The Scent of Roses

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The Lady hadn’t left her home when she had passed on. It wasn’t that she was trapped there, she could come and go as much as she wanted. The Lady had loved the house so much that she couldn’t help but walk the corridors and through rooms still.

The Lady was glad people still came and stayed in her house. She loved hearing them praise the decor and paintings, the gardens and the water fountains. Also, it was so nice to hear the laughter of children once more as they dashed from room to room.

She knew her presence was felt because people talk about smelling her perfume. It was one she had made herself using roses from the garden and water from the spring. The Lady felt pleased by this, she liked them to know she was still here watching over her house.

Wayzgoose #AtoZChallenge

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Wayzgoose – an annual summer party held by a printing house for all its employees.

It was too warm and the cocktails had gone to my head all ready. I dipped my feet into the cool outdoor swimming pool of the hotel and watched everyone else. Everyone from work I knew was here, it was a work do after all! and there were people from other departments I had never seen before.

Everyone from the printing house seemed to be here; the big cheeses, the receptions and the kids who worked in the post room. Everyone was drinking or eating, talking and enjoying themselves.

It was good to be not at work in this four star hotel for a weekend party. It was the annual tradition of the business. A reward for everyone and a celebration of last year’s best selling books and online articles.

I hated it. I loathed shifting through the paper and online submissions. I grimaced at simple spelling mistakes and rolled my eyes at grammar errors. For years, I had read other peoples’ writings whilst mine had slipped away like shells out to sea.

‘So, I heard you’d handed in your notice….’

I looked up at the sound of the voice, frowning and scrunching my face up because the sun was too bright. It was Naz though, no doubt about it.

He sat down next to me and dipped his bare feet into the water. He was wet from a swim and there was a towel around his shoulders.

‘This isn’t a pool party,’ I joked.

Naz laughed and shook his wet dark hair, ‘everyone’s too drunk to care!’

I pressed my lips together and kicked my feet under the water. He was right, everyone no one cared and the drinks were flowing too much. Not even the Christmas party ended up like this.

‘So, is it true? You are leaving me?’ Naz uttered.

‘Yes. How did you find out?’ I asked.

Naz tapped his nose and laughed.

‘I leave at the end of next month.’

‘So you got on that journalism course then?’

‘University at the age of thirty-one here I come!’ I cried and swung my arms up.

A few people glanced at me then got back on with their conversations or nibbles.

‘Go get ’em girl,’ Naz said, ‘fancy a drink to celebrate?’

‘No, I’ve had too much.’

‘Come on!’ Naz half shouted and got up splashing me with pool water.

I watched him go over to the bar and a part of me wanted to get up and go, make Naz come back with two drinks and discovery himself alone. I couldn’t though, we had known each other too long.

He came back soon enough with tall glasses and something pink and fizz inside. I sipped it through a paper straw and found it fruity and sweet. We didn’t talk for a few minutes, just sat and watched a group of men try and push each other in the pool. Someone give at last and splashed in, followed by another man he had snatched the arm of as he fell.

Laughter and shouting rose up as people swamped the pool. The men got up and everyone distributed lured by the music coming from the marque on the lawn.

‘Party’s kicking off now,’ Naz pointed out.

I rubbed my head, feeling the growth of a headache. I should get something to eat and then maybe slip off back to my room. I wasn’t in the mood for dancing, having my bum and boobs grabbed at. Also, I didn’t want to end up in someone else’s bed tonight like a lot of these people would do.

I turned to Naz and saw him waving at someone, ‘Cherry in accounting, Let’s go say hi.’

‘You go. I’ll see you at the buffet table,’ I replied.

Naz nodded and hurried off.

I got my wrinkled feet out of the pool, back into my red flat shoes that matched my red cocktail dress and went to get something to eat.

There wasn’t a queue though there was enough people getting food to bump elbows with. Most people had gone off dancing. I got a paper plate and selected a few things, not really fussy over the trays of food.

I found a table outside and ate slowly, enjoying the setting sun and the lights coming on in the gardens. Noise echoed around me, the booming of the disco music, the shouting of the people. A woman was screaming somewhere- I guessed in delight as she was chased by a suitor? Or maybe a murderer? I didn’t care.

I finished eating and went back to the buffet table. I gathered some sandwiches, fruit, mini blueberry muffins and a few other things to eat in my room. Then acting like I was looking for somewhere to eat or perhaps the friends I had left a few minutes ago, I sneaked back inside the hotel.

It was a long way to my room and I was grateful not to meet anyone. Either the whole hotel had been booked for the company or the other guests were sticking in their bedrooms. I took the elevator and walked along the corridors until I made to my door.

Once in, I put the food on the desk next to the gathering of bottled water and fizzy drinks I had brought with me. A few packets of sweets and chocolates were there too. That had been my plan for night; far from the party and by myself.

I sat on the bed and turned the TV on. I nibbled on a sandwich and sipped some water.

What a way to spend my last work’s summer party.

(Inspired by; http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com)

Postcard story

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Dear Charity,

It’s Guy Fawkes or bonfire night here in England. Such a weird celebration to remember the attempted to blow up the houses of parliament in London, 1605. This evening there is a firework display and large fire at the park. I can see it from the window of the hotel. They are also setting up a funfair right now. I won’t be going, no need with my view here. I’ll try and take some photos to show you what it’s like.

Hope everyone is well and I’ll be home in a few days,

Love, Bill.

Postcard Story

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Dear B,

I know it’s been while but a lot has happened at the ‘haunted hotel’. Everything is ready for open day which should have been days ago but set backs.

I have experienced a few things; doors closing, cold spots, lights flickering and once a moving shadow!

More ‘sensitive’ people have seen the ghost of a child and a skinny man. I hope one day to see them too.

Looking forward to your visit. I will give you our best room where everyone says they’ve see a ghost in. I just know that’ll thrill you!

From X.

A Sign Of Magic #WritePhoto

The full moon hung in a strange dark blue, smoke cloudy sky. The silvery light fell on a  metal sign in the shape of a large grey, wizard hat, which rose high above a huge hotel.

The sign shimmered letting out a pulse of magical energy which rippled through the air. Everyone who knew even a bit of magic, felt the pulse no matter where they were and they all took off towards the hotel.

Soon, witches on broomsticks with their animal familiars landed in the car park. Wizards arrived in clouds of sparkling dust. Mages, sorcerer/ess, warlocks, enchanters, alchemists, seers, druids and loads of other magical sensing people arrived across the hours in all kinds of ways including; magic carpets, red flames, blue flames, snowstorms and miniature hurricanes.

Everyone gathered in the gigantic underground hall, lit be flickering candles and awaited for the Magic Council to assemble and announce why they had all been summoned.

Finally, one of the High Wizards rose and addressed the gathered, ‘there is a crises,’ he croaked, ‘magic is dying and we must do everything we can to save it.’

A murmur went around the room then a young witch’s voice rose, ‘then let us all work together to fix it.’

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2019/03/14/thursday-photo-prompt-sign-writephoto/ with thanks).

 

 

 

 

Salt

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Doctor Roy Parker stood on the end of the pier, huddled in a huge winter coat and looking around. Everyone thought him mad to take a seaside holiday in February but he embraced it. The quietness at the out of season resort, the emptiness of the beach and town, no worries or cares, created a perfect escape from an intense twenty-four hours- seven days a week hospital job.

Resting his arms on the rotting wooden rail, Roy watched and listened to the gale force winds creating mini sand storms along the beach below. Out at sea, the wave tops were whipped into meringue peaks which then crashed onto the shore and got left behind by the large rasping, rolling salty water.

Rain started falling, fat drops plopping onto the wooden boards, the damp sand and stormy sea. Roy didn’t mind, this was nature at one of it’s wildest moments and he could just become lost in the raging weather. He balanced himself against the elements, letting them sweep everything away for a good while.

The wind became more violent, throwing sand and waves upwards to Roy. A tingle of danger went through him and the Doctor decided he’d had enough for the moment. With rain and sand grains clinging to him and sea salt the only thing he could smell, Roy finally turned away and walked back to the large dome cafe that dominated the middle of the pier.

He opened the door and was greeted by a gentle warm hug of air. Choosing a seat near a  right hand side window, Roy noticed he was the fourth customer in the cafe. Two old ladies in their seventies or eighties, sat a few tables away in the center row, were enjoying a meal. To the far left, next to a rain coated window, a young man in his twenties or thirties, sat with his eyes closed and hands around a white mug. A yellow Labrador guide dog sit at his feet, tongue lolling, face attentive.

The rest of the tables, though set for customers were empty, giving an eerily abandoned impression to the place which the weather made all the more real.

Looking towards the counter and kitchen area, Roy saw a bored teenage girl at the till putting a brownie onto a plate. Listening, he heard a soft brush of musical notes coming from the kitchen along with the smell of mingled hot food and coffee.

Roy picked up the plastic covered menu wedged behind glass salt and pepper shakers and a bottle of vinegar. He scanned the deserts and drinks list then turned the menu over to see the meals. There wasn’t a lot of choice but that wasn’t a surprise.

Meanwhile, the waitress took the brownie to the blind man and spoke to him for a few minutes. She patted the guide dog’s head. Roy got the impression they knew each other which in this small town was easy to believe. Then the girl turned, coming towards him whilst digging out a paper pad and pen from her white apron bag.

‘Hi, what can I get you?’ she asked in a fake bright voice.

‘A pot of tea,’ Roy answered.

The girl noted it down.

‘And fish and chips.’

The girl made to nod then replied, ‘if you order the special it comes with tea, bread and butter.’

‘Is that a pot or just a cup?’ Roy asked, avoiding the temptation to look at the menu again.

The waitress thought for a moment as if she had forgotten or was deciding something, ‘I can make it a pot,’ she stated and wrote on her pad again.

‘Thank you,’ Roy said.

The girl walked off and disappeared into the kitchen. Roy listened for voices but the wind, rain and sea were in storm mode and all other sounds were now blocked out. Turning to the window, Roy watched the rain pounding against the glass and clouding the view which he imagined on a nice summer day was a picturesque beach.

He was lost in his thoughts for awhile, so when the waitress appeared with his tea, Roy was slightly startled.

‘There you go,’ the girl said as she set a tea pot, milk jug, sugar bowl and cup down.

Roy thanked her as she headed back to the kitchen then looked at the mismatched and dented tea set. The poor sliver colored tea pot had seen better days, the rim of the sugar bowl was chipped and the darker sliver milk jug looked like it could fall apart. He gingerly poured the steaming tea and fridge cool milk into his tea cup.

‘Excuse me, Sadie,’ a man’s voice called loudly.

Roy looked about and saw the blind man trying to attracted the waitress attention.

‘I’ll get her for you, dear,’ one of the old ladies spoke.

‘We are leaving now, Mark,’ the second replied.

‘Thank you, Iris and Lilly. I want to leave too,’ the blind man answered, ‘the storm sounds bad, so I’m going to get a taxi.’

They both got up. The first lady, who was wearing a powder pink felt coat and had a hint of pink in her white permed hair, walked slowly to the counter. The other lady dressed in a pale blue felt coat and with blue wisps in her white hair, went over to the blind man.

Roy watched, wondering if they were twins or sisters or friends.

The waitress appeared at the counter, talked to Iris or Lilly then picked up a phone.

The old lady went back to her sister or friend and after saying goodbye to Mark and his dog, headed for the door.

Roy braced himself to feel the bite of the wind as the door opened but he was sat far enough away that he felt just a whisper of the chilly wet air. He picked up his tea and took a few sips, feeling warmth sinking into him.

The girl appeared at his side and placed two plates down, one had two slices of bread and small pot of butter, the other held his fish and chips.

‘There you are. Is there anything else you need?’ she asked.

‘No, thank you,’ Roy answered.

With a single nod, the girl swept away and over to the blind man. She talked to him, no doubt saying she had ordered a taxi.

Roy arranged the plates of food how he wanted them then put salt and vinegar on his fish and chips. He picked up his knife and folk from the white napkin and started eating. It wasn’t the best meal he’d ever had but it tasted great today. The chips had just a crunch to their outside and were soft in the middle. The fish was lightly and crispy battered, soft and tender inside. With the added salt and vinegar the whole thing came together in one celebration in Roy’s mouth.

So distracted was he, Roy didn’t noticed the blind man leaving till he felt a touch of cold. Looking up and towards the door, he saw the man going out and the waitress helping him. She closed the door and hurried through the cafe into the warmth of the kitchen.

Alone, Roy took a moment to glance around then carried on eating. The fish was tasty, though the salt was drying out his lips and he had to keep licking them. He drink some more tea to help. Unable to stop, he ate quickly, forgotten how he’d built his hungry by a morning walk in the town, then along the edge of the beach and around the pier.

He was finished before he knew it. Pouring the last of the tea, Roy hugged the cup and listened to a rumble of thunder in the distance. He looked out of the window and though it was hard to think the weather had gotten worse, it seemed just that.

Roy finished his tea and sat relaxing for a few minutes. Coldness crept over him and he felt stiff in his legs and back from the plastic chair. Perhaps, it was just his imagination but he felt a slight rocking motion.

Getting up, he went to the counter and looked for the girl. A door labeled kitchen was open in the back wall and Roy could hear radio music more clearly now.

‘Hello? he called, his voice sounding loud in the empty cafe.

‘Coming,’ the girl called back.

She appeared, trying to turn a scowl into smile.

‘The bill, please. And if it’s not too much trouble could you phone me a taxi?’

‘Here you go, the girl said and handed him a slip of paper, ‘and yes, I can. Where are you going too?’

‘To the Mermaid Hotel,’ Roy replied as he dug out his wallet.

The girl took his money and made the call. He listened as she said the address of the cafe and the hotel. She hung up the phone and turned back to him, ‘The taxi will be a few minutes and pick you up from the pier enterence.’

‘Thanks,’ Roy answered, he added a ‘goodbye,’ and went to the door.

Preparing to step out into the storm, Roy took a deep breath and opened the door. Rain that felt solid hit him and the strong wind tried to force him back. Roy wrestled with the elements, hurried out and back along the pier.

‘It is swaying!’ he cried.

Daringly, he looked over the safety rail and saw the sea waves arching upwards around the wooden supports. Imagines of the pier collapsing, the buildings crashing down and himself thrown into those violent waves flashed through his mind.

Panicked, Roy ran off the pier, slipping on the wet boards and dodging the small buildings and stalls that were dotted around. He made it safely to the enterence which was an indoor hallway connecting the street to the pier.

Huddling inside there, water dripping everywhere, Roy looked out for his taxi. A rumble of thunder made him jump then laughing loudly, Roy let all his fear go. Of course, the pier was moving! It was built to do so! How else would a wood and iron structure survive the sea? And the storm was only that and nothing to be scared over.

A red car pulled up outside, horn blaring.

Roy opened the door, walked out and got into the taxi.

‘The Mermaid Hotel,’ he said to the reflection of the driver’s face in the rear view mirror.

‘Right O,’ the driver spoke and peeled the car away.

Fairy Hotel #FridayFictioneers

The child pointed at the strange structure against the fence and asked, ‘Grandma, what’s that?’

Grandma looked at the stack of bricks and wood with clay pots and other things stuck in between before replying, ‘it was a fairy hotel.’

‘Was?’

‘It’s fallen apart now,’ Grandma pointed out.

The child pulled at the weeds thoughtfully and said, ‘can we fix it? If it’s pretty again the fairies might come back.’

Grandma smiled, ‘Yes, if we believe they will.’

The child smiled back and together they began working on repairing the hotel.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/08/01/3-august-2018/ with thanks).

Hotel On The Beach #TwitteringTales

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I pointed out the white and grey abandoned hotel on the coastal cliff to my husband. I had spoken about the place often, having as a child grown up there. This  was the first time we had seen the place and now it belong to us. I couldn’t wait to get re-living my childhood again.

(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2018/05/22/twittering-tales-85-22-may-2018/ with thanks).

Working #TwitteringTale

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Were they digging to the center of the earth? I didn’t know but I just wanted to sleep. The sounds of the drilling vibrated everything, so there was no way to block the noise out. I looked up hotels and moved out for the weekend. Peace at last!

(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2018/05/08/twittering-tales-83-8-may-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).