank had treated December. He had come to see it as a a month to shut out and stay inside. The week before, he brought a large order of supplies making sure he had enough food, drink, firewood, coal, candles, batteries and books.

Elise, his granddaughter would come to visiting a few times, bringing with her whichever boyfriend she was with and fresh items. Frank would give her a ten pound note out of habit for Christmas. Then on the third of January, the day after the rush of New Year, when everyone would be back at work, Frank would head out to the shops at last.

He stocked up on another month of supplies and went back into hibernation. His granddaughter visiting once or twice with a few items. February saw a repeat of that because winter had set in deep and why bother trying to get through the snow and ice, risking accident? Frank thought. His granddaughter would come again, either with the same boyfriend or a different one, sometimes alone, crying over a break up or enjoying her brief moment of single life.

Frank didn’t mind, she was living whatever life she decided and he mostly wanted to be left alone. It was how things had been for the last ten years, ever since his wife, daughter and her husband had died in a car accident. Black ice on a ungritted road had been blamed. His granddaughter had only survived because she had been with him, too ill to go out shopping.

A few days into December, Frank sit in his cold living room, the small TV in the corner off, the curtains drawn, Frank watched the fire coming to life. He had all ready had something to eat and drink, now was his time to get warm and read for a few hours. Outside he could hear the wind and rain whipping up into a storm. He felt glad for the roof over his head.

Getting into the sleeping bag which would keep the chill off his body, Frank took the current historic war novel he was reading off the top of the pile of books on the side table next to him. He turned to his bookmarked page and began reading.

His thoughts though turned to all the madness happening outside right now that he was far away from. People would be crowding the freezing streets; shopping and eating, driving around, getting angry at each other and feeling the stress of Christmas. Homeless people, charity workers and money grabbers would be begging, their words mostly ignored. The rain would be icy cold, the wind bitter, Frank would catch hypothermia again and have to spend Christmas in hospital.

He was too old and tried for all that now. Christmas celebrations were fading memories for him and didn’t care for anymore. Frank was happy shutting it all out, losing himself in some books and letting the season pass him by in solitude.

 

(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2018/11/29/tale-weaver-199-open-or-shut-november-29th/ with thanks).

Dear Diary #50

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Dear Diary,

It’s officially winter today, though it feels like it’s been here for awhile, expect for the snow which I hope keeps away for longer! The weather has settled into a pattern of being wild, wet, windy, cold and getting dark so early that all but the morning daytime feels lost.

Today, I’ve been busy getting the Christmas decorations out and some of them up. The kids, now claiming they are ‘too old’ for such things took awhile to get into the mood of things but those decorations that reminded them of silly times – a school play, craft pieces, a photo on Santa’s knee, helped to get them into it.

Of course, only two sets of lights worked! So I left Danny testing them in the shed and I took Emma out to buy some more and a few other things. The shops were busy as was to be expected but we got through okay. Christmas music was playing in all the shops and it felt like everyone had suddenly got this idea that now was the time to start celebrating officially. Though TV and shops have been creeping it in since the start of last month!

Back home and more decorations to put up and it turns out I was right to replace the lights as poor Danny couldn’t fix them. I cheered him up with hot chocolate and crumpets which were so lovely in front of our still new fireplace! A fire really does add that cosy, cheery feel to Christmas. I don’t know how we coped without it before!

I made a nice stew and dumplings for tea and we watched a Christmas movie, though the kids were still tutting and spent more time on their phones/games then watching it but at least we were all together and that’s good enough for me.

Then before we came to bed, I walked around and just smiled, Christmas is truly here and it feels so good and welcome, the perfect beacon of hope in the long winter nights.

S.A.D

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It was Monday lunchtime and I was laying in bed, half dozing in the creeping silence of my house. The morning had been it’s normal hectic self; getting two kids and a husband ready, fed and out the door in time. Then I had busied myself with chores but now my mind wasn’t occupied the horrible sensations were taking over.

I looked at the pale blue painted ceiling, negative thoughts chasing each other in my head like cats and mice. I fought down the urge to linger on any of those thoughts because that would make them more real and worse. I told myself it would pass, it was just the change into the colder seasons.

Grabbing a pillow, I pressed it over my face and took a few deep breaths, until I couldn’t anymore. Tossing the pillow aside, I felt more in control. Distraction would help stop it coming back. I picked up the second hand, romance paperback I had been reading but after a few pages I couldn’t settle into it.

I got up and went on my laptop instead. I had a few things going on; looking for a job, writing a novel, a few online games with pending quests to complete and friends I could chat to. I did all of those, passing what felt like a good few hours and that helped as there was no space in my head to think about how sad I felt.

The time came to pick up the children from school. I looked outside whilst I debated over shoes and coats, it was rainy and windy with a darkening grey sky and brown leaves tossing around, typical autumn! I pushed the gloomy feeling away from me, gathered what I needed and went out.

Normally, I would walk with the school only half an hour away, but I got into the car and drove instead. The traffic and parking was bad and once I had found the girls, we joined everyone else trying to leave. I half listened to the girls chatter about their day, their friends and teachers, my concentration given to trying to get us safely home again.

Once back and everything falling into a routine again, I felt better, almost like my normal self again. There was tea to be made, more chores, homework to be done, TV to be watched, girls to put to bed, etc.

Time passed and I was in bed again, husband all ready a sleep whilst I trying and failing too. There was just too much darkness in the room tonight, too much wondering of my thoughts and I had to get up and do something. I took my book downstairs and read it until I wasn’t following the words anymore, my mind filled with worries so I couldn’t concentrate.

I took a sleeping pill, my only solution to the problem and dozed off, hoping tomorrow my depression would have gone.

Dear Diary #47

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Dear Diary,

Strange things have been happening in the new house. I’ve not really had the time to write since our first night because we’ve been busy unpacking and buying things.

It’s four days later now and expect for the first night, though of course something could have happen but we were too tried to notice, something has been going on.

The second night, soon after midnight when I had put baby back to sleep again, I heard noises in the quietness. It sounded like someone moving things in the attic – a wooden trunk bring dragged and footsteps.

I woke Blaine up but we heard nothing. A few hours later, I heard a soft crying and woke up thinking it was Poppy, but she was fast asleep.

The next day, our second full day in the house, I went out with Poppy for a walk. Blaine had returned to work but I still had another month on maternity.

The park across the road is really nice. The duck pond is clean and the ducks even look posh. Is that an actual thing? Maybe, it’s because there were two white swans gliding about.

There were large patches of grass and trees, two playgrounds, sport areas and a skateboard bowl. From across the way, came the sound of children playing and I could just make out the primary school behind the high hedges.

When we got home, I knew something was wrong. I closed the door, took Poppy straight from her pram and walked through the house. The back door in the kitchen was slightly ajar.

Thinking someone had broken in, I went over and found that perhaps, I hadn’t locked the door and the wind had pushed it open. The back garden gate was secure and the fence too high for someone to climb over.

Then though, I found all the upstairs doors open and I knew I had closed them. Nothing seemed to have been taken. I told Blaine and we agreed to get all the locks changed and things secured.

That night, I heard things moving in the kitchen. It didn’t sound like a person though, it seemed to be more like the wind rustling things and making stuff creak. Trying to remember if I’d left the window open, I went downstairs and there wasn’t anything. I had left the light on and the window was closed.

Poppy was awake when I got back, wanting changing and feeding. Blaine slept on and I let him, I know how tried he was having to juggle being a new dad, having a new job and having to move.

I tried to get to sleep again but I don’t know. I just felt too awake which is strange as since weeks before Poppy arrived I’ve been so exhausted. I listened to the noises of the house, water dripping somewhere, pipes rattling, a door creaking, the stairs creaking, a door handle rattling…

I sat up and listened hard. Perhaps, it had been nothing. There are lots of noises in a new house. but I just have this feeling that it’s not just that…

I don’t know. I don’t believe in ghosts, I don’t even like watching horror movies or reading stories. I don’t have time for such nonsense. It’s properly just a side effect of the tiredness and stress. In a few months, it’ll just be normal and the house will feel like it’s always been ours, at least, I hope so.

Mess #3LineTales

three line tales week 130: acrylic paints

It had only been two days away, just helping her dad move into a care home and she had trust that her husband would be able to handle things at home, how wrong could she have been?

(Inspired by; https://only100words.xyz/2018/07/26/three-line-tales-week-130/ with thanks).

The Stranger

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There was a stranger waiting for me when I got off at the underground station. I didn’t notice him as the crowd was heavy and I was in a hurry.

The train left, rushing into the tunnel and people moved upwards to the haze of London air.

The stranger followed me, though I wasn’t aware of it then.

I walked out, into more busy crowds and made my way back home. I knew someone was following me soon after but I tried to convince myself it wasn’t true.

At my apartment door, I glanced over and noticed him. I stopped, wondering what to do.

‘Carol?’ he called out.

He knew my name! but I didn’t know him. I didn’t answer. Would he leave me alone if I said no?  If I said yes, then what?

I had paused for too long, staring at him. There was something oddly familiar about his face and hair color.

‘I’m sorry,’ he said, turning away.

‘Who are you?’ I asked sharply.

‘Your older brother,’ he said softly, ‘our parents had to give me up for adoption because they were teenagers when I was born.’

 

 

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).