Remembering

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Seeing the quiet French field it was strange to think it had once been so different. The black and white photos in my little book were prove of that though. Once there was only disturbed mud and bodies, the green landscape lost forever. And of course, it hadn’t been quiet; the air had shook with deafening gunfire, shouting and the moans of the dying.

Sitting in the wheelchair which had now become my life, I clutched my book and the woollen blanket in my lap. I shut my eyes and was back there straight away, walking through the smoke. The trench was slick with running mud and rain was tumbling from a dark grey sky. I stepped over a body, a twisted mangle shape that had once been a living man. He seemed half sunk into the mud, face down. I carried on, so use to the sight it just seemed normal now.

My feet were leading the way as the rest of me was numb. I entered one of the shelters and sunk down into a damp camp bed. I didn’t know if this was my place but it didn’t matter. I think there was someone else in the bed above me, sleeping. Without taking anything off, I lay down and feel asleep.

My wish was never to wake up again but each time I did.

Opening my wet eyes, those imagines stayed with me. Bad shakes racked through my body. Someone was saying something but in that moment I had forgotten there were other people with me. None of them had been there, so they’d never understand what it was truly like.

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The Olde Coach Inn (Part 3)

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In the morning, we were all too busy so I couldn’t share my experience from the night before with anyone. It was Halloween and we had to set up for ghost hunting. At breakfast which was super nice and so needed, I handed out the scripts I had made to everyone. Lexi and Quinn, who mostly hosted the show, had lines to learn whilst Victor and I had footage shooting and directing to remember.

We had base tests which involved the records of average temperatures, any drifts, creaking doors and floorboards etc, anything that was normal. That way we could either say it was natural or not natural later on. It took all morning to get all the base tests done. We stopped for the lunch time rush – a handful of people travelling through – then Colton closed the bar and we able to start our walk through filming.

Victor did the main camera work and I was on the second camera. We set up whilst Lexi and Quinn prepared then we began making our opening scenes. Everything went well and Lexi was her normal stunning self. She had chosen to wear a tight fitting dress with a Halloween theme on it. The top half was a midnight blue and dotted with white stars then it turned to a purple at her waist and large grinning pumpkins circled the skirt. She was showing too much skin. Her long pink and purple hair was down but off her face.

Quinn had gone for his normal black leather trousers, half open black shirt and roughed up leather biker’s jacket. His black hair down his back and he’d remembered all his lines perfectly. That made recording his parts faster which was great as Lexi need two or three takes for all of her sections.

Once that was done though, Victor went off to double check everything was okay and make a backup of everything we had recorded. Lexi and Quinn took a break in their bedroom. I sat in the snug corner of the bar and looked over the plans for setting out the cameras for tonight and making sure all the equipment and spare batteries were charged.

Taking a few seconds to drink some water, I looked out the nearest window. It was coming up to six and darkness pressed against the frosted glass. I could hear the rain and wind too which meant we’d have to be careful not to mistake any weather sounds for the unnatural.

A floorboard creaked and I turned to peer out of the archway. The gloomy bar was empty. I frowned and looked harder. The creak came again and some of the electric lights flickered. It was just someone moving upstairs or else it was the wind. I turned back to the script and the plans of the buildings I had drawn up. I got the feeling that someone was watching me.

‘Hello?’ I called out.

Getting up, I walked about but didn’t see anyone. Great, I was getting jumpy already. A door in the distance opened. I froze and listened as someone walked through. It sounded like they were in the kitchen. There was a ratting of pans and glasses clinked together as if to confirm my thought.

‘Colton?’ I said louder.

Finding my feet, I moved around the bar and opened the door into the kitchen. The lights were off. I turned them on and found the large space empty. I frowned and walked through, heading to the back door at the end. The signs told me it was a fire exist only and the only handle was the long metal bar which when pushed down would trigger the fire alarm.

I backed away and checked the storage rooms and the walk in fridge. There was really no one here but I couldn’t blame the sound of moving pots and glasses on the wind. Heading back, I tried to dismiss it when the fire door was yanked open and Colton and his brother Dolton walked in. I jumped, screamed a little then calmed myself.

‘Sorry,’ I said, ‘I didn’t mean to. Just I heard, well I thought it was one of you, but then it wasn’t…so,’ I babbled.

Dolton, who looked so much like Colton, I was sure they were twins, shrugged it off and began putting on a white chief’s jacket and hat. Colton came over to me and we both left the kitchen.

‘I’ll get you a drink,’ he was saying.

I nodded and lent on the bar but then I had to turn because someone said my name. Puzzled, I glanced around, expecting to see one of my friends but the bar was empty.

‘They like to mess with you,’ Colton spoke, ‘once they know you a bit, they start with the small stuff. Whispering, moving things, shadows in the corner of your eye.’

‘The ghosts?’ I uttered.

‘Yep. Here,’ he added.

I took the run and coke from him, had a few sips and tried to focus again. It felt like a fog was entering my mind, clouding me over. I didn’t feel tried, just heavy headed and not able to think straight.

‘I bet they’ll be out in full force to night,’ Colton said, ‘there’s no way I’d stay here.’

‘Aren’t you use to it though?’ I questioned.

‘You can never get use to them.’

Footsteps on the stairs ended our conversation as Victor, Quinn and Lexi appeared in the bar. I smiled and decided it was still best not to tell them anything. We got drinks, a bigger table then ordered food. Whilst we waited then ate, we chatted away and finalised everything. We were all excited then Lexi told us about something she had heard and felt before.

‘I heard the bedroom door open and footsteps. I thought it was one of you but when I called out, I heard this raspy old man’s voice say ‘get out’ then I got this cold chill,’ Lexi told us, ‘I called Quinn and we checked it out but found nothing.’

‘Alice heard someone calling her last night,’ Victor chimed in.

Everyone looked at me and I shrugged, ‘I’ve been hearing lots since we got here but I didn’t want it to affect anything.’

‘Always wise of you,’ Lexi responded, ‘let’s get desert then we can get started. I can’t wait! I’ve a good feeling about this!’

After we’d eaten, we set up what we needed too and began filming again. Lexi and Quinn took turns in different rooms to try and communicate with the ghosts. We used a mixture of technology like; spirit boxes, digital records, EMF detector, trigger objects, paper and pens. After three hours we hadn’t caught any supernatural evidence but we did have some nice footage of us trying.

I checked the time and saw it was past ten. We took a break; drinking, eating, changing batteries, checking on the other smaller cameras we’d left recording in the other buildings. The weather was getting worse; the wind and rain both becoming stronger and cause natural sounds to arise within the buildings. Wood creaked louder and more often, the sound of rain dripping and splashing was more dominate and drifts were springing up everywhere.

Re-grouping in the bar, we got ready to try again. I was sat down at a table, Victor leaning in beside me as we checked what needed filming next. Quinn had flung himself on a chair opposite and was looking bored. Lexi was pacing close by.

‘I know something’s going to happen!’ Lexi said loudly, ‘come on, show yourselves!’

‘Wait, I’m not filming,’ Victor cut in, ‘there’s no point if we don’t capture something.’

Lexi groan and turned to me, ‘you try, Alice. They always talk to you!’

‘Okay…Let’s get ready then,’ I said, even though I didn’t want too.

Lexi was right though, some of the best things were had captured had been thanks to me. I had a bad feeling about it this time though, but I knew I couldn’t say no. Our YouTube channel had really been struggling this year and we were relaying on this special Halloween episode to help turn it around.

I took the spirit box and the digital recorder behind the bar and placed then down. When Victor give me the go, everyone fell silent and I started. Turing the spirit box on and letting the static fill the room, I took a deep breath and started with the normal questions.

It took a few tries and a few different places but then up in my bedroom, something came through.

‘What’s your name?’ I was asking.

‘No,’ a crackled male voice came through the speaker box.

We all paused.

‘Tell me your name,’ I spoke.

‘Dev-i lin,’ the same voice spoke, only the word wasn’t so clear.

‘Was that devil?’ Lexi asked in a hushed voice.

‘Sounded like it was to me,’ Victor replied.

‘It was Devilin. That’s the surname of a family who use to run this inn,’ I added.

‘Right,’ the spirit box responded.

I felt chills up my arms then realised I was close to the window. I walked around slowly and asked a few more questions but we didn’t get anything else.

We stopped filming and Lexi let out a big sigh. ‘what is going on here? This is so bad!’

‘You know it takes sometime,’ I snapped back.

‘Midnight and the early hours are always best,’ Victor cut in.

‘I’m going to the stables by myself. Give me a  camera,’ Lexi demanded.

Leaving Victor and Quinn to sort her out, I sat down on the bed. I listened to them go downstairs then outside. I didn’t like being alone when we investigated but I got on with it still.

I set my camera up, making sure it got a full view of the bed. I sat in the middle, crossed legged and using the digital recorder began my own ghost hunt. I spoke to the camera first, stating I was alone and the others had gone to the stables. Then I turned on the recorder and asked some questions, leaving good gaps in between so any ghost voices replying could be caught. When I was done, I played it back and listened closely.

‘Were you here last night?’ my record voice spoke into the quietness.

No reply.

‘Did you move the sheets?’

‘Did you touch me?’

An leery laugh piped up then vanished.

I stopped the recording, took it back and hit play, making sure it was closer to the camera so it could be heard. I asked the touching question again and a male laugh sounded out. It didn’t sound very nice or funny, more mocking.

‘What do you want?’ my recorded voice asked.

There was a crackle then, ‘you!’ a man’s voice shouted.

I felt a blast of cold air then something pushed into me and I fell across the bed, the recorder tumbling from my hand. Scrambling up and trying not to scream, I heard the floorboards around me creaking loudly then the bed started shaking. Pain shot through my head and I saw a shadow figure detach itself from the wall and come at me. I was knocked across the bed once more. I lay still, my chest hurting, icy air covering me as if I’d just walked into a freezer and that’s when I heard the laughter again.

Struggling up, my breath came out as mist and as I turned, I saw a man standing over me. He was naked! He had long, tangled red hair and a matching beard, his face was lined with scars and he was missing teeth. I could see him so clearer and yet I knew he was dead.

I tried to gather my thoughts and put a name to him from the research, I’d done, but nothing was coming expect a panicking. My body felt frozen and yet wanted to flee at the same time. I couldn’t scream or get words out, I could only stare.

‘Alice,’ the ghost spoke, ‘I want you.’

He moved swiftly, climbing on top of me and flatting me across the bed. A scream ripped from my throat and I tried to scramble away. He had a hold of me somehow. I pushed forward, clawing at the bedding, but I was on my back and not able to get anywhere. I felt his ice cube cold hand press into my throat. The fingers of his other hand race down and pressed into my legs.

I gasped, found my voice and yelled, ‘Stay away from me! Get off me!’

His laugh echoed in my ears and head. He pressed harder on my throat and in-between my legs. I felt the coldness sinking into my underwear and I could so feel his fingers stroking me down there!

I tried to punch him, my fist went right through him. I kicked out as well, my legs banging against the side of the bed. Somehow, I flipped over, twisting away from him, but perhaps he let me. I felt fingers tugging my hair, trying to hold me back as he mounted me. I reached across the bed and luckily it wasn’t that wide, so I was able to grab the other side and pulled myself across. I slide onto the floor, the bedding tumbling around me.

I breathed deeply, tears wetting my cheeks and the wanting to get up but I was afraid he’d stop me. My teeth chattered together and wildly, I looked around the room. I didn’t know where he’d gone. I bolted for the door in the semi-darkness, almost tripping but getting there and yanking it open. I ploughed straight into Victor and we both tumbled onto the hallway floor.

‘Are you okay? What happened?’ Victor asked.

I squeezed my eyes shut, I could still feel the ghost’s hands on me. I heard Victor get up, go into the room, look around then come back again. He helped me up, even though I stayed stiff. He kept asking me what was wrong and what had happened, but I just shook my head.

Somehow he got me downstairs and outside. The wind and rain hit me fully but I could still feel that chill behind my legs. I was shaking and sobbing so much, I couldn’t do anything. We walked away, though I wasn’t sure where he was taking me. Then we were getting into the car and Victor was closing the back doors and locking them. He put a blanket on me and held me tightly.

I don’t remember falling asleep in the car, but I must have done. Victor was there in the morning when I awoke, holding me. Rain was falling softly and the wind had cut down to a breeze. I rubbed my face and nudged him. Victor was already awake.

‘How you feeling?’ he asked.

I sniffed, ‘bit better,’ I muttered.

‘Quinn and Lexi are sleeping but I’ll get them up now. We can pack then leave.’

‘I can’t go back in there,’ I whispered.

‘What happened? Do you remember?’ Victor asked.

I nodded then replied, ‘I can’t talk about it just yet.’

When we finally left The Olde Coach Inn I was so grateful I burst into tears. Victor held me and Lexi reached over the passenger seat and patted my arm. Quinn was driving too fast, but I didn’t care, I just had to be away from that place and back in my own bed.

Normally, as soon as we return, we got started reviewing everything and deciding what to edit together. I didn’t join in this time and I didn’t want to hear or see any of what we’d recorded. It had all been too real for me. Victor told me though it was our highest watched and liked video yet.

It was also our last because I was too scared to carry on and that night haunted me for as long as I lived.

The End.

The Olde Coach Inn (Part 1)

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They were strange things to see hung up on the side of the inn but this wasn’t your average local drinking hole. The Olde Coach Inn with its many jointed black and white buildings dominated the bleak flat moorland. There was nothing to be seen for miles around, expect a sprinkling of small trees marking the edge of a wood far to the left. A dirt and stone road cut it’s way across the land, leading up to the car park and the front of the inn before weaving away again and out of sight.

As the four of us stood before the Tudor inn, taking it all in, I was shocked to finally be here. I’d seen the many photos on the internet and read all the reviews, but they were nothing compared to actually being here. I breathed in deeply and smelt the wild moors, the cold autumn air, old wood and pumpkin. It seemed so surreal but also perfect, like we were meant to be here right now.

The inn front was heavily decorated in a Gothic Halloween style. There were real skulls and bones framed by dark coloured boards hung up on the whitewashed walls. Plastic skeletons dangled down from window ledges and rattled in the wind, amongst all the other things like witch’s hats, bats, ghosts and grinning pumpkins. Interweave between them were green, orange and purple fairy lights which were currently off. Some real but mostly fake Jack O’Lantern pumpkins lined the base of the wall, trying to scare us away. Through the hundreds year old windows, I could see metal lanterns and candle holders.

Turning to my boyfriend, Victor, and our best friends, Lexi and Quinn, I realised that  we all fitted in with the inn. We were all dressed in heavy black clothes, wearing metal and plastic skull, bone and pumpkin jewellery. At first glace we looked like a death metal band on tour but actually, we were four goths who hunted ghosts for our YouTube channel.

‘Wow,’ Victor spoke out, ‘just wow!’

I turned to him, smiling and answered, ‘I told you so.’

‘How did you find this place again, Alice?’ Lexi asked.

‘Hard internet searching,’ I replied back.

‘Well, it’s perfect and with Halloween tomorrow we’re bound to capture some ghosts!’ Quinn the last member of our group finally chipped in.

I nodded and walked up to the front door. Most people would think the inn was just ready for a big Halloween party, but actually it looked like this all the year round. The door creaked causing me to smile widely then I was stepping down onto a wooden floor from the 1600’s. Avoiding the low, black wooden beams on the ceiling, I went to the huge bar.

There was a man with his back to me sorting out bottles on a shelf but he turned as he heard the boys dragging in the suitcases. The man was quite tall which must have been hard in this low building. He had long black hair and a beard, both tied back, he was wearing a black t-shirt and jeans. He frowned but then give a small nod to himself.

‘Welcome to the The Olde Coach Inn!’ he said in a loud voice, ‘you must be the ghost hunters!’

‘Yes, we are,’ I said, ‘we’ve booked two rooms for three nights.’

‘Yeah, I know. We got no other guests,’ he responded.

I nodded, ‘good. Thank you for that.’

‘Most people don’t like being here on Halloween, anyway,’ he added.

Victor came to my side, finding a place to put down the suitcases and bags of equipment. Lexi and Quinn were close behind us, taking in the period fittings. I looked around and realised that the inn was empty. The dark vanished circle and rectangle tables and matching chairs were clean and neat. In the large fireplace to my far left, coals and wood logs were set up to be burnt. Above black chandeliers which had candle style light bulbs dangled down on twisted black chains. Small lamps were on the wall, letting out a pointless burnt orange glow. A dim gloom draped over everything like a muffling blanket. The inn seemed like it was trapped in time.

Expect the Halloween and Gothic decorations of course! There were fake spiders webs in purple, orange, green, white and black covering the ceiling and upper walls, they were completed by black plastic spiders of course. Real and fake pumpkins were dotted around, squeezed in between things; on the bar, a few of the tables, mantel and window sills. Model skeletons, witches, ghosts, vampires and masked figures were hung every place they could fit. It was kind of over kill actually.

‘I’ll be here of course,’ the bar man said sternly, ‘and my brother, Dolton. He’s the chief. Plus, our mother. Though she doesn’t get out much now. You need anything, just come find me.’

‘Okay. Thanks,’ I said, putting a polite smile on my face.

‘I’ll get the keys and show you the rooms. Then I’ll give you a tour. I’m Colton by the way.’

I made the introductions and we all shook his hand then Colton went into a back room. Leaving us to soak up the place whilst he got the keys.

‘I hope the rooms look like this,’ Lexi uttered.

‘Properly,’ Victor answered, ‘though only Alice knows.’

He nudged me and I rolled my eyes, ‘you all know why I couldn’t tell you anything!’

It was our policy and helped to make what we filmed more credible. I was the researcher, so only I knew the ins and outs of each location we visited. The others came in blind which meant they had no preconceptions and knew nothing about the history or what was said to haunt the place.

Colton appeared back and stepped out from behind the bar. He had two brass keys with numbers painted on them in his hand.

‘This way,’ he said in a bored voice.

Picking up our stuff, we followed him down the side of the bar and to a small door in the wall. There was a noticing saying Bed and breakfast guests only! Colton opened the door which was silent and took us up a narrow staircase. Turning at the top we entered a short corridor with a few doors either side and another staircase at the end.

Colton opened the doors marked one and two then give me both the keys, before saying, ‘come down for the tour when you’re ready.’

I give Lexi the key to room two and walked into room one. It was bigger then the photos had made it out to be! There was a four post bed, draped with red canopy, a large desk and chair, two arm chairs by the window, a wardrobe and an ensuite bathroom. The small, foggy window looked onto the courtyard and road. The moors beyond seemed covered in mist.

With a tried sigh, I turned and lay down on the bed. It felt hard but comfy at the same time. I shut my eyes and the four hour drive it had taken to get here hit me. I just wanted to sleep for awhile. I heard Victor moving around then Alice and Quinn talking in the next room. I half expected one of them to disturb me, but this was the normal pattern of things and they wouldn’t.

I dozed but didn’t fully go to sleep. When Victor came and sat next to me I got up and we went to see if the other two were ready. They just about were so then we all went downstairs together and back to the bar.

Colton was there, putting away glasses this time. He stopped when he saw us and asked, ‘anyone fancy a drink? First ones on the house.’

We ordered and stayed sitting at the bar.

‘Right. Let me tell you all about the inn then,’ Colton started.

To be continued….

A Little Blood (Part 3)

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The next morning, whilst I was sorting Grace out who seemed determined to bring the roof down with her crying, Harry popped up at my elbow. I glanced at him and realised he was dressed in the vampire costume. Though he hadn’t gotten it on right. The waist coat was the wrong way and not buttoned, the cape was lopsided over one shoulder.

‘Harry! Those weren’t the clothes I left out for you,’ I said angrily as I struggled to get Grace into a clean nappy.

‘I am a vampire,’ he replied, ‘and this is what they wear.’

I opened my mouth, words tumbling in my head but then I decided it wasn’t worth it. Grace was going to be too much of  handful today and I could do without Harry being the same way. Taking a few deep breaths, I decided what did it matter? I could wash the costume next week and beside going to the library and the park if the weather held, I had no other plans for the day.

Wrestling, Grace into some pink pants and a long sleeve matching top, I wrapped her in a blanket and scooped her up. She cried down my ear and no soft patting or soothing sounds seemed to work. She couldn’t be that hungry as my husband had feed her around 4 or 5 am.

I turned to the leave the room and spotted Harry playing with some wooden number blocks that had originally been his. I so needed to fix his costume but Grace had no plans to let me.

‘Let’s go get some breakfast,’ I said above the wailing baby.

In the kitchen, I put Grace in the supported high chair and made her some milk. Harry hovered about then took Grace’s hand and tried to quiet her down. Normally, he was really good with her and she did stop crying, but not today.

I hurried through making us all breakfast and making sure we’d all eaten. Grace finally silent for awhile but as I looked at her flush cheeks and felt her hot skin, I began to think she wasn’t well.

‘Harry, let me fix your costume,’ I said as he tried to pull his cape about him.

‘It’s stuck,’ he uttered.

I got up and took the cape and waist coat off. I tucked the shirt into the trousers then put the waist coat on better and the cape properly.

‘There you go. So much better. Now let’s tidy up. Can you help with that?’

Harry scrunched up his face but helped anyway. Grace watched us but soon reached out for me and I had to pick her up. Once the dishwasher was empty and filled with the breakfast things. I put a clothes wash on then had to go and change Grace again.

She fussed and cried a lot again, but at least it was quieter then this morning. I placed her back into the cot afterwards and asked Harry to read to her. He picked up a story book about monsters and read in a loud voice. I tided her room then got Harry to help me tidy his.

‘Do you want to go to the library now?’ I asked him.

‘Only if I can get a vampire book!’ he replied.

‘We’ll have to see what they have.’

We got ready then bundled into the car and I drove off. A drizzle which threatened to turn into rain added to the gloom of the overcast day and there was a sharp cold wind too. I remembered hearing something about a storm coming. Perhaps, we’d skip the park today, maybe we could do some painting or make something?

The library was busy as they had a story time session on. I let Harry join in though he did get some looks from the children and adults but then they acted like it was normal to see a boy dressed in a vampire costume.  After, we found some children’s books about vampires and also some baby books for Grace.

Down in the adult section, I breathed in that lovely smell of old paper and polished wood. The library wasn’t old but they had re-used books and bookcases from a much older one that had closed years ago. I found some books to read and we checked them all out.

The rain was heavier when we left and I drove straight home. The wind was turning into gale force and blowing everything around. The children were quiet, thankfully watching the weather or else Harry was flipping through his books and sometimes showing Grace a picture.

When we got back we had lunch. Harry was too hungry to complain about cup a soups and ham sandwiches. Grace only had half her milk though. I put her down for a nap, my thoughts of her being ill stronger then before. Hopefully it was only a cold.

Harry wanted to read one of his books. So we did that whilst his sister slept.

‘I’m like this vampire,’ Harry pointed out, ‘I like blood too.’

‘But can you turn into a bat?’ I asked teasingly.

Harry stopped up, shut his eyes and wrapped his cape about him. Then he unfurled it and flapped it. He made little squeaking sounds then ran about the room. The cape flapped and flew, almost as if it was flying.

‘Oh! A bat!’ I gasped and put my hands to my face.

Harry came and flapped in my face. I faked panic, though I had no fear of real bats. I grab Harry and tickled him. He burst into laughter and we tumbled on the floor together. Grace’s crying next door cut through out moment and I had to get up to see her to her.

Harry trailed after me. I picked Grace up and felt her head. She was so hot! I took her into the bathroom, cradling her tightly. I wet a cloth and pressed it to her hand. Grace cried on crying.

‘What’s wrong, Mummy?’ Harry’s voice called out.

‘Your sister isn’t well. She’s got a fever,’ I explained.

Harry came closer and took her hand, though Grace was wiggling around.

‘She’ll be okay.’

‘I could give her some of my blood. Vampire blood heals everything,’ Harry spoke up.

I paused, wondering how he knew that then I shook my head, ‘no, no. She just needs some water and some rest. Why don’t you get a book and read to her? She always likes that.’

As Harry hurried off, I damped the cloth again and eased it around Grace’s face and neck. She had stopped crying as much. I heard Harry getting a book and coming back. I told myself, if Grace got worse I’d take her to the doctors, but for now, if the I could get the fever down she’s be okay.

Harry came back into the bathroom and sat down before me. He opened the book and began reading. I couldn’t help but smile, he looked so good in that costume and it was fitting he’d picked a vampire story. He struggled over some of the words, but he seemed to be doing okay.

Grace was listening too, though she was still being fussy. I wet the cloth again and that was how we spent some of the afternoon. We all had a nap afterwards and when my husband came home. I took Grace to the doctors. Her fever had come down but she was still ill.

Thankfully, it was only a bad cold and we were home quick enough. After talking to my husband, I sorted Grace out and put her to bed. We had pizzas for tea then my husband had to persuade Harry out of the vampire outfit and into PJs.

‘I thought you said you’d put it away?’ my husband asked when he came back down.

I was dozing off in front of the TV and I had come back too, ‘huh?’

‘The Halloween costume. I thought…’

I waved my husband away, ‘Grace was ill, I didn’t want to add a five year old to that battle too, so I just let him wear it. I’ll go put it in our wardrobe before we go to bed. He won’t be able to get it in there.’

There was a slight frown on my husband’s face then he came to me and we snuggled on the sofa. I fell asleep in his arms, my dreams full of children vampires turning into bats and drinking strawberry milkshake.

A Little Blood (Part 2)

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As soon as we got home Harry wanted to put his vampire costume on. I frowned about it but decided he had to as if it didn’t fit I didn’t want him to be disappointed.

‘Let’s put the shopping away and then we can,’ I told him.

After that though, Grace needed changing and feeding. Harry bounced around, unable to settle before the cartoons I’d put on for him.

‘Now? Now!’ Harry said loudly.

‘In a minute. Let me put Grace down.’

She was dozing off, lulled by the warm milk. Settling her on the sofa next to me, I turned to Harry and nodded.

He grab the costume and I helped him into it. Luckily, it fitted him really well. He spun around then gathered the cape together. He started making swishing sounds to match the noise of cape.

I shook my head, trying not to laugh, ‘okay. It fits. Time to take it off now,’ I said.

‘No!’ Harry shouted.

‘Shh! Grace is sleeping,’ I whispered.

‘I’m a vampire now,’ Harry responded, quieter, ‘hiss hiss hiss.’

He flapped out the cape and walked around the room with his head held high. He looked like a snobby aristocrat. It reminded me Dracula actually. Where Harry had learn to act like that?

‘All right my little vampire, what would you like to do now?’ I asked.

Harry turned to me, cape raised and his mouth opening wide, ‘I want blood!’

‘Blood?’

‘That’s what vampires like! And I’m a vampire now, so that’s what I want!’

‘Okay,’ I said slowly and fell to thinking.

Harry crept over and appeared at me knee. He pressed his face to my leg and made a muffled nom nom sound. I didn’t feel anything, the jeans I had on were thick. I patted his head and recalled something for a new cartoon we had been watching recently.

‘I don’t think you’re the blood drinking kind of vampire, Harry,’ I said.

He looked up, his mouth wet and red. He wiped at it before I could.

‘I think your the colour red drinking kind of vampire. Let’s go see what red foods we can find for you to eat.’

Harry thought, ‘I guess we could try that. But Mummy, I am a blood drinking vampire. I’m sure of it!’

‘Well, let’s see.’

I scooped up Grace and carried her with me into the kitchen. Harry ran ahead and he was opening cupboards and looking inside as I arrived. Grace stirred on my shoulder, getting comfy before continuing sleeping.

There was no where to put her down, so I had to one hand everything. Spotting, a blush red apple in the fruit bowl I picked it up and offered it out to Harry.

‘How about this?’ I said.

He glanced over his shoulder then shook his head, ‘vampires don’t eat fruit.’

‘I bet some do. Let’s try and it and see.’

Harry came over, took the apple and bit into it. He chewed then pulled a face and give it back to me. Swallowing he said, ‘no.’

I sighed and took a bite myself. This wasn’t how I’d planned the rest of the afternoon to go. There was a load of chores to be done for starters. Surly, Harry would get bored of this soon and want to watch a movie or play with his Lego.

Coming over to join him, I watched him pull out a tin of tomato soup and look at it. Shaking his head, he put it back and selected a tin of spaghetti hoops.

‘Nothing take your fancy?’ I asked.

‘No. Only real blood will do!’ Harry moaned.

‘Let’s check the fridge!’ I cried, suddenly remembering something.

Moving Grace further up my shoulder, I opened the fridge and took out a bottle of strawberry milkshake. I give it to Harry, a large smile of my face, ‘chilled blood, just for you, vampire.’

‘Yes!’ Harry said, clapping his hands.

He took the milkshake and opened it. Drinking some, he seemed happy.

‘Let’s go watch cartoons now. I’ve got ironing and tidying to do.’

Even though Harry spent the rest of the afternoon dressed up a vampire, I found it easy to distract him with TV, toys, games and books. When his dad came home, Harry showed off his costume proudly but then it took us a little while to get him to eat his dinner.

‘Vampires don’t like fish fingers!’ Harry said, crossing his arms and swinging his legs.

‘Well, put ketchup on them,’ I suggested, handing my husband the bottle.

He pulled a face but he did eat after that.

I put Grace to bed early then after we’d watched some more cartoons, it was Harry’s turn. I let my husband put him to bed and I didn’t feel guilty as I listened to him trying to get Harry to take the vampire costume off.

‘But I want to wear the cape!’ Harry was saying, ‘Vampires sleep upside in it!’

‘It’s time not to be vampire now. It’s time to be a good little boy,’ my husband answered.

Harry made hissing noises and the conversation carried on. Finally though, he was in bed and my husband came back to join me on the sofa.

‘Why did you buy him that?’ my husband asked.

‘It’s Halloween next week and he wanted a vampire costume. I let him try it on to make sure he could fit in it but then he wouldn’t take it off. I’ve had to other things today and I decided it wasn’t worth arguing over it,’ I spilled to my husband.

‘He seems really attached to it!’

‘I know. I’ll put it away and get it next week only now,’ I spoke.

I wish it had been as easy as that!

 

To Be Continued…

A Little Blood (Part 1)

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It was a week to go and the shops were packed with Halloween stuff. I breathed in deeply trying to keep my excitement down. This was my Heaven! I pushed the trolley over to the shelves, a small smile creeping on my face. I reached out for the first thing; a gold pot pumpkin then a little gasp stopped my hand.

I looked down at my five month old daughter, Grace, who was still in her car seat in the special holder on top of the trolley. She was asleep, bundled in a pink blanket with a unicorn at one corner. The lullaby of the drive here had caused her to doze off. I glanced to my right side and saw my five year old son, Harry, dashing away.

He went over to the children’s costumes a bit further down and came to a stop. He slowly reached upwards with both hands then turned to me. My love for Halloween and Gothic things was rubbing off on him.

‘Mummy! I want to be a vampire!’ he shouted.

‘A vampire?’ I muttered as I re-collected myself.

‘Yep! That one!’ he added.

I looked to where he was pointing at and saw a full vampire costume hung up opposite him. There was a pair of black trousers, a white shirt, a white ruffle tie, a dark red waist coat with brass buttons, a pointy cross medallion on bright red ribbon and a huge black cape lined the same dusky red as the waist coat.

Harry reached up for it but couldn’t get it down. I moved the trolley around him and pulled the costume down. I  checked the price tag; twenty pounds then looked at the clothes in detail as Harry jumped up and down.

‘Please, Mummy! I really want it!’ he gush.

‘This one won’t fit you. It’s too small,’ I pointed at the age on the hanger.

Though it said four to five year olds, Harry was tall for his age and filling out fast. He was easily a size or two up.

He pulled a face and made his hands into fists. He looked like he was about to throw a tantrum but he was just angry. He turned away, his longish, black hair swinging and looked at all the other costumes. His eyes moved from the zombie, skeleton and pirate to the girls selection; witches, female vampires and bat.

I slipped the vampire costume back and looked through the other sizes. I selected the seven to eight age and pulled it off, I showed it him, pressing it against me as if I was trying it on.

‘This one?’ I asked to get his attention.

He turned his head then his body and let out a happy cry, ‘yes! Mummy!’

‘Okay,’ I added with a smile and put it in the trolley, ‘now what can your sister be?’

Harry hurried to the baby and toddler section and began looking through the clothes. I joined him, avoiding a younger man and his trolley who was speeding past. There were less costumes to pick from and more actual baby clothes decorated with Halloween themes.

‘These are so cute,’ I spoke out.

I reached for a little grey t-shirt that had a imagine of a bat on it with and block letters that read Let’s hang out! I picked the right size for her and put it in the trolley. Next there was a white baby gro with a cream coloured ghost and the word Boo on the front. I put that one in too.

‘A pumpkin!’ Harry cried and pulled a bright orange body suit with a green leaf shape topped hat off the rack.

I pushed the trolley forward and out, giving us some more space. Harry raised the suit to me and I took it off him. There was a Jack O’ Lantern face on the front which looked more friendly then scary. I checked the size; six to eight months.

‘Yeah, this looks good. Nice choice!’ I praised him and put the outfit in the trolley.

We looked at the rest of the Halloween things and got Harry some glow in the dark fangs and a makeup kit to turn him into a full vampire. Some packets of sweets and a few decorative pieces then we carried on shopping.

 

To Be Continued…

Jump

14 John Robinson 17 September 2017

There were flowers on the bridge again. I noticed them on my way to work. It seemed to be the way around here and everyone knew what they meant so no questions were ever asked.

I’d never seen anyone jump. I heard they did it at night so there was less chance of them being stopped. I didn’t understand it. What could make people decided to do that? Only they could answer, for only they knew what was in their heads.

I went to church and learnt it was the Devil that made people jump. Walking over the bridge the next day, I stopped and looked over the wall. Below the murky waters flowed, looking as inviting sewage. And yet, I felt drawn. It looked so calm down there and so peaceful, not like the madness of this city. You work or you die!

You jump and live…..

 What was that voice? Where had it come from?

Why did I feel the urge to climb the wall?

Be Free! Jump!

I was climbing up. I was dropping my things, taking off my coat. People were gasping, shouting. The wind felt so good on my face. My feet were leaving the wall.

I wanted to be free.

 

(Inspired by; https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2017/09/17/sunday-photo-fiction-september-17th-2017/ with thanks).

Spur #writephoto

It was a strange thing to find in a charity shop and I don’t know why I was drawn to it. The spur was rusty but the spiky wheel still spun and it could still be placed onto the back of a boot. I didn’t want it for that though. I brought it, along with the other items I’d picked up then I took it home.

There was no where to place the spur in any room of my house, so I settled for putting it in the cacti bowl that lived in the kitchen. Then I just forgot about it which is just something everyone does.

I don’t know how long had passed but one night I had this weird dream where I was walking through the desert and I came to this abandoned wooden mining town. I walked through the silent buildings and saw a spur, just like the one I’d brought, laying on the sandy ground. I think I tried to pick it up but the dream ended.

After breakfast that morning, I looked for the spur in the cacti bowl. It wasn’t there. Shrugging and thinking one of my housemates had moved it, I went to university for the day and once again forgot all about it.

 

I had another dream days later and I remember this one more because I don’t normally recall my dreams that well. Once again, I was in the desert and walking through that abandoned silent town. I saw the spur and this time I picked it up. I spun the spiky wheel and sliced my finger.

A drop of blood hit the sand at my feet and sunk into the grains. I frowned and began to move on but the ground trembled and a zombie hand shot out and grabbed my boot. I screamed, yelled and tried to kick away. The hand hung on. Panic rose within me, I kicked hard but that caused the hand to pull more out of the sand and I realised the hand wasn’t trying to drag me down but it get itself up!

Without thinking, I jabbed the spur into the rotting hand. The fingers seemed to loosen. I jabbed harder, sticking the spur in like a knife and leaving it there. I kicked with my other foot and punched with my hands until the zombie hand let me go. I stumbled away then finding my feet fled the ghost town.

I awoke in a pool of sweat and shivering. My bed was a mess and my breathing was super loud. I got up and went to the window. It was a cold and wet autumn day but I opened the window and let the strong wind blast the reminds of the dream away.

I had a shower, got dressed and was grateful that I didn’t have any uni classes to attend today. The house was quiet, so I didn’t know who was in. There were dishes in the sink though and the living room was a mess. I tidied up, hoping it would take my mind off everything. Also, I had to find that spur!

When it didn’t turn up, I stuck a note on the fridge and asked my housemates to please return the spur to me. I went to my room and tried to study but my mind was far from my essay and research reading. Instead, I did some internet searching into spurs and abandoned towns in the desert. I didn’t find many answers to the questions I didn’t even know I had.

I went out in the afternoon to the shops and to the town’s library which was nothing compared to the uni’s library but at least I finally got a clear head to study! When I got back that evening, I asked my three housemates about the spur but none of them had seen it.

‘Like a cowboy boot spur?’ Josh asked.

I nodded.

They were all sat in the living room, the TV on an American comedy show and a menu for a local Chinese on the coffee table.

‘Why do you have one of them, Rachel?’ Holly cut in.

‘ It seemed interesting….’ I replied.

‘We’re going to order, soon,’ Kaden switching out, you want anything?’

‘Sure,’ I sighed and picked the menu up.

 

That night the dream came again. This time though I was more prepared and though the zombie scared me, I let him raise from the sand. He was dressed in the reminds of  brown leather pants and a jacket. Holding down my fear, I held the spur out to him. With a loud groan he took it from my stretched out hand then turned away from me.

My eyes flicked open. My dark student bedroom morphing before me. I fumbled for the lamp and got blinded by the light. I rubbed my face and hobbled to the bathroom. Afterwards, I padded back and got into bed again. The near silence of the house hurt my ears and I just wanted to go to sleep again.

I never saw the spur again.

 

(Inspired from; https://scvincent.com/2017/10/19/thursday-photo-prompt-spur-writephoto/ with thanks).

Gone #ThreeLineTales

three line tales week 90: New York subway

On the wrong train! Was in hurry just got on the 1st 1 it’s full of strange people who keep staring at me it’s dead quiet no 1 is doing anything. Should get off at the next stop but scared 2.  

(Inspired from; https://only100words.xyz/2017/10/19/three-line-tales-week-90 with thanks).

The Hanging Tree #FridayFictoneers

I’d always admired the old tree because of it’s size and odd shape, but the dark history that was attached to it always made me shiver. People had been hung for their crimes on the thick lowest branch. The rope cuts could still be seen between the knots. Every Halloween people came to ‘see’ ghostly figures hanging down and ‘hear’ the moans of the lost. I though, only had to look out of my bedroom window to see those souls and though I’d tried to get use to them I couldn’t.

 

(Inspired from; https://rochellewisoff.com/2017/10/18/13-october-2017/ with thanks).